Review by Haz4rd
"Moar Liek "Metal Gear Kickass 4: Guns of the Awesome" Amirite?"
Metal Gear Solid is a name most, if not all, gamers are familiar with. When we hear those words, various things pop into our heads: Snakes, states of matter, giant nuke-launching mechas, various animals, Tactical Espionage Action. Metal Gear Solid was the first 3D installment of the Metal Gear series, and it sparked the beginning of the espionage sub-genre of gaming. It inspired titles such as Syphon Filter and Splinter Cell (yes, it's a book, but what kind of game would have turned out to be if MGS weren't there to set a example? Would it have been made into a game at all?). Now, we are blessed with the release of the newest sequel to the saga, Guns of the Patriots.
When you first slide the game into your PS3, it begins an 8-minute-long installation. Don't worry, you won't be bored while you watch that small progress gauge fill up. You'll be granted the privilege of watching the almighty Solid (Old) Snake smoke several cigarettes while you wait. After that, well, it's pretty straightforward. You can skip the story and dig straight into MGO or practice the tweaked controls in the Virtual Range. I'd recommend the latter. MGO can wait.
I could go even further in-depth, but let's throw out the skin and get straight to the meat: the pros and cons of this game. This is what a review is for, anyway. I'll start off with graphics. Amazing detail has been put into this game, and it definitely shows. Of course an HDTV and HDMI cable are needed to take advantage of this, but it's worth it to see every stitch in Snake's clothing, every wrinkle on his face, and every pore on Naomi's glistening chest. Hm... my mouth seems to be watering. However, one minor flaw out of all this, is that once in a while, you'll see some jaggy shadows when you look at it from a certain angle. It's nothing to get your hopes down about. I didn't notice it until my second playthrough, anyway.
As some of you may know, MGS4 takes up about 43GB out of 50 on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc, and most of that space taken up is sound; satisfying, uncompressed, sex-to-your-ears sound. If you ever looked for a game to test out your new 7.1 surround sound system, this is it. Let the sound waves rip through the air and massage your ear drums. Let not a single bit of this game go to waste.
Next, is replayability. A nifty new character in the series is Drebin, often accompanied by his chain-smoking, binge-drinking, diaper-wearing monkey, Little Gray. Drebin is a gun launderer you meet fairly early in the game. He has his own currency, called Drebin Points (hereby referred to as DP) and you can earn DP by completing various tasks in the game. You can use DP to buy weapons, upgrades, grenades, equipment, and miscellaneous items you can use on the battlefield. Be sure to buy as much as you can, too, because after you complete the game once, you can start a new game on a new difficulty with the same weapons and equipment you obtained from the last. It's a feature that's hard to not take advantage of. Not to mention the few dozen ranks you can obtain at the end of each playthrough, MGS4 will still keep you busy for a long time.
For some, when you hear "Metal Gear Solid," the first thing to pop into your mind is 'overly-complex story.' And it's true; the Metal Gear saga has one hell of a complicated story. There's a lot of twists, turns, and unexpected reveals to uncover in the series, and MGS4 only adds those numbers. I won't give anything way, but prepare to crap bricks. With a complex, but very interesting, story comes the superb voice acting. Every word that is spoken is so clear and fluent (maybe excluding Old Snake's raspy, deep old man voice), that it's just hard to not get drawn in while watching a cutscene. Speaking of cutscenes, there's a lot of 'em, and they're very long, especially the mission briefings; I won't lie to you.
If you get really in to the story like I do, you'll feel personally affected by some of the things you'll witness. There are scenes that are extremely sad and depressing, and some that are just too hard to not smile at. Hideo Kojima would be as good a filmmaker as he is a game designer. One of the main reasons that one would become so involved with the story, is the story itself. As I mentioned before, it's complex, but it grabs you and doesn't let go. This story took over twenty years to complete, and what kind of story would it be if, in that time, it didn't suck you in like a vacuum? Sometimes, when I play MGS4, I can't help but think, "This all happened because of the character I'm playing as. This all happened because what he's a part of, what I'M now a part of." I've never thought of any game in that way until I played this.
Let's see, we've covered graphics, sound, replayability, and story. One last important characteristic: the gameplay, itself. Needless to say that it is at least near-perfection, if not total perfection. MGS4 maintains the mechanics of sneaking used from previous games, but uses it in a whole new way. It's like purchasing a used car that's actually never been driven (that was the best analogy I could come up with). Anyways, sneaking isn't just about being silent and out-of-sight. It's about timing, finesse, and unrivaled skill. The camera is a huge help, as you can move it in any way you want, and aiming is a breeze, too. However, just because sneaking is recommended, it doesn't mean it's 100% necessary. This game is all about variety. You have so many weapons to choose from, because there's so many ways to use them, in different situations. You can play through the game like Sam Fisher the first time around, then go around causing a racket and firing in any which way the next. It's really up to you. This game is immense, and you'd be a fool to not play it to it's full potential.
In these closing thoughts, I'd like to add that MGS4 is one of those games that represents the very pinnacle of what we can achieve today. It's the closest thing to perfection, and it doesn't disappoint. I hope you enjoyed the review, and I hope you enjoy the game even more.
Stunning graphics with jaw-dropping detail, complex (but very original and interesting) story, amazing sound quality, smooth frame rate with no drops, open-ended gameplay with lots of variety in customizable weapons and gear, completely redefines the stealth action sub-genre. Flaws include very minor jaggy shadow issues, and playing this game will probably make every other game you play inferior in every aspect. You've been warned.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/27/09
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (US, 06/12/08)
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