Product Type: Konami PS3 games
Newest Review: ... quickly relate to the characters, and understand what happened before. The plot is told through long cut-scenes and video conversations... more
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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Date: 08/08/11, updated on 08/08/11 (36 review reads)
Advantages: Great story, excellent mix of stealth and action, breathtaking graphics and very good sound.
Disadvantages: Story can be fairly complicated, too many cutscenes.
It's been thirteen years since the first Metal Gear Solid game came out on the first PlayStation, and the developers haven't been lazy since. Three other main games have been released, plus two PSP titles, a spin-off series and a remake. You can also expect to see a new game in the series called 'Rising' next year, and later this year a collection that includes two of the main games and one of the PSP titles. So, the series is showing no signs of slowing down even after the fourth and possibly last main game came out. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a stealth game which tiptoed onto PS3 in 2008. It was heavily acclaimed by critics and fans of the series, many calling it a masterpiece. But does it live up to the praise even three years after release? Definitely - the word 'masterpiece' has never before been so suitable for a game. So, what makes it so good?
The year is 2014, and technology has become very advanced. PMC Soldiers have bodies filled with 'Nanomachines', making them much more skilled in combat. ID locked weapons prevent anyone but the owner from using it. At the start of the game, we see Solid Snake, the series protagonist, on his way to a hectic battlefield, along with many other soldiers. But his hair is grey, his voice is rougher and wrinkles cover his face. We soon discover that he was sent to defeat Liquid. With the assistance of Otacon, Snake discovers his target's deadly plan that could affect the entire future.
The story may sound a bit too simple here, but behind it is a deep and involving tale which will grip you from the start to finish. Snake is really in his 40's - but accelerated aging means his body is getting much weaker all the time. This is a very intriguing and unique element of the plot, making you wonder if Snake will live to finish his mission. Despite the plot seeming fairly straightforward at first, it does get fairly complicated when the Patriots become involved. But the greatest thing about the story is that players who haven't played any previous games in the series - like me - can quickly relate to the characters, and understand what happened before.
The plot is told through long cut-scenes and video conversations. From what I've seen of the series in the past, conversations were far too long, but now they are much shorter. But cut-scenes are still very lengthy. So, if you're impatient and want to get on with the game, you won't be happy. But...an option to pause and skip them should be welcomed by many. However, you'll be missing out on a lot and the chances are you won't enjoy the game as much. Even if you do plan to watch, though, here's something that will probably shock you. My completion time was roughly twenty hours, and I think half of that was made up of cut-scenes. It might be even longer. But that's the only flaw about this 'game'. It's not so much a game as a really, really long film.
Despite the slightly depressing plot, the game can be quite humourous. I like to call it 'Marmite Humour'. You'll see a man with 'toilet problems', a joke from Otacon about a PS3 (I won't spoil it) and a smoking monkey. I'm not sure how people would react to that last one. I'm not a smoker and I found that funny, but I'd hate to look at the faces of the people at PETA...
If you were new to the series and didn't know anything about it, you wouldn't be stupid to think that this is a third-person shooter at first. You have an arsenal of weapons and you can customise them after you meet the mysterious Drebin 893. But not too far in and you'll realise it's much deeper than that.
Unlike most modern shooters, you have a health bar rather than regenerating life. There's more. Underneath that is the psyche gauge. The bar reduces if Snake is stressed. If he is outnumbered by powerful enemies, his stress will likely go up. If he has been spotted, his stress will likely go up. I didn't spot much difference in having a full psyche bar as opposed to an empty one, but your aim is affected and you are less likely to need a Compress for Snake's back pain.
Stealth is more focused on as you reach Act 3, which is several hours from the start of the game. You have to follow a Resistance member to a certain location. While this kind of thing isn't done well in a lot of games, it really works here. You can take advantage of shadows and large obstacle to make sure he doesn't spot you following him. He constantly whistles throughout this section and in one part you lose track of him. In one part you lose him, but when you hear a soldier whistling you know it's him. It's not very hard to figure out but it is a clever mechanic.
The great stealth system doesn't necessarily mean that combat is bad, though. In fact, it's just as strong. The guns are very realistic and you can view weapons close-up, proving that the developer, Kojima Productions, are very confident in this area. You can aim your weapons using the L1 button, but the ability to go into first-person makes for much more precise aiming. But how deep is customising weapons? It's not hugely comprehensive, but it is good. You can add various sights, suppressors, grips and more. What's impressive, though, is how DETAILED this is. The weight of each weapon and attachment is shown, as well as the size.
==Graphics and Sound==
The game does look excellent and at the time of release it was probably one of the best looking games on the console, but the release of games like Uncharted 2 makes it seem less impressive. It is very detailed. The faces look realistic but have a unique style, and there are varied environments across different places in the world, such as icy locations, the Middle East and Europe. There are plenty of real guns in the game all of which look nearly exactly like they do in real life. The animation is fluid in cut-scenes and ingame.
The sound is also brilliant. David Hayter as Snake uses a growly voice to constantly remind us that the protagonist is aging quickly. Otacon is voiced by Christopher Randolph, and he arguably steals the show here with expressive tones. There's also talent from Josh Keaton, Jennifer Hale, Khary Payton and Paul Eiding as Liquid, Naomi, Drebin and Roy Campbell respectively. Credit should go to all the other voice actors who were featured in this game. Also, just as the guns look real, they sound real too.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is deserving of BBFC 15 rating. A small amount of blood sprays as you shoot an enemy, and blood splatter can be seen on walls and the ground. The game's main topic is war, so you constantly see dead bodies and soldiers being shot down. There is also a fair amount of bad language, including one use of f**k, several uses of s*i*, and one ba*ta*d can be heard. I think the game would be suitable for anyone over 12, but anyone younger might get bored by the long cut-scenes and story.
This game does have some flaws. The biggest one that it doesn't let you play as much as it should and since around half the game is cut-scenes, many maybe frustrated that they want to skip the cut-scenes but understand the story at the same time. A minor one is that the game has to do an install between each act. Yes, they may all be short at just a couple of minutes, but why not do it all at the big install before you start the game? The last one is Metal Gear Online. While this isn't the fault of the developers, not many people play anymore and the people that do have some sort of expansion pack that you need to buy. So it's not really worth going through the long registration on the computer.
Beside those negative points, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a fantastic game. It features a story which can get complicated but the story of Snake's accellarated aging and how attempts to succeed in his seemingly last mission is great. The gameplay is outstanding, and mixes stealth as well as action to great effect, meaning the series slogan 'Tactical Espionage Action' is worthy. The graphics are extremely detailed and there are some great-looking environments that are jaw-dropping. Plus, the guns look and sound very realistic. There is some fabulous voice acting here with lots of expression. The fourth game in this stealthy series is essential for PS3 owners - a cinematic adventure which shouldn't be missed.
Thanks for reading! This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.
Summary: It's not for everyone, but if you do like it you'll LOVE it!
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