Review by Mister Sinister

"What the HELL went wrong with this title !?!?!"

FOREWORD

Having been SO happy with Metal Gear Solid I was queuing in the street for DAYS it seemed to get my hands on a copy of Metal Gear Solid 2 when it was released ... I think I probably caused a thirty-car pile-up getting back to my place to play it, as I was reading the box instead of watching the road whilst driving ...

Got back to mine, slapped it into my PS2 and played through it, only to find that ... well ... it's ... NOT ... what I was expecting ... read on.

OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME

Lol ... not as easy to explain as you might think. Basically the game is in two sections - in the first section you play as Solid Snake - your buddy and pal from Metal Gear Solid, and in the SECOND section you play Raiden, a character who will strike you immediately as a pale neo-clone version of the Solid Snake, and VERY similar to as was the case in the original Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation, you are thrown hip-deep in trouble, trying to sort out a terrorist situation - this time on a Plant rather than a Nuclear Weapons Disposal Facility. If you have played Metal Gear Solid it will feel to start with like you're being led through the same game in a different location, with souped-up graphics and a lesser main hero. Bizarre.

GRAPHICS - 10/10

Absolutely STUNNING for the most part - the games designers really didn't put a foot wrong with this title graphically. They have taken a butter-knife to the original Metal Gear Solid's comparatively crude cutscenes and refined them so that they could easily be used in an animated movie or similar.

The characters - particularly the villains - are REALLY really well drawn and animate beautifully. The special effects when Fortune uses her powers or Vamp is flying around knifing people in the back are STUNNING, and send chills up your spine as you are watching them. The work done really is top notch, hence my ludicrously high mark.

SOUND - 8/10

Whilst the voice-acting is very good, and as with Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation, the breadth of sound effects is very impressive, where MGS has it over MGS: Sons of Liberty is the main character.

I could listen to Solid Snake's voice for HOURS. It's deep, masculine, unobtrusive ... but Raiden comes across to my ear as a whiner ... somebody that I'd SLAP if I had to spend too long with. It's not just WHAT he says ... it's the voice itself that winds me up as well ... no disrespect to the voice actor because the QUALITY of the acting is perfectly reasonable - it's just a voice that grates on my nerves, to such an extent that I actually found I had to get my brother to tell me what he was saying because I find his voice INFINITELY preferable to Raiden's !!!!!

AND THAT'S NOT GOOD LET'S FACE IT !!

CONTROLS - 9/10

As with the original Playstation Metal Gear Solid, this title offers very good levels of control over Raiden. Even though he just ISN'T Solid Snake, you are able to do some pretty cool things with him - if anything he's probably more agile THAN Solid Snake ... he can vault over railings and hang underneath for a given period of time, shimmying along if you like, or just waiting for guards to pass if not.

His combat moves are also very slick and impressive to pull off - some of them (like his running cartwheel kick if my memory serves me) actually leave you kinda breathless the first couple of times you pull them off. It's like watching a movie being played - it really is quite a beautiful sight.

PLOT - 5/10

Oh dear. Oh deeeeeeear oh dear oh dear.

The greatest selling point of Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation is also the BIGGEST let-down of Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty on the Playstation 2 in my humble opinion.

See, here's the thing.

If you thought the plot to the FIRST Metal Gear Solid title on the Playstation was convoluted, this is going to reduce your brain to jelly. Your objectives during the game change a number of times, as is only fitting for this type of game ... but ultimately the plot never really gets off the ground fully.

For me ? The plot in MGS on the Playstation was SO compelling ... SO well-designed ... SO engrossing that I really got into it. It was the first ever FAQ I wrote, and I never actually got around to submitting it because I felt too embarrassed in light of the VERY good array of FAQs for the title that gamefaqs.com and other sites have to offer already, but the point is still valid. I got REALLY into that game - I researched the characters online to see whether I could glean any more information about them - I even had MGS wallpaper on my PC, and chance the impression you might now have of me ? I'm not a sad individual people.

So when I heard of Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty's release I was GAGGING to get my hands on a copy thinking "I wonder how the plot of this one will go ... I'm so excited - I wonder whether they'll have cool new villains ... how's it going to twist and turn ... how's it going to end !?!?!"

Well ...

Cool villains ... check.
Twist and turns ... check.
Good plot ? Erm ... nope.

I won't spoil the plot by divulging WHAT happens or WHEN it happens, but I will just say that I personally was very disappointed with the game's plot.

GAMEPLAY - 7/10

It's OK to start with ... not stellar because, if you are like me, you won't like Raiden as he just ISN'T Solid Snake ... it's almost like Kojima and his team didn't appreciate just how much people revered Solid Snake during and after the first Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation - because Raiden DEFINITELY does not offer anything that Solid Snake didn't do 100 times better (except the ability to do cool ballet moves and complain louder than Snake ever could).

But later on in the game it kinda feels like you've been sucker-punched. The enjoyment is bled clean out of the game, and that is very disappointing indeed.

REPLAY VALUE - 2/10

I played the game once, and once was enough. Whilst I might ultimately at some future point put it on to bask in the beautiful glory of its TOP NOTCH graphics and the enjoyment of seeing Vamp slaying all those people when you first meet him ? I would DEFINITELY have to turn it off before the game's later stages, or I might conceivably eat the CD in disgust =(

VALUE FOR MONEY - 5/10

You should be able to get yourself a copy on the cheap these days, so you might think it's worth it, but DO NOT expect it to set your world alight like the original Metal Gear Solid. Not if you're anything like me at any rate ...

OVERALL - 4/10 (This is NOT an average)

A title that boasted such potential, such BEAUTIFUL potential, and has had so much effort placed into making sure it is graphically and sonically engrossing, but is let down by such a DIRE plot.

MAIN GOOD POINTS

* BEAUTIFUL graphics and some truly very impressive cut-scenes.
* The sounds are good, even though Raiden is a whiner who gets on my nerves.

MAIN BAD POINTS

* The plot.
* Raiden is, as I have said before, a whiner, and he will get on your nerves. PLUS he just ISN'T Solid Snake, and that is quite disappointing ...
* The dialogue between Raiden and his lover Rose borders on insanely inappropriate at times ... he'll be up this neck in bullets and bodies and she'll quote some obscure poem or something and really mess with your head ...

SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?

Hokay ... let's be blunt. The majority of people out there seem to LOVE this game, so you might just think it's the bee's knees ... but I personally, having gotten so into Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation, and having had such GENUINE respect for the work that was put into making it one of the greatest titles of all time EVER, was HORRENDOUSLY disappointed by the time I walked away from this title ... so much so that I don't ever really want to play it again.

... so I would say that you should DEFINITELY rent it before you buy it ... if you can get a copy on the cheap it might be worth it, or write to me and you can have mine !! (Kidding - I'm a collector, not a donator).


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 07/23/04


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