Yesterday, August 6th 2012, Metal Gear Solid 4
finally got its long awaited Trophy Patch. Despite being released in 2008, Hideo Kojima’s Playstation 3 masterpiece still warrants this kind of love and attention.
Most games don’t last 4 months in the Gaming subconscious, let alone 4 years.
But most games don’t have a 94% Metacritic ranking.
Most games can’t boast a perfect Famitsu 40/40.
Most games are not MGS4
Now I’m no blinkered fan-boy. I know it’s NOT PERFECT
. The wealth of exposition heavy cut-scenes (paused, skipped or otherwise) suggests a deliberate, obstinate inelegance at odds with the craftsmanship so blatant elsewhere.
But the truth is, Kojo’s Blu-ray Beast continually confounds time’s corrosive effects, defies the gravitational pull of the obsolete. And there is a very good reason for this.
In fact, there are five...5. Beauty born on the Battlefield
Allegedly the first PS3 title to fill a 50GB Blu-ray Disc
, even with file compression, find me a soul unimpressed by Metal Gear Solid 4
’s audio-visual splendour and I will show you a blind and deaf liar who is only trying to wind you up and make you cry!
Beyond technical merits, this gorgeous title seamlessly transitions between exquisitely rendered cinematics and in-game action. MGS4
is drenched in that same irrepressible, magnetic visual flair found only in Kojo titles.
Despite the above criticism, the majority of cut-scenes are FAR FROM BORING
, each featuring some measure of player interaction and voiced by a cast of haggard yet touchingly emotive veterans.
And like Snake Eater
before it, MGS4
is a supremely colourful endeavour, each act boasting its own distinct pallet:
Deep Red (I) Vibrant Green (II) Dark Yellow (III) Dazzling White (IV) and Metallic Blue (V)
Even the heart-wrenching Title Menu is punctuated by colour, the blinding snow blossom contrasting the maudlin greys of a weary Snake
.4. The Big Bosses
Even in a series characterised by potent foes, MGS4
The Beauty and the Beast Corps debut: Five haunting, unhinged, cybernetic parallels to the original Metal Gear Solid’
s FOXHOUND unit. And of the broken beauties who rage, laugh, cry and scream within the confines of mechanical beasts, Crying Wolf takes the gold. A high octane sniper battle relying on scent, wind speed and snowfall, it contrasts superbly with the measured tactical showdowns against Sniper Wolf (MGS
) and The End (MGS3
Boss battles aren’t limited to these new nasties. Old scores are settled by injecting murderous genetic anomaly Vamp with nanomachines and beating your twin brother to a bloody pulp in a spectacle of martial arts atop a city sized submarine.
But the true highlight is THE grudge match... Metal Gear REX VS Metal Gear RAY!
Stomping around as REX is a fantasy ten years in the making. In MGS4 it is finally, lovingly realised by a benevolent Kojima
Players are gifted full control of this “nuclear-equipped walking deathmobile” and tasked with unleashing the full fury of its cannons, heat seeking missiles and 100+ MW free-electron laser. You can even counter the aquatic mech’s physical attacks with Rex’s armoured beak and bipedal claws.
Boss.3. Close Quarters Cinematics
If EPIC is a kingdom, MGS4
is its monarch.
True, its crown is tarnished by overlong explanation which convolutes narrative and confuses gamers. But there are so, SO
many jewels of such incandescent brilliance, it beggars belief with regularity.
In defence of Kojo’s cut-scenes, please recall how...
*Rat Patrol Team One took down the FROGs (ACT I)
obliterated the Gekkos. And won over the world in 30 seconds! (ACT II)
* Liquid smashed Snake, stabbed his shoulder, kissed his cheek and electrocuted them both. (ACT III)
* One Armed Raiden held back Outer Haven and was forgiven his every MGS2 transgression! (ACT IV)
* Meryl and Johnny admit to their feelings while outshooting FROGs (ACT V)
* Raiden actually beat Vamp. And prompted the entire world to crap its collective pants! (ACT II)
* Liquid unveiled the Guns of the Patriots (ACT III)
* The Microwave Chamber moved you (ACT V)
*Snake VS Big Mama’s goons thrilled you (ACT III)
* Snake VS Liquid’s rematch seemed superior to every Hollywood fight scene of the last 15 years! (ACT V)2. Tactical! Espionage! Action!MGS4
is a 20+ hour game. Even if half that is spent observing, occasionally zooming or taking the MKII out for a spin, that’s still 10+ hours well spent with some of the generation’s most technically accomplished gameplay.MGS4
’s hybrid third person cover shooting, first person precision aiming, CQC and stealth gameplay can all be toggled fluidly. The game boasts approximately one bazzilion guns, catering for the subtlety-be-damned school. OctoCamo allows for a mobile, agile stealth system while Snake’s
CQC is fleshed out with nimble context sensitive counters.
The psyche gauge (hilariously remedied by chillin’ with an iPod
) adds a dynamic layer to resource management while cementing Old Snake’s
Further variety is made available via non-lethal weaponry, the MK II’s scouting avenues, Mission Impossible
style facial disguises and a unique syringe that unlocks truly unique (not to mention riotous) responses from enemies.
And let’s not forget how the tactical placement of girlie mags can distract those horn-dog guards!MGS4
’s enduring relevance comes down to the sheer wealth of gameplay styles on offer. It’s a shooter, brawler, sneaker and weird-maker all at once.
Repeated replays are not mandatory. But they are irresistible...1. Old Snake
A more sympathetic hero there has never been. The mere sight of Old Snake
is enough to break one’s heart. Robbed of his youth, his legendary vigour, Old Snake
has grown disillusioned with the ideals of yesteryear. No longer a hero, he views himself as little more than “an old killer”.
Betrayed by his own body, Old Snake
watches his friend find love and his former love find another. He is deceived, beaten, outfoxed and outfought at every turn. Even the Main Menu sets a sombre tone, with the legendary hero contemplating a bullet to the temple.Snake
He endures horrors both physical and psychological but somehow manages to find reserves, mustering the strength to fight on even as his loved ones perish and his body crumbles.
Basically, Old Snake
is a mean old geezer and every second in his gravelly voiced, moustached company, controlled or no, is a harrowing delight.Metal Gear Solid 4
concludes Solid Snake’s
It’s not pretty. It’s not romanticised. But it IS unquestionably enthralling.Snake!