Review by cj2021
"They truly were saving the best for last..."
Snake's final mission. The day I picked up MGS1 from the store as a kid, I always feared the day they released the last piece to the epic puzzle. Now it's here, and I must say, Hideo Kojima closed out the best game series ever with a bunker-buster bomb. This game is simply outstanding in all aspects.
Five years after the Big Shell incident, Snake finds himself on his last legs, and last mission, as he sets out to kill Liquid... Again. War has changed. It is now routine everywhere on the globe. But while war is routine, good ol' Snake isn't. On the contrary, he's now old and beat up due to accelerated aging from his unnatural birth, and the only thing holding him together to keep the fight going is his spirit. All the while, Liquid is attempting to start an insurrection to take over the Patriot's system known as SOP (Sons of the Patriots), making it even harder on our grizzled legend, as most of the world is now against him.
Snake will need to fight his way through several different areas, including a final return to Shadow Moses to take care of some business with Rex. It is tough to describe the story, as you must play it to truly understand it and get the full jist of it.
Kojima has done it once again, creating a game with top-of-the-line graphics. Ever since MGS2 was released in 2001, it was evident that Konami was on top of things in this department. The facial features are very in depth, the gameplay is sleek and smooth while providing state-of-the-art detail all around. The enviroment is fantastic, between the sky, wreckage, and even the weapons look amazingly similar to the ones they were copied from in the real world. The guys really outdid themselves on this one.
Harry Gregson-Williams has created a truly masterful soundtrack. As soon as you hear the first note of the title-screen music, you can tell it is trademark MGS music (and we all know MGS has had some amazing music over the years, ranging from the Theme of Tara to Snake Eater). I don't think that even Mozart could have made a better symphony in comparison to some of the songs on here. And the nice little added feature of the i-Pod in your items inventory lets you hear all of the MGS music from the games over the years, as long as you collect most of the songs, which are retrievable all over the battlefield. I believe without the music in the game, it would lose a lot of its emotion in the cut-scenes, and intensity in the alert phases. A job well-done by the MGS music crew.
Still sticking to the Tactical Espionage Action of the previous games, even though the original thought was "nowhere to hide". Quite the opposite, however, with the newly-added piece of equipment to Snake's inventory known as "Octocamo". It is what it says it is. It utilizes the same ability an octopus uses; changing skin color to fit the surroundings. This is much better than the constant switching of camo suits in the prequel, Snake Eater, as it is automatic when you press yourself against a surface (ground or wall), giving you a great advantage in being able to be constantly mobile with almost nil downtime. The Solid Eye, another new item Snake has acquired via Otacon, combines the classic binoculars, normal mode (which allows normal sight, while being able to identify items just by glancing at them and seeing what an enemy has equipped. This is a low power mode and uses little battery power), and night vision/thermal imaging (Yup, they were even kind enough to combine the two of those :D). This allows the opening of the inventory, one little button press, and you are instantly adapted to that situation. Like I said, no downtime.
An all-new weapon system, known as Drebin's Shop, allows the purchasing of ammo, guns, silencers, and the unlocking of IDs on acquired guns on the field of battle, allowing you to use literally everything you find, from your classic Stinger Missile Launcher, to the amazing Rail Gun, which combines devastating power when fully charged, and the range of a sniper rifle, complete with a scope. You earn Drebin Points (the currency of the Drebin Shop) by selling guns to Drebin that you already have one of (this will automatically be done upon picking up the gun, or by activating special sound-scenes by walking into an area or performing a special action at the right time, such as equipping the Mk. 23 (Socom of MGS) in Shadow Moses. Snake says, "Just like old times..." and awards you 1k Drebin points. Any ammo is kept for later use. Nice and thought out, eh?). You can also add scopes, dot sights, and rifle/pistol lasers to certain guns you pick up, as long as they allow for that item to be attached.
All of Snake's old moves are still there (a combo of Big Bosses CQC expertise and Solid Snake's brute force). You can still creep, crawl, and crouch (they even added the running-while-crouched feature, allowing you to stay low and behind cover while still mobile). There is a new over-the-shoulder aiming system, allowing for added accuracy for you third-person shooters out there. First-person aiming is still there, so don't fret you COD and Halo fans :P. CQC is now usable with certain rifles equipped as well, such as the M4 Custom, allowing you to disarm or throw enemies to the ground without switching off your gun. You can now flip onto your back while prone. This serves no purpose if you're doing it for fun, but if Snake happens to get knocked over, you can make a nice recovery by holding the L1 button while on your back to shoot your attacker. You can also roll on the ground (belly to back, back to belly) over and over, allowing for proned movement quickly to the sides. You can also play dead. Though it rarely fools the enemy, it makes for a nice sneak attack when they approach you to check your vital signs.
The new boss battles with the B&B Corps are something else. The boss battles of MGS3 were really rather impressive, but they jacked it up again with these chicks. They all provide some sort of special ability that gives them the upper-hand in the situation you fight them in. Their names are all copied from original MGS bosses (Octopus, Raven, Wolf, and Mantis). These women are all obsessed with slaughtering you, so don't expect an easy fight with them.
The new controls, while not all different, are somewhat hard to master., but you should be able to adapt to them over time. Although, the total camera control is nice, being able to see everywhere from one position, and you will be able to change some of the controls to your liking, though I suggest giving them a chance at first
This is the only flaw with this spectacular game. It is fun, at first, to go back through on higher difficulties with your nice toys acquired previously, but after a while, it becomes the same thing over and over. There isn't much to be said on it, it just isn't a very repeatable game after a while. *shrug*
MGO (Online play): 8/10
I don't count this on the overall game standing, as not everyone does this, but I will put it up for all who are interested. MGO is very exciting in simply being able to see who is the bigger MGS freak when facing other people. The variety of maps is good, allowing some for snipers and others for CQC-based situations, or just your all-out shoot-outs. The problem here is the extreme lagginess of it. The servers aren't very strong, but it can't be complained too much about since it is a free feature. Still, if you are one to throw your controller through the wall when killed by a guy you shot in the head 5 seconds prior, avoid playing MGO at all costs.
What's the Final Call?
Go rent it and beat it and never play it again, or buy it and cherish it forever? Heck, if you don't already own a PS3, this game is the soul reason you need to go get one right this second. You need just experience the raw emotion of the game first-hand to get hooked on it. Never have I played a game that actually made me sympathize with the main character, made me feel like I was there and make me feel like a complete badass for a few hours. Honestly, this game is the best out there, there is no argument. An amazingly epic ending to a fantastic series of games that will most definitely not be forgotten for decades to come. Instant classic, right here, right now.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/28/09
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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