Review by Ockman
"After 3 years since MGS2, MGS3 finally arrives! *contains some spoilers*"
So it's finally here, I, like many other hardcore fans of the Metal Gear Solid series, have been eagerly anticipating this next installment in the series ever since it was announced at E3 in 2003. However, with Metal Gear Solid 2's cliffhanger ending that literately just screamed "Sequel is coming!", many of us have been waiting for this installment since completing Metal Gear Solid 2. So how's the game stack up? Well I'll try to explain all the details in this review, and I'll warn of any major spoilers before, so use caution when reading if you don't want anything spoiled.
Game play: 10/10
This is definitely by far the best Metal Gear Solid to date in terms of game play. If you have played previous Metal Gear Solid games, a lot of the mechanics won't be very new to you. However, the whole camouflage system, and survival system just bring a whole new experience to the game. I loved using camouflage in the game, and I can't wait to see what extras are downloadable in the future. However, people who got used to using the radar in MGS1 and MGS2, stay on your toes. The absence of the radar is noticeable, and can make it very easy for you to run right in front of an enemy. Even when you are well camouflaged, any type of movement alerts them to your presence. The A.I. in the game has definitely increased as well from previous MGS games. So have the amount of guards that'll swarm all over you if you're not careful. The new hand to hand combat in the game, known as CQC(close quarters combat), is a nice addition to game play. Hand to hand used to be so much more basic in previous MGS games. With CQC, you can have a lot of fun disposing of the guards in different ways. My personal favorite aspects of this game were the boss battles however. Boss battles in this game are definitely something they put a lot of thought into when making this game. Some of them are what you'd expect from another MGS game. There are others however that really just standout like nothing you've seen before.
Metal Gear Solid 3 has graphics unlike any I have ever seen on the playstation 2. This game really pushes the system to the limit, and I don't think they could've gotten anymore out of it! The jungle environments, and the indoor environments are like nothing you've ever seen in a MGS game before. In the jungle, it's full of life. The way the animals move about the jungle looks so natural and gives the game a feel of where you are, really is a wild jungle. The character models have definitely been buffed up from the previous entries in the series as well. The detail on certain characters is breathtaking. Snake, and The Boss are some of the best examples.
I usually am not too good with judging sound. The sound effects during game play, and cut scenes are all great. Especially during intense action scenes, the audio is awesome. Especially nice if you have a good sound system. However I was disappointed that it only supported Pro Logic II, and not digital. Also, the main reason why sound got a lower score for me is that, well; the voice acting isn't the best I've heard in the series in some parts. There are some characters that just don't sound right. Sometimes the character will sound real and convincing, and other times it'll sound very scripted, and sounds like they're reading lines. Not all the time, but it was apparent occasional. Sokolov's voice also does not sound right at all! His voice is way too deep for his character.
What can I say, the controls are fine! If you've played MGS2, you should have no problem. The only reason I took away a point, is the CQC moves are sometimes hard to figure out how do what you want. It's not always easy to pull of the exact move you want.
I figured I should save this part for last, since this was what I think I was really looking forward to for this game most of all. One thing I can tell you is it isn't exactly complicated like MGS2's storyline was. It won't make your head hurt as much, and there isn't alot of radio/codec dialogue. However, that doesn't make it perfect either. I don't know if my hopes were too high, or I'm being harsh on the story, but overall I think it could've been better. I don't think I could explain more without going into spoilers.
SPOILERS START HERE:
The story is interesting, and it's got it's moments, however in the end, I don't know if it was really necessary to even be told. I was one of the people who wanted somethings answered after beating MGS2. I wanted a more detailed explanation of the Patriots, and I wanted to know what was gonna happen with Liquid/Ocelot. MGS3 does explain SOME things regarding the patriots, however, the whole game takes place in 1964! So don't expect any continuation of what happened in MGS2. Either we're not gonna get it, or that's another game. Frankly I don't think the Cobra Unit got enough back story told on them as well. The Boss, and The Sorrow have the most back story of them all, however the rest, there really is nothing too detailed.
The game is full of references to stuff that's planned to happen in the future. Obvious references to the first Metal Gear Solid mostly, however I just don't see the importance's of this. Also, what about the Metal Gear's Big Boss has in Outer Heaven and Zanzibar? They were already making hints towards Metal Gear Rex, but not considering that there were already 2 metal gears before that. Even with all of that going on, I still don't know if I believe it. Saying that Metal Gear Rex was conceived about 40 years before it was created? Just doesn't add up. If the shagohod was able to be created in 1964, what took so long for them to realize the ideas of Metal Gear Rex?
Back on the issues of the patriots, there are some explanation as to who they are in a way. However, I frankly don't think it was told right. It was more confusing then anything else. Not confusing like MGS2, but confusing that I felt we weren't getting enough information. I was hoping that through most of the game, that we'd be fed information slowly. However, I felt all the important information was thrown at us near the end of the game. In MGS2, even though it was confusing, we were thrown information about the patriots a little at a time. In this game, we're given references to certain things, but no details. Like they said in MGS2, the patriots were all dead, right? Well, I thought we might've gotten an explanation as to how they still existed in MGS2's time line if they were all already dead. They didn't really do that though. I am still confused what "La-li-lu-le-lo" means, and how it is connected with the patriots.
The game's story isn't completely flawed. The story between Snake and The Boss is one of the highlights. Unfortunately, I just wish there was more scenes that involved their relationship. It is cool to see the young Ocelot, and he's one of the best characters in the game. Probably more interesting then the main villain; Colonel Volgin. I was hoping that we would learn more about Ocelot in this game. When the game ended though, it just left more questions.
Overall, the story of MGS3, while it is interesting, there was something about it that didn't sit right. It felt like it really wasn't all that important. I think the center of the story really is The Boss, but it almost really doesn't play any importance or give us any details that we didn't know about the Metal Gears. It didn't answer any of the questions left open in MGS2, except with a few references to the patriots. It didn't really offer any storyline that fans have WANTED to know. I don't think it even really took the series forward. It took it a step back, and I am still left wanting more.
Also, finally, I am a little annoyed. Raidenovich, the Russian guy who looks like Raiden and gets his crotch grabbed...yeah, I thought we might learn more about him, and find out if he had some connection to Raiden? nope. It's just a crazy coincidence as far as we know.
END OF SPOILERS
The game is fun, no doubt about that, but the story line just really left me wanting much much more. In terms of game play, MGS3 rules. That's why it still gets an 8/10, because the game play couldn't be better. The graphics are amazing as well. It's just that story that really left me like "come on, i want more!" MGS3 feels more like a side story then anything else. It's good to know, but it's not something I needed to know.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/18/04
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