Review: Metal Gear Solid 4

Earnest "Nex" Cavalli | 19 Jun 2008 21:00
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For all of Kojima's design brilliance, he is still at the mercy of his canvas, and in this case, the technological limitations of the PlayStation 3 are the most glaring fault in MGS4.

On initially starting the game you're asked to install a file. It's an eight minute install. "No sweat," you think, as you wander off to have a sandwich. You return, play the game for an hour and half, are amazed by the first act, and are stunned when you hit another install screen. Throughout the course of the game, you'll have to install data five times for a grand total of slightly under half an hour of data transfer time.

Coupled with "Now Loading" screens that pop up far too often - especially in fast-paced vehicle-based missions - and it's almost enough to drag you completely out of the stunningly crafted story.


With any other game, this sort of thing would be inexcusable, but it's a testament to MGS4's excellence and depth that I was never once tempted to walk away from an install screen to play another round of Smash Bros. Brawl.

As if all of that wasn't enough, Konami also added Metal Gear Online to the disc. I'm still unconvinced that the precise, almost ponderous controls of Metal Gear Solid translate terribly well to what is otherwise a pretty standard third-person online shooter (a la SOCOM), but it does make for a pretty substantial addition to the gargantuan single-player mode.

Bottom Line: By combining the deepest story of this console generation with the finest technology so far revealed on the PlayStation 3, Metal Gear Solid 4 proves to be the greatest action game ever created (assuming you aren't allergic to loading screens).

Recommendation: Buy it, rent it, steal it; if you have a PlayStation 3 you simply must own this game.

Earnest Cavalli is actually a small dog who was granted the gift of game criticism by a particularly useless Norse god.

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