Review by DaGr1nCh

"Snake returns to form"

What can be said about the Metal Gear series that hasnt already been said? You either like it or you don't. Metal Gear Solid was released back in back in 1998 and created a whole new genre that has been copied since then. Its the mother of all current stealth action games. With great graphics gameplay, and a good story that kept you playing, everyone fell in love with it including myself.

Fast forward to 2001 Metal Gear Solid 2 is released. It is hailed as one of the greatest games of all time by many and once again there were the people that couldnt stand it. I fell into the latter category. I absolutely hated MGS2. The story was convoluted over bearing and flat out ridiculous. Since the story sucked so bad, I didn't give a damn about the cut scenes becuase I didn't care about any of the characters and Last but not least. You took control of that sexually ambiguous she-man Raiden through most of the game. Kojima lost some serious points there. Oh and lets try and forget the entire naked Raiden fiasco.....

Fast forward to the present day. Kojima hits us with another Metal Gear Solid game. I was very skeptical after 2001's psycho babble-fest that I was reluctant to play MGS3. I pretty much wrote it off as more of the same. Then I actually playd the game. While it is more of the same it has rekindled my love affair with MGS. Bottom line, this game is off the hook.

Graphics

Now the first thing that will catch your eye is how completely ridiculous this game looks. I do mean that in a good way though. Sometimes you'll ask yourself if your actually playing this on a PS2. Why no other company can tap the PS2's power like Konami can still puzzles me but they know something others don't know. As you all probably know by now, the setting this time around is the jungle. Its friggin beautiful. From the tree's to the dirt to the little critters running around this game just screams "We worked our asses off to make this look good so you better like it." Things like mud that sticks to your clothes and will actually kill you if you stand in it too long have been added to make the jungle even more realistic. From the jungle setting to the factories and the mountain tops you'll end up traveling this game just looks incredible. Snakes and frogs rustle the grass as you stalk through the grass hunting your food and your enemies. Speaking of grass they were even kind enough to give this place INDIVIDUAL blades of it....WTF, I mean seriously who even thought of that. That aspect actually serves a purpose too. And to top all of this graphical splendor you've got the cutscenes that do everything but disapoint. It can easily be said without much arguement that this is the best looking PS2 game EVER.

Gameplay

If you've played MGS you know what to expect. Then expect the unexpected. They've added so much more to it that you're sure to be a bit confused to at the start. the controls are all the same but you've got more options then ever before. this time around you've got a stamina bar and a health bar. As long as your stamina bar is full, your health regenerates automatically. In order to keep your Stamina up, you've got to eat just like in real life. Since you've been dropped in a jungle with little to no food you'll have to find your own damn food. They don't call the game Snake eater for nothing. Pull out that combat knife and get to cuttin'. You'll have to hunt for your food this time around. Remember those individual blades of grass I was telling you about? You see it moving over there? shoot at it or start slicing at it like a chef on who needs rittilan and you'll more then likely be rewarded with some food to carry with to keep your stamina up. Wow, look at the Alligator in the muddy water, too bad they have to die now. Put a bullet in their head and take the meat they so lovingly wrap up for you in a box.........Hunting for your food alone makes this game WAY more fun then any of the other MGS games.

Two other editions are the ability to treat your wounds and using camoflage. After a particularly brutal fight you're bound to be shot up broken and bruised. Got shot in the head? Pull the bullet out with yur knife stitch teh wound up and wrap a bandage around it and your all set to go. Severe burns. No problem put some ointment on it wrap it up and move on. Sounds easy and it is. Open up your treatment screen and you have bandages, stitches gauze ointments and all types of first aid equipment that you can use to patch yourself up to continue on fighting the good fight because you are in the middle of a war and all.....(end inside joke). With camoflage, you can wear different types so you can blend into your surroundings better. A little percentage at the top right of the screen tells you how well your hidden from any enemy's sight. These two new gameplay elements may be small and somewhat tedious at times but, they help pull you into the game even more.

As far as combat goes you've got the same moves as you had in MGS2. The first person view for shooting has returned and its basically the same old thing. You can hang from trees and shoot..You've also got a nice new addition called CQC (Close Quarter Combat) attacks. When you get close enough to an enemy you can beat the hell out of them in more ways then one. Want to slam them into the ground with all your might? You can do that if you'd like. how about interrogating them. It's possible. Want to slit their throat after they've told you everything you needed to know. Knock yourself out. Just know that his buddies wont appreciate it too much. While these moves are fun to do, sometimes I just couldn't always get the move I wanted to do to happen. I'd try to go for an interrogation but I'd end up plowing their face into the ground more times then I really wanted to. Also the hit detection in this area is a little off too. You can be really far away from a person and still end up grabbing him but sometimes you'll be right on him and miss. A little problem in an otherwise outstanding control scheme.

Now another thing you may have noticed is the fact that the radar with the cone of vision is gone. Not only is this NOT a bad thing, it makes the game a little more challenging. Now you have a sonar that the enemies will hear if you're close enough to them when you use it. you're also equiped with a motion detector and a proximity bdy detector thingy or whatever the hell its called.The bad news is all these gadgets consume battery power so you can never use any of these too long. The good news is I just saved a bunch of.........Umm, yea, the battery recharges when they are not in use. When used properly which I couldn't do 'cause I couldn't see a damn thing most of time, you'll forget about the radar. Since the radar is gone you can't see which direction the enemies are lookin so you'll have to be EXTRA careful now. Pop out of the grass to fast without scouting and you'll sound the alarm. Trust me, it will happen alot your first time through due to that ass of a camera you have to deal with. To add to your troubles the enemies are smarter this time around. They will search for you for a long time if they see a dead comrade. They also call backup and wake there sleeping friends up if you don't take them out in time.

On your travels throught the Russian Wilderness, you'll come across a few guys that want you in a body bag. These little ecounters come in the form of boss fights. These are well paced and never seem out of place. they all seem to have a few different ways of going about them but most people will find one way and stick with that. I enjoyed all of them except one which is probably infamous by now. The sniper duel. All I have to say about this is you better be a very patient person because well, I'll let you deal with it. I HATED that part. I will give it one thing though. Its damn sure one of the most memorable boss fights in gaming history. Out of all of the fights the final battle which I will not spoil is my favorite due to the setting it takes place in and how it's set up. Thats another memorable moment for me. There are alot of them in this game. Hell the entire last hour of this game will have you on the edge of your seat. Damn that sounded so cliche but, it's true. I wanted to turn the game off to get some sleep but I could not stop playing it.

As I mentioned earlier on, the camera in this game sucks. It's the same as the other MGS games but damn it they need to change it becuase it's poor. You can shift the view with the right analog stick and snap it into place by clicking it but it still sucks. I dont know how many times I used my little radar, sonar combination only to walk out thinking I'm ok and have a guard see me because I couldn't see him RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!! They really need to fix this if they ever make another Metal Gear game.

Sound

Everything sounds good to me. From the voice acting to the gunshots, explosions and the ambiant sounds of the forest it all sounds good. The musical score is also done well and Snake Eater = best theme song to a game ever. Its got a James bond theme sound to it that really fits with this game in terms of the time period and how James Bond like this character is sans his interaction with the ladies.

Story

If you know anything about the Metal Gear series you know that it is heavily story driven. This game continues that tradition with a great story. It's completely understandable and all the pieces fall into place after you've beaten the game. Not only that but the story makes you want to play the game. This game proves that a great story can actually improve the game ten fold. Its no where near as dumb or confusing as the story in MGS2. The codec conversations are back but they are far better then the crap that was in MGS2. Alot of them are funny which breaks up the tension of what your actually doing. Like the para-medic thats obsessed with movies. Or your boss that loves James bond. They are actually fun to listen to and only drag on sometimes. Once again Snake could get more ass then a toilet seat but his job always comes first with him so he's always making small talk but never really gets around to what I know he's thinking. Or does he..... Anyway the Cutscense are crazy. Do not skip ANY of them becuase they are all good. Some seem to go on forever but they are there for a reason. There are so many twists and turns involved in this story that when the final cutscene (which is long as a hell) starts playing you'll pretty much be glued to your television watching in awe. Very good story.

Overall

If you own a PS2 and you don't play this game, you suck plan and simple. Its an easy candidate for best PS2 game ever. There is so much to this game that a review really doesnt do it justice. You have to play it to fully realize what it has to offer.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/22/04


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