Metal Gear Solid 4, though a launch title for the Playstation 3, does not show its age and instead presents one of the most brilliant experiences in video gaming.
Players: 1 (Online: 2-16)
ESRB: Mature (Blood, Crude Humor, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence)
Snake is back in this finale to an epic series, and while there’s a period of “warming up” for newcomers, it doesn’t take long to recognize the gold that one is getting into with this title.
This game is, first and foremost, a stealth title. You’ll be crawling around and avoiding most everyone if you can, so if you’ve never played an MGS game, it takes some getting used to and can be dreadfully slow. If you keep that in mind, however, you shouldn’t have any problems.
It’s when the actually gunplay begins that this game can get frustrating. The controls are a bit heavy and unusual, and so it helps to find a way to familiarize yourself with their workings before tackling the game. To avoid this, there are a wealth of close-quarters combat moves that will dispatch enemies without a firefight. This and many other options for avoiding all enemy contact make the funny controls a moot point.
With the stealth system as polished as it is, toss in a few varied boss battles and Metal Gear Solid is a gem at gameplay.
But as any MGS veteran will tell you, this is only half the battle – indeed, only half of the time you play this game will involve actual gameplay. The series is notorious for its cutscenes of epic proportions, and GOTP doesn’t disappoint. The next-gen hardware is maxed out with brilliant textures and animations that’ll have you drooling.
And beyond that, of course, is the convoluted plot. Having never played an MGS game, I was soon kicking myself for foregoing this integral step in my initiation to the Metal Gear Solid universe. If you find yourself in the same boat and can’t wait for the HD collection, I strongly suggest reading the Wikipedia page a few times to catch up. There are three different Snakes, several special operations teams, and even some limb transplantation resulting in new characters.
Not to mention the outrageous circumstances that now encompass the player: War has become an integral part of society because of its effects on the world economy, creating what is known as the “war economy” (see what they did there?). For this reason, soldiers are now regulated with nanobots, turning the battleground into a giant stage where the big players in the background can orchestrate the field as they wish. Unfortunately, this power falls into the wrong hands, and its up to Snake to stop it.
The game wraps up in serious style, leaving the player’s jaw dropped as the credits roll by. I’ll avoid saying more for the risk of spoilers.
If there was a case to be made for video games as a legitimate art (and there is), Metal Gear Solid would be an ace in the hole for the prosecution. It’s a title that can’t be missed, pleasing at every facet.
Bottom Line: 10/10