Review by Ploder

"Kneejerk review this ain't."

Gameplay- 7 out of 10

Is it solid gameplay? Yes. Is it magnificent? No. Most of us played the demo to absolute death, praising Hideo Kojima for his mercy. Unfortunately, releasing the demo did more to spoil the game than anything else, because no improvements have been made over the demo version. In fact, I found several elements missing.

Despite what the box and countless reviewers would have you believe, evading enemy sentries does not require ingenuity or fast thinking. If there's a locker nearby, you get in it. If there's a table, you get under it. Even the beloved cardboard box has lost its effectiveness; enemy sentries, even on normal setting, see through this disguise and almost always pick you off for it. Generally, evading the enemies, which was the heart and soul of MGS's gameplay, has not been elaborated upon.

Gunplay is static as well; because of the trademark wonky controls, aiming and targeting is a time consuming operation.

However, in comparison to other action games, the gameplay has a certain panache and maturity. This is not a bloodbath FPS; it is, relatively speaking, a game of subtleties. I only wish that more improvements had been made over the original.

Audio/Visual 6 out of 10

Simply put, the graphics have taken a dive from the demo version. The tanker is quite obviously the tech demo of the game. After passing the initial stages of the game, locales become generic and downright boring; textures are simple and unconvincing, level design is clumsy and unimaginitive. There is little immersion on the visual front; lens flares abound as your character, presumably armed with a camcorder in first person view, looks to the sun. Equally confounding, emerging from well lit places coats the whole environment in an oversaturated glare for a period as, strangely enough, the pupils of the omniscient narrator viewing the entire game adjust to the light.

Niggles aside, the graphics are unimpressive and show nothing to evidence the long delays in releasing the game.

The sounds are fine; many of the themes are ripped from the original game, which is fine by me; if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Gun reports sound wildly, speech, though stunted, is about the best you'll find in a video game.

Story 2 out of 10

Here's the real beef; I doubt that I have ever felt so underestimated as a gamer than when muddling through this games blatantly stated plot twists. Containing more double crosses and cut scenes than anyone could possibly stomach, I found myself fast forwarding through every codec conversation (which is the main device used to propel the plot) by the end. In the first half of the game, you spend well over a third simply watching the story clumsily unfold all over itself.

It seems that Hideo Kojima has forgotten the liberties that the medium of video games allows him; namely, the ability to show us rather than tell us. Every twist in the plot of the game is painfully stated outright in lengthy dialogue sessions. It is confusing enough that Hideo Kojima would have his fans spend such a great deal of the game not interacting with the action. But the fact that this is done mostly through reading and listening to disembodied voices seems to be in flat ignorance of the most powerful tool granted by the medium of video games; VISUALS.

Buy or Rent:

Well, it's a tough one. The games too long to experience in a rental and not really worth the full 60 dollars of a purchase. Ultimately, the game is a disappointment and has very little to show for the lengthy delays.

I guess I'd say wait for the price to drop and then pick it up when you've got spare cash. But be warned; do not expect a cinematic experience, or anything to far ahead of the pack in this one. That position has already been filled by Ico.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 11/29/01, Updated 11/29/01

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