Review by Death Hunter
"Same old game with mediocre graphics, even by today's standards."
I was very excited about this game when I first heard of it. Metal Gear Solid's story with Metal Gear Solid 2's excellent game-play and graphics? What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as I soon learned.
The game-play is a far cry from Metal Gear Solid 2's. It's essentially the same as what you saw in Metal Gear Solid, but now a lot easier because you can aim in first person and do all the little new tricks that you picked up in Metal Gear Solid 2. This completely unbalances the game, because all the same enemy AI was ported over from the PSX Metal Gear Solid; this game wasn't designed with the game-play from Metal Gear Solid 2 in mind. Still, though, if you're new to the Metal Gear Solid universe, this may be a good game to start with... you get to learn how to play Metal Gear Solid 2, and you get to experience Metal Gear Solid 1's story.
For those of you who have never played any Metal Gear Solid game before, it's comparable to other titles like Splinter Cell. The game is built around stealth; you have to sneak around guards rather than kill them as you would in other action games. If you get caught, the game can be very unforgiving, sending limitless guards at you, who are often (until very late in the game) better equipped than you are. This forces you to be smart, incapacitating only the guards that you need to in order to find a hiding place and stay out of sight until the enemy goes back to regular patrols.
For a game that strives to be so realistic, however, there are some awkward quirks to the game-play. For one, the guards literally have a cone of vision that they cannot see beyond. This is represented by a blue triangle on your radar. Sometimes, though, if you're just beyond their line of sight, they will become alerted (the triangle changes to yellow) and they'll go to inspect the area where you just were. While this is great for the game-play, it feels very unrealistic. Their cone of vision is about six or seven feet. The guards can't hear very well, either... they only hear you if you're running across a floor that's really loud (such as a metal one) or you're pounding on the wall with your fists.
Boss fights, while fun to play, are equally unrealistic. Solid Snake (the character you play as) can take hits from anything and everything; swords that cut through metal, clip and clip of ammo (from a variety of lethal weapons), missiles... you name, its lodged somewhere in his body. While the boss fights tend to be exciting (and indeed, the highlight of the game-play), they exist in contradiction to the air of realism that the game tries to create.
The last little quirk is your inventory. It seems to be limitless. Snake can carry over a dozen weapons on him, each with over a hundred rounds, and on top of that he can carry 20+ items of different functions. He suffers from the video game cliche of limitless pockets, which is fine as far as game-play goes... but again, it destroys the realistic aspect that the game is trying to create. Other games (such as Splinter Cell, for example) have the hero carrying only a handful of gadgetry that could realistically be carried by one man, but Snake is carrying enough stuff to deal with a small army. (Which he does.)
In summary, the game-play is great, but it's hampered by the fact that many players have already seen it before. Pretty much everyone has played through the first Metal Gear Solid, and playing through it with the advantage of Metal Gear Solid 2 tricks makes the journey that much easier. And, the game is a far cry from realistic, even though it tries to be...so, the game-play is a mixed bag. I'm feeling generous today, however, and gave it a 7; even though we've all seen it before, I still think it's a fun game.
This is probably my biggest gripe about the whole game. The original Metal Gear Solid had excellent music, sound effects and voice overs. I'd say that the original Metal Gear Solid had the best voice overs in any game, ever. The Twin Snakes manages to ruin the voice overs and the music (but the sound effects were untouched/improved, I can't really tell). The amazing sound track is now dulled down to be less compelling, and spliced with way too much techno crap that just ruins any epic feeling the music might otherwise draw out of the game. Many of the voices were redone for this game, and for whatever reason, they aren't as compelling as they were in the original Metal Gear Solid. David Hayter (Solid Snake's actor) and James Finder (a real pro voice actor, he's in tons of stuff) do admirable jobs, but the rest seem to suck. Even Colonel Campbell's voice actor does a worse job this time around. Some voice actors were even changed. Playing The Twin Snakes just makes me want to play the original.
The game is deceptively beautiful. The first few cut scenes you watch look pretty good, but not as good as Metal Gear Solid 2's. Then you play the game, and even in the first area of the game (which consists of no more than 3 guards) you experience slowdown! Things only get worse from there. Textures are bland, there's no real time lighting (as there was in Metal Gear Solid 2) and there's no cool stuff to shoot at/interact with (as there was in Metal Gear Solid 2). Slowdown occurs nearly everywhere, too, which is really annoying. They didn't update the Codec graphics either, so it looks exactly the same as in the original Metal Gear Solid. I'd honestly rather play Metal Gear Solid than this game; at least it had stable frame rates.
I'd give the original Metal Gear Solid's story a 10/10, bar none. However, with the remake, I'm pretty sure they advertised that there would be new scenes. You also kind of expected them to make mention of the Patriots (something introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2) but they fail to. Without spoiling anything, Metal Gear Solid's story is excellent. The Twin Snakes keeps the whole story intact, but if this is your second (or eleventh time, as with me) through it, you expect something a little different. Alas, there's nothing different.
(Note, the following is not spoilers: it's info easily found in the manual or in the "briefing" section accessed via the main menu. A lot of it also in the introductory cinemas.)
To sum up the situation: The year is 2005. Terrorists have taken control of a nuclear disposal facility on the Alaskan archipelago by the name of Shadow Moses. They claim to have the ability to launch a nuclear device, and they're demanding the government give them the remains of one of the greatest soldiers of all time: Big Boss. This is, of course, on top of a large sum of money.
This is where you, Solid Snake, are called in. You're quite the accomplished solider, having single-handedly saved the world twice (once in 1995, crushing Outer Heaven and the nuclear equipped walking battle tank, Metal Gear and again in 1999, toppling Zanzibar Land and Metal Gear once more). But you weren't called just because of your qualifications... no, the government kidnapped you because the terrorists aren't just average terrorists.
They're Next Generation Special Forces, genetically modified to be the best soldiers in the world, and led by six members of the highly skilled FOXHOUND unit. Solid Snake was a former member of the unit, to give you a sense of how dangerous these men are. Revolver Ocelot is a deadly gunfighter with a penchant for torture, Vulcan Raven is a giant shaman, Decoy Octopus is a master of disguise, Sniper Wolf is a skilled sniper, and Psycho Mantis can dive into anyone's mind. Leading them is a man named Liquid Snake, who looks strikingly similar to Solid Snake, and eerily goes by the same code name...
All of this sets you up for a story of epic proportions. Nothing is as it seems on Shadow Moses island, and the Metal Gear Solid story is full of many compelling twists and turns. It suffers a little bit from the lack of reality (as the game-play does) of some of the stuff, but that's easily forgivable. Many hail Metal Gear Solid's story as the best in video games today... while I wouldn't necessarily say that (there's lots of good video game stories: Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenosaga, Xenogears, Vagrant Story, etc), I will say that the story is superior even to many top quality movies. Hands down, the story is the best part of Twin Snakes; it's just too bad that nothing significant was added or changed.
About the only thing that the Twin Snakes gets right is the story, and that's only because it's the same as Metal Gear Solid's. Everything else was sloppily done. To sum up this game in one word: "Disappointing."
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/05
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