Review by Paprika Bob
"DO NOT BELIEVE HYPE: Rent before you buy,."
Metal Gear Solid 2 is perhaps the most hyped game to come out for PS2 so far. The original was an instant classic, and everyone has expected MGS2 to be the same. However, fans of the first MGS may find that they are disappointed with this game after playing it.
This review will try to remain as spoiler free as possible.
This is where the game shines. The playing of the game itself is much smoother than MGS. Shooting an enemy is much easier, especially when trying to maintain stealth, thanks to the first-person-shoot mode. If you have the skills, you can take out a guard a couple hundred yards away with a silenced SOCOM.
The guards themselves are much smarter in this game, maybe a notch above Movie-Guards. They'll search for you in patterns, in teams, and will radio for help. However, they still can't see more than ten feet in front of them, and if you tranquilize them with your tranq gun, they'll wake up thinking they're just lazy.
Another plus. MGS2 really takes advantage of the PS2's graphics abilities. All the cutscenes are done using the game engine, and they look smoother than PSX FMV.
Though you may find yourself rolling your eyes at some of the weather effects. Hideo Kojima is trying very hard to make you feel like you're watching a movie, to the point of spending who knows how many hours making pseudo-camera effects. For instance, the screen fogs up like a real camera would after you come out of the water. I may be a nitpicker, but I don't see the point in spending time and money on an effect which shouldn't really occur in the first place.
However, the beads of water that appear on the screen when you look up in the rain give a very lifelike effect. I guess it's just a matter of taste.
Here's where you either love or hate MGS2. The story is ten times more complex than MGS, and that's not necessarily a good thing. It seems like every time you THINK you know what's going on, yet another character is going to tell you what's the real deal. This of course will be debunked ten minutes later with the REAL, real deal.
But for the most part, the story is intriguing all the way through. How you feel after you've beaten the game may be another story though.
The other problem with the story is that there is too much of it. If you though MGS1 was cutting away to Codec sequences all the time, MGS2 is gonna kill you. There are literally times when you are just watching the screen for at least an hour at a time. And you get two minute long Codec sequences every five steps. It gets very annoying, especially since you're never sure what messages have to be read for the story, and what's just filler.
The bottom line is this: Rent this game before you buy it. There is a particular aspect of it that may make MGS1 fans not want to play this game. Since I don't want to spoil you, I urge you to rent this game first. Please do not spend 50 dollars on it before you have a chance to really understand what you are buying, because you can't believe what the advertising says.
It's the combination of an overly complicated (and at times completely ridiculous) storyline along with this particular aspect of the game which have dragged down it's rating.
The other reason I urge you to rent is this: You can probably beat this game on Normal mode in about two days. I died every three steps and still beat it less than two days after buying it.
TO SUM UP: It's a fun, if short game to play. Play it for the gameplay though, not for the story, otherwise you'll be disappointed. And please rent. I can't stress that enough. You may decide to buy it, you may decide not to. Either way, you'll know what you're spending your 50 bucks on. Cause I sure didn't.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/20/01, Updated 11/20/01
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