Game Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Platform: PS3 Published: Konami Developed: Kojima Productions Genre: Stealth Shooter
Metal Gear Solid 4 is the final episode in the saga of the legendary Solid Snake which sends him around the world in pursuit of his nemesis, Liquid Ocelot. Armed with new technology, Solid Snake, or Old Snake as he goes by now, must shift the tide of the global war waged by the organization called The Patriots. In order to do this, Snake must take advantage of the chaos in the battlefield to infiltrate deep into enemy territory. In his final mission, Snake must stop Liquid Ocelot’s plan of world domination while dealing with his impending doom.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is a third person shooter that emphasizes stealth. It follows the story of the legendary U.S. soldier codename Solid Snake. The game mechanics of this game borrows a lot from its previous game Snake Eater. All of the loose ends, story wise, from the previous Metal Gear Solid games are resolved in this one.
From the gameplay to the storyline, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a well executed game. Made by Hideo Kojima, this game has all of the components that would be expected from him. The intro of the game sets up the story very well. The player gets to see an older Solid Snake as he makes his way to his objective which is located at the heart of the city. During the first few minutes of the game, the player is explained many of the basics needed. From how to procure new weapons, to the way on how they should approach the enemies, and the new camouflage system, called Octo Camo.
The game’s enemies fall under one of two groups, the PMC (Private Military Company) or the militia who are fighting against the PMCs. The player can pick up weapons at any time from the enemy and keep them for themselves, however if the weapons come from the PMCs then those weapons are locked. Later in the game you are introduced to a character named Drebin who helps the player unlocked those locked weapons at a price. During the game you begin to collect “Drebin Points” whenever you have an excess of weapons. This introduction to weapons purchasing is a first in the entire Metal Gear series.
The Octo Camo is a game mechanic borrowed from the previous Metal Gear Solid game. It provides camouflage to blend in with the surroundings of the environment. However unlike its previous version, which had the player pause the game, going to the menu and changing the camouflage to adapt to the environment, in this game, the player can automatically switch right into the needed camouflage by placing Snake right next to the wall or floor.
As in previous Metal Gear Solid games, the game’s storyline is presented to the player in a way that makes it look like a movie. Like any good movie, it has an interesting plot with equally interesting new characters, like Drebin, making it a game hard to forget.
One more interesting new feature to the game, alongside the weapons purchasing, is the ability to customize and upgrade the weapons. This allows the player to equip Snake with the kinds of weapons the player feels more comfortable with. A good example of this is the M4 which starts as a sub machine gun. The player can later buy, or find, new additions for the weapon such as a scope, a shotgun barrel, a grenade launcher, and other additions. This allows the player to alter the weapon to suit their situation better.
This game is a very big improvement on an already great game. The interface has been improved from a better camouflage system that does not involve having the player pause the game. To some of the smaller details like the fact that its previous games used the Circle Button to confirm but now, like most Playstation games, use the X button. The AI of the game has also improved. The enemies have several ways to get to the player that was not available before. For example, the player used to be able to hide easily from the enemy by taking cover under a shaft or under a car. After the enemy would get tired of looking they would just leave, however now the enemy can thrown grenades to flush the player out, making it a lot more interesting. Another great improvement on the enemy AI is their awareness of their surroundings. It was great to see that when Snake began to smoke, to regain stamina at a cost of health, and to have a guard spot him when they “smelled” the smoke.
The storyline of Metal Gear can be hard to follow, however this game does a great job of both starting a new chapter in the series as well as closing all the previous ones.
Because of all of these improvements, it is hard to find flaws however there are a few. One of the biggest features of the Metal Gear Solid games is the great intricate story they present to the player and yet for this game, they removed one of the best features to view the story which is Theater Mode. In previous games, Theater Mode allowed the player to see the story of the whole game as if it where a movie, however in this one if the player wishes to see the story again they would have to replay the whole game. The only other thing that they added was the online versus mode. When I played it, it was fun but it took several minutes just to get a match going.
This game is far better than I expected, in terms of what I would change there are very few. Like I said, I would have retained the Theater Mode, especially for this one since it explains a lot of the series’ story. The problem with the online game is the lack of players signed on, unlike the XBOX Live; the Playstation Network does not have a very cohesive community. Konami tries to get around this by having its own server and login separate from the Playstation Network. This actually makes it harder for the player to play in matches.
In the end, Metal Gear Solid 4 is an amazing game that has great technical features as well as great gameplay and storyline to go with it. Except for a very few shortcomings, this game has several great new features that makes it fun, its improvement on the interface, story, game mechanics, like the weapons upgrade, and graphics that make it an incredible game that would be hard to miss.