Review by cadillac20
"The Most Memorable MGS Yet!"
I don't tend to review games that I don't find to be great, and I don't normally find any game to be worthy of a ten, no matter how great that game is. However, there is occasionally a game that is just so enduring and phenominal that it gets that excellent score. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Metal Gear Solid 3, a game worthy of the ten it gets. Now, there are a few things to understand. This is a review from a fan of the series, so it will sing of praise somewhat due to that, but aside from this, I will be as objective in my review as possible. For this review, I will boil the game into two categories: Techincal and Aesthetical (story, characters, theme, etc.). This will serve to condense the review.
Technical: The MGS series has cerrtainly improved over the years with an advancment in the technical aspect of the game, but it does more than that for this sequel. The game not only pushes the MGS series boundaries further, but it takes the PS2 to places it's never been. The graphics are lush and fill the screen with detail. Unlike MGS2, or even MGS1, which contained mostly static coloring and texture for it's environments, MGS3 is filled with color and multiple types of environment. This environment ranges from dense jungle to thick swamps to brightly lit indoor environments. What this results in is not only a visual feast but an enhancment of the stealth and survival feel that the game is meant to contain. You are no longer boiling down the stealth experience to peeking around corners and hiding in airducts. You are now equiped with camoflogue for a near complete blending in with the environment. This, as well as a new cure mode and the necessity to hunt for food, add to the aspect of survival. The camo, hunting, cure, and a new CQC create a variety of gameplay experiences that should keep players disappointed with MGS2's lack of gameplay happy. Hunting for food is simple, as is curing yourself of injuries, using your camo, and even the CQC (close quarters combat). While they seem to be a big deal, they're really very minor things that enhance more than hinder the gaming experience. They are easy to pick up, and the ways they come into play make for nice challenges and memorable experiences.
The sound is also quite nice, even if it is only slightly marred technically. The sounds of the environments are rich and provide for a realistic outdoors experience. If you have surround sound, you will love this game. The music, like MGS2, is once again great. In fact, it's one of the best soundtracks I have heard for a game. Harry Gregson Williams adds the same professionalism for this game that he has for his films and MGS2. His score is on par with any major film and it adds to the great experience of the game. What has truly improved in the game is the expanse of gameplay. The game is probably the most fun of the series because of all that it has to offer. It isn't wuite as innovative as MGS1 was in it's gameplay, but it has a very cinematic quality to it that you would be hard pressed to find in most games. In fact, I would say it is the most interactive cinematic experience the PS2 has to offer.
Aethstetic: What truly shines in MGS3 comes under this category. As most fans will tell you, the most enduring quality of the MGS series are it's unique and memorable characters, and it's truly wonderful stories. MGS3 takes the best of everything that it has done and combines them together to make a great story and some of the most memorable characters of any game of recent times. The basic story is that a CIA operative of a covert-ops section of that organization, Snake, is sent into the USSR during the cold war to retrieve a scientist by the name of Sokolov, who has been creating a weapon known as the Shagohod for the Russians, which is essentially the grandfather design to the Metal Gear we have come to know today. Sokolov wishes to defect to the U.S., but plans are ruined and thus an intricate story begins. I can't allow myself to go into deep detail, as the game is full of plot twists and surprises. However, the story is expertly told: not to simple, yet not overtly complicated, like MGS2. It is an entertaining story that will leave especially the fans with many memorable moments. Even if you aren't a fan though, the characters are so detailed and feel so personal, it is hard not to like them or feel some emotion for them. And it is many of the characters that carry the game too. Snake is a truly well shaped person with many levels in him, and more so than ever, he becomes a memorable character. The other major character that becomes truly memorable is The Boss, whose relationship with Snake provides an interesting dynamic for the story as well as one of the more important details that any Metal Gear fan would know of.
Both the story and the characters compliment themselves by not being to overly B-movieish or complicated. They are simple enough, yet deep enough, to be well liked and remembered. The only thing that could have improved the experience was the fleshing out of many of the other characters. You never really learn about who many of the bosses are in the game, which all possess names after emotions, such as The Fear and The Pain. These characters remain comic book like villains who, while being unique and fun to fight, don't have much depth or leave you with any connection to them. This is surprising, as the MGS series has typically given us detail into the personalities and pasts of it's villains. The game is not, however, dampened by this, as it put more focus on it's major players and it's deep plot. Anything that might hinder the games experience is replaced by something stronger, and therefore we easily an almost unconciously overlook these things in place of those strengths. Not to mention that there are some scenes, both in cinematics and in gameplay that will not be forgotten for a long long time.
Overall, the game is a nearly flawless experience that should be experienced by all serious gamers. To pass up this game is to pass up one of the greatest gaming experiences ever. Everything becomes well balanced in the game and there seems to be very little that hinders the experience. Even though it may take you between 20 and 30 hours to complete (another improvment over MGS2), the game doesn't feel like it. And the conclusion of the game leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. While it doesn't entirely answer our questions from the end of MGS2, it does answer many other questions and we get a greater sense of what has happened in the series and why. So, if anyone thinks that this game is a let down, do not be fooled. This is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have with a video game.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/04
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