Gamertell Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for PS3

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MGS4: Guns of the Patriots

Title: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Price: $59.99
System(s): PlayStation 3
Release Date: June 12, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Konami (Kojima Productions)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for blood, crude humor, strong language, suggestive themes and violence.
Pros: Awesome storyline with new twists to the plot in every chapter, great music and familiar and new characters to interact with.
Cons: Camera angle is a little awkward, elements in the environment hinders snake’s ability to use a sniper rifle and even the Solid Eye. The game also has way too many flashbacks and zoom ins that often mute the important information during briefing sessions.
Overall Score: Two Thumbs Up, 98/100, A+, * * * * * stars

Hideo Kojima and the crew at Konami have really outdone themselves with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, creating a thrill to play from beginning to end. And if asked who I’d rather be stranded on a deserted island with, my boyfriend or Snake, hands down it would have to be Snake and the complete Metal Gear Solid series.

Similar to previous Metal Gear games, this one begins on the back of a truck speeding through a middle eastern village with Snake enjoying a cigarette as he and a rebel group prepare to take on enemies. In my memorial to Solid Snake, I had mentioned a scene from the first Metal Gear Solid game that both Snake and Liquid Ocelot were clones of the original Big Boss. The game starts at the grave marker of the “Boss” and flashbacks of the same scene in MGS3: Snake eater allowing players to see the difference between young Snake and the old Snake. Get used to it as you will have many flashbacks throughout the game.

The game’s strongest element is its deep story line. You get the usual conspiracy spiels but then it spends most of the game reliving Snake’s glory days and explaining the conspiracy that surrounds the Big Boss.

Several new characters support Snake in this mission, including Sunni who you meet at the first briefing. The photograph of Olga hanging above the stove aboard the Nomad where Otacon and Snake live between missions is evidence that this is the little girl that was taken away from Olga during childbirth in MGS2. Other supporting characters include Drebin 893 (a gun launderer), Meryl and Johnny from Metal Gear Sold, and Rosemary and Raiden from MGS2.

The controls are a little different from what your used to in the previous titles including a few more tricks to help you on your stealth missions. In this game you are able to fool the enemy by rolling over on your back and playing dead. You can also ease your way across the environment with an Octocamo suit – which like a chameleon blends with its environment – by simply pressing against it and staying perfectly still.

The downside to using the weapon systems is Snake’s age, so he can’t sight his enemies as well as he could in previous games and he often has back pains which must be treated after or he eventually won’t be able to move as fast.

The Beauty and the Beast Brigade are always hunting down snake

The game’s graphics are so gorgeous I could not stop playing, despite excessive zooming whenever you press a D-pad button. Taking advantage of the PS3’s graphical power, you can zoom in on anything and get in so close that you can read the manufacturer’s label on Snake’s gloves, mask and weapons.

The music fits in with every scene you enter. If you listen to the music during boss battles, it gives you a hint as to how to defeat that particular boss or foreshadows the boss your about to encounter. Many of the bosses carry familiar names from the previous games. The names alone should tell you how to fight the boss and will be especially obvious if you have been playing since the first Metal Gear Solid. For example, Laughing Octopus is a remnant of Decoy Octopus who in MGS is a master of disguise, Crying Wolf share the traits of Sniper Wolf, Raging Raven shares Vulcan Raven’s qualities and then there’s Screaming Mantis who is very much like Psycho Mantis from the first game but with one twist. Screaming mantis is able to control multiple victims at one time and is very hard to kill, making her the most challenging of the four.

MGS Geko replaces soldiers in game

The only thing I didn’t particularly care for was the environment. As you put your Solid Eye into night vision mode and you lay down to sight your enemies and an annoying, single blade of grass gets in the way. The game is also a bit sensitive when it comes to accuracy. If you move or make a lot of noise, the enemy will come to investigate and if they catch you moving, no matter how well disguised you are, you’re done for. The hardest enemy to fool is the Gecko, a cyborg “metal gear” that groans like a cow with gas. These things are not only hard to fool they are also hard to kill, despite how easily Raiden can drop them.

But then again, this is a stealth game and the objective is to move among the enemy undetected and reach your goals with as little confrontation as possible. And if you have to engage the enemy, its safer and easier from the comfort of a perfect hiding spot.

This game is definitely one worth playing over and over again especially since there’s a lot of back story to go through to determine who Snake really is once and for all. The latest Snake performs with the same grace and skills as in his previous games.

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  • JP Sherman

    Thanks for the thoughtful review,

    In my earlier days of gaming, I never really got into the Metal Gear series. However, after going back and playing them in order again (most of them), I really started to identify with the idea that the action supported the story. During that time, I acknowledge that I had essentially fallen victim to the simplistic storyline pattern of video games. – Character X has something bad happen to someone they know and have some emotional connection to … Character X then has to beat through multiple levels to either save or grasp vengeance and occasionally, they save the world.

    FFIV shattered that view for games as a whole, but action games still had that pattern, and because the Metal Gear games were anything but standard, I didn't connect to it. Now, after replaying them, I've become a huge fan of the series. It has a surreal quality to the world that I really enjoy, the stories become metaphors, and the characters become rich in their feats and flaws.

    I picked up MGS4 and played the hell out of it, this time, with the right expectations and I couldnt be happier. It's still true that if you dont like Metal Gear, you may not like this game, but out of all of the other games, this is the one that could break you out of your action game complacency.

    I think you're spot on with some of the critiques, there seems to be too much story if all you want to do is play the game, but without the story, the game seems shallow and repetitive. There was a small twinge when I wasn't able to just jump into the action (CoD4 did a great job with that aspect), but once I just relaxed and let the story unfold, it was a great experience.

    Thanks for the review.

  • Lucy Newman

    Thanks. I fell in that same trap myself once until I I played Final Fantasy and broke out of that mold. Now I look beyond the box cover and play at least 20 minutes before I decide if I want to continue playing or take it back to the store.