Review by tollbooth

"Smokes his Cigarette with Style!"

The Shadow Moses Incident was a sordid affair to say the least. All fans of Konami's PSX smash hit, Metal Gear: Solid can attest to that. Snake had wrestled with nuclear disaster and come out clean. The business folks of the world could go on, with their minds full of money and power, when little did they know how powerless they had become. If Shadow Moses had taught us anything, it was that the world's powers were seldom what they seemed. Perched in the shadows, ready to strike at any moment, is the wild card Solid Snake. A clone- one of the surviving clones known as the children: Le Enfant Terrible. But, him and Metal Gear scientist, Otacon and barely scratched the surface of a major conspiracy. A secret that would threaten the very idea of freedom.

STORY: I'm through with tomboys!

Sons of Liberty picks up where Metal Gear: Solid left off. Only this time Snake and Otacon are part of an anti-Metal Gear organization. You receive an anonymous tip from a certain, E.E., who Otacon believes to be his sister, that the Marines are transporting a new Metal Gear. You show up as Snake to investigate the scene. Little do you know that your tip is only the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath is one of the most complex and interesting stories I have seen in video games.

But, it is also very confusing. At first the story seems very oriented towards a Tom Clancy type espionage game, but it gets weird. Downright mind-boggling. If you're a big fan of Japanese Anime, this game is for you, but if you want to stick to a more realistic government-conspiracy oriented game, you should try something like Splinter Cell.

I like it though. The entire time it feels like you're in some kind of nightmare. There are supernatural elements starting to bubble to the surface and it seems like there is a lot more to this plot then a mere government conspiracy. Who are the Sons of Liberty- furthermore- who is this group of Patriots, as they call themselves: and are the rumors true? That these Patriots, known to some as The Twelve Wise Men really control the United States of America as some unknown underground force. Is Democracy really a shame? In reality it is, but how about in Snake's world?

GAMEPLAY: Don't you know? Smoking is bad for your health.

Finally- some much needed improvements. I adored the PSX Metal Gear, but lets not split hairs over its gameplay. It was awful. I mean, half the time you wanted Snake to run, he clung to walls, and half the time you wanted to cling to walls, Snake would run. It was an issue you never could quite get over. But Konami was deafly able to adapt all the good things from the old, while leaving the garbage behind. The controls are so much more fluid now. They are extremely responsive and the menu, which was easily accessible in the prequel, is completely intact this time around. Konami even gives you a couple options, Linear and Grouped to organize your numerous weapons and items.

And numerous is a great way to describe the games weaponage. You get machine guns, rocket launchers, silenced pistols and even a sword. Though, I was very disappointed that there was not more opportunity to use the sword. I really liked the way it handled: with the right-analog stick!

All the amazing stealth action is still very much intact. The enemies AI hasn't seemed to improve a whole lot, but the start-menu offers various difficulty settings which make matters a bit more difficult. However, I still wasn't overly impressed with the gameplay. They made some great changes, but games like Manhunt still had some better stealth action going on. The reason to play these games is that it can be very tactical. Some of your murders must be deafly planed and executed with seamless enthusiasm.

You can hold up bad guys- FREEZE! and they'll cough up items like dogtags that will unlock secrets in the game. My only complaint was that in order to kill without your weapon, you had to break the old neck, I wish they would have had thrown a knife or something into the mix.

Almost the entire environment is interactive. Shoot bottles or paper and watch it scatter in a very realistic fashion. Even the bikini-clad poster models will provoke a special reaction from our hero.

The only downfall is that you are constantly interrupted by Codec messages. The constant beep-beeping starts to drive you nuts sometimes. You can choose not to answer these messages, which usually drag on for ever, but you'll miss valuable story elements.

GRAPHICS: If we don't get moving, this could be the last sunset we ever see.

These here graphics were pretty good, man. Metal Gear: Solid is often belched to have the finest graphics of the PSX, and I always thought that was a half truth. But these graphics make great use of the PS2 engine. There is tremendous detail, great environments, killer CG's- and almost everything is touchable– meaning you can interact with it. I really liked the graphics. They weren't the best I have ever seen, but they were awful close.

Richly detailed, you see all kinds of realistic stuff. Don't slip on the bird-poo! I'm surprised they didn't go as far as to program in the spider's in corners.

SOUND: Are the explosives set?

(( Music ))

In a weird jazzy kind of way, this was great music. It reminded me of some old black and white detective movie starring Humphry Bogart. But, it retained the Metal Gear flair.

(( Effects ))

These are okay, everything sounds pretty good, and considering that you have to rely on the noises people make to get you through some tough spots, I'm glad they did a good job.

(( Voice Acting ))

Not quite as good as Metal Gear: Solid but not horrible either. I enjoyed Snake's voice, and Otacon wasn't bad either. I was upset that Mei Ling hadn't returned. There are some awful long and boring Codec calls, so be prepared to be annoyed.

PLAYTIME: I don't have all day! Turn off your console and go home.

Look forward to between 12 and 16 hours your first time around. Maybe more if you are new to the series and aren't used to the controls.

REPLAYABILITY

Not extremely high, but up there. There are a few unlockables that you can only earn by playing the game through once. Also, there are the various difficulty modes to consider. However, there is a fixed ending so don't look forward to any new or revealing information. Maybe if you don't catch the story all the way, you can play it again to check things out. I'm sure you will have missed a few dogtags along the way. You'll need those to unlock the goodies.

RENT OR BUY?

Buy it used. I bought my copy for eight dollars. You can't even hardly rent a game for that cheap these days.

FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS

If you're a fan of Metal Gear or you just are in the mood for a great stealth action game, this is your game. If you dig the Japanese Anime, this is your game. A great story, fine gameplay, excellent graphics, this game is where it's at.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/07/04


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