Review by Kiddythe1
"Solid gameplay, just some issues with flow that keep it from being outstanding..."
First off, allow me to say that I love Metal Gear Solid 1 through 3, and am addicted to the Final Fantasy series. Why is this relevant? MGS, as well as Final Fantasy, are both loved and hated for their cutscenes. You can be expected to sit and watch the games for considerable periods of time, have a little play time, then more watching. This, I accept, and enjoy.
This makes it all the more significant when I put forth my opinion that the creators of MGS4 went WAY overboard with the cutscenes. My first playthrough (naked normal mode) lasted fifteen hours, I diligently watched every scene. My second playthrough (solid normal mode) lasted six and a half hours, I basically watched no cutscenes).
I am well aware of the fact that I would naturally be faster on my second playthrough, knowing where to go and being totally comfortable with the games drastically re-defined controls (which we'll get to). However I would also be held up by the smarter enemies, and there's also the fact that on my second playthrough, I tranq killed the bosses... Which takes an AGE.
My main problem with this game is, as it transpires, the thing I love the series for. It's cinematic to the point where you're just kind of sitting staring at the screen until the game decides to let you have a little shot of it. It's almost as though it's afraid that I might cramp its style - this is especially evident in the action sequencies. What reason is there for me to watch Snake fighting someone for a healthy five minutes when I could easily be doing it myself?
Additionally, installs. The game is split into 5 acts. When you initially insert the game, you go through a 7 minute install. When you load up an act, you get a 3 minute install. These smaller installs happen EVERY SINGLE TIME you load up an act different from what's installed on it. EVEN WHEN REPLAYING THE GAME. Gets annoying after a while. but the load times in game are minimal.
Now, other than those problems... This game is properly epic. Let's break it down:
I bought a surround sound system specially for this game. Best. Purchase. Ever. I'm not an audio connoisseur, but I would be willing to bet that the audio in this game could basically have the audio in any other game for breakfast. It's all so... Fitting. It really enhances the atmosphere, and creates a great sense of nostalgia in places. The voice work is superb, as you'd expect... Though why it's uncompressed is beyond me. Perhaps some people will hear a difference in the voices... I simply don't...
The textures used by the game are incredibly detailed, and the character models are second to none. One especially aesthetically pleasing item is the much-hyped Octo-Camo... It really looks great with some of the patterns, and watching it change before your eyes is, if nothing else, intriguing. It's not as good as some games, but it's above and beyond what's acceptable... And better than the trailers would have you think, too.
The gameplay in this game is... What MGS1, 2 and 3 were trying to be. I'm VERY tempted to use the word perfect... Oh to hell with it. The gameplay has a serious learning curve, if you're expecting it to be like the others in the series. The control scheme is tough to get to grips with, but once you get over that hurdle... Yeah, you get everything you can or would expect from a Metal Gear... It's sublime... There's just not enough of it....
The enemies are, as you'd expect, smarter. They're really efficient at clearing an area. The bosses are... Very interesting. Laughing Octopus is genuinely freaky. Good luck tranq killing them in the main fights... You take off like a millimeter of stamina with a head shot on some of them... Frustrating... But then as you can basically get any weapon at any time, just whip out your RPG and blast them to the depths of hell :D
....It's convoluted as hell. It explains mostly everything (But not Vamp's ability to run up walls or walk on water...) Some of the spoilers make sense... Some are seriously dissapointing... This is just something you'll need to judge for yourself.
Overall... Buy it. It's a genuinely fun game, and cutscenes can be skipped. There's some epic replay value in it too, but I shan't spoil that :)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/13/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (EU, 06/12/08)
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