Review by Enigma987
"Now, before you shoot me...."
Well, after waiting, and waiting, and more waiting, possibly the most-anticipated game in years has arrived. We got caught up in the hype, we dreamed of continuing our adventures with Solid Snake, and we got a little glimpse of the future in a demo that some heralded as better than many whole games. So, how does the final game fare? Pretty damn well I'd say.
Graphics: Let's start with what I consider to be one the least important aspects of a game, but still one that demands attention. What can I say, other that this looks better than any other game you have ever seen. I'm not exaggerating, this game is beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing. Glass shatters, mirrors break, paper flutters. Every aspect is incredible, but one thing deserves extra mention. The animation. The animation is natural, and it's the one thing that almost convinced me that some of the in-game movies were pre-rendered. I promise, it's just that hard to tell.
Sound: Onto a slightly more important aspect of a game, to me at least. Bad graphics can be looked past, but in a game that uses voice acting for so many characters, sound has to be great enough to bring you into the game and attach you to the heroes and villains. And I have to say, the MGS crew pulled it off again. Special credit has to be given to David Hayter, the man behind Solid Snake. He has probably given the best example of how to do a characters voice, ever. All of the other voice-actors deserve a nod as well. Very rarely do any of the lines sound forced. The sound effects themselves are amazing as well. The guns sound like you'd imagine, and stepping on varying types of ground sounds different. Any faults found in these aspects of sound would just be nit-picking. The music however, is another story. Great for the most part, up-tempo when it needs to be, and a certain theme that's heard every now and then throughout the game is also amazing. The song over the closing credits though, is completely wrong. It doesn't fit with the atmosphere your left with at the final scene, and overall seems like something added without too much thought. Maybe I just wanted to hear the full version of that one theme I mentioned, but this song just seemed wrong.
Gameplay: Now this is where it's at. The first game was great with it's stealth gameplay, but the sequel definitely kicks things up a notch. The ability to aim in first-person is a definite plus, as well as all the minor control refinements. The guards AI is improved greatly. Fainter sounds are heard, and walking on the edge of a guards vision isn't an option anymore. The guards still have tunnel-vision however, but that's not a problem. It's much easier to be caught anyway. And getting caught is as close as it gets to instant death in some parts of the game. Reinforcements will be called in, and will search much longer than in the first game. Overall, much improved. Now, for boss fights. Amazing. Despite what others may have said, I found these battles to be at least on par with those of the first game, if not improved. Without spoiling any surprises, let me just say that the final battle is one of the best times I had in a game full of great times.
Story: Mild spoiler warning: Nothing revealed, but I will explain something minor about how things are handled at the end. The game begins innocently enough, but quickly turns into a complicated web of side-switching and convulted motives. I was ripped back and forth, confused for hours, and then put in my place, only to be ripped back again. I loved every minute of it. The ending is great, up until the actual end. Your left with way too many questions. Not one question, such as the one that Ocelot leaves you with at the end of the closing credits of the first Solid game, but many questions that should have been answered. The end felt rushed, and there's nothing much else to say. Maybe the amazing nature of the rest of the story makes this part seem that much worse, but the end truly is disappointing.
Replay: You will play this game a year from now. Odds are, you'll start playing again right after you finish, and you'll love it just as much the second time around. The gameplay is what matters in replay and it pays off. This is just a fun game, with plenty to do. Collect all the dog-tags, beat the game numerous times, struggle through the hard and extreme modes, or just make up your own challenges. This game will keep you coming back. Given that, the relatively short time of the game itself is easy to look over. Expect 12-13 hours for MGS veterans playing on Normal, 3-4 hours more for those who never played MGS.
Overall: You must own this game. If you don't your cheating yourself. Even if action games aren't your forte, you should at least rent. Experience it once, and your hooked. However, if your the type that beats a game, and leaves it to collect dust on the shelves without ever being touched again, than you should ONLY rent it. Like I said before, the game is short, and if your only going to play it once, probably not worth a purchase. Of course, I say you should buy it anyway, because you WILL play it again, but that's just me.
Rating: 9/10. If I could give it a 9.5 I would, but I don't feel the game deserves a 10, even though it is amazing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/17/01, Updated 11/17/01
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