June 13, 2009

Metal Gear Solid 4 Game Review

Yes, it's a year late, but for many of us who are considering purchasing a PS3 or just bought one, this review will be very helpful. Why? Because this IS the game that makes the PS3. Plain and simple.

Now before I begin, since I am new, I have to explain how my rating system works. Many magazines rate games 1 - 10, and here's a big surprise: I do too! Who knew? Anyway, I differ in that my rankings obviously correspond to how good a game is (10 >>> 1), but what I know that the average person cares more about the age old question: should I buy, rent, or avoid this game? My rating system answers that question. Since I won't go into what makes a game a 10, 9, 8, etc (I think it's pretty self-explanatory, if a game is a god of gaming it gets a 10 and if it sucks worse than France it gets a 1), I'll quickly list the buy guide.
7.5 - 10 = Buy!!!
7 - 7.4 = Buy with caution, or wait for price reduction.
5 - 6.9 = Rent!!!
4 - 4.9 = If the game is your bag, go for it; if not, avoid
2 - 3.9 = AVOID
0 - 1.9 = AVOID like the black death

With the silly stuff out of the way, here comes the review. First a DISCLAIMER, or more like a head's up. I was not introduced to the Metal Gear Solid series until Christmas 2008. My friends had told me that MGS4 was the best game for the PS3, and that in order to understand it I would have to beat the previous games to understand the story line. So for Christmas I bought the Metal Gear Solid collector's Bundle that contains MGS 1, 2, and 3 (a MUST BUY for the PS2 if you don't have the games already). I fell in love with the series. The story lines are incredible, have real-world application, critiques, and satire, and the characters are easy to identify with and fall in love with. And, it is a perfect blend of stealth with action and strategy. Not to mention, the music rocks. That being said, if you just jump into MGS 4, you will be completely lost but you will still get your full money's worth out of the incredible combat/firefights and the graphics.

The first area of review for any game, for me at least, is whether or not it is an enjoyable experience. This doesn't necessarily encompass difficulty, but it includes graphics, the details of the environment, are the voiceovers done correctly, the cutscenes, the controls, combat mechanics, etc. MGS4 does everything in this regard flawlessly. The cutscenes while long, have a God-sent blessing, the ability to pause! Why have game developers waited so freakin long to let you pause cutscenes? The controls are very easy to jump directly into, and while it doesn't take advantage of the PS3's controller motion sensing (which far surpasses the Wii's because you don't need a bar to register your motions, the PS3 does it automitacly) it would ruin the fell of the game.

From the get-go, Metal Gear Solid 4 is groundbreaking and plunges you into the heart of insurgent warfare in Iraq. The game is 100% modern, and like all the previous Metal Gear Solid games there is a message for all the players and a statement about the world we live in. The game has an ability to reinvent itself at each checkpoint, pushing the bar further and further. One moment you are in a fierce gunbattle with PMCs (mercenaries), taking ammo clips from fallen comrades, and the next you are stalking a rebel through the streets of Europe at midnight, dodging detection when suddenly, your age kicks in and Old Snake starts choking. At every mission, the game tests you with difficulty much harder than the previous games. It's a challenge that makes the game experience so much better.

This game introduces two new main features. The first is Drebin, a mysterious gun launderer who you quickly learn to like. You collect Drebin points by finding easter eggs during the missions, or by selling excess guns that you find on the battlefield. You use these Drebin points to buy over 60 different weapons. I personally only used snipers and a USP.45 and went for the headshots every time. The second new intro is the psyche meter, which kinda works like stamina in the third game. Just like in real life, Snake will suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome at times, causing him to completly shut down. During combat, if he kills enough, he will enter a combat high. It's basically like being Rambo and cutting down rows of enemies. After the high, Snake crashes and you have to smoke, look at a Playboy magazine, or find other ways to lower your stress and restore your psyche before you can move again.

What makes this game memorable, however, is first how all the characters and open questions from the previous games combine perfectly. The game is full of memories for gamers of all ages (altough it is intended for a somewhat older audience), and fans of the series will rank this game as one of the best games all-time, and its cutscenes as one of the greatest movies of all times. The game allows you to trully feel as if Snake were you're best friend, and you were fighting Metal Gear from the start. The second very powerful aspect of this game is the story behind the Beauty and the Beast Corps (the bosses). Each boss fight has their own unique way to defeat them, requiring fast synthesis of mind, body, and weapon choice, but also a story behind them. Without revealing anything, one particular story involves wolves, and the scene/explanation of the horrors the boss went through put me on the verge of tears. That scenematic alone is probably the most touching and endearing I've seen in a game. And don't think I'm going soft, I'm a 6'2 guy that weighs 200 pounds and will row Harvard crew next year.

The third aspect that makes this game so good is the ending. From the scenatic before the final boss fight to the final battle and final cutscene, this entire end sequence makes Metal Gear Solid 4 rival Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the greatest game of all time. For my whole life, I've dreamed of finding a game to rival Ocarina of Time, and Metal Gear Solid 4's ending puts it right up there in my mind.

This game has it all, and I can say with full certainty it is the best game to have ever come out on the Next Gen, and by Next Gen I mean post Nintendo-64. The game alone makes it worth buying a PS3. Before I release the obvious rating, I've posted a link to the Snake Eater theme song from MGS 3.

If Snake has to go, then every Legend should pray that their ending is like Snake's in MGS4.

Final Rating: 11 out of 10*
*The only other game I've given an 11 to was Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Also, here are some quick-reviews just as a reference point. Granted, these games are old.
Call of Duty 4 10 / 10
Gears of War 9 / 10
Devil May Cry 2 4 / 10

1 comment:

  1. Well, that was just as I expected it to be. Amazing. I've always wanted to play MGS4 and perhaps some day I will. I, too, just got into MGS last year when I purchased the trilogy box (what a deal!).

    On an unrelated note, I'd like to make a point about the Wii's controller because I hate when people cut the Wii down. The basic functionality of the PS3's controller can be preformed on the Wii without the use of the sensor bar. Both controllers have accelerometers which register movements you make with the controller on screen (tilting, etc). What the Wii needs the bar for is to register where the pointer is on screen so it can interact with the game, a feature which the DuelShock 3 does not support and, thus, does not need a sensor for.