Review by TopherAU

"Another outstanding experience from Kojima Productions"

Gameplay - 9/10
Welcome to the new Metal Gear Solid. This game plays almost completely unlike any previous title in the series. It features a fully manipulable, 3D camera during regular gameplay giving you a full view of your surroundings. The aiming system has changed to over-the-shoulder/first person view and is now much more functional than previous titles, it also includes an auto-aim feature which makes combat easier in certain situations. Snake's arsenal has been expanded significantly (there are over 60 weapons to unlock, many are customisable with sights, attachments, etc.) and the Drebin points system is a Godsend to anyone who constantly runs out of ammo -- now you can buy more, right from the equip menu. Overall it's the most refined system of the series, as you would expect. It's only flaws are that sometimes Snake does unexpected things, like standing when you crawl over a dead body -- which gets you spotted faster than a leopard, and in a couple of places I found myself annoyed by somewhat repetetive and tedious gameplay sequences, especially during my second play-through.

Graphics - 10/10
The graphics in this title are completely mind-blowing -- as you'd know if you've seen a clip or screenshot from the game. The cinematic sequences are outstanding and impressive, whilst they are lengthy, I found this to work well for cinematic feel of the game. Some players, however, may not want to watch the long sequences and may miss important details by skipping them. It's the most visually impressive game available on the PlayStation3 platform so far, and some scenes will have you think twice about whether they are real-time, pre-rendered or live action. The game that makes me doubt whether I am seeing CG imagery in real time is the game that gets 10/10 for graphics. It's truly a visually stunning game.

Sound - 10/10
The soundtrack for Metal Gear Solid 4 is mind-blowing. The score, primarily composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, Nobuko Toda, Shuichi Kobori and Kazama Jinnouchi is impressive, featuring a vast array of melodies, from sadness to rage, laughter and screaming -- the score fits perfectly with every scene. The voice-overs are stunning, the best so far for the series, and possibly the best voice-overs featured in a videogame ever. Other sound effects get a mention too -- the background fighting noises you hear to the quiet chirping of birds alerting you to the presence of nearby enemies. Sound is just as important as ever in MGS4 -- you'll really find yourself using every sense available to you to guide you through the game.

Story - 9/10
The story finds you controlling an aging Solid Snake, thrown once again into the heat of battle starting in the Middle East. After an impressive opening sequence, you discover Snake's motivation, and from there it is filled with dramatic twists and turns throughout the globe. The story in Metal Gear Solid 4 does an impressive job of tying up all the loose ends from the previous titles in the series, and it does so quite neatly, leaving very few questions unanswered. Admittedly, the story may be confusing for newcomers to the series, but a little light reading and you should be ready to go. The game's finale is sure to please any die-hard Metal Gear fan -- it's that good.

Replay Value - 9/10
The game has somewhat minimal replay value. During my second play-through I retained all previously acquired weapons, ammo, items and Drebin points, making the game much easier with each subsequent play-through, although the enemies' responses changed and the ability to take alternate routes (there are plenty of them, too) spiced things up a little. There are many ways to play the game too -- you can go in guns-a-blazing, sneak it up a bit or play sides and waltz in during the confusion. If you take your time, you're sure to find something new each run through the game. I know I did.

Overall - 9/10
Overall, this game would be the perfect game save for a few flaws. I found the lack of a cutscene replay mode irritating, and the post-game extras are somewhat lacklustre. The product placement from Sony-Ericsson, Apple and others wasn't over-done -- my recognising brands in-game only increased the immersive experience and made the game feel more like it was taking place in the real world. From start to finish, this game made me want to keep playing, I barely put the controller down and before I knew it the game was over and I started again on a higher difficulty -- and loved every minute of it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/16/08

Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (AU, 06/12/08)

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