Metal Gear Solid 4 Review
The closest thing to perfect since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
by Shadow Wave
ED’s preamble (XboxOZ360) :– A Metal Gear Solid 4 review on a Xbox 360 site ! Some will wonder why an Xbox 360 dedicated site such as ourselves has a PS3 review nestled within its hallowed pages. Better yet, one that is reportedly THE PS3’s pinnacle game for Sony’s “ultimate” gaming system. The reason is a simple one really. We here at XboxOZ360-game/x360.com.au are first and foremost gamers and as such, prefer ‘games’ over fanboyism any day. BUt Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriot deserves it’s time to shine, irrespective of who reviews it.
We often sit and wonder at the level of despise, loathing and basic immaturity of so many fanboys out there that basically do themselves one of the biggest disservices any gamer can do. That is, cut themselves off from other quality games due to blind fanboyism. Plus the fact that many of these fanboys don’t even bother reading what is being presented, yet commenting on how bad or wrong it may be. It all begs to wonder at their logic – or reading skillzz (cough)
We’re not like that here, in fact many of the team either have both or all 4 major platforms with an assortment of games of each platform and enjoy ‘gaming’ on them for what they offer. But there’s one difference. Not that OUR system is better than yours etc, but just that we enjoy gaming per-say as a whole experience, rather than in part.
The team has chosen the Xbox 360 as their prime platform due to many reasons, but that does not stop them from enjoying games presented on the other platforms that they love to play. So the question is poised, should we not cover a major AAA PS3 title simply because it is “the opposition” ? Of course not, we’re more mature than that, and we would hope that other Sony based sites would do the same with Xbox only games such as Gears Of War 2, Too Human, Fable 2.
Of course, all games are not without fault. Be that an Xbox 360 game, PC or a PS3 game, and there are some glaring omission’s in what is supposedly Sony’s PS3 pinnacle game to show off ‘all’ its power and versatility. When you look at these omission’s, and see them readily available on many other 3rd party titles on both platforms or even just on the 360, such as highly destructible environments, ‘pop-‘shoot-blind-fire’, free-think enemy AI (yes we know it’s part of the MGS ethos – but this is 2008 remember), one would ask the question and wonder, ‘just why they were not included into a AAA PS3 major title. More on this in the review.
But for now, let’s just settle back, go grab that cup of coffee (tea in my case) and take your time reading through the Metal Gear Solid 4 review on an Xbox 360 site as it’s a big read, (good heaven, go wash your hands afterwards eeewww – jk & sarcasm btw). Additionally, we do not believe many, if any games really warrant a full 10/10 (100%), as no game is without its flaws and quibbles, and those flaws should hold any game back from a ‘perfect’ score, irrespective of the platform, the game’s hype or its fanboy following.
Full review after the jump:-
© 2008 Grant Smythe
Metal Gear Solid 4 Review
© 2008 Ben Cadwallader
As Spoiler Free as possible.
“`Soon as Metal Gear Solid is booted up to the main menu you suddenly just know in yourself that this is going to be brilliant. The menu consists of Solid Snake our favourite young hero, who has now aged close to his end, visiting the grave of the Boss. The menu’s presentation reeks of pure quality and thus, before you even start the game your adrenaline is pumping for excitement.
“`When the opening cinematic starts you assume the game is 30+ years since the end of Metal Gear Solid 2, as Snake has aged with grey hair, wrinkles and a rustier voice than ever. Whereas actually it turns out that it’s only been 5 years since the Big Shell incident and that Snake has an accelerating aging disease with only 12 months to live, but Snake has one final mission to finish before he can leave this world… He must save the word from his brother: Liquid.
Snake this time will be traveling all over the world in his final chapter and starts off in the middle east to a known location of where Liquid has been. It’s here that we are introduced to the new game play mechanics with the main new addition being Snakes Octocamo Sneaking Suit. To put it simply, this takes the stealth system from Metal Gear Solid 3 and makes it a lot more practical and less clunky. Snake’s suit will change colour and texture to match the environment he is in, to do this he needs to take cover on a wall, or go prone on the ground for his suit to change. You’ll be amazed how well the camouflage looks and in new environments will keep comparing how hard he is to see in the environment.
Snake also gains the use of the Solid Eye, which basically helps you find items and see the enemy’s health in its default mode. It also serves as Metal Gear Solid 4’s night vision and thermal goggles together. You will use this mode a lot as a lot of enemies are also camouflaged and seeing them in the distance is almost impossible without it. And finally, the Solid Eye also acts as your binoculars, which I found not very useful as early on you’ll acquire scopes and scoped weapons to use instead.
Snakes best friend; Otacon this time never accompanies Snake on his missions in person, his presence on the field is now through a Metal Gear Mk. 2 – a small metal gear that is used for communications by Otacon, but Snake can control it if he wants to. The Mk. 2 can be used as a scout, since it has stealth camouflage it rarely gets seen and can be used to also knock enemies out with its Shock attack. But its main use is in the plot line of the game.
Snakes’ controls have been revamped to be made a lot more fluid than Metal Gear Solid 3’s chunkiness, and they have done it basically right… more or less. The shooting is now done from a 3rd person view at all times, unless you choose to go into 1st person view by while holding L1 and pressing triangle and while switching between these views at first seems to be a chore, you soon adjust and you as the player appreciate having both options to choose from. That being said, if you want only 1st Person view, you can set it in options.
Snake can use so many guns in Metal Gear Solid 4 there are too many to count, as now you can collect guns off fallen enemies and use or sell them to a man named Drebin, a plot line character that also serves as your weapons dealer. Here you can buy ammo, weapons, or unlock the ID tags that are placed on weapons (finally!). Unfortunately health items are not supplied, so you still have to conserve them as best you can.
Gunplay works really well, so well so, almost if you want to ditch the stealth aspect of the game and just run and gun it, so be it. There are only 2 minor issues I have with gunplay in the Metal Gear Solid 4, these are when you take cover behind a small object, you can only shoot from the sides of cover, and it’s a lot slower than in previous games, but the problem is that you cannot pop up from cover to shoot, it’s a bit confusing as to why Konami did not put this into the game. And finally, something that you’ll notice right off the bat, is that with all the explosions from mortars and other weaponry being fired in the battlefield, not much of the environment is damaged, with the exception of a few pots and boxes. While you forget about it pretty easily, it is a small feature that would have been appreciated, and something one would expect to find in a Next-Generation game of ‘this’ caliber.
But Metal Gear Solid 4 has been made to finally finish off Snakes story, answer all the unanswered questions, and finally have an ending that will satisfy almost all the fans. And it does. The story in Metal Gear Solid 4 is one of the best stories I have ever played in a game. The cut scenes used to tell the story are produced in cinematic way that will suck anyone around into living through the story. Basically, there are 8 hours of cut scenes in the game, which all could be commonly stereotyped as a movie as an innocent bystander walks by. These have the adrenaline, the quality, and the information to be featured as to what I think are the greatest cut scenes ever made in a game, and they are done in Engine.
The cut scenes are now separated between each other more, than previous titles, you quite often will have 30 minutes or more of game play between cut scenes, which helps a lot compared to sometimes the cut scene ever 30 seconds in the older games. With that said, there are also many long cut scenes which are the trademark of Metal Gear Solid, but finally these cut scenes come with a pause button!
The previous titles used the codec communications way to often as a substitute for cut scenes, sometimes having 30 minute conversations basically where all that appears on the screen is text, can be quite annoying for many players, especially when often these calls were there just to inform you on how to climb a ladder. But finally, codec conversations are barley used in Metal Gear Solid 4, and this time usually the people you communicate are fully animated and basically still serves are a small cut scene. And for the minor information such as how to climb a ladder, you will just hear Otacon inform you while you play, without the need to stop for pointless cut scene, finally Konami got this 100% right.
What’s most notable and unique about Metal Gear Solid 4, in terms of the story is how in the original games, you always portrayed Solid Snake as the badass almost invincible hero. However the story in Metal Gear Solid 4 helps you emotionally connect with Snake and thus helps you, the player feel the pain he feels, and really be drawn into his story. And while making Snakes personal story much more of a focus than in previous games.
My final words on the story are this: I found Metal Gear Solid 4’s story to be one of the most memorable games I have ever played, it has the action, adrenaline and thrills a movie has, with a plot that gives off a addiction and forces you to play until unfortunately the game ends. This game answers every single question and unanswered plot item left in the 3 games. The game connects all the dots and some of the connections you would have never seen coming. Prepare to say “oh Wow!” Many times during the course of the game.
Metal Gear Solid 4 took me about 18.5 hours to beat on the hardest difficulty available on your first play through, this includes cut scenes, and so even if you skip them all, the game still lasts a decent 10 hours in length.
Graphically this game is one of the most beautiful games ever, only coming into close rivals with Crysis, but while Crysis beats Metal Gear Solid 4 in Game play graphics, it blows Crysis out of the water in Cut scenes. Cut scenes are done in engine so the transition between both is smooth and doesn’t take you out of the action. The textures on Snakes Octocamo suit look amazing. As do the floor and wall textures. Generally everything about graphics is there, such as depth of field. You may find the occasional low resolution texture here and there, but generally it is a fine game, with the Frame Rate dropping barley ever, and not to any unwatchable degree. Lip-synching is fantastic and general character design and graphics have never appeared this real life looking.
The uncompressed sound featured in Metal Gear Solid 4 is amazing; the game features True HD sound, and even on a non True HD sound system, the 5.1 really works and sounds amazing the battlefield sounds alive with each speaker alive with different noise pleasures. Along with the brilliant voice acting by David Hayter who shines over the rest of the voice actors as Snake gets a more rustic voice to associate with his now Old Age. Don’t get me wrong, there are no bad voice actors in this game, they are all fantastic, it’s just Snakes voice work just somehow shines over the others really helps the story unfold.
Metal Gear Online, the multiplayer side of Metal Gear Solid 4, is tough, with the short time I’ve played the multiplayer side; I’ve learnt that it’s a game that requires a lot of skill and time put into it to get the most out of it. The problem is, this game becomes a lot more difficult to play thanks to the majority of PS3 owners not having a headset to use. This makes the team based game, become more of an ‘every man for himself’ game. The game play is still quite a lot of fun, and is fun to get a large killing streak, or sneak up behind on a enemy that just passed you hiding under a box, only to grab him from behind and choke him.
Along with this, Konami are making you pay, if you want to have more than one character on your account, while I don’t think it’s a big deal, I find them forcing you to pay for a 2nd character a bit off. What I’ve noticed are that the multiplayer maps are fantastic, and some where you wish you saw them or something similar in the single player mode of the game. A big plus to Konami to let you just stay in the multiplayer room you’re in, so you never have to stop and find a new game after each match like many games are doing now. It’s a great new addition, and will keep Metal Gear Solid 4 thriving for a long time.
In terms of Metal Gear Solid 4 coming to the Xbox 360, I don’t think I could ever see it happening, as it is a BIG game, with many amazing things that happen in it, it’s simply a game that is just too large, perhaps it might be possible on 2 discs. But even the PS3 requires a 3 minute install for each of the 5 acts of the game. And I don’t think the 360 even has an Install option. Metal Gear Solid 2 was brought to the original Xbox, so I hope that Konami gets Metal Gear Solid 4 spread out as many people as possible as it’s a game everyone needs to play.
Finally, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a game you will cherish for the rest of your lives. It’s the end of a era, the era of Solid Snake and his journey. The game will reach a conclusion that will leave you feeling whole and humble. You will relive the game in your head for days after its been beaten.
In my opinion, this has been the best game out since Zelda Ocarina of Time, it’s truly revolutionary, and its cinematic game play and storyline carry this game to the number one position on the podium. It does have a few minor setbacks, but they are so minor most players won’t even noticed them, or if they do, they will be forgotten a second later. The game has many things to unlock after you initially beat the game, so it will keep you playing for many, many hours. And I can only hope that Konami’s next game featured in the Metal Gear universe revolutionizes the series even further.