Review by mikeburnfire

"Spoiler-Free Review"

Okay. After 15 hours, I've finished the main game. I played it on Easy Mode, which turned out to be an underestimation of my skills. I'll have to play it again on a harder difficulty to re-evaluate most of the boss fights. Anyway, here's my review...

Gameplay is a bit different this time around. Right C-Stick controls the camera, in case the default can't cut it. Otherwise, the controls are mostly the same. New additions include a backpack, a cure system, and the infamous CQC system.

Whenever you get a weapon or an item, it goes into your backpack. If you want to use it, you must go into the menu and put it in your weapon list. You can only have 8 items and 8 weapons out at max. If you want to change, you'll have to go to the menu and switch. Each item has a weight, and the heavier your load, the more stamina you burn.

Ah, I should mention the stamina gauge. If you didn't know by now, Snake has a stamina gauge that measures how fatigued he is. When it's full, Snake can recover health faster automatically (There are few "rations" in this game since you recover health automatically). The lower your gauge means the less steady you hold your gun. It also means, low health recovery and a general handicap in battle. It is imperitive to keep your gauge up. You do this by eating what you can.
So far, I've found everything from rats, fish, snakes and spiders to goats, crocodiles, vultures and ever some Japanese Noodles. Each food is unique. Some give you a big stamina boost, some hardly give any at all. Some even give you food poisoning, which you will need to remove with the CURE SYSTEM. Snake will often tell you how each food tastes with a exclamation of joy or a sarcastic remark. I tried 26 different kinds of edibles my fist time through.

The Cure System is a feature that increased the realism, apparently. If you step on a claymore, you get burned. If you get shot, it could get lodged in your body. If you're attacked by a snake, you may get poisioned. All of these things require you to go into your menu and dig out your supplies. Ointment, bandages, splints, antidotes and the like are procurable and each wound requires attention, before it affects your stamina and health. This feature can get tedious if you go Rambo-style through the game, killing at your pleasure. Basically, the cure system is just another reason for you to attempt stealth over brute force.

The CQC combat system is great. Just great. Run or sneak up behiind an enemy, hold circle and put him in the famous chokehold. From there, you can hold him up, interrogate him, use him like a shield, knock him out, slit his throat or snap his neck. It's very useful and fun.

Interesting concept. There is a variety of outfits to suit your terrain. Face paint is also useful. However, going into the menu screen to change is slightly repetative. There's so many secret outfits. I found one secret facepaint that was all white with red lips, like a japanese female singer. It made Snake look creepy.

The story is nicely done this time around. Compelling, like MGS2, but simple like MGS1. To dispell all rumors, you play as Naked Snake. Not Solid Snake, not Liquid Snake, not Raiden in VR training. Just Naked Snake. It's the 1960s. The world has been divided into a cold war. You're mission is infiltrate a jungle stronghold to rescue a Soviet scientist who wants to defect to the States. Simple, but get bigger. I can't tell alot about the story without spoiling it, but I'll tell you it was fast paced and gripping. Also, there are lots of in-game jokes mixed in with the plot. Never before have I lauged so hard in the introduction of a videogame.

What can I say? There wasn't a whole lot of room for improvent of MGS2's AI. Most noticable is that enemies will hear you if you run near him. Even if you walk, he can still hear you. To sneak around him, you must use the D-pad. While the control stick controls walking and running, the D-pad controls sneaking, which consumes your stamina and takes time.

Some boss battles seemed too easy for me. It's probibly because I played MGS2's Boss Survival so much, so I'll have to try a harder difficulty. However, one particular boss battle I encountered was great. I won't spoil a lot, but it was a sniping battle. It wasn't like Sniper Wolf. It was much harder. Both me and my enemy were able to travel throughout the entire area, so not only did I have to search for my enemy, but I had to watch to make sure I wasn't attacked from behind. It was a great battle that took me almost half an hour (full hour if you consider it took me two tries). That was probibly one of my favorite battles. However, it you thought it was stupid that nobody could explain Vamp's powers in MGS2, you're going to be furious when you see what the new enemies can inexplicably do.

The music kicks ass. I like to go into alert mode just to hear the chase music. Very fitting.

Graphics are spectacular in the beginning and it only gets better. Around the 2/3 mark of the game, it really struts its stuff. Dare I say it... almost X-box quality graphics?

Remember the movie THE MATRIX? Remember when Trinity said "We need guns. Lots of guns," followed by a HUGE amount of guns appearing out of nowhere? It's kinda like that. Good news for you gun freaks. Mk22, M1911A1, Single Action Army Revolvers, Fork, Scorpion machine gun, XM1E1 with auto, semi auto or burst fire, AK-47 Assualt Rifle, M63 machine gun, M37 shotgun, SVD sniper rifle, Mosin Nagant Tranq Rifle (I never found that. ) and an RPG Rocket Launcher are some of the weapons the manual lists. I have used most of them and they ARE FUN.

Also, new secondary weapons are Phospherous grenades (set enemies on fire), TNT, Smoke Grenades (They still have Stun Grenades too), and torches (never found that either ) all help you evade or attack your persuers. New Equipment includes Motion Detectors and Sonar to replace Mei Ling's Sonaton radar, mine detector (doesn't show a map, just beeps when near claymores), Bug Spray (never used it), and the legendary CARDBOARD BOX!!!

So, in summation:
Beautiful environments
Kickass CQC system
Great Music
Huge Arsenal of weapons
Most humourous MGS game ever.
Mystery of the Patriots revealed at last!
Snake Vs. Monkey minigame. Laugh your ass off.

The... not so great...
Cure system is stupid. It doesn't increase realism if I can disinfect and bandage up a bullet wound and THEN remove the bullet, which is what I often did.
Even Solid Snake could chokehold in MGS1! If you don't have a CQC-combatable weapon out, you can't put someone in a choke hold. Why not?
In MGS2, you had the option of DE-QUIP or PREVIOUS Quick-Change. It enabled you to switch between 2 weapons really fast. Where the hell did THAT go?

Final Rating: 9/10 - This is a great game, but with a few small tweaks it could have been perfect.

Also, if my review has made you dig up some cash to go buy this game, I'll give you some advice. When it prompts your opinion, choose "I ENJOYED MGS2!" if you've played MGS2. So far, the only thing I've found is that this option is the most humorous.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/19/04

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