Review by !.ACA.!

"A + ... Konami brings you the best mix of action and role-playing ever to grace a console."

Konami brings you the best mix of action and role-playing ever to grace a console.

In the middle of one of the strongest video game months in history (which includes the launch of two new gaming systems), Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty isn’t often overlooked in any aspect. Stunning videos have streamed across sites for months, and everyone with a Sony game console has surely heard of Solid Snake. This legendary figure, returns in one of the most anticipated games in years.

What makes Konami’s fourth chapter in the world of Metal Gear so great? For fans of the classic NES games Metal Gear and Snakes Revenge: Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty offers a new take on the series: it’s now in a fully interactive three-dimensional world. What about Metal Gear Solid, for the PlayStation? Isn’t that a fully interactive three-dimensional world?

In comparison to the first PlayStation Metal Gear game, Sons of Liberty takes the series to a new level previously unmatched by any other game. The guards are now more realistic. The guns are more realistic. The levels are never dull. And did I mention that the game doesn’t use simply text messages? All of the characters speak to you clearly; the acting isn’t phony—many times the acting in video games is worse than a bad Keanu Reeves movie.

The game begins with you choosing how skilled you are. If you’re new to action video games, MGS2 suggests that you play on the VERY EASY mode. Players who’ve never played MGS are suggested to play on the EASY mode, while veterans of MGS should play on NORMAL. More difficulty levels become unlocked as you beat the game.

After choosing how tough you are, you’ll enter the world of Solid Snake, the main character of the Metal Gear world. After watching a stunning introduction movie, take control of Snake on a Navy tanker in the New York City harbor near the George Washington Bay. You’ll meet Otachon, your nerdy friend who gives you all the inside information you’ll need to complete your first mission: find proof of the new anti-Metal Gear being developed by the United States Navy and take clear, concise photos of the vehicle.

You’re given very little to complete the mission: some cigarettes, a special radio to keep in contact with Otachon, a camera, and a tranquilizer gun. Doesn’t sound too tough, right? Get in, take some pictures of the new anti-Metal Gear, and get away.

The plot quickly complicates. Strange men, toting automatic weapons, hijack the ship, making your task tougher. You’re armed with only a tranquilizer and prayer. And, by the way, if the Navy sees you the mission fails. Ouch.

Knock out a few guards, steal their rifles, and take some snapshots, right? Wrong. There’s a few things wrong with philosophy. You can’t run around taking the terrorist’s guns—each gun is fingerprint registered to only one man. The gun won’t fire unless you have the same fingerprints as the person who registered the gun. It’s an advanced technique that costs millions, so not every person’s gun is fingerprint registered. Sometimes you’ll find guns still unregistered, and you can use them.

As you progress through the Navy Tanker, you’ll watch more, and substantially longer, movies. None of the movies are simply breaks from the game play, either. Each movie explains more and more of the epic story. At one point you’ll probably be making popcorn to watch the movies—they’re that long, and honestly, that good.

So what else can be told about this masterpiece?

The graphics look very realistic—you’ll feel immersed in the world around you, from the lighting effects to the bullets that fly by your head. And just when you think you’ve seen the graphics tested to the limit, the game will spring something new, and amazing, at you.

There is very little slowdown, if any at all. The graphics never slip, and you’ll have a hard time moving back into games on any console once you spend more than a few hours running around in the Metal Gear environment.

The audio is spectacular, and it’s exactly what you would hope for, and expect, on a DVD. There are hours of voices in the game, and if you ever feel lonely, there’s always someone to talk to you on your radio.

You’re in a world of life and death, but you will undoubtedly laugh from time to time, as well. You can save your game at any time, and after you do, Otachon (the computer specialist who contacts you through that radio) will buzz in with some funny little comment. They’re all memorably, funny, and worth listening to if you need a quick laugh. Hell, he talks about anything from Chinese literature to the three musketeers—the book, not the candy bar.

The game play also has its comical moments, like the posters of the Japanese girls throughout the game and the guards who pop question marks over their heads when they don’t know what’s going on. Startle an entire group of troops? They’ll all have exclamation marks popping up over their heads—a sight to see, really.

Also a sight to see is the loading, or lack of. It rarely loads, and when it does, it is short. It will load every time you go to the outer deck of the Navy ship, or every time you enter the boat’s engine room. It loads when you leave rooms and long halls, but you’ll hardly notice it, because the rooms and halls are so big.

The camera moves behind your character at the right speed, and it even switches for different modes of the game. When you’re tight against a wall, the camera swings overhead so you can see around the turns. If you need to aim your guns, enter first-person view.

In the different games modes, you’ll be able to perform different functions. While you can’t move in first-person view, you can look around and point your gun in any direction. While you’re against a wall, and the camera hangs overhead, you can press your punch button to knock against the wall. You’ll distract guards so that you can safely pass by without alerting more enemy forces.

In the end, it really can be summed up like this: Anyone with a PlayStation 2 needs to rent this game. Owners of a PlayStation 2 that even slightly like the action genre need to buy this game now.

Game Stats:
Players: One
Genre: Action
Cost: $49.99

A + … Presentation (Menus, Manuals, and Finishing Touches)

A + … Graphics

A + … Audio

A + … Game Play and Story

B + … Camera and Control

B + … Value (Replay and Cost)

A + … Final Grade

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/14/01, Updated 12/14/01

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