Personally, I was never much of a fan of the PlayStation 3 entirely because
it had such a weak selection of PS3 exclusive games. I still think the same
after playing MGS4. One great, golden gem doesn't overshadow the overshadowing
amounts of dirt. But this isn't a console rant.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is possibly…no, definitely, one of the greatest games
I have ever played. It has incredibly solid characters with just as solid voice
actors, and a complex, yet incredible plot to boot. And that's not even getting
into the technical side. While looking back now, MGS1 didn't even give
characters faces, aside from the sporadic codec scenes, where it was all
hand-drawn. Over the last 12 or so years, MGS4 has become one of the most
beautiful looking games to ever grace my eyes, burning its beauty into my
retinas. During massive gunfights you have to sneak through, you will see puffs
of dust and chunks of dirt pop upwards, splashes of water and even flesh and
blood. When zooming in, you can see just about every wrinkle and crease in any
characters face and skin. Guns all have that brilliant, metallic reflection and
you can even see down the barrel itself when pointed in the right direction.
The games graphics are emphasized during the intense and cinematic cut
scenes. If only this game had a mode like 3 where you could watch all the cut
scenes and codec conversations, then you can either play a stealth/action game,
or watch an amazing sci-fi, thriller drama mini-series. Yes, mini-series. There
are approximately nine hours of video in the game. This would usually count as a
bad thing, as too much story can make a person bored with a game. But when the
scenes are polished to a professional standard, and even have the ability to
momentarily look through Snakes eyes and see either little funnies here or
there, or to simply look around a corner before the camera. And when introduced
to old characters, or recent events, you can tap X a number of times to bring up
little flashbacks of that person or event. And did I mention how amazing the
videos are directed?
Game play is very similar to that of MGS3. Instead of having fixed camera
positions (Which worked well in the first couple of Silent Hill games) you have
the ability to look around without having to switch to first-person view. This
was incorporated into the game for the same reason as it was in the third. You
no longer have a mini-map.radar in the top right corner so you can see where
your enemies are at all times. Instead, you are given a eye-patch which acts as
a form of radar, making you aware of enemies directions by things such as sound
of movement. As well as giving you a night-vision mode, which seems more like a
infrared mode than night (otherwise you would be blind during the day…and not
be able to see footprints). The Metal Gear Mk. II is also a new addition.
A little Gear that you can drive around, going about thirty-forty meters ahead
of Snake to scout things out.
Because Snake is old in MGS4, there is the addition of a Psyche meter,
similar to the Stamina meter in MGS3. The Psyche meter will go down during
combat, and decrease even more rapidly when Snake is hit, or sniping shots are
missed. Even during the cut scenes, which are amazingly directed, Psyche will
decrease when Snake fails to do something, or someone calls him ‘Old’. The
combat it interesting. In all previous Metal Gear games, combat was the kind of
thing you avoided so you didn't become a sponge for enemy bullets. The gun play
wasn't hard, but it was a lot harder to take out an enemy than it was for them
to rape the health bar. In MGS4, you can hold down L1 and have an aiming target
in front of you, thus playing it like a third person shooter, like Gears Of War.
Or you can hold down Triangle and play it like a first person shooter. Although
that is slightly harder. While it is a bit difficult to get a hand on the
shooting at first, it does become easier. But then, you shouldn't really be
playing the game as a shooter. It takes the fun out of hiding inside a
The game does have multiplayer mode, but I have yet to play it. But from
what I've heard, it is very fun, and still has the ability to hide in a
cardboard box. The music in the game fits the mood for anything that is
happening, and is downright beautiful at points. The plot covers just about all
aspects of the series, and while it does seem to try and tie up every loose end
like a OCD sufferer in a shoelace factory, it doesn't simply say “But he just
was that awesome”. It at least tries to dedicate about ten minutes of your
life to it. Which can be a small downside. During the first half of the game,
there is a forty-five minute long cut scene (Yes, they are long. But being MGS,
that's not only expected, they're good. The cut scenes are really, really good)
simply to tell you how to cook eggs properly, that Snake needs to go somewhere,
and then spends the rest of your precious time making you watch two of the
characters fail to recognize each others flirting.
The Good: Voice acting, plot, action, character development, music and
Cardboard boxes are as good, if not better, than most big-budget movies.
The Bad: Plot can be confusing to many, and even more to those that haven't
played MGS1, 2 and 3, more action focus than stealth, Raiden is back.
In between: Raiden may be back, but at least he's slightly cooler. Cut
scenes are really, long at points, but they are engaging. How they tie up some
of the character plots is a little…annoying. Not far-fetched, not to simple,
Verdict: Hire out a PS3 and play the game at least twice. It will be worth
every single dollar.