Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Review by OctoCam76
"Fantastic gameplay with a deep, intelligent, and unparalleled story"
So recently, I just sat down and decided to replay all of the Metal Gear Solid games right before the release of the most anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and after playing Metal Gear Solid 2 again, this game still holds great today. It seems to be one of the rare few that gets better with age, and still manages to outshine a lot of the next generation games succeeding the Playstation 2 console. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is a great game. No, it's a fantastic game considering that it manages to impress even after the flood of next generation of games is out. With open ended gameplay elements with plenty of replayability and easter eggs, as well as a complex, intelligent, deep, and original story, Metal Gear Solid 2 is what every single sequel should write notes from.
Metal Gear Solid 2 came out in November 2001, which is during the early stages of the Playstation 2. However, after playing many recent PS2 games, I don't think I've ever seen a game that is as fluid, as beautiful, or pays as much attention to detail as Metal Gear Solid 2. And even after playing many next gen games on the recent consoles of 2007, I'm still impressed with this game's graphics, and it's pretty comparable to many 'next gen' games today.
The attention to detail in this game is simply amazing. For example, the animations of this game are so top notch which many developers ignore or seem to care about. For example, in many other games, when a character walks up or down the stairs, they seem to ignore the steps and walk as if they're running up a hill. In Metal Gear Solid 2, the steps are actually accounted for when Snake/Raiden steps up/down them. They actually run and step on each individual step. Also, when you try to roll or flip on the stairs, you'll fall flat on your face! Also, the environments are more accessible and destructible. For example, in the bar, you can knock over an ice bin making ice spill everywhere: And one thing to note, if you actually watch - the ice melts over time! And another thing, Snake/Raiden 'tiptoe' over bodies that are on the ground acknowledging that they are there. Other games, you simply just walk through them.
This game is fantastically smooth. I haven't noticed or seen a single framerate drop. With graphics that are this great, and running at a blazing 60 frames per second, I wonder what the development team cannot do.
While many other games only pay attention to amplifying the graphics and making things look pretty, it's the attention to detail that makes games 'next gen.' The attention to detail is what makes things 'feel' more realistic and 'feel' prettier, instead of looks alone.
The open ended gameplay in this game is what makes it so great and unique. You can barge in Rambo-style, sneak through without killing a single soul. This time, they give you a tranquilizer gun, giving you the option to kill your enemies, or just put them to sleep. There are many ways to kill an enemy - you can choose to beat em up with hand to hand combat, give a sleeper hold, take one enemy hostage, snap an enemy's neck into two, holding someone up to make them give up their items, or just plain shoot them in the face. There are many new added features in this game that makes it a huge step above the original MGS. There's the first person shooting mode: Press R1 to aim and square to shoot whatever body part you wish. Headshots are lethal, shooting a person's leg will make the incapable of running away, and you can even shoot out their communication device so they won't be able to call for backup. The A.I. is a lot smarter in this one, when they spot you, they'll immediately seek cover and call for backup. They'll bring in the heavy artillery complete with shields and attempt to block your routes of escape. This is what makes going Rambo-style throughout the game a big challenge, and why it's best to just sneak around. But still, going Rambo-style is very fun, especially with the arsenal they give you in this game. Oh, and almost forgot to mention:
If you've seen as many movies as I have throughout my lifetime, you may be able to relate why I'm not particularly fond with many of today's Hollywood titles. I find most of them quite formulaic and generic, with only the best recommended ones only enjoyable, but not memorable. Metal Gear Solid 2 is different. The story is intelligent, complex, and deep, which amplifies the plotline to a whole new level. Lies, truth, backstabbing, death, life, and philosophy, Metal Gear Solid 2 is perhaps one of the most thought provoking stories ever created. Some may not like its complex nature, or some may find that there are too many twists that they can handle, but for those that do understand it, it's on a whole 'nother level. It is an amazingly well done story in a full, cinematic adventure.
Oh, and just to mention, you play as Raiden in this game. Raiden is not as masculine as Snake, but he is always an interesting character, but playing someone else other than Snake developed Snake's character by a great degree. The characters in this game are all original and unique, with deep character development to boot. You'll laugh, cry, sigh, and gasp at all the things happening to them.
I can understand how the storyline will get weird for some, and this may be a turnoff for those people who are expecting a more generic good guy saves the world from nuclear threat. Twists and turns are brilliantly done and unexpected. But with a fantastic story, the presentation will also be a turnoff to those that don't like to watch cutscenes or listen to codec conversations. In order to make the story as strong as it is, there are PLENTY of cutscenes and codec conversations. The Metal Gear Solid 2 story isn't about plot alone, it's about everything: All the characters, all the emotions, all the actions, and all the development, etc. amplified into one that makes this story so complex, intelligent, deep, and unparalleled. It's like no other. If you had to play this game just for storyline, it's worth it alone.
The sound is fantastic. With a talented voice cast including: David Hayter, Quinton Flynn, Jennifer Hale, etc. the voice acting is downright superb adding to an already strong storyline. And there are many interesting easter eggs you'll be able to hear in this game using a specific sound monitoring microphone.
Buy or Rent:
If you can find it around anywhere, since the game is so hard to find now: Buy it if you can. Heck, if you find it at a rental store, ask if you could buy it! There is a lot of replayability in this game, including many very interesting easter eggs scattered around the game as well as many items and unlockables to collect. This is one of the few games that I actually have a great time playing many times over, if you can find it, buy it and don't let go! A perfect 10.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/30/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (US, 11/12/01)
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