Review by thesolidshark
"Among the Best Games Ever Made. Masterful."
Perfection. That's was my conclusion when I finished the first Metal Gear Solid on Playstation 1. Seriously, nothing could top everything it did to me as a gamer. Naturally, when the talk began of a sequel on the new PS2, my expectations were high. But I was also scared. How could Konami hope to improve on perfection? The initial trailer didn't look interesting enough, so I had my doubts. It was a sin to doubt Hideo Kojima in delivering excellence, and that's just what he did. Playing this game around my roommates have made non-Metal Gear fans take interest in the first three hours of a game, and they're not game players. My parents thought they were watching a movie till they saw the controller in my hand. But this game is not just a movie; it's by far much more. How good? Here's how good.
Graphics - 10
The look of the entire game is so surreal and wonderful, sometimes they can make you forget you're playing a game. The transition from MGS1 to MGS2 is highly noticeable. The characters now have very detailed faces, and their bodies have more distinction to them. The graphics were so good again, there wasn't a need for CG cut-scenes (again). It was nice to see the new system show off Snake's mullet too. The effort that brought every little detail to life in the original has returned times three. Even the classic effects like the exclamation points look better too. And the physical flow of things is much more real. Any character or object with a length to it will blow in the wind accordingly, and the water bouncing off people during the rain is actually visible.
Sound/Music - 10
The soundtrack now has a big name Hollywood composer named Harry Gregson-Williams to do the musical score, and it pays off. Every track works for whatever it's used for. Sneaking, caught, escape, boss battles everything. The boss battle music isn't the same as the original, but a little darker; it still fits with what you're going up against. Carla White's vocalization of "Can't Say Goodbye To Yesterday" was great, though probably not as moving as "The Best Is Yet To Come" or MGS3's catchy "Snake Eater". The best of the sound for this title is the intro theme. It literally feels like something Gregson-Willams would've done for a Tom Clancy movie, but the main MGS theme is now really memorable.
Voice Acting - 10
I separated this section from sound because of its own greatness. It's beyond good. I'd agree that MGS is now the video game gold standard for voice acting, and has yet to disappoint. Some of the originals that made the characters so unforgettable have returned. David Hayter and Pat Zimmerman are still stupendous as Solid Snake and Revolver Ocelot. Other great returns are Jennifer Hale (Emma), Paul Eiding (Col. Campbell), and especially Cam Clarke(?) (you'll see what I mean) Christopher Randolph as Otacon is given more to work with in the sequel, and becomes better for it. New voice additions like Phil La Marr (Vamp), Maula Gale (Fortune), Quinton Flynn (Raiden), Vanessa Marshall (Olga) and John Cygan (Solid__?)now complement the series with their vocals. The voices also make the acting quaility complete. You'll hear several different quotes in this one that'll make sense as the story progresses, but you'll still remember them later. If they ever start handing out Academy Awards for acting/voicing in video games, they should probably start looking at MGS games first.
Control - 10
Playing mostly from an overhead POV from the first was agreeable. The camera angles still worked for me. The buttons have remained the same for the most part, with the new controls filling the four trigger buttons perfectly. Now pretty much every button on the PS2 has a use now. And keep the vibration going; it'll help to feel the cut scenes. And be sure to read everything you can do with your character. You'll have to use all his moves in this game one way or another.
Playability - 10
Nice and nicer. By that, I mean all the abilities of the original have returned, with additionals to really make it shine. Besides simply grabbing, combo attacking, shooting, sneaking and looking, now you can hold people up and retrieve their dog tags and whatever other items you can shake out of them. Now you can hang onto rails, and there's a limit to how long you can do that. Instead of bodies that simply disappear into thin air, now you actually have to move the body to a place where any other guards won't find them. Interactivity has improved. You can shoot at tanks to create gas, open lockers to hide yourself and fallen guards in, and even go swimming a little more. Maybe the nicest addition to playing is FPS shooting aspect, where you can switch to looking forward and aim at different parts of an enemy's body. You'll need that for enemies that duck or use glass shields. The radar is still present, and you can now choose to use it or lose it no matter the difficulty, or even if you want being caught to being a game over. The ration system has changed a little; instead of growing after every boss battle, it has a set length, so you'll know how often you need to ration up. You can even kneel to recover some of your health. Some newer weapons have appeared, including an actual sword to use during gameplay, but Snake doesn't use it. You do play as more than just Solid Snake in this game. The sneaking aspect of the game just makes you go wow sometimes. There are literally several times in the game where you have to sneak past a room full of people. Sometimes, you can even get away with shooting someone. Go ahead and experiment, which is another great part of the MGS series, testing the quirks that might not actually be quirks. Be warned also: the A.I. has gotten exponentially smarter. They'll make it a priority to flush you out and hunt you down no matter where you go and how you hide. Even if you have the hardware to take them on, play it smart and stay out of sight. That's what the game is about anyway.
Story - 10 (Should be more)
The game starts out as Snake on another mission working for a fringe organization of the U.N. called Philanthropy. Snake and Ocatcon in this group have gone across the world and dismantled several models of Metal Gears based on Rex's model. They've been at it since Shadow Moses, and now are about to deal with one under the U.S. Marine Corps. jurisdiction. After a nice little spy stunt performed by Snake, he gets onto the tanker where the new Metal Gear is being held, and just as they start their mission, some other vicious soldiers have also arrived on the tanker, and looks like they want to hijack this new Metal Gear....from there, it just gets more and more surprising. I can't say much because of spoilers, but a lot of people still shun this game because of how much story and plot is in this game. That and the eventual character change. It might be a little confusing the first time you finish it, and it will leave you with questions. But that's what made waiting for MGS3 and MGS4 so anticipated, and those will probably be excellent games too. It's been two or three years since I first finished this game, and I'm still floored and pondering it. Basically, it's probably the deepest and best story we've seen yet.
Replayability - 10
The collecting of everyone's dog tags is a challenge (I'm still not done), but it'll take you to many parts of the game, and keep you busy while you replay the game. The difficulty levels now go from easy to flat out unfair. After you unlock European Extreme difficulty, try it, and you'll see what I mean. Some of the boss battle might bring you back for more. Going against the new Metal Gear(s) had me aggravated, and asking for more.
Presentation - 10
The intro video is still my favorite of any video game. Most of the great presenting goes to how the characters are introduced. The new bad guy literally blazes onto the screen in full badass mode. The codec design using the games graphics is nice, and the world of espionage you're thrust into is beautiful.
Real intelligence and effort went into the making of this game, and that shouldn't be forgotten.
Rent or Buy?
I don't care how you get this game. Just play it. I suggest that you buy it since you'll have one of the greatest games ever made for your collection now.
The rumors of how the game sucked kept me from playing this game for 3 years. I now know you have to judge things for yourself, because those guys have no idea what they're talking about. And thank you Hideo Kojima for the gift of a game like Sons of Liberty.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/23/06
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