This article is written in hindsight, after MGS Peace Walker has been out, and even though the gameplay is far better by a fair margin, Portable Ops is still an excellent game.
Set six years after MGS 3
, it promptly starts answering questions left over from the game, like what caused Big Boss to disown his own country, how he got the funds to do it, and just why he believed, unlike The Boss, "loyalty to the end", was a facile lie.
It also introduces Roy Campbell during his younger days (which clears up a lot of questions as to when and how he and Big Boss met).
This game answers those questions, plus a few from MGS 2
and MGS 4
. It also has a slightly loose plot, but it's well written regardless, containing all the myriad twists one expects of MGS.
The gameplay, albeit outshined by it's successor, is mostly familiar to MGS 3
veterans, who basically get to do most to all of the MGS 3
CQC moves (aside from slitting throats) with complete animations included. It also includes Soliton-ish radar and the same level of AI brilliance found in MGS 3
It also includes, as it's new gameplay twist (refined in Peace Walker) the ability to build your own army, and while Peace Walker is more diverse, nostalgia fans will definitely love that they get to play as virtually every single confirmed living character from MGS 3
, and even boss characters from Portable Ops. Again, this exists in matured form in the sequel, but this game started it all, and it works quite well.
The online features, already debuted in MGS 3
Subsistence, get their due in this game (expanded in the expansion pack, Portable Ops Plus), and provided much the same enjoyment veterans of MGS Online enjoyed in MGS 3
and MGS 4
. The game also allows you to recruit soldiers over the Internet, though some features of this are Japan limited due to not all the accessories that allow the multiple recruitment methods not being shipped to the U.S, which is a minus point, albeit minor.
In conclusion, this is a very good MGS game, delivering MGS 3
level graphics, epic boss battles, a complex plot that clears up a bunch of questions, and for a game admitted to be a beta for an even better one, it's still extremely playable and enjoyable for MGS fans and newbies alike.
In short, this is a great game.