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'Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops' is perfect for those who like winning without knowing why

Snake goes mobile

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Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Snake's next adventure looks like it doesn't require much skill.

Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops is playable for the first time at this year's Tokyo Game Show, and I was able to complete an entire mission flawlessly by, well, having no idea what I was doing.

One of the challenges of TGS is being a westerner with precisely zero Japanese language skills. Thankfully, most games use familiar symbols to convey objectives and options, rather than requiring literacy. Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops is not one of those games. It was loaded to the gills with Japanese and, since it's a turn-based Metal Gear game revolving around collectable cards, there's a lot of reading required.

Actually, maybe reading isn't so required after all. After confessing ignorance to representatives at the GREE booth on the TGS show floor, a helpful advisor watching over me offered the following tip: "Tap!" So I did. A lot. And things happened. Every few moments a flashing button would appear, I would tap it, and a cutscene would play, showing Snake pulling off some fancy moves, shooting guards or hiding in a box. Sometimes a collectible card with a new character would appear and it would be saved in my deck for later use. Occasionally Snake would sit in his cardboard box, which would begin to pulsate, with him appearing to level up. But, no matter what happened, I would always succeed with just a single tap.

The mission culminated with a boss battle against an armored personnel carrier and a bunch of enemy soldiers. They were facing off against my merry band, made up of Snake and all the collectible card characters he found along the way. Once again, success in this battle did not require much input from me. Flashing green button? Tap! Rinse! Repeat! Win!

Granted, this is very likely one of the first if not the first level of the game, but if you're looking for the sort of tactical complexity from games like Metal Gear Solid: Acid, you should probably lower your expectations for Social Ops. But, for diehard Metal Gear fans, just having a guy named Snake is usually enough to justify a download. Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops is planned for release on Android and iOS later this year.