Review by Nafzger
"Not the best in the series."
However, it's still incredible. The Metal Gear series is my all-time favourite series. As far as Metal Gear games go, I think this game is extremely good. It continues the rare tradition of the fourth game in the series being completely sweet. Examples being RE4, GTA4, FF4, and Castlevania 4. The only minor complaints I have are more to do with the PS3 than the game itself. First of all, the good.
After completing the game, I felt that Kojima answered a lot of questions. However, there were a few times I felt he was using deus ex machina to get around a lot of explaining, particularly with a certain bloodsucker. There were also some cases where I felt he was squeezing out too much information at once. Sometimes the plot development was overwhelming, with too much being thrown at you at once. I feel the story of this game itself is very, very good. I haven't played a MG that I thought had a weak story, so it's hard to compare it to others. I think all of the games can stand alone and have their own merit in their own way.
The game play in the game is fun, and challenging, especially for a Metal Gear game. Every game in the series has progressed in some way, from the original Metal Gear being 2-D, the transition to 3-D, the ability to hang and shimmy in Sons of Liberty, and the camo system in Snake Eater. Every game in the series has built off the previous in some way, and this one is no different. I love the fact that in the rest of the series, you can basically avoid all fights aside boss fights and just watch cutscene after cutscene. It's like the anti-rpg, i.e. no random encounters. This sequel adds the extra challenge to that formula. With battles going on around you, you are forced to use your wits and find your way around the crossfire. I think this new challenging game play is a step in the right direction for the series. The first few boss fights in the game took me nearly an hour and you can cell how the creative team have matured as developers by assigning different strategies to every boss character. My first play through, I only used Drebin for ammo. This second play through, I am going to utilise his services whenever possible to see what it's like. I wish they had more health pickups, since you can just buy the ammo from him.
I have a few complaints about the control changes, but this is something I could contribute to the team wanting to try something new on a new console. X as confirm may throw some old school MG fans for a loop, but coming off just playing GTA4 where A (X) is confirm, I automatically used it. Changing fire from Square to R1 was also strange. I actually died twice in the first sneaking part because I hit square and it toggled auto-aim instead of opening fire on my enemies. Another issue I had was the save feature. Instead of calling to save, you go into the menu to do it. I miss the old codec calls and words of wisdom I'd get from Mei Ling and talking to ParaMedic about movies when I wanted to save my game.
Music, Sound Effects, and Graphics:
Being the fan of video game and film music that I am, I am very pleased with the soundtrack composed for this game. A few times, it actually reminded me of the Team America: World Police soundtrack. I laughed this off, but then remembered Harry Gregson-Williams composed the music for this game and the film as well. I enjoy the iPod and the selection of music they included pleased me. The sound effects really made me feel like I was part of the action. The loudness of a gun shot going off right next to you is almost deafening on surround sound.
Graphically, this game looks like a beefed up PS2 game. Sometimes the textures look completely terrible, ex. the fire during the second boss fight, and sometimes it looks so real I think I'm watching a movie. Inconsistency bothers me, however, I am thankful that most of the game ends up looking amazing. It's a shame they had to lower the visual effects in some areas so it would fit on the BluRay disc. I kind of wish it would be more than one disc, but I guess Sony took issue with the BluRay looking inferior if this occured. However, I don't see to what it would look inferior, as BluRay won the battle against HD-DVD.
My issues with the PS3:
I have to admit, I bought my PS3 just for this game. I don't regret the purchase, but I personally feel this game is saving the PS3 from becoming Saturnised. My most major issue is the loading feature. I don't understand why the game needs to be installed, and then loaded between every scene. Wasn't the installation supposed to cut back loading times? I can't imagine how the game would be without installation.
Overall I would give the game itself a 10/10 as far as game play, challenge, music, and story are concerned, but my issues with the PS3 and its drawbacks prevents me from giving this game that high of a marking. This game answered a lot of questions and brought me to tears during the ending. The last time I was moved like that during a game was, in all honesty, Metal Gear Solid 3 (my personal favourite.) I would definitely recommend to long time fans like myself, but if you're new to the series, I would encourage you to play through at least MGS before this one.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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