Review by iammostacrook
"Welcome to the Twilight Zone."
For the sake of transparency, the completely unedited original review is after a the line of asterisks below.
Since I wrote that review, I have finished the entire mainline Metal Gear Solid series. It was done in preparation for Metal Gear Rising before that was released, as I am a unabashed Platinum Games fanboy. While that ended up being completely unnecessary, I am quite glad I did. Snake Eater is one of the best games ever made. But, that isn't what this is about, so let's move on.
I still don't think MGS4 is an amazing game. I would feel very comfortable calling it the worst in the series, although I have not played AC!D or Portable Ops. I still think a few of my criticisms in the original review are valid, even if I was childish about them. MGS4 simply does nothing interesting with it's mechanics when compared to earlier (and later) entries.
For the second half of the game you are literally walking from cutscene to cutscene.
The game is not 3 hours long. Or 50 hours long.
Raiden's character design is still ridiculous.
It's tone is still completely inconsistent. You're watching listening to a character talk war philosophy, and then a guy with dysentery takes a dump in a barrel. I suppose that's part of the charm of the series, though.
I stand by the Scooby Doo comparison.
There is nothing wrong with gay undertones.
I'm not a troll. I'm not an Xbox fan boy seeking attention. I can't help but feel, though, that everyone has either, gone insane, or, is hailing Metal Gear Solid 4 as the greatest game ever made because it's cool to do so. I use the term game loosely here. Because I think the total amount of game-time played here over the course of the single player would end up being around three hours. But you have a controller in your hand for over fifty hours.
There must be something wrong with me. I paid fifty dollars for what is basically a corny straight to DVD Scooby Doo film, rewritten with flesh robots, knives that shoot out from silly two toed shoes, and a creepy nine year old who can't cook eggs.
This situation reminds me of a little movie called The Godfather. Everyone around me hails it as the greatest film ever created. I respect The Godfather. The actors are fantastic, it was a feat of filmmaking. I feel the same way about MGS4, it's a feat of cinematic gaming. But it needs more game and less cinema.
I RESPECT IT.
But I do not care for it. Just like I don't care for The Godfather.
I know what you're thinking, right, this guy's just referencing a couple of movies! This is a video game damnit! Stop! That's where you're entirely wrong. MGS4 is a movie. A very bad movie. A movie that, unless you have played all previous Metal Gear Solid games back to back last week, will not make any sense. To anyone. In any universe.
There's some plot with the kid who can't cook eggs right, I have no idea if it's a boy or girl, but I feel like there's some 'tension of a certain nature' between Snake, Otacon, and It. Otacon is clearly more than "just friends" with Snake, as evidenced by the voice recording should you happen to die when you actually get to play the game for fifteen minutes before being thrown into another cutscene.
I actually stopped watching the cutscenes after whatisface got whosawhatsit'd and regenerated the nooch and then he boinged all those people turning them into giant enemy crab. Clever spoiler aversion successful. It was probably around ten hours into the movie though.
Graphically, this movie is very sharp. Remarkably sharp. The textures are slightly not what they could be, although I imagine that this was purely to improve performance during cutscenes. It's very much so 'movie theatre' worthy, if you will.
The audio is equally impressive. Gunshots are loud, the voice acting is well done, although the dialogue is absolutely terrible. A certain bodily function was also amazingly well done.
Let's move on to the supposedly, most important part of any movie - sorry, video game. The game play! Shooting people is fun. It's tried and true. I don't know what to say about the gun-play other than it's very, very solid. The most fun I had playing this movie was that sneaking around and shooting people is good.
This deviates a lot though. The most time I spent not watching the movie was looking on the ground at foot prints. I spent a half hour on this 'level', if you will, trying to follow one set of footprints that were effectively identical to every other set foot prints.
I kept on hoping the game would get better as I progressed, as if some point, at the end of the tunnel there was absolute euphoria and nothing on this planet would be able to take away from me.
I was wrong. Of the, estimated mind you, twenty hours I watched this game. I imagine ten hours of it was cutscenes. The rest was playing and finishing the single player game, and the multi-player - oh wait, this game has multi-player.
Metal Gear Online is the absolute best part of this game. It's probably the only reason this game still has the grace to sit on my shelf to gather dust. I would even go as far as to say it's one of the best multiplayer component's I've ever played, however Konami's awful system brings this down. Most games lag constantly, and it takes five minutes just to get into the MGO lobby because you have to go through Konami's log in stuff.
As with any multi-player game it has it's annoyances, I've already mentioned lag, but there's also the classic rewarding players for playing longer. If I had a dollar for every time I emptied an entire clip into someone running straight at me and they came in and CQC'd me into a choke hold then shot me once when I'm knocked out, I'd have a few hundred bucks right now.
You can't do this to other people. You have to spend a lot of time leveling up your CQC in order to be able to choke hold someone unconscious and shoot them in the head afterward, which is a terrible way to do things.
To compare it to a game that uses a similar system of rewarding players, I'll use Call of Duty 4, not because I shout profanities at people when I play it, but because it rewards players for playing longer without making two year veterans God of the map. You get perks, perks generally will not make or break a one on one gunfight. If someone is using last stand, when you kill them they don't really die, if you're quicker than them you still kill them. with one extra shot after they go down.
In MGO if you have max level CQC, you are God. Nothing can beat choking someone out in three seconds and a shot to the face one second later.
The bottom line is...if you're a fan of MGS you already have this game and you've already praised it endlessly, with the box art tattooed on your buttocks. Or you're a PlayStation fan boy who praises the game without playing it, just to try to get at the Xbox fan boys.
This game was one of the reasons I bought a PS3. While I don't regret the purchase of the PS3, with Killzone 2, God of War III, Little Big Planet, Demon's Souls, and inFAMOUS, I entirely regret buying Metal Gear Solid 4. This movie is the first game I have truly regretted purchasing since I was ten.
If I want a cinematic gaming experience, I want a cinematic game. Not a corny movie with a so-so game attached.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/19/09, Updated 05/14/15
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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