Who will buy Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel? Will someone completely unfamiliar with Hideo Kojima's epic saga be likely to plunk down hard earned cash on a digital comic book following Solid Snake on his first mission in the Solid series? Unlikely. Considering the intended audience – MGS fans – and the interesting use of the PSP format, Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel isn't an excellent game per se, but it is an excellent piece of fan service – which is exactly what it should be.
Konami's been in this situation before – creating nongames for Sony's PSP platform – but with far less success in previous outings. Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel simply takes users (more like “propels” them) through the story line (the Psycho Mantis battle is, once again, incredibly memorable) of Metal Gear Solid with superb animated visuals from artist and illustrator Ashley Wood.
While simply journeying through the game's 271 panels would suffice, Kojima Productions made the experience more interactive. The panels are faux 3D with navigable spaces – and, true to the MGS fiction, a rudimentary camera system adds images to the game's memory. For example, you'll be able to zoom through images to find other panels or close-up images of the panel you're looking at. These additions to the memory flesh out the Digital Graphic Novel replay experience.
Ultimately, Digital Graphic Novel might be the truest MGS experience – no gameplay to get in the way of pure plot. While it may be geared only at franchise fans, it's hard to fault Konami or Kojima Productions for bringing out something that we haven't seen much of on the PSP lately: interesting software.