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Metal Gear Solid 4

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Written by DM on Wednesday, June 11 2008

Well, here we are, folks. The game that is supposed to be the end-all, be-all of action titles is about 8 hours away from being released, and we know you are wondering all about it. The game we have all be drooling over with videos and media since way back at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005 is now here. This review will certainly not be your run-of-the-mill fare, I will try to keep the spoilers and specifics to a minimum because, let’s face it, half the fun of a Metal Gear Game is the engrossing story and figuring out just what to do. Hideo Kojima has said this is the last of Snake’s adventures, and that he is more or less done with this branch of the Metal Gear tree. To that end, Kojima is surely going to wrap up almost all the loose ends that have been flapping around since all of this started, way back when on Shadow Moses island (MGS on the PSX). You will see a ton of familiar faces, and some you may not even recognize, but almost every character that had any significant dealings with the storyline of Metal Gear Solid makes at least a cameo in MGS4: Guns of the Patriots.

Let’s get the big concern out of the way, shall we? Yes, MGS4: Guns of the Patriots is pretty much the most visually impressive game you will play to date on your Playstation 3. It is right up there with the Xbox360’s magnum opus, Gears of War. Consider the bar raised, and the gauntlet thrown. The graphics in the game are gritty and real, and it really makes you think that someone like Hideo Kojima should be a movie director instead. That is what Hideo does, folks, he tells a story using game consoles instead of a movie screen, and I like it just fine. We will discuss the actual specific graphical details a bit later.

Of course, our favorite reluctant hero Snake is back, and this time around he really looks like it may be his last mission. He is aged physically to about 55 or so, but there may be more to his aging than you think. Snake is acting as a sort of “UN Inspector” this time, although it is just a cover, of course. (This next sentence is a partial spoiler so read on at your own risk) The real reason Snake is in the area is because “he” has been found there. By “he,” of course I mean Liquid Ocelot, the man who is mostly Revolver Ocelot and one-arm’s worth of Liquid Snake. Things blossom from there, and I will not ruin much more of the storyline for you.

When you first start up the disc, the game will do its thing and tell you it needs to install for about 8 minutes. For me, it was more like 10 minutes, but I replaced my PS3 HDD with a bigger one back when I first purchased the unit. While it is installing, a real-time rendered top half of Snake smokes a cigarette and gives health warnings. Ironic, isn’t it, but it does serve to get you back into the Metal Gear mood with good old David Hayter voicing the gritty-sounding main character.

The game, overall, retains all the nuances and game play elements that us Metal Gear fans have come to love. Kojima Productions has taken these features, though, and made improvements. These tweaks come mostly in the aiming, camouflage, item and weapon management, and radar areas. Another big difference is that MGS4 is the most action-oriented MG game to date. Yes, it claims to be a stealth-type adventure, the best one yet actually, but to be honest, the stealth part of the game is so stealthily hidden, you will find yourself playing an action-oriented game much more often, and you will enjoy it too!

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