Review by Axel7174

"Hideo Kojima contends that videogames are not art. This review disagrees."

Konami's most famous franchise is without a doubt, Metal Gear Solid. The chronicles of Solid Snake have become legendary in their own right, becoming much more mainstream. The story has earned itself in gaming's best and Hideo Kojima's genius and wizardry know no bounds. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots puts Solid Snake's tale to rest. The game itself sees him out with a bang, with his most enthralling and gripping adventure yet.

First I'll get one big question out of the way, merely because it is asked a lot. Can I play this game without having played the other games in the MGS series? The answer, in short, is yes. You can definitely play this first, but the story will be so very confusing without any background.

Concept: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots takes Snake on his final mission, taking place several years after MGS2. The core elements of the game return with some very well-fitted additions. It sees an era off in the best way.

Graphics: MGS has usually pushed each console to its limits, and there is no exception here. The Blu-ray disc is packed with content and graphics play a large role in the game's mystique. Each environment is beautifully scaled and laid out. The characters are extremely well designed and detailed. The game's cut scenes show off this splendor with rewarding visuals, especially should you have HDMI as an option. There is no single object, area, person, or item in this game that looks bland.

Sound: If you have a home theater with surround sound, I envy you. MGS4 is a great game and the sounds and voices give it a life that resonates within the players. From the sounds of intense war being waged; explosions and gunfire, to the calmness of a river's flow, the game is like an audible work of art. Furthermore, as if it even needed to be mentioned, the cast of voice actors is well founded. David Hayter voices the newly titled Old Snake and as always, he brings Snake to life. It can't be said any simpler than this: David Hayter is Snake. The rest of the cast does an impressive job in taking a videogame to the next plateau.

Gameplay: The core gameplay is still here. Fans of MGS will recognize the traditional stealth oriented style. Due to the game's setting however, this is a slightly increased focus on combat, but players ultimately have the choice how they want to go through the game. The action is intense, and every area is transformed by unexpected things. With stealth still a focus, there is the implementing of the OctoCamo suit, which Snake uses to blend in with his surroundings. This feature never stutters and is always fun to use and behold. There are some changes however, and they are all for the better. The new targeting reticle allows players to see where they're aiming with an over-the-shoulder view. Like MGS3, Snake's inventory is divided into what he carries on his person and what is in his "bag". New features like stress and psyche add a new innovative factor and challenge to the game. Completing the game rewards players with numerous unlockable goodies and bestows upon them special ranks. Gamers will also undoubtedly stumble across some of the more humorous aspects of the game, such as the famous "magazines" and many, many hidden Easter Eggs. Finally, as always, there are boss battles, and the Beauty and the Beast Corps are the opponents Snake must face. Without giving too much away, the battles are unlike anything Snake or the gamer has experienced before.

Story: Metal Gear Solid has always been about very deep, complicated plots with many twists and turns and resounding lessons about life. Wrapping your head around the plot of the MGS series is no easy task, but it is rewarding nonetheless. The story is told through brilliant cut scenes which at times, may seem to drag on. Snake, knowing his time is coming up, has learned the location of his brother, Liquid, and is sent on a mission to track him down. Along the way, the action becomes intense and it is all brought to a crescendo through colorful visuals and top notch voice acting. Like most MGS games, especially Sons of Liberty, the game is constantly throwing new information at the player, and often recanting and twisting it, adding to the depth and wonder. Even in the game's final hours, there is an overwhelming amount of detail and information coming in. It literally keeps you glued until the credits have begun rolling.

Replay Value: Very high. Metal Gear Solid 4, like past games, is full of rewards and items to unlock, giving players much incentive to play through again and again. It is nearly impossible to experience everything MGS4 has to offer in one, two, even three times through. Being Snake's last dance and all, it is no surprise the game is as rewarding as it is.

The good
-Many new features including advanced targeting and OctoCamo system
-Amazing graphical detail that brings a truly remarkable game to life, enhanced by HDMI
-Ability to pause and skip cut scenes
-Great plot that is tough to chew on, but very rewarding
-Well formed cast of voice actors make the game what it is
-Great replay value and many unlockables to keep the fun going
-Intense boss battles
-Many hidden Easter Eggs to discover
-Core gameplay is still there

The Bad
-Although not a problem for me, some players may find the long cut scenes to be somewhat vexing
-The story is long and convoluted and may not be easy for players to grasp

The Final Verdict

10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/02/08

Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)


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