Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Review by Aleksius
"Easy to like, hard to love."
An introduction, how cliche
I've been a hardcore Metal Gear Solid fan since I was 10 years old. I borowed the first game from a friend and I was simply blown away. I'd never seen anything as great as this, since Final Fantasy. I simply loved it. Then years past, and because of complications I didn't get Metal Gear Solid 2 before late 2004. When I finally got it, I was blown away - even more then the previous time.
Metal Gear Solid jumps closely into the genrè "Interactive Movie". A term that has started to appear more and more. Its usually used with games that have a large focus on the story and FMVs. Yes, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is a so-called "Interactive Movie". And not only is it a game, it is also a tribute to movies. Its a tribute to the "North by Northwest", its a tribute to "The Guns of Navaron". Its a tribute to everything that has inspired Hideo Kojima since he was born. And do you know what? His tribute is amazingly entertaining.
Hide 'n' Seek
"Stealth Games" has become one of the most used and clichèed genrès since the 90s. When a person reads that this is a stealth game, he is often turned off. Stealth games are starting to become the deffenition of crappy games. Why? Well because the core of the genrè is mis-used. We've seen cheap stealth effects, stupid enemies, boring details and so on. Well, don't get turned of this game, just because its a "Stealth Game", because the stealthing in this game is handled so perfectly you'll instantly love it. Its a tribute to hide and seek, but its also a detailed and adrenalin-pulsing gameplay. I have to admit that the Metal Gear Solid series are the only ones who have managed to make the adrenaline go.
In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, you take control over Snake (later Raiden) and you are supposed to manouvre yourself from point A to B. And guess what? A lot of enemies stand between A and B. Well, it does sound crappy. But its not. To get to point B, you have to stealth past your enemies. If you get seen you are in trouble. You won't survive easily against a lot of men. This is not Duke Nukem. Instead you have to dispose of them without making to much noice or/and sneak past them. Yes, we have seen this gameplay-type in a lot of other games that sucks. But in this game its so extremly detailed that you have to take of your cap and just bow down for the great Hideo Kojima.
In most other games your faced with the choice of either killing the guy infront of you, or just running past - without him even noticing. In Metal Gear Solid 2 there is a lot of other ways to do it. You can knock on the wall and make the guard come to check what it is. You can knock down the guard and throw him for example of a boat. You can wait for him to go away and slip through, well the point is, its detailed. The game is very detailed. You can do about whatever you want to do. Its not like most other games where the walls are dead. You can interact with about every object.
Yes, we have seen it in other games. But the guards and the areas are handled in such a way that it really gets your heart pumping. Its fantastic, and it has to be experienced. All you really need to know is that the gameplay is fun. And theres more to it. As mentioned before the areas are alive, and theres countless of ways to do stuff. You can even use places as your personal play-area. I, and countless of other people have suddenly turned of the PS2 (years after completing it) and started playing it. And what do we do? Well, we play around. Its just awfully fun.
All hail Harry
Every Hollywood-fan has atleast seen one movie where Harry Gregson-Williams has composed the music in. As you probably know, his music is great. Well, what happens if a movie-fan like Hideo Kojima tries to get a professional to compose the music for his game? Well, Williams is theres. And yes, its true. A Hollywood composer has made the music for this game, and yes it (if I'm allowed to say) totally rocks!
The music in the game is a strange mixture of pianos and electronic music. The techno-atmosphere in the game fits like a hand in glove with the music Williams makes. And I do know I'm not the only one who had gosebumps after watching the traile with Williams music running in the background. The music in this game is one of the most important things. The atmosphere and story is very important in this game, and when the music blends so perfectly in you experience some great things as you journey through the game. Theres nothing wrong with the music and its just well - uhrm perfect.
David Hayter? Isn't that the sheep-guy?
Sheep-guy? wtf? Whatever. The voice-acting in this game is presented with an interest and engagement few other games receiv. Usually games get poor voice-acting from low-paid people who don't fit their character. In this game you get professional voice-actor known from countless of cartoons and etc. The voices are perfect and fit their characters like no other game manages to do. Yes, a game with perfect voice-acting excists.
This game was made at the begining of the PlayStation 2s great age. And to this day no games has overcome the graphics in this. You may point at God of War or Resident Evil 4 and complain at my statement, but it is perfect. The lights, shadows and colours all blend in to make the graphics astonishing and the atmosphere perfect.
The reason the graphics are so great are mainly because everything is drawn and then put into the games. This is a teqnique thats highly complicated and time-wasting but the result is wonderfull. What rages me is that almost nobody except Kojima has used to this teqnuiqe to the full, at this way. Theres really nothing to say about the graphics because they're simply great.
Who's the greates writer ever? Shakespear? Ehr, no? Its Hideo Kojima you mushroom!
As soon as you start this game you are greeted with one of the greates openings ever. It lasts long over 15 minutes and keeps the suspension the whole time. What other games can truly say they have something like this? Few, because few other games are as story-centred as this one.
Sometimes you get the feeling you are watching more FMVs and reading more CODEC conversations then you are playing. Some of the FMVs are about 30-45 minutes and if you don't like deep, complicated and hidden-meaning-type stories you should really neglect buying this game, because this is what makes the game art. Yes, Hideo Kojima has said he doesn't think of games as art, but we are allowed to have different meanings, aren't we?
The story is with par with those in Hollywoods movies, no I'm kind of lying. The one in Metal Gear Solid 2 is even more complicated and entertaining. Its twisting, its weird, and most people think they've understood the ending when they finish it - but they haven't. One of the biggest critics this game has received is about the story. Its really not for most of the mainstream. But if you have the time and interest you will experience the most fantastic story every written. I'm serious. There is nothing more to say about this story because its a work of art, and the best one written every.
Conclusion or The End?
When I finished this game I had gone through the best gaming experience every, I had cried, I had sweated and yes I have pretended to be sick to not have to go to school so I can play this (don't tell anyone!). This game is as close to perfection as anything human ever has been. Unfortunantly not everyone loves to game as I do.
As the title says, the game is easy to like but hard to love. The gameplay makes the game easy for anyone to jump into, but the complicated story and the apperance of Raiden (not mentioned earlier to avoid spoilers) turns of many fans and newcomers.
As I come to the end of this review I have only a few things to say. If you like games with focus on story buy - NOW. If you're not such a fan of story-focused games - get it anyway. The gameplay is well wort the cheap price it costs these days.
And with this I end the review by saying: This game is as close to perfection as possible!
Post Scriptum: Because I need like 4 words to make this review long enough for GameFaqs demands, I have to write some gibberish here. Ignore it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/29/06
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