Review by WrinklePump
"Achievement in every way"
Guns of the Patriots is the highly anticipated finale of the Metal Gear Solid series. It takes a lot of the improvements Metal Gear Solid 3 brought to the series and makes it better for the most part. A thorougly enjoyable game from beginning to end.
A major selling point of the MGS series is the storyline. Each game has been known to tell a lengthy and engrossing story, that only expands with every scene. The series is known to throw plot twists out there that force you to part with elements in the story you thought concrete.
GotP is no different from previous MGS games in the way that it delivers a story that is deep, layered, serious, inspiring, absorbing, and artistic. The story is thought-provoking, and makes you think about politics, warfare, human nature, and patriotism.
GotP delivers its story better than any MGS before it (even better than Snake Eater, and loads better than Sons of Liberty). The cutscenes are lengthy and plentiful, and presented flawlessly... And I've never connected with a fictional character stronger than I did with Solid Snake in this game. His character is really fleshed out, and he comes off as more "real" than any other video game protagonist.
Also, I should add that the voice acting is amazing and most of the original voice cast returns to present a masterful performance.
This game shows what the PS3 is all about. As Solid Snake (now known as Old Snake), your mission to terminate Liquid Ocelot takes you across the globe. You'll visit regions such as the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe, and a couple other areas that I'll let you find out about (there's nostalgia). Just know that all 5 areas in the game are massive, detailed, and unique from one another.
The people, robots, and animals all look excellent and behave/move as they should. Flawless, realistic animation.
As I said, the game tends to show you just what the PS3 can do. Often times there will be large amounts of soldiers locked in war with each other. Take into account the dozens of independent soldiers, the explosions, the smoke effects, the bullets, the vehicles, the large areas, the flames, the wind, the overall physics... The game always has a LOT going on, and it chugs along at a very near flawless framerate. Everything generally runs very smoothly while looking beautiful, so good job Konami.
As stated before, the voice acting is extremely well done, with most of the original cast returning. They pull you into the story, and make you listen to what's going on. They help make the story believable, as they should. Snake's voice is more gnarled than ever due to his aging body and smoking habits. Otacon, Raiden, Ocelot, Vamp, Campbell, Rosemary still have their same voices. The cast members that have left, are generally replaced with more suitable actors anyway.
The sound effects are spot-on. Every footstep, gunshot, explosion, collision sounds right. All sounds like it should, when it should. It comes together to add a lot to the level of immersion you feel when playing the game.
The music is expertly composed and serves its purpose well. It connects well with whatever is happening on-screen. The pieces can bring solace, fear, misery, hope, panic, nostalgia... All at the right moments. The music is never really annoying either, so that's a plus.
Guns of the Patriots gives you two options as to how to play your game (you can alternate at any time). The controls are perfect, and allow for easy adaption to near any situation Snake comes into.
Stealth: MGS has been known for it's stealth gameplay. As Snake, you can use his considerable skill to quietly maneuver your way around the enemy. You can choose to simply sneak past them, or choose to lure them into a trap, or creep up behind them for the kill. Snake's new suit, which uses "octocamo" technology, can automatically change appearance and texture to resemble that of whatever surface it comes into contact with. This is an essential tool in staying undetected (though it can be turned off/changed manually). Stealth is often times Snake's best weapon.
Action: The first 3 MGS games had guns of course, but the controls for shooting were so clunky and difficult that having a firefight was usually near impossible to win (you were forced to rely on hiding to succeed). MGS4 changes this, by offering a much tighter gun control scheme. It's now incredibly easy to whip out your gun and aim and fire... accurately! There is a very large (and varied) amount of weaponry available to you, all with their own specs and perks, and many of which can be customized for optimal performance. So if sneaking around, trying to keep invisible isn't your thing, you're always free to charge into the scene with guns blazing.
Psyche Gauge: MGS3 added a "stamina gauge" to the series. You, as Big Boss, had to survive in a Russian jungle during the Cold War. The mission lasted days, and Big Boss had to hunt for food to survive. Every action he executed cost him some of his stamina gauge. The lower the gauge went, the harder it became to aim, see, endure... Well the stamina gauge is gone, and replaced now with the similar Psyche Gauge.
Snake's missions in this game take him into some pretty heated warzones. This alone can be stressful. The bullets, explosions, screams, blood, is enough to cause anyone to stress out. Snake, who's getting up in age, is more susceptible to stress than ever. Things such as being fired at, being chased, not smoking, can cause Snake's stress levels to rise. The higher the level of stress, the steadier Snake's Psyche Gauge depletes. A low psyche has the same effects as low stamina in MGS3. To refill the gauge, the stress must be relieved. To relieve stress, you must eliminate the stressors as best you can: lose the enemy, smoke, relax. This will bring stress down, and your psyche up. There are some items that can restore psyche and health too, so that also helps.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is an achievement in every way. It's got amazing visuals and sound, it's got a dramatic and layered story, it's got perfect controls and flawless gameplay, and it's got the length and replay value that so many games lack. It's got everything you could want, all crammed into one disc (it pushes the size of even the PS3's blu-ray disc format). Really, it's obvious that this game has to be bought and enjoyed: I gave it a 10 and had a bunch of words to justify it. Go get it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/08
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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