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Metal Gear Arcade Playtest

Metal Gear Solid 4's online counterpart makes the jump to 3D for Konami's new arcade title. Does the added dimension make this a solid addition to the franchise?


Japan hates playing online. So it makes sense that Konami would take the flop that was Metal Gear Online and turn it into a multi-player arcade shooter. On display at this year's AOU Amusement Expo in Chiba, Metal Gear Arcade adds local play, co-op, 3D visuals, and head tracking controls to the multiplayer component of MGS 4.

The head tracking is the biggest addition to the game. Players wear a pair of 3D glasses with a sensor on top that keeps track of where he or she is looking. The functions handled by this tracking are analogous to the functions of the right stick in a console third person shooter. An analog stick on the front of the game's gun-shaped controller handles player movement, similar to the left stick on a gamepad. Meanwhile, a button at the front of the gun allows for crouching and rolling while an awkwardly placed button above the trigger reloads.

Arcades can link up eight Metal Gear Arcade units. The game also offers nationwide online play.
The goggles and guns. Konami will also be selling goggles via special sales machines.
The AOU booth looked a lot like the Tokyo Game Show booth for Peace Walker.

This complex controls scheme makes the game nearly impossible to play. While Japanese arcade FPS and TPS games have never been known for intuitive controls, the head tracking in Metal Gear Arcade adds an extra layer of abstraction. Even aiming and shooting at an enemy is needlessly complex. In theory, firing your gun is as simple as pointing the barrel where you want the bullets to go and pulling the trigger -- point and shoot. In practice, coordinating the aiming with player movement and the head tracked point of view is overwhelming and needlessly obtuse.

The 3D in the game is just as impressive as anything you'd see an a modern movie theater. However, Metal Gear Solid 4 was released nearly two years ago, and the engine is no longer the graphical powerhouse it once was. The game is pretty, but not so gorgeous that it's worth the 300 to 500 yen a pop it will probably cost

It's in 3D, so you probably can't make out the visuals too well.
Metal Gear Arcade is based off Metal Gear Online.

Konami has added three modes to the game, although only one was on display at AOU. National Play allows players to compete with others from around the country. We played this mode, but in reality, we were playing against other show goers in the venue. Local play allows for competition within the same arcade and mission play has players create a four player squad to play cooperatively.

Metal Gear Arcade offers lots of ways to customize your character.

If you want to try a novel arcade game, Metal Gear Arcade is sure to please. If you're looking for the next competitive game to hit the arcade scene, keep looking.

The AOU pamphlet.

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