Review by Oceans46
"A Very Flawed Very Good Game"
This is an interesting game to review. While some aspects like graphics and plot are on a scale never before seen in video gaming, other aspects, particularly plot, are on a level of inanity never seen since Katamari Damacy. But, a game is what it is, and not what it isn't. So, despite its flaws, I think it deserves full marks.
First off, the graphics in this game are earth-shattering. I don't like to be shallow, but here I have to be; these graphics made the game. They're so good I think it's possible we may not see anything this good until the next generation. There are some minor issues, like textures, and... that's all, seriously.
The gameplay's new, but not revolutionary. I won't go too much into the mechanics of it, but it's natural. There's a 3D Camera, you can move while aiming a gun, all the stuff that should have been in the PS2 games. The camouflage meter from Metal Gear Solid 3 is back too: less important, but still fun. One omission I did miss was the signature wall press, but at least now you can't do it accidentally when running away from guards.
There are also a ton of "novelty" segments, where for short periods you'll control the game in different ways. I won't spoil them, but they're good fun.
The gameplay near the beginning of the game is pretty open-ended. You'll find yourself crawling through the Middle East, and if you play it right you can ally yourself with the local militia. However, Kojima's vision of picking sides and altering events further in the game definitely didn't play out. One of the reasons Kojima gave was space considerations, but personally, I think they could have pulled some space from the graphics or at least the uncompressed audio. Also, the pacing is terrible. After the first two open-ended acts the remaining three are extremely linear.
The story is easily the hardest part to judge of this whole game. The individual scenes play out really well and the character development is great, but there are a LOT of cutscenes, probably 50% of the game. I genuinely enjoyed them, but they seem to be resented by most other players. You'll enjoy them a lot more if you feel a connection to a story, so I'd recommend you play at least Metal Gear Solid 2 if you can.
My biggest problem with the plot is... it's convoluted, directionless, and nonsensical? That sounds about right. By the end of the game I knew what had happened, but why it happened is another matter, and I suspect there are a number of plotholes. At least it's told well.
The music is great, even if it's not the best to grace the Metal Gear series. There are a number of great songs by Harry Gregson-Williams, and I currently have the whole soundtrack on my iPod. The music is uncompressed audio, so I suppose it'll sound good if you don't have tinny flatscreen speakers like me. One song that's noticeably absent until the credits is the MGS Main Theme. If you're curious why, a good portion of it is plagiarized from some Russian dude.
All considered, I think it's a great conclusion, but due its convoluted plot, it probably won't stir up too many new fans. Buy it if you're a fan of Metal Gear Solid, B Movies, or confusing Asian horror films.
The final grade: A
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/27/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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