Review by Zylo the wolf
"I can't think of a better tagline than: FISSION MAILED KONAMI!"
With the first Metal Gear Solid, Konami and Hideo Kojima did something that seemed impossible at the time, they actually managed to revive an old series and make it even more popular than ever. Metal Gear Solid was an instant classic. Ask someone to name the five greatest games on the Sony Playstation and most will mention Metal Gear Solid. A lot of people was excited when Konami announced that a sequel would happen and be for the new generation's Playstation 2 instead of the first Playstation. But many started to worry when they found out that the main character would not be the same badass Solid Snake as in the first one, instead it would be this new mysterious character named Raiden.
The game asks you the first time you start it how much you have played through the first Metal Gear Solid. If I've understood this correctly you miss the first part of the game if you say that you've never played the first one, which would be a huge mistake because you don't have to have played the first Metal Gear Solid to get any of the story. I'm not going to spoil much what happens in this chapter, but it takes about 1 hour to finish and you play as Solid Snake, and you get to find out a bit of what happened after Metal Gear Solid 1, however they never explained which ending was the canon one, but thankfully Metal Gear Solid 4 did that. After this short chapter is finished, you get to play as Raiden, which must have surprised a lot of people when the game was just released.
If Raiden would've been a female instead of a male, he wouldn't have anything in common with Solid Snake. I guess Snake didn't have that much experience in the first Metal Gear game, but you don't have to play much Metal Gear Solid to know that he's a legendary soldier who have killed many men before and done many different missions. Raiden on the other hand has never been on any mission before. He have completed almost every virtual reality training there are for a soldier, but this is his first real mission. Personally I loved that Raiden was so different from badass Snake, but I know not everyone agrees.
One of the main differences from the previous game is the controls. It's a lot more advanced and will take some time for a player to learn. For example you can now aim with your weapon in first person view, but then you won't be able to move at the same time. This also allows you to get a much better hit on the enemy. They will fall is you shot them on their legs or they won't be able to call for back up if you break their radio, and yeah they will die a lot faster if you shoot them in the head. It's also possible to perform a chokehold where you can use an enemy as human shield if you are in a battle against many different enemies, and it's still possible to run and fire at the same time even if it's a bit complicated to figure out.
Just like in the previous Metal Gear games, the point in this game is to sneak and don't let the enemy see you, instead of trying to kill everything that moves. Just like in the previous game Konami where nice enough to give you a radar which both shows where the enemies are and how much they can see. One of the most popular ways to fool an enemy is to knock on a wall to make a loud sound. If an enemy hears that, they investigate where that sound came from, which gives you some time to either hide and surprise them from behind or walk a different way to sneak past them.
But unless you are a perfect spy the enemy will sooner or later spot you. When that happens you won't be able to use the radar for a short while and the enemies will use their radio to call for even more enemies. Your best choice is to find somewhere to hide until everything has calmed down. It can either be under a cardboard box or a safe place where the enemies won't bother to check. One thing that I think was impossible in previous games was to open a locker and then hide inside it.
Just like it's important to not allow the enemy to spot you, it's just as important to not leave any evidence that you've been there. If the enemy spots a dead body of a fallen soldier, he won't hesitate to call for back up. So once you have either killed an enemy or put him to sleep, it's important pick up the body and drag it to somewhere where the other enemies won't look. A perfect hiding place is a locker, unless the enemy snores to much. When you have dragged a body for a while and then drop it, you will usually get an item by doing this, like ammo or a ration.
The items that you find in this game is pretty much the same weapons and items that you found in Metal Gear Solid. There are only two new weapons I can think of, a tranquilizer gun and a weapon that you won't get until the end of the game. The other weapons are the gun, the AK, the sniper, the stinger and the grenades. You also get a few new gadgets like something that freezes C4s which makes them not to explode and a mic which can be useful a couple of times. I'm not really sure what I want here, but at least something new and creative.
If you want to get 100% of the game then you are going to collect dogs tags, a fun challenge which really tests your sneaking skills. In order to get a dog tag from a soldier, you must surprise him by pointing your gun at him before he notices you, if you do correct the main character will scream "FREEZE!" and the enemy will now put his hands up in the air. Now face the enemy and he will say something like "Don't kill me!" and aim at either his head or his balls (Oh Kojima you sure love to includes these things) and he will shake of his dog tag. Keep aiming and he might even drop some ammo. I'm not sure if there's any point with collecting these things, but it's a fun challenge to try to get them all.
I haven't mentioned much about the plot so far, but trust me it's very interesting and will fuck up your mind near the end of the game. The only real flaw I can find in this game is that it's actually a bit to similar to the first Metal Gear Solid. For example the boss fights are really well done, but they are almost the same type of battles as we saw in Metal Gear Solid. Of course a villain explains late in the game that there was reason behind that, but you can also say that they where a bit lazy here.
But I'm just trying to find flaws here because I love this game, but when I had finished it for the third time I asked myself if another Metal Gear Solid game really deserved a 10 when I reviewed it, and to be honest no I still like Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4 more than this one. It's not bad that it's so similar to the first one, it's just that the Sony Playstation game in the series is a little better in everything. Metal Gear Solid 2 got excellent characters, plot, boss battles, everything that makes the games in the series so fun to play..It's just that other games does it even better...
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/20/11
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (UK) (EU, 03/08/02)
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