Hey everybody, it is X3R0 9 here giving you another review and hopefully better than the last one. This is the second one I have done, so bear with me if it is a little rough. The more of these I do, the better they should get. Just to let you all know I will be attending a journalism class to help myself out with some techniques so that I can share quality news and reviews with all of you. Enough of the chit-chat, how about we get to the good stuff, shall we?
As some of you gamers know, the PS3 world experienced a huge release a week and a half ago. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots released last Thursday (June 12, 2008). Of course, I was there to pick it up when the store opened. Some find this an awesome game, but to others it is completely unplayable. I am writing this review after I have completed the game so that you, the gamers, can understand why there is so much controversy and why it is considered a blockbuster hit. Without further adieu, let us get right into the review.
To me, this is almost the best Metal Gear Solid game in the series, just behind the first Metal Gear Solid (MGS). Hideo Kojima does it again as he brings two decades of Metal Gear history together while enthralling the audience in this epic and mysterious tale. Not only does he bring twenty years of Metal Gear into this game, but he also throws in a touch of his other works that Metal Gear fans have seen in past games. Many characters make repeat appearances, although some are only in flashback form.
Story (A-): Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots tells the story of Old Snake. Snake, the protagonist, is a covert agent that is prematurely aging and terminally ill from a virus he was injected with prior to the first MGS. Snake’s ultimate goal is to hunt down his twin brother and nemesis, Liquid Snake. Liquid’s goal is to destroy the ruling faction known as the Patriots and bring the world into chaos. Well that’s what we were told upfront.
The opening two acts are almost identical with a little bit of scenery change. In the first act you are in a war-torn Middle Eastern city that is being occupied by Liquid’s personal guards and bio-mechs. The second act…well, it’s pretty much the same except you are in South America. In addition to the Liquid’s army, you’re also a part of battle-zones with several factions waring with each other; which adds a terrific atmosphere to the Metal Gear experience. You have the choice to either help the rebels or be an enemy to both sides. There is a real shock at the end of act one, but act two also has a great twist to it.
MGS4 is basically your typical good versus evil stealth game, but that is only part of the plot. Any MGS fan will know that there is so much more to it than that. The subplots and locations add a lot to this game and they also add to Snake’s problem, disillusionment. Throughout the story Snake’s mind gets twisted and contorted and by the time you complete this game, you are left wondering “what just happened?” Which adds to the replay value, but I will get to that later.
The reason I gave it the score I did is because there is just so much information to gather in, they don’t give you the time to digest it. You are told so much through the lengthy cut scenes and codec calls you will need to pause it just to figure out what you were told. Roughly 90% of the story is told through the cut scenes that almost total up to eight hours long, if not longer.
Sound (A): As in any stealth game, sound plays a huge factor, not only for you but for the enemy. All the sound-effects sounded excellent. Everything almost sounds like it would in the real world. The major downfall that I noticed while playing the game was the sound variance on the cut scenes. I could play this game on a normal audio level for the playable parts, but when the cut scenes came on I had to crank up the volume just to hear what was being said. The downfall to cranking up the volume was when the action scenes came on, the explosions and gunfire would almost blow out the speakers. As far as the music score; it was great! The score adds just the right amount of excitement and drama to the situations that make them just that much more intense or emotional. Harry Gregson Williams did an excellent job with the soundtrack. His work is probably the best I’ve heard yet.
Graphics (A-): Metal Gear Solid 4 is hands down the best looking game yet on the PS3! The superb art quality and attention to detail makes this game awe-inspiring. The characters are excellent looking and move flawlessly. Anytime Snake gets a cut or burn, it stays with him throughout the game…and the burn looks like a burn with the melting of the flesh visible; not only in the cut scenes, but also in the game play. As stated before, this attention to detail makes the environment that much better. In act one, you feel you are in a Middle Eastern city. In act two, you feel like you are in a South American vista that has secret passage ways.
The cut scenes will take your breath away! The CGI makes you think you are watching an animated movie like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. You can see the time spent developing the scenes from a technical aspect because of the sheer quality of work. There are some rough edges, but for the most part, everything is crisp and clean.
Replay Value (C): If you just play this game for the story, then there is no real reason to replay the game. But if you are a gamer that likes to get all the secret badges, extra camo or just likes to take pictures during the game, then the replay value is there. During my first run through, I only got a few items and badges that were story related. There are a total of 40 badges in MGS4 to unlock. Granted the badges don’t do anything for you, but I look at them like achievements for the Xbox 360.
Overall (B+): This game was a blast to play, but the cut scenes will drive some away. The actual game play is short, so if you are looking to play a full game with little cut scenes this is not it. The Metal Gear series is based on story and not much on game play. The frame rate is a little low, but with all that is going on, you will have a hard time noticing it.
If you are looking for a great story, extras that are at times funny and an interactive movie, then Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will fill your craving. If you are a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, then you need to pick this up. If you are new to the series, then this is a rental to see if you like this type of game.
I bid you farewell, Solid Snake.
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Until next time, this is X3R0 9 signing off, and I will see you on Live or PSN.
For your viewing pleasures, here is the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots trailer: