Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review
- Posted June 16th, 2008 at 04:11 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a stellar entry in the series and ultimately one of the most rewarding videogame experiences of the decade. Absolutely essentially, regardless whether you are a fan or not.
- The engaging and varied gameplay
- The gripping storyline
- The unprecedented audiovisual presentation
- The minor framerate and visual inconsistencies
[Editor’s note – PSU will be covering Metal Gear Online in a separate review in the near future]
As the latest installment in Konami’s critically acclaimed stealth franchise, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots arrives on the scene accompanied by a substantial weight. By this, I'm referring to the weight that manifests itself in the form of the sheer level of anticipation maintained by its adoring (if slightly rabid) fanbase, and indeed anyone consciously aware of the reputation this venerable series has sustained with each subsequent release. With that said, Metal Gear Solid 4 is unimaginably far from your rudimentary sequel.
It’s not just the importance of the game’s PS3 exclusivity; rather, that’s simply part and parcel of the whole Metal Gear Solid experience, which has remained virtually synonymous with the PlayStation brand for past decade. No, what MGS4 brings is something far more poignant, as the game represents the culmination of two decades worth of story telling chronicling the events of one of videogames’ most iconic stars in one spirited, mammoth globe-trotting finale. The question remains, however, can Kojima and his team possibly deliver on this seemingly insurmountable task?
Metal Gear Solid 4 kicks off approximately five years following the events of the Big Shell Incident, which was depicted in PS2's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Set in the year 2014, warfare has become like a well-oiled business transition, fueled by the dominance of Private Military Companies (PMCs) engaging in an endless series of proxy battles around the world, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder. Enter Solid Snake -- now referred as Old Snake, due to the effects of his accelerated aging process -- who infiltrates a middle eastern battle zone posing as a UN PMC inspector in his attempt to neutralize the notorious Liquid Ocelot. While we won’t spoil what lies in wait, let us divulge that the events in the game aren’t restricted to the confines of this warn-torn, dilapidated combat zone; the wheels of fate soon begin to turn, and Snake is propelled on a journey which sees him reacquainted with a number of familiar faces -- some friendly, others not -- as he visit a variety of locations across the globe, including South America and Eastern Europe.
Fundamentally, Guns of the Patriots retains many of the core elements of previous Metal Gear Solid titles, rather than completely revamping the entire gameplay mechanics (as witnessed by other popular franchises such as Resident Evil). This design philosophy has allowed Hideo Kojima and his team to utilize the best elements of previous titles, creating a sequel that is instantly accessible to both fans and newcomers alike, as well as introducing some new components exclusively for this final chapter. At its heart, though, the basic concept remains the same; Snake must get from his starting position in a given environment and reach his objective by whatever means necessary.
This time around, things aren’t so clear-cut, as the majority of locations will place Snake in the middle of an on-going battle between the PMCs and local militia, making traversing the area an extremely difficult, and more often than not, a highly detrimental task. However, therein lies one of MGS4’s most rewarding elements, allowing players to chose the manner in which they accomplish their task. Players can opt for the traditional stealthy approach, sneaking quietly past the battle without attracting any unwanted attention, or can chose to aid the militia in their efforts by dispatching any nearby PMC soldiers. While you aren’t obligated to help out at all, the militia will more than often reciprocate your actions by handing you some extra ammunition or healing items to take with you, and will acknowledge your presence in future battles – a handy feature when you need to dispose of a large contingent of enemy soldiers. On the flip side, if you chose to remain indiscriminate about how you attack, Snake will find himself under attack from both parties, making his mission all the more difficult, which may appeal to gamers seeking a greater challenge.
Regardless of your preference -- stealth or action-orientated -- Snake has a wide variety of moves to facilitate whichever method you wish to go about ... (continued on next page) ----