Review by Alterwolf
"My futile attempt at an unbiased review."
I've been waiting for this game for a long time. A long, LONG time, just like everyone else. I sucked up every screenshot, video, and interview I could find, and bought Zone of the Enders (a very good game) just for the demo. I played the demo until my eyes nearly bled. I watched more video, read more previews, and anxiously awaited the day I could play Director Kojima's magnum opus to the Metal Gear series.
I waited in line for an hour and a half for this game, I practically had my friend break every traffic law in the book to get me home faster. I went and popped the DVD into my PS2 and prepared for gaming bliss.
It lasted all of an hour. An HOUR.
The game opens brilliantly, with awesome music, cinematics, and the first area (the tanker we all know from the demo) is set up to perfection. Everything just -flows-, and the areas present several, several ways of getting things done. Want to be all sneaky and not get spotted? There's easily dozens and dozens of ways to do it. Want to go in Rambo style and kill every living thing in sight? There's several ways to go about even THAT. The boss fight is classic MGS, with the boss using several little gimmicks to get an advantage over you, with visual touches good enough to fool you into thinking it was all real.
Then things went wrong, horribly, horribly wrong. After the tanker, it's like someone just threw in another game to fill up space on the DVD. You're placed in the control of a newbie FOXHOUND agent with the codename Raiden, who while not being as awful as I thought he was initially, just is -not- a worthy successor to Snake. Ignoring the character change, the gameplay is more or less the same, which means quite good. The problem comes with the boss fights and level designs. The new areas just don't have the well polished feel of the earlier sections of the game, and are fairly dull by direct comparison. Everything just has a more watered down feel to it. None of the boss encounters are terribly memorable, unlike the previous game's.
The story is where the game fails terribly. The plot starts off fairly simple to begin with, with the occasional well-crafted twist or turn here and there, slowly building up to what you believe will be a fulfilling climax...and then it gets stupid. The final plot twists towards the last hour or so of the game go so far beyond believable that you wonder if Kojima had been reading too much from the Weekly World News, or if he just handed the story over to a temp who had been reading far too much Stephen King and Tom Clancy. Let's just say you'll probably be rolling your eyes and pounding on the triangle button to speed through the 5 hour long codec conversations by the end of the game to save your sanity and get to the action (the one redeeming factor). The ending isn't much better, but thankfully leaves room for a sequel. Let's just hope the new director isn't as much into philosophy as Kojima was.
MGS2 really is a great game at heart (and amazing at the beginning, regardless of who you're playing as), but it's a far cry from the game they tricked us into believing it was with all their demo movies and screenshots. This is one of the few games I've ever found where a bad storyline actually damages the gameplay itself to the point where you wonder why you're even playing at all.
I say rent MGS2, beat it, and get on with your life. This was the reason I bought my PS2, and I was terribly disappointed, but there's so many other awesome games out there (Silent Hill 2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, ICO, Grand Theft Auto 3, etc) that I don't regret owning one.
+ Yoooooow. -This- close to photo-realism in parts.
+ Pretty good music for cutscenes, awesome opening theme, awesome voice acting, good sounds...
- But save for the cutscene music and the opening theme, the rest of it is pretty forgettable.
+ The same as the first MGS, only even more brilliant at times.
- The fun factor begins to drop off severely as you play through the game. There just isn't as much to do as you progress.
+ The game reels you in early on with it's cinematic stylings and great acting...
- And then proceeds to dump all over everything with rambling low-grade philosophy, pointless plot twists, and even some migraine inducing paranormal activities. You'll be rolling your eyes so hard by the end you'll be able to see your brain.
Replay Value: 7/10
+ You can always play the tanker again, and your favorite parts of the second area.
- There's no incentive to beat the game again though, unlike MGS 1.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/28/01, Updated 11/28/01
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