Nov 13, 2007
Given that it's been almost a year since the awesome Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops came out, you could be forgiven for thinking that Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus is the expanded edition that seems to follow every MGS release. It's implied right there in the title, after all. In reality, though, Portable Ops Plus is more of a companion to the original; it features the same fully 3D, stealth-action gameplay, but ditches the story mode in favor of a ton of improvements to the game's multiplayer modes. Which isn't a bad thing, so long as you're not looking for the definitive PSP Metal Gear.
In place of a story is the new "Infinity Mission" mode, which puts players through a set number of short, randomly generated missions set in partial levels recycled from the first Portable Ops. Although these still put you in control of four-man "sneaking teams" (which you'll control one at a time, while the rest hide in boxes), most of them just revolve around finding an exit while evading (or killing, or recruiting) guards. A few will require you to take down every enemy in the level, stay alive through a timed alert or try and find the exit while sneaking through a ton of automated traps, but in general they're pretty cut and dry.
The problem with all this is that, while it's fun in short bursts, Infinity Mission gets boring after a while. This is partly because all the sneaking and shooting is really just a means to an end, which is the amassing of cool new characters and interesting junk to equip them with. Like in the first game, your main goal is to build an army, which you can do by knocking out your enemies (ideally with badass Close-Quarters Combat moves) and dragging them over to a waiting truck for re-education. (You could also just kill them, but that's kind of a waste.)
Assuming you already did that a lot in the first Portable Ops, you'll be able to import all your old troops into the new game. And because you probably don't want to give any up, Portable Ops Plus expands your available roster to 200 soldiers, enabling you to start recruiting like crazy regardless of how many you'd collected before. You'll also be able to bolster your private army just by completing missions, which nets everyone experience points and boosts their stats, giving soldiers with puny health and stamina (which is most of them) a chance to toughen up.