With Metal Gear Acid and its equally rubbish, turn-based strategy sequel both safely consigned to the gaming dustbin marked 'You what?', Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is set to mark Solid Snake's triumphant return to form on PSP. But as new details emerge, it seems worryingly clear that Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is determined to use the PSP to fiddle with the stealth format.
While MGS: Portable Ops might look like classic Metal Gear on the surface (third-person running around, first-person shooting, etc), the majority of the game involves a complex mix of recruiting new comrades to Snake's cause, and developing these new soldiers' abilities for use in both the single-player and the online multiplayer games.
Although the concept fits the plot perfectly - events take place six years after Metal Gear Solid 3, as 'Naked' Snake builds an army and becomes the notorious 'Big Boss' - it does mean that fans eager to play a 'proper' Metal Gear game on PSP still face page after page of stats before they get to the good stuff.
On the positive side, Portable Ops ignores the laughable Solid Eye 3D viewer from Metal Gear Acid 2. Worryingly though, it does make use of the PSP GPS receiver, the idea being that certain characters only become available when your PSP is switched on in particular parts of Japan (the feature has yet to be confirmed for an English release). Brilliant, assuming you can afford thousands of miles of air fares to get all the characters, that is.
As if Mr Kojima's latest Metal Gear Solid gimmick wasn't bonkers enough, he's even announced that you'll be able to buy a special edition of Portable Ops on launch that comes packaged with a PSP pouch made from real python skin!