Product Type: Konami PS2 games
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Gearing up for action, where Metal can shoot you 2 death.
Metal Gear Solid 2 - Sons of Liberty (PS2)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Metal Gear Solid 2 - Sons of Liberty (PS2)
Advantages: A beautiful cinematic epic!
Disadvantages: Even with long cutscenes, the game is still only twelve hours long.
You play as rookie Raiden who has been sent into his first mission on a big offshore cleaning facility called Big Shell, where he must save the US president and other hostages as well as discover the truth about the mysterious group known as Dead Cell and their involvement with an apparent return from a machine called Metal Gear Ray. There's more to the plot, but if i spill anymore i'll ruin the game for people who may want to buy it. With a game so heavily revolved around cutscenes, the plot must be good, and in my opinion it is. Sure, the plot is convoluted, but it never gets so convoluted you wonder what the hell is going on. There's some interesting twists thrown in throughout the game and it just appealed to me. Oh and as a person who hasn't played the original, I didn't get confused one bit because I haven't played the original.
There's a lot of moves you can do in Metal Gear Solid 2, and that means there's lots you need to learn. Moving is the same with any game (the left analog stick). You can crouch by pressing the X button. The action button can do many things in the game. You can jump onto higher items you lean against, hang down from ledges and more. You flatten against walls by simply pressing the left analog stick in the direction of the wall. You can shoot or punch with the square button. You can swim in the game. By pressing the circle button, do a quick turn by pressing the right analog stick and hold your breath with the triangle button.
It's worth noting that there are two campaigns in MGS2. You have the 'Plant' campaign which is the main campaign where you play as rookie Raiden in his first mission. Then you have 'Tanker' where you play as series favourite Solid Snake. In terms of gameplay, they're both identical. But they are quite different aside from gameplay. The objectives are different, the dialogue is different and the levels are different. 'Plant' takes place on the Big Shell, which is a offshore cleaning facility. 'Tanker' takes place on a military ship. As far as which one is best goes, 'Plant' would be best simply because it's much longer. 'Plant' takes about ten hours to finish, 'Tanker' takes less than two. Still, both of them are enjoyable and it's pretty fun. It's just odd why as soon as you start the game you can't play the 'Tanker' campaign first as that explains some things in the 'Plant' campaign.
The game is pretty much a stealth game, but more cinematic. It can feel like an interactive movie at times, as it feels like the game plays like this-cutscene, stealth, cutscene, cutscene, stealth, cutscene, cutscene, stealth. But the cutscenes themselves are actually really enjoyable and interesting. The core gameplay probably has been so sucessful seeing as, even for a game based on Espionage, is rather simple. It never punishes you for being caught. It isn't that complicated, it's simple hide and seek. It reminded me of Rockstar's controversial Manhunt, as, while MGS2 doesn't have stealth kills, it involves a lot of hiding. You can actually play the game you want. While you must do required objectives, you can decide if you want to sneak by enemies or kill them.
One thing I didn't like about the game is the Codec coversations. These are basically when two characters don't want people knowing what they're saying, or if a person is too far away to talk face-to-face and decide talk over a high tech communication system. There are sometimes moments when the story is moved forward with the Codec, and these can be a bit boring. Basically, it's just two character's faces talking to each other on a green tinted screen with text at the bottom. These can be a downright bore, especially near the end when it can go on for about thirty minutes. A good thing though is that it can provide a good hint system. Basically if you don't know where to go, there's a couple of guys who you can call to give you tips where to go. In boss battles you can get advice on how to beat them, and you can sometimes get some hints on controls. You can also call people to save your game and more.
One new feature in the game is the first-person view. This is pretty excellent and adds some depth into the game. If you can sneak up to someone you can go into the first-person view and do a number of things to your advantage. You could shoot their radio so they can't call back up (which while isn't too punishing it is easier that they didn't come at all), shoot their arms so they can't go open fire on you or their legs so they can't run away. It's nice to the game, though it can be easier to just go up to them and go open fire onto them. You can also do other things like shoot scenery to get an advantage, like blow a fire exstinguisher to make it hard for them to see.
You can do some other new things, like grab an enemy while behind it. You can either choke him to death, or do things like say drag them other to these eye detecting things so you can get access to a room. You can also swim in the game, which adds an interesting scenario where you must take someone who can't swim to another part of Big Shell. If you stay in water for too long she'll start to lose health (which is also the case for the character you're playing as). Swimming to the top of water can regain your breath. You can also hide in lockers, drag enemies so you can hide them (which is needed on harder difficulties) and more.
And yet there is still some similar scenarios from the original MGS. There's a couple of sequences where you have to mash on the triangle button while being tortured so you don't die, a sequence where a corridor is full of dead guards and covered in blood, there's a boss battle where you have to shoot down an aircraft with a rocket launcher and meeting a cyber ninja who gives some info but then vanishes. It feels lazy at times, though some may like playing these sequences again with better graphics. Plus, fans of the original will love fighting Metal Gear again.
There are six difficulty levels in the game. These go from very easy up to the hardest difficulty called European Extreme. Each difficulty has differences between each other which are pretty subtle. If you're on the easier difficulties, there won't be too many guards and when they call for radio they leave themselves open to fire. Yet If you're on the harder difficulties, there will be more guards, they take cover when calling for backup, some of the reinforcments carry shields and they even use dead commrads as shields. Wouldn't catch me doing that! Plus the bosses get tougher as well. If you go above either normal or easy, prepare for a challenge. It can take some getting use to, not only because of the way it priorities cutscenes over gameplay, but there's a lot you need to learn. Still, you should get used to the game and once you do, you'll have the most fun.
There's two types of items. There's weapons and then there's gadgets. The weapons include stun-guns, pistols, AKs, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. There's also other items like Chaff.G, which blocks robot patrollers from seeing you, Stun.G which stuns enemies and more. You can select these types of items with the R2 button. The other type of items are gadgets, which can be helpful. You'll have your health packs, a.k.a Ration, your dog tags will be here, bandages and other health items are here and even cardboard boxes. CARDBOARD BOXES!!! These items can be accessed with the L2 button. It's so great how easy it is to select an item, as you simply press a button and select it in the menu. It's easy to put away an item then get the same item back out, as you can press the button for the item to put it away and then press it again to select it again.
There's a couple of memorable sequences here. Perhaps my favourite was when you had to get to a part of the Big Shell where someone who could help you locate the President was being held. Yet, there's a twist here-the place is heavily guarded by unique guards. To get in, you had to find a specific AK and the uniform. Once you're in, you had to act like the guards so they don't suspect a thing. I really enjoyed this section as it reminded me of the good old Hitman games. Plus, it's just funny how the guards were so dumb not to suspect it. You also had to find a guard to sneak up on and place their eyes in a scanner so you can enter the room, as, obviously, your eyes won't work as you're not a freaking guard.
One thing i noticed was the game was rather linear. There's no alternate endings, as you can't choose what to do in terms of the story. But, like i meantioned before, you can play it how you want. You can either go up to guards and kill them or sneak attack. It means it can be suitable to both rabbid gamers or stealth kings. You can explore the Big Shell as much as you wan't, but you won't get much out of doing that. If you ever get lost you can bring up a map, ask where you need to go and figure out where you have to go. You can do one thing anyway you want, as when you have to defuse bombs in the areas of the Shell, you can take down the each strut in any order you want.
The original game was apparently criticisized for the A.I. Apparently they would rush at you like dumb turkeys, and also if you were spotted but hid yourself again, they would just go back to their ordered control. That is not the case here. Basically, they will look for you longer this time, and they can take cover so they can alarm reinforcements. One nice touch is that if you kill all the guards before they radio backup, reinforcements will be sent anyway to see why they lost contact with a guard. It means you may want to think before you act. Yet, if you can get out of a room when guards see you and you then go back in, they won't know you've come back in and be on their patrol. It's pretty dumb. When guards are alerted, you have to find a good hiding place so the guards won't find you. If you can hide long enough, the guards will simply look for you and reinforcements should be gone. Once that period is over, you are free. When alerted, you can use your Codec or change your options.
Graphically, MGS2 is one of the best of the bunch. Seriously, for a game released back in 2002 to look better than games that come out much longer after is questionable. The character models look stunning with some good detail and lots of expressive facial animations. Also, the motion-captured animation really make them look better. It's cutscenes look brilliant as they pretty much blend in with the game. These cutscenes are rendered on the fly with the rest of the game. With the excellent animation, facial expressions and beautiful looking cutscenes, it makes it much easier to enjoy the cutscenes. The emviroments look excellent. While they're industrial locations, you somehow suspect there's more to these environments than it seems. They are very detailed and are all consistently beautiful. There's also quite a bit of destructable items in the environment, which is nice and adds to the realism. The frame rate is pretty much smooth throughout, which is surprising with the amount of detail.
Soundwise, the game is also incredible. The voice acting is top notch, aside from a couple of bad apples (that Vampire had a awful accent). Still, it's mostly pretty minor with the bad apples of the voice acting. The dialogue too is also nicely done, which is great seeing as you'll be hearing a lot of it throughout the whole game. The music is also great too, which was written by Hollywood composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Fans of the original may feel right at home with some of the scores, as they're similar to the original. It's also nice how the music changes depending on what kind of situation you're in. If you're hiding then the music is rather low, but if you've been noticed by a guard but not fully caught then the music gets a bit louder, while if you've been spotted then the music is blood pumping. The music is also great when the cutscenes take place. Sound effects are also outstanding, with some loud gun effects. There's some nice touches here, with different sounds as you walk on different surfaces and much more.
Sadly, the game won't take you too long to complete. It took me about twelve hours to finish both campaigns. Just like the original, if you know what you're doing and skip all the dialogue that you can, you could finish it in an even shorter time. The game is linear so there's no alternate endings, which is disappointing considering the game is all about plot. There's some decent replayability to be found though. You can try to get all the dog tags, which are basically these necklaces which look like those things the X-men wear. They unlock more extras so it's worth getting them. But still, it's sad that the experience is over so soon. There's also other difficulties to play on as well. I wonder if i could finish the game in under an hour while on the hardest difficulty (yeah right, me on the hardest difficulty? hahahahahaha). If you're looking for more value, you might want to consider buying Substance. But that's hard to find i think-you can't buy it from Amazon (unless you buy the US version though). Of course it is on Xbox and PC too (Substance that is).
I'm sure many people have changed their opinion of this game since it's release. I read on Gamespot that people thought the game was the best ever when it was released, only to think it's a total letdown about a year after. I myself haven't played the original so i wasn't expecting much, and i must say i loved it. It's intriguing, impressive and entertaining. The cutscenes are enjoyable, the graphics and sound are brilliant and the game is just fun. It's a shame it is only twelve hours long. But still, if you love stealth, don't mind cutscenes that take up most of the game and are intriguied by it, it's well worth taking a look. It's certainly not for everyone, I let a friend play it he got bored with all the talking and stuff. Said 'god it's a movie, not a game'. But if you don't mind lots of talking, you should really enjoy this.
-(Where You Can Buy It)-
You can buy this from Amazon used and new from £1.49
This was published by Konami and developed by Konami Japan
This was released on March 8th, 2002 and is exclusive to PS2
Thanks for reading. Stunt 101.
Summary: Movie or game? You decide.
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