Review by Ippongi_Ryuta
"[REVIEW] Push Select Button"
So after reading many reviews and feedback of this game, I finally decided to get myself a Playstation 3 and this game, keep in mind that I have played MGS, MGS2: Substance and MGS3: Subsistence. I love Subsistence, it holds the place of a superb game with very little flaws.
Anyway, as of this review, I have played and beaten MGS4 on normal difficulty in 11 hours and the following are my thoughts of the game.
One of the reasons you would want to play this game would most likely be because of the storyline, as all of you MGS players out there would know, the MGS games rely heavily on long cutscenes and long codec conversations to convey the story to the player, this game is no different, if you put all the cutscenes of this game together and convert all the gameplay scenes into cutscenes, then this would become a decent two-part movie.
MGS4 is a sequel to MGS2, Snake (now extremely old and possessing a rather impressive mustache) is sent to the middle-east to seek information of Liquid's whereabouts to stop him from-... You know what? The plot doesn't really matter, I skipped most of the cutscenes while I was playing the game, yes, I know some of you readers might be bothered by that since the essence of the game is the story, yes, I understand, the plot is extremely deep, simple to pick up, difficult and complex to understand fully, it's not a game where you can just play through once and expect to understand everything. If you're an MGS fan, you would sit through the painfully slow cutscenes, if not, skip them and play the game.
It's a PS3 game, the graphics are amazing, what more is there to say? Everything is brilliantly detailed, the menu system is fluid and beautiful, the character's expressions are superb, even the models of every gun is top notch,
If you are familiar with the MGS games, then you should know that the O button is always to confirm and X is to cancel, well, here it's been reversed so that might take some time to get used to. The gameplay controls are easy to get used to, R1 to perform CQC, L1 to aim, R1 to attack with weapon while aiming, X is to change stance as always, etc. etc. The menu is user-friendly and the slightly more complicated menu options such as the shop that comes up later takes little time to get used to, so there's no problem with that.
One problem that I do have with the UI is that the game offers little tutorial in terms of gameplay controls, the game throws the player right into the control of Snake and expects them to know what to do, newcomers to the series may take some time wandering around before finally figuring out that they must hold down X to prone, and then crawl under the truck to move on with the game, it just seems a bit strange, nowadays, even if it is a small amount, game offers beginner's tips such as "tilt the left joystick further to make your character run..." or "press X to execute a punch".
Again, like the graphics, the sound is extremely well done, you can hear every bullet and every voice and every sound of footsteps as Snake ventures through the game. The music on the other hand, feels off at some parts during the game, I can't particularly remember what scenes, but the soundtracks doesn't fit the mood of the scene most of the time, however, there are some memorable tracks at memorable points during the game, particularly at the final boss battle.
Here it is, the most important part of any game, is the gameplay good?
For those who don't know, Metal Gear Solid games are stealth games in which the player has to reach from one point to another while remaining undetected from enemy sight, each room had a certain number of enemies and acted as a puzzle for the player to figure out how to navigate through safely. The player are given a number of tools to use at their disposal to knock out the guards, distract them, kill them or even trick them. The first and second MGS game followed this pattern, 95% of these two games took place indoors and Snake/Raiden had to find key cards, open doors, find new weapons, backtrack and reach the end. In MGS3, the game took place mostly outdoors, the places that were available for Snake to hide in weren't as obvious and there was hardly any backtracking compared to the first two games.
Metal Gear Solid 4 follows a similar gameplay "recipe" as MGS3 but the outdoor and indoor sections were much more balanced, a lot more weapons were added, there is more customisation, the camo system from MGS3 has been retained and a shop system had been added, which to me, makes the game extremely easy since you can just buy a huge supply of ammunition and remained fully stocked throughout the entire game.
The stealth mechanics feels a bit random at times, once I was crawling through some broken houses in the shadows with a camo index of 75% and a guard who was running past a door outside looked in my direction with a "?" above his head and saying "who's that?", I immediately went into crouching position to make my escape and he saw me instantly triggering an alert, while another time, I was running about in the open, I turned around a corner and did not see the enemy soldier running my direction, he and his buddy ran right past me without looking twice at Snake... What. Apart from that "glitch" the stealth is fine, of course if you don't feel like sneaking you can just whip out your assault rifles and shotguns and blast everyone in sight.
The game retained the basic items from the previous games, MGS players would remember the good old "ration" and "cardboard box", yep, they've all kept that in so no need to worry about not feeling like this is a proper MGS game, the game also has the "Solid Eye", it's nothing you haven't seen before if you've played the other MGS games, it's basically a Night Vision and Binoculars as one item, it also adds a radar to the screen that reveals the position of living creatures, very similar to the radar from MGS3, yes, that means the minimap from the first two games are not present in this game either, but watch out, the Solid Eye consumes batteries so you can't really use it for long periods of time. There's also the OctoCamo which makes Snake blend into the environment and increase the camo index, it's basically a lazy way of merging all the camoflauges from MGS3 which isn't a bad thing since you don't need to go into the menu constantly to adjust to the environment. A really old thing I felt about this feature is the reason why they didn't give the player the Solid Eye and the OctoCamo at the beginning of the game because it was crucial to the gameplay, I won't complain too much though because they do give them to you very early in the game. Finally, there's a new, cool little feature added to the game called "The Threat Ring", it's a simple grey ring around Snake that curves up depending on the direction of any approaching enemies, this is a very good way of letting the player know when to leave cover or stay hidden in case an enemy is heading Snake's direction.
A gripe I have about this game is the difficulty, I'm doing a second playthrough at the moment on Solid Hard and I pratically ran through the game while crouching, sure, I triggered a few alerts, but this act that I pulled made me feel like the sneaking and the shooting gameplay feels optional, maybe I should try Big Boss Extreme and then come back to this point.
In conclusion, the gameplay is solid (lol), the stealth is good and there's a lot of replayabilty since they kept the "rank" system as well as unlockable items.
[+] Very fun gameplay
[+] Unmatched graphics
[+] Loads of nostalgic moments
[+] Deep story
[+] Perfect for Metal Gear Solid fans
[+] Plenty of replayability
[-] Some of the cutscenes are longer than they should be
[-] Unfriendly to newcomers, making them feel left out on the storyline
[-] Enemies line of sight feels random at times
[-] A tiny bit too easy
[-] Limited free codec conversations
If you're a MGS fan, this game is a must-buy, if not, it's still a good game, just remember to skip the cutscenes if they start to bore you or if you're only interested in the gameplay.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/31/10
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (EU, 06/12/08)
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