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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review

June 19, 2008

Wow! Where do I even begin with this one? Let’s start with a quick background of my Metal Gear experience. I never played the original Metal Gear for NES, despite the fact that I was an NES junkie growing up. Not sure how I missed that game. However, when Metal Gear Solid came out for the PSOne in 1998, I was hooked. It did something most games before it failed to do. It had a killer story, complete with character development and plot twists. Then in 2001, Metal Gear Solid 2 came out and it vastly improved on the MGS formula. The controls were much better, you had more freedom, and the graphics make some current-gen games look weak. Then MGS3 came out a few years later. At first I had trouble getting used to the game but in the end I loved it. It added camoflague, healing wounds, and a stamina meter which had to be replenished by eating food or resting.

So here we are. Three solid Metal Gear Games (no pun intended), and people want to know whether MGS4 lives up to the hype. The answer? It blows the hype out of the water!!!

I’m going to need one more play-through to confirm it, but Metal Gear Solid 4 I believe is going to be the best video game I have ever played (previous place-holder was Resident Evil 4). The level of care and effort that went into making this game is evident in every single aspect of the game whether it’s the story, the graphics, the sound, or the gameplay. Each and every one of these areas is polished to perfection. (See Julian’s Review for details on the story and features of the game).

The graphics in this game are the best I’ve ever witnessed in a game. The cutscenes are hard to distinguish between actual gameplay. THAT’S how good the game looks. The gameplay is easily the best in the series. The addition of the crouch-walk and the improved cover system aid gameplay and provide you with much more freedom. The single best addition to the game in my opinion is the addition of the Solid Eye. The Solid Eye identifies objects on the battlefield, distinguishes between friend or foe, has a night-vision mode and a binocular mode, indicates enemies nearby, and identifies enemy weaknesses. This greatly aids throughout the game and gives the user a bit more tactical feel in the game.

Another great feature that was added was the freedom given to the user. In all of the previous MGS games, if you alerted a guard of your presence, it pretty much meant you would be seeing a Continue screen shortly thereafter. MGS4 says, if you get caught, be prepared to shoot your way out of a jam instead. When I played through MGS4, I took the stealth approach. I snuck past guards, tranquilized them when I had to, and snuck up from behind and gave them the good ol knife-slit when the opportunity arose. However, there were many instances where I was spotted and it took a bit of getting used to to realize, “Hey, I can shoot these guys instead of running this time around”. This makes the game much less frustrating and allows users to play to their strengths and approach a level many different ways.

The story in Metal Gear was handled incredibly well for what it was. It took such an odd turn in MGS2 that there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered and this game took care of it well. Every character’s loose ends get tied up and I must say, it’s a bittersweet ending to the game. The story really draws you in and you’ll care about all of these characters throughout the game.

The boss fights were just a tad disappointing to me, but then again, I played MGS1-3 back to back a couple of months before MGS4 came out so I had a lot of recent experience in the MGS world. The fights themselves were great, but I unfortunately breezed through most of them. Even so, the villains were designed well.

MGs4 even comes bundled with Metal Gear Online which a type of starter pack for the online game. It’s fun right now and emphasizes stealth and I’m having a blast playing it, but I’m not sure it will keep me coming back in the coming months, especially with Socom coming out soon.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a game you need to play if you own a PS3. If you don’t own a PS3, this is one SOLID reason to buy one (pun intended this time). Again, this is most likely the best game I have ever played and really needs to be experienced. It’s so hard to describe the greatness of this game but I strongly recommend this to anyone who calls themself a gamer.

Dave’s Score: A (is there a letter that comes before A?)

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