I have been trying to get into MGS: Portable Ops for some time now. Hell, it was the reason I got the PSP after all. Sadly the few times I tried, the controls would kill off any attempt to get beyond more than 15 minutes of gameplay. But yesterday I deleted my save game and started over from the beginning. I still hate the controls and its MGS3: Subsistence style camera, which in normal circumstances would have been great - if there was a right analog nub. The awful weather (and Patapon is taking up Jennifer's time) meant that we stayed in for most of the weekend, allowing me to catch up on this backlog.
I am now a couple of hours deep into Portable Ops and am starting to get hooked with the new squad-based gameplay, which allows us to play as other characters besides Naked Snake himself. Enemies procured in the battlefield are first imprisoned and then undergoes a brain washing scheme where they eventually agrees to join the team. Each unit have their own strengths and weaknesses and can be assigned to work in the battlefield as part of Snake's four member sneaking squad. It isn't only soldiers that can be captured. Disgruntled technicians can be recruited to work on expanding the inventory of weapons, and the medical unit can produce new medicines and rations as well as allowing for injured conscripts to recover quicker. Spies can be assigned to each location, which allows them to scout for ammos, provide the sneaking unit with detailed map as well as opening up new side quests.
While I still dislike the controls, but am getting used to it. Because of the limited camera field, I have to admit I am spending less time sneaking around than in past Metal Gear games. There are far less places to hide and the A.I. of enemies are better than in past games. Enemies do not only rely on their field of vision but sound feedback as well. One other thing Kojima did right in Portable Ops are its bite-sized missions, essentially making Naked Snake's founding of FOXHOUND to be a very portable experience.
Look out for a full review in the future. Maybe.