Review: Metal Gear Solid 4

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I enjoyed the review, pretty well balanced and I smiled at the praise awarded. :D

Oddly enough I haden't posted in this section with great haste. I think I usually would considering MG and MGS have been my faviorate game series so far. But I'm just too involved with it's Online and Story. I mean, I may have completed it the night I got it, but there was an aweful lot I had missed the first time round. If you are a Metal Gear fan you would probably share my difficulties in absorbing the story sometimes. Thanks Hideo, who managed to put a tight cap on all stray ends. That was one hell of an experiance, even as far to say a bench-mark in my life.

Elis
-1998- Introduced to the Metal Gear Solid series; Struck with awe

-Middly bit-

-2008- Metal Gear saga ends; After these 10 wonderous years, still, he is struck with awe

I really want to play MGS 4, but I don't have a ps3. But this christmas I might get one. Can't wait :)

That was not a review, that was gushing fan praise. Such things do have their own place of course, but I expect more from an official review for a generally quality site such as Escapist.

The review is simply trying to hard to excuse the many flaws by either saying they're not distracting, honest, or that they are features that speak to the initiated, and not flaws. One of the important points that the author is hung upon is the storytelling aspect, which is claimed to not have been done as good in any game so far. One reason for this is that the games are not really the medium for the MGS sort of storytelling, that's the domain of film. Not having played MGS4, only MGS 2, but if the kind of storytelling is anything close to the one in the second part then I'm afraid it's a failure on many levels. Sorytelling in games works when it's intricately vowen into the game structure (see Portal or Half Life 2), not when it's an overly long cut scene. Plus, unless Kojima seriously raised his storytelling skills, I doubt even if accepting the scripted style of storytelling it could ever surpass gems such as Grim Fandango. MGS 2 certainly never came close.

MGS4 is one of the definitive games of the year no doubt, but reviews like this don't really show why that should be the case.

"Not having played MGS4"
Couldn't you have just begun your response with this phrase so we didn't have to read all that text to realize your argument is purely based on a desire to fill the "pedantic, contrarian bastard" role that every corner of the internet needs?

Oh, and thanks Waldo. I'm pleased to be here. Mostly because unlike at that other place I can call people "pedantic, contrarian bastards."

A fair point of course, my criticism of the actual game by extrapolating on the MGS2 experience is indeed unfounded. It was merely a reply to the over the top hyperbole used in the review, however, which was just as unfounded if not more.

Then again, if I had already bought MGS4 I wouldn't need to read the review, would I? By hanging onto this very part of my post you only confirm that this is indeed a pat-on-the-back review for those who "get it", not a review that would really help anyone decide whether to buy the game or not.

Please don't take this as a mere contrarian post, though. I used to write reviews for a now defunct (along with the genre) flight simulator website in the 90s and I could at times be accused of just the same sort of un-criticism as I am pointing to above, that's why I am probably more sensitive to it these days. While I probably didn't start it off the right way, I do hope you can still take all of this on as positive criticism.

P.S.: love the phrase "pedantic, contrarian bastard"!

Man, the argumentative folk are of a much higher quality over here than at that other place.

And I see what you're saying, the only problem is that in writing this review of this particular game theres no way to avoid coming off as a "pat-on-the-back" type thing without giving away massive spoilers. I could have said "x plot point doesnt work" or "x does" but then I run the risk of pissing off those who havent played the game by blowing plot points for them.

Honestly I think they would've been a lot more pissy about it than those who simply thought I was praising the game unnecessarily.

Also, the point "youll like it if youre a MGS fan" is such a bullshit statement in a review that it sorta goes without saying.

Jumplion:
I think one major flaw in MGS4 is that it's short. After your first play through, you skip most of the cutscenes and you find out that it's incredibly short. I'm almost finished on my 2nd play through in the 3rd place and i'm only at 3 hours. Plus it can be very easy at times, but i still love the game anyway.

This is the kind of thing that makes me wish that some actual critics would review MSG4 rather than the masturabatory fanboys who seem to have been given the job so far.

As best I can tell, the gameplay is, at best, unremarkable, while the story is the kind of "I'd find this incredibly intelligent if I was too stupid to actually think about any of it" crap that I consider the bane of a lot of modern storytelling.

And I see what you're saying, the only problem is that in writing this review of this particular game theres no way to avoid coming off as a "pat-on-the-back" type thing without giving away massive spoilers.

Is there even an actual game included with MGS4?

BloodSquirrel:
As best I can tell, the gameplay is, at best, unremarkable, while the story is the kind of "I'd find this incredibly intelligent if I was too stupid to actually think about any of it" crap that I consider the bane of a lot of modern storytelling.

Anyone who doesn't play the game should refrain from commenting on it. Have we all not learned from the Mass Effect debacle?

Anyway, as a noob to the series (Ok, I played the original Metal Gear on NES a long, long time ago... In a galaxy... Oh, never mind...) let me give you my take.

You own a PS3? Yes? Ok, buy this game. That's the short take.

The long take... *Takes a deep breath*

I'm married. I have a child. I get little time to play video games. So I'm as monogamous to my games as I am to my wife. That is: very. If I start a game, I finish it with no interruptions, unless my orifices, mostly eyes, begin to bleed from the sheer incredibly bad game design.

MGS is frustrating. But, IMO, a good way. See, I'm a JRPG fan. I like grinding. I hate hand-holding. I want a game to challenge me and make my $40/$50/$60(!) worth the time. I don't want level scaling. I don't want a game to reward me for sucking. Oh, and I want a story. On that doesn't include the 'because we said so' phenomenon. And I like my RPGs without the FPS. Bioshock/Oblivion, you broke my heart. And I expect Fallout 3 to do the same... They are all FPS in RPG clothing. A true Daggerfall remake, where art thou?

MGS is... Original. Maybe when compared to the other Metal Gear games not so much (or so I've been lead to believe), but it certainly is a genre to itself. You have to think. You have to react. You have to equip. You have to... Not fight? Weird, right? But MGS rewards you, and allows you, to not fight. It's like giving you choice, but unlike games like Bioshock, the choice matters. And matters in a way that directly affects you, the gamer.

So, I killed 15 guys my first time through the first act. Big deal, right? The next time through I killed 0 and got a huge boost (I won't say how), but I will say it was a hell of a lot more rewarding a choice than most recent RPGs that tout 'choice'. Ok, so harvest the little girls and... Ok, and so I don't.. And.. WTF???? It's all the SAME!!!

Anyway, MGS4 is a game within a movie. It's an RPG (again, IMO) wrapped in an FPS. It's a game about choice, war, morales, story, etc. etc. etc. wrapped in an experience. And I think that's the best word to describe it.

MGS4 is an experience. Maybe it's short. Maybe you aren't into the stealth/3PS type elements. Hell, maybe you just don't like the Metal Gear series. But I'll tell you this. I hate FPS. I hate 3PS. If I could have a game remade for me, it would be 50% Daggerfall, 50% Tie Fighter, 50% Jedi Knight, and 50% day of the Tentacle. Yep, 200% game, baby.

But I loved MGS4. And I think with a little bit of time, effort, thinking and some lit review (hell, I needed a recap on EVERYTHING in the MGS universe, including.. Who th ehell is this Snake guy?), you might just find an experience wrapped in this game.

mitsoxfan:

Anyone who doesn't play the game should refrain from commenting on it.

It would help if people who have played it would do a better job of commenting on it, as opposed to sounding like they're trying to write psalms. I have never played a game so good that I could not describe what was great about it in less esoteric terms than "MGS is frustrating. But, IMO, a good way." Honestly, you're barely a step away from dismissing the need to actually critique the game by claiming that MGS4 works in mysterious ways.

BloodSquirrel:

mitsoxfan:

Anyone who doesn't play the game should refrain from commenting on it.

It would help if people who have played it would do a better job of commenting on it, as opposed to sounding like they're trying to write psalms. I have never played a game so good that I could not describe what was great about it in less esoteric terms than "MGS is frustrating. But, IMO, a good way." Honestly, you're barely a step away from dismissing the need to actually critique the game by claiming that MGS4 works in mysterious ways.

Clearly you're hooked on Tetris. Is it not enough that a non-MGS fan say 'If you like gaming, buy this game'? Or would you prefer I tap your psyche to try and figure out what exactly it is that makes you enjoy gaming.

If you are looking for a completely objective critique of anything, I'm sorry, you won't find that in a human driven forum.

How about this: The next time you ask for an opinion of a game, code it in BASIC and pass it through an LISP AI process. Perhaps then you will get the review that you seek.

Until then, drop a couple bucks and rent the damn game. Or, as many have suggest it, go out on a limb and buy it.

mitsoxfan:
Is it not enough that a non-MGS fan say 'If you like gaming, buy this game'?

I'm really trying to figure out what thought process could have lead to this-

"Gee, he's just expressed cynicism toward the lack of substance in my MGS4 review. You know what will really throw him off balance? If I just openly come out and say that he should blindly accept my opinion without it being justified in any way!

'And then God said, thou shalt see the goodness that is MGS4, and thou shalt not ask why, lest my anger wax hot against you.'"

Really, this conversation can be summed up in three lines:

MGS4 IS THE BEST EVAR!

Why is it the best ever?

BECAUSE SHUT UP THAT'S WHY!

I'm inclined to agree with you, BloodSquirrel. I'm new to the MGS series, not averse to jumping on board, but all the hyperbole flying around - all this talk of Kojima's 'love letter' to his fans - makes me feel like I'm too late to join the party.

For those who have never played an MG/MGS:

1) Yes, you can play this without skipping anything and "get" the story. You may be confused as hell. You may think it's over the top. You may actually enjoy it for any of the several ways I understand it to be enjoyed (my way of enjoying it isn't the only one I'm sure). There's about 6 hours (that's 3 movies) worth of expository story performed by top professional voice actors and excellent motion capture for the animations. The timing during dialog could be tighter almost everywhere, but I've never seen a game get that right yet, so I won't ding MGS4 too much for it. The action scenes are stellar. Having played the former games only serves as an indicator that you've already experienced this sort of thing before and weren't totally turned off by it. And if all else fails, there is the MGDB on PSN.

2) Don't Panic. You can also skip almost every cut scene and bypass 95% of the story (this is true for all the MG/MGS games in my experience) and experience 5-20 hours, depending on how fast you are replaying, of very exciting stealth action with an astronomical replay value due to a built-in achievements system. In fact, many fans like myself do option 1 first, then option 2 several times to complete the achievements. That 5 hour figure is _the_most_brutal_and_speedy_path_, not an indication of how much content is actually there.

3) The second to last scene will demonstrate to you what interactive fiction is meant to be, in my opinion. When you understand the term, "tunnel crawl", you will know what I mean. I almost cried. Twice. I'd put it up there with what happens to Aerith in FFVII on the scale of evoked emotional response from a video game. Truly, a peak moment for the craft.

4) If you are averse to risk, rent it, and savor/lament having to return it (or rerent) before your 3rd speed/stealth/extreme run is complete. If you have any hide at all, buy it; it's a keeper and an instant classic.

I hope this helps those who want spoiler-free, concrete justification for calling this a must-see game.

I felt the story for metal gear 4 was asinine, convoluted sophomoric and prattling. If you trimmed the fat there would be a great story burred deep beneath the lard. It's a very modern approach to Japanese videogame storytelling. Beat the player viciously over the head with pragmatic boring morals and world views until he's driven insane or brainwashed into believing the same left wing sanitized tripe you do.

SPOILER WARNING:

The answer to everything that ever happened in the metal gear universe is nano-machines. I'm not BSing. Hideo uses this as a flimsy plot crutch for everything from the beginning to the End. It wasn't brilliant writing when it was used liberally on Star Trek voyager and guess what it still isn't now.

Personally, this was the first Metal Gear game I had ever played (well, technically about 5 minutes of Acid before, but that doesn't count) and I would say I'm enjoying the hell out of it. While there were some small details of the story I didn't know (ex. Origin of some of the characters)I understood the overall story. And although the gameplay was not very long, I loved the way I could do each little section differently. The game also has great replay value in the way you could replay to get different emblems (like, 1 for not killing anybody). Overall, this is a great game and should be bought by everyone.

Also, if you have never played a stealth game (like Splinter Cell) than you might need to rent it. Although if you have played stealth games and enjoyed them then this is a definate buy.

MGS4 is the best game ever because its a fitting end to the best series ever. IMO, its a perfect game;amazing graphics,a storyline that actually makes you feel attached to the characters, its just such a well made,epic cinematic game. I kinda aggree that its fan service, but being a fan, i think Kojima has done a fine job. ive played it through twice, and im waiting til i get HD tv to play it again

Good review man.

I must say that more than an year after the release of MGS4 i'm still anxious to replay this game for, i think, the sixth time, and as soon as i have some spare time i will do just that.
Just like someone already said it, this is a 200% experience and it's not an ovestatement in the least.

wow great review

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