Dalisclock completes the Metal Gear Series with some of his sanity intact

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

I'm a little way into MSG3 and I've just finished Virtuous Mission(aka the Prologue) and it's reminded me of one of the weird issues I have with the series as the whole. Namely the whole "You have to pick up all your weapons and stuff during the mission because reasons" or as the series calls it "On Site Procurement".

I understand the concept and the reasoning. Namely that since FOXHOUND is supposed to be a super Black Ops unit that relies on solo infiltration and plausible deniability for the Pentagon. The problem is that the circumstances and implementation doesn't really sync up half the time. A quick run down:

Metal Gear: Snake Starts with nothing except a radio and a pack of smokes. Not really talked about but it was also an early video game and video games just did stuff like that and nobody questioned it(Almost every shooter for a decade started you off with a stupid pistol because reasons). In game, the fact that Big Boss is actually hoping you would fail makes this kinda brilliant in hindsight(why else would you send the most junior guy on staff to deal with a nuclear armed rogue state after your best agent was captured?).

Metal Gear 2: I'm pretty sure it was discussed in he manual that OSP was part of FOXHOUNDs Standard Operating Procedure but I don't recall if it was mentioned in game. Being a game made in the 8-bit era, I suspect nobody really questioned it. On a side note, the MG2 manual contains an amazing amount of information about the game world that didn't make it into the game itself, including how FOXHOUND works and even how the Metal Gears were supposed to be deployed.

Metal Gear Solid: OSP is specifically mentioned as the reason why Snake doesn't have any gear(apparently he smuggled a pack of smokes in his stomach....ewwww), which seems odd considering the bad guys were a group of American Black Ops Soldiers(Namely FOXHOUND) who had just seized an American Nuclear Weapons disposal facility on US soil and were holding two American VIPS hostage. Plausible deniability for the Defense Department seems like it should be a rather low priority here, considering it's gonna be pretty obvious who sent Snake. And that's before getting into the fact Liquid already knows Snake is coming and who he is, so the charade is kinda useless anyway. It would have made more sense if they had said "Well, the mini-sub isn't big enough to fit a rifle", but doesn't explain why a knife or pistol couldn't be strapped to snakes back or something.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Snake, no longer a part of FOXHOUND, just breaks down and brings a tranquilizer pistol with him on the mission, which is justified considering he wasn't expecting to face anyone other then US Marines.

OTOH, Raiden starts with nothing, because "Plausible deniability"(I think that's the justification given). Which is weird because, yet again, the US President and an important US facility(in US waters) has been taken hostage by US Special Ops (rouge) agents so its not gonna take a genius to figure out who Raiden is working for(despite the fact FOXHOUND doesn't exist anymore). Made worse by the fact the US Navy sent SEAL team 10 in at the same time, and those guys went in fully loaded(so Raiden having a fucking gun doesn't seem like it's gonna hurt things too much).

And made even weirder by the fact Raiden was working as an agent for the Patriots all along(unknowingly) so giving him a gun to start off with would have, you know, made it more likely Raiden would succeed. Apparently, the only reason Raiden doesn't get a weapon is because Snake didn't start with one at Shadow Moses and Big Shell had to recreate Shadow Moses as closely as possible.

And finally, the one that prompted me to post this.....

Metal Gear Solid 3(Virtuous mission): This one has perhaps the best case for OSP, being that it's the height of the cold war, 2 years after the Cuban Missle Crisis and an American agent caught on Russian soil would be a really bad thing. Except that (Naked) Snake starts with a Traq gun and a bunch of other equipment. To top it off, his mask shown prior to the HALO jump reads "US ARMY" on it. So much for plausible deniability. Granted, Virtuous Mission goes so FUBAR regardless that it really doesn't matter but still...

At least with Snake Eater, FOX went "Fuck it, here's a gun. Go loud if you need to because the Russians kinda sorta approved of you being there".

Metal Gear Solid 3 is the one game I wish they remake with the controls and gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 4 and 5.

Samtemdo8:
Metal Gear Solid 3 is the one game I wish they remake with the controls and gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 4 and 5.

Honestly, right now I'm just enjoying finally having a decent 3rd person view in a MGS game. MGS was abysmal for POV(from above, but so difficult to see and shoot at enemies) and MGS2 actually having an easy way to go to First Person View was a godsend.

Had to wait awhile for this. That's what comes when you waste your time with Saints Row. :p

Anyway:

Dalisclock:
Presumably they plan to petition congress after that, since it's never made clear exactly what Philanthropy does to stop Metal Gears

"Colonel" mentions that they sabotaged Metal Gears all over the world. I think in this case, IIRC, they wanted to leak the images of RAY online, and thus stir enough pressure to shut down the project.

Dalisclock:
which I'm pretty sure fooled absolutely nobody other than Raiden.

Probably not, but I'd say it's still well done. The audience knows it's Snake, but we're left guessing as to how the heck he could actually be there when it's laid out that they apparently recovered his body. It's a pretty good plot twist when it's explained how he fooled everyone.

Dalisclock:
so Arsenal just kind of shows up in the middle of NYC

Not only that, but the people are just walking around at the end cutscene, paying no attention to the strangely dressed weirdos having a conversation in the middle of the street. 0_0

Dalisclock:
so Raiden and Solidus can have a sword fight on a rooftop (despite the fact Raiden knows at this point that killing Solidus is exactly what the Patriots want him to do).

Yeah, but if Raiden days, Olga's baby dies, plus he has plenty of motivation to want Solidus dead regardless.

Dalisclock:

And then there?s Raiden, who apparently was quite hated when this game came out, apparently because: 1.) He wasn?t Snake, 2.) He wasn?t revealed to be the PC for much of the game until after the game released (the trailers flat out lied about it) and possibly because 3.) He?s not a manly cynical badass like Snake (at least, not at first). My feelings on him weren?t nearly as cynical, though again, I had the benefit of not playing this at release and knowing he was going to take over for Snake early on. There?s also the fact I recently played through MG and remember that Snake started out as a Rookie with no personality at all, so I figured they were doing a parallel with Raiden (though I?ll also admit being occasionally amused by his slipping on bird poop and falling into the ocean like an idiot). Occasionally I was annoyed by how dense Raiden was, such as repeatedly being told that FOXHOUND has been disbanded for years by different people and yet never thinking to question why people keep telling him them, or near the end, suddenly realizing he?s never actually met the colonel in person (it takes him a REALLY long time to figure out what?s going on with that).

Hmm. Raiden...

I didn't play MGS2 until long after it came out, so I missed the outrage over him being revealed as the protagonist. Thing about Raiden is that I like him as a character, but don't like playing him as much. As shallow as this sounds, Snake is more of a badass, while Raiden...isn't as much. To the game's credit, Raiden is likable enough (he can get whiny, but that's part of his character arc), and he's sympathetic enough. I think I read somewhere that part of the idea behind Raiden was to see Snake as an outsider, to appreciate how good a soldier Snake is as someone who isn't Snake. And I kinda like that idea, but how many games does one play where they play second fiddle to the protagonist? Not many, and it's easy to understand why.

So, in essence, like Raiden as a character, but don't enjoy playing him as much. He's Tails to Sonic, or Robin to Batman - good character, but there's no doubt as to who the main character of a franchise is.

Then again, the realization that he?s pretty much been manipulated and brainwashed his entire life as part of a Grand Patriot Scheme (to accomplish what exactly I?m still a little hazy on, since the ?making anyone into Snake? is apparently bunk), as well as the realization he was actually a particularly murderous child solider in his youth (courtesy of Solidus) helped explain a lot to me, as well as giving me more respect (and sympathy) for the character. While MG2 also touched on the subject, MGS2 is one of the few games (or media for that matter) which even talks about child soldiers and one of the reasons I?m willing to tolerate Kojimas other faults to a certain degree. The reveal that Raiden was unwittingly working for the Patriots the entire time and pretty much did exactly what they wanted(ensuring their victory) was a nice touch as well.

The question if Rosemary is even real (the person, not the character she admits she was playing for him) seems particularly dumb considering it?s already been established that him and Rose live together and are intimate. I know it?s supposed to be him losing it and questioning just how much of his world is real, but that bit doesn?t work well and I would hope Raiden can tell the difference between sex with another person and fucking his pillow.

I get what you mean, but I don't see it as a negative. I think it's kinda powerful in a sense, that Raiden's grasp of reality is so fragmented that he's questioning concrete experiences within his past.

However, on the other hand, there?s the subject of Rosemary, who was perhaps the most grating element in the game as a whole. I don?t mind the idea of a Metal Gear game finally having a love interest for the PC, especially if it helps develop the character. The inherent problem with Rosemary (or Rose, as I?m going to call her from now on) despite acting as a vital party of your Mission Control team(and your Save Point), Rosemary spends an inordinate amount of time bugging Raiden(or Jack, his apparent ?real? name) over the CODEC about the state of their relationship. Even at times it?s really not appropriate or helpful for her to do so. It comes across as seriously clingy after a while and at one point I was desperately hoping there was a ?Break up with Rose, bring in replacement? option so I could quit having to listen to her continually prattle on. It?s made worse considering you have to call her to save and she?s rarely content to let you continue on your mission once you have saved.

In the end, it ends up sabotaging part of what it was meant to achieve, because after a certain point I started skipping their relationship talks, stopping just long enough to scan and get the gist of what they were talking about because I really honestly didn?t care anymore. There were far more interesting things going on in Big Shell and Rose breaking into his Raiden?s room because she thought he was cheating on her wasn?t high on my list of ?Things I care about? at that point. Especially considering it?s all supposed to build up to the revelation of Raiden?s shitty past and brainwashing. The eventual revelation that Rose was/is a Patriot agent who was playing a role to keep tabs on him only made me dislike her more (her ?But I feel in love with you for real? to the contrary) because not it feels like she?s purposely trying to mess with his head and distract him the entire game. Unless that was the entire point, to add another element of stress?. However, I?m not sure that?s what Kojima actually had in mind or if he somehow thought that this is an example of a good relationship (his attitude towards women is questionable at times, considering some of his other games).

I like Rose/Rose & Raiden myself. I get why you don't, and there is a cliche in their relationship, the whole "I was sent to spy on you and pretend to love you, but I ended up really loving you." Still, I do like it because it's the first time in the series we've seen an actual romantic relationship with all it's ups and downs. You could argue that SnakexMeryl falls into this, but that's based on the trope of "x and y fall for each other over z." Rose and Raiden are in an established realationship and it feels more real...well, not withstanding Raiden's mental breakdown over it, and what is or isn't real anymore. But I do feel that adds to it.

The other bit of the game I was particularly annoyed by was EE?s entire arc, which feels like a really bad joke at the expense of the player. Early in the game, it?s established that Otacon is looking for someone important to him, his half(?) sister Emma, or as he calls her, EE. Later in the game, it?s brought up that she?s on Big Shell and a genius computer programmer or some such. Her skills are needs to upload a virus that will cripple the AI that controls Arsenal Gear. Getting to her is relatively easy (aside from a fight with Vamp). Getting her back to the other side of Big Shell is a massive pain in the ass.

Ah yes. Emma. Not really a character I'm fond of. Bit too much squik for my liking. True, she's Otacon's foster sister rather than biological sister, but still...eh. Also, it takes for freaking ever to walk with her (like you said). Also, this is a good time to point out that I'm not that enamored of the Big Shell as a whole. There's far too much backtracking for my liking, and at the end of the day, it's all the one environment. A giant faux oil rig that makes up at least 80% of the game. Compare that to Shadow Moses - still technically the one location, but there was a greater variety of settings, ranging from indoors to Alaskan wilderness.

For those of you still reading, MGS2 is quite an interesting journey and often a fun one, but is often messy and even nonsensical at times. I can only imagine how this would feel if I didn?t know more games would be released later to fill in some of the holes and provide context for what happened. However, I can keep those in mind because next up is MGS3: SSSSSSNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKEEEEE EEEEEAAATTTERRR

Nice write-up.

I agree with your sentiment there as well. I do like Sons of Liberty, but without a doubt, it's my least favorite MGS game. It has an interesting plot, but can disappear a bit far up its arse with it. On the gameplay front, a lot of it feels like an eratz MGS1, since the game follows the same plot points ranging from the Harrier to Dead Cell to a hand to hand boss battle at the end. The game's plot accounts for this, but I'm on the fence as to whether this is a piece of subversive writing that's arguably a meta-commentary on sequels, or is simply writing that exists to justify rehashed game design. Maybe a bit of both, but moving onto MGS3, while that still has the same tropes as its predecessors, it feels far more fresh.

Hawki:

"Colonel" mentions that they sabotaged Metal Gears all over the world. I think in this case, IIRC, they wanted to leak the images of RAY online, and thus stir enough pressure to shut down the project.

Okay, I guess I either missed that or I forgot about it.

Hawki:

Probably not, but I'd say it's still well done. The audience knows it's Snake, but we're left guessing as to how the heck he could actually be there when it's laid out that they apparently recovered his body. It's a pretty good plot twist when it's explained how he fooled everyone.

That was clever, though I started suspecting as much before the reveal.

Which of course, now begs the question for MGS1, Why is Liquid so insistent on getting Big Bosses Corpse(for the DNA, presumably) when Liquid is a fucking CLONE of Big Boss? He's already got Big Bosses Genes!

Oh wait, Liquid was an idiot. Never mind.

Hawki:

Not only that, but the people are just walking around at the end cutscene, paying no attention to the strangely dressed weirdos having a conversation in the middle of the street. 0_0

Next to a giant THING that's crashed through about a mile or so(if google maps is accurate as per distance to the sea) of densely packed downtown manhatten. I was initially tempted to write this off as the "Cynical New Yorker" clich? but that's a little much even for that.

I suspect it was supposed to sow doubt in our minds if any of it was real.

Hawki:

Yeah, but if Raiden days, Olga's baby dies, plus he has plenty of motivation to want Solidus dead regardless.

I know. It was kind of a shitty choice for Raiden. Either help the Patriots get what they want and maybe save Olgas child, or refuse and possibly die anyway. And you're right, considering what Solidus did to him, it's hard to see why he wouldn't want Solidus dead. I mean, that and Solidus kinda wanted to kill him at that point anyway, though was at least nice enough to wait until Raiden finished his long ass Codec Call with the Patriots.

Hawki:

I didn't play MGS2 until long after it came out, so I missed the outrage over him being revealed as the protagonist. Thing about Raiden is that I like him as a character, but don't like playing him as much. As shallow as this sounds, Snake is more of a badass, while Raiden...isn't as much. To the game's credit, Raiden is likable enough (he can get whiny, but that's part of his character arc), and he's sympathetic enough. I think I read somewhere that part of the idea behind Raiden was to see Snake as an outsider, to appreciate how good a soldier Snake is as someone who isn't Snake. And I kinda like that idea, but how many games does one play where they play second fiddle to the protagonist? Not many, and it's easy to understand why.

So, in essence, like Raiden as a character, but don't enjoy playing him as much. He's Tails to Sonic, or Robin to Batman - good character, but there's no doubt as to who the main character of a franchise is.

Good point there, and I didn't really thing of it that way. It's kind of one of those Brilliant bits this game has, even if it annoyed a lot of people. Though there is that whole "Naked" sequence inside Arsenal, where you have no option but to hide and sneak, against the black suited troopers.

Hawki:

I like Rose/Rose & Raiden myself. I get why you don't, and there is a cliche in their relationship, the whole "I was sent to spy on you and pretend to love you, but I ended up really loving you." Still, I do like it because it's the first time in the series we've seen an actual romantic relationship with all it's ups and downs. You could argue that SnakexMeryl falls into this, but that's based on the trope of "x and y fall for each other over z." Rose and Raiden are in an established realationship and it feels more real...well, not withstanding Raiden's mental breakdown over it, and what is or isn't real anymore. But I do feel that adds to it.

Like I said, I like the concept behind it, but felt it wasn't handled nearly as well it could have been. Instead of appreciating the character development, it made me continually wonder why Radien puts up this this all the time. Then again, considering how miserable his past life was, I can only imagine he went figured "Why not?"

Hawki:

Ah yes. Emma. Not really a character I'm fond of. Bit too much squik for my liking. True, she's Otacon's foster sister rather than biological sister, but still...eh. Also, it takes for freaking ever to walk with her (like you said). Also, this is a good time to point out that I'm not that enamored of the Big Shell as a whole. There's far too much backtracking for my liking, and at the end of the day, it's all the one environment. A giant faux oil rig that makes up at least 80% of the game. Compare that to Shadow Moses - still technically the one location, but there was a greater variety of settings, ranging from indoors to Alaskan wilderness.

The Hexagon pattern alleviates this a little and I'm kind of glad movement back and forth between Shell 1 and Shell 2 was minimized(I was kind of worried I'd have to Traipse all over it when I saw it) but yeah, it is pretty much one big repetition for much of the game. It's less Linear but also less interesting then Shadow Moses, and there are a lot of bridge choke points which makes stealth feel kind of useless.

Hawki:

I agree with your sentiment there as well. I do like Sons of Liberty, but without a doubt, it's my least favorite MGS game. It has an interesting plot, but can disappear a bit far up its arse with it. On the gameplay front, a lot of it feels like an eratz MGS1, since the game follows the same plot points ranging from the Harrier to Dead Cell to a hand to hand boss battle at the end. The game's plot accounts for this, but I'm on the fence as to whether this is a piece of subversive writing that's arguably a meta-commentary on sequels, or is simply writing that exists to justify rehashed game design. Maybe a bit of both, but moving onto MGS3, while that still has the same tropes as its predecessors, it feels far more fresh.

It's weird because Kojima really likes calling back to his previous games to begin with. MGS borrowed a lot of tropes and set pieces from the previous games(including large chunks of the plot), and MGS2 did the same to MGS. It feels like one big line of borrowing, all the way back to the first Metal Gear. That's not saying it's bad and I've certainty been enjoying this, but playing them all one after the other does reveal how much Kojima relies on grabbing stuff he liked from the previous works for his new one. This time he wove it into the plot, because unlike in MGS, where he could borrow liberally from the first two games few people had played, MGS was popular enough that he couldn't pull the same trick again without someone calling him out on it.

Dalisclock:

I suspect it was supposed to sow doubt in our minds if any of it was real.

Yup. MGS2 schtick, apart from the post-modernist deconstruction, is that the last 1/3rd or so is all about sowing doubts about the reality of anything in the game. All Raiden's talk about VR training and how it is just like real life? What if the entire mission is a giant VR exercise and he doesn't know it? Solidus talk about Raiden as a child soldier, is it true or just an attempt to make Raiden doubt everything he knows (isn't it odd how even Raiden seems surprised at that revelation?)? This is also where the oddity of Rose perhaps not being real and Raiden maybe not meeting her at all comes in, as well as the overt scenario similarities to MGS.

MGS2 has been remembered for its' deconstruction, meta layer and player punch, but the actual plot is about the inability to distinguish fiction from reality in VR. Fortune's "power" ties into this, as does the unending stream of RAYs that serves as the actual skill test final boss and the ending where people walk the street despite the weaponized Big Shell having crashed into Manhattan. It is a story that holds up badly and frankly is a bit too much up its' own ass, especially when Kojima is also trying to deliver a deconstruction of MGS and a take-that at MGS fans. MGS2 would have been well served by an editor that would have forced Kojima to cut some of the main plot lines out, because the VR plot line never gets satisfactorily resolved, even as it serves as the vehicle for the deconstruction.

Dalisclock:
I'm a little way into MSG3 and I've just finished Virtuous Mission

Virtuous Mission?!

(Sorry, it got me that we couldn't even get five minutes into MGS3 without Snake repeating everything Zero says).

Dalisclock:
"On Site Procurement".

Ah yes. That.

As you point out, it seems redundant in the context of MGS1, considering that Liquid is gonna have a pretty good idea of what the US's next move would be. I also can't remember if it was mentioned for Raiden in MGS2 (Snake having just a tranq makes sense in the context). But MGS3, as you say, the helmet has "US ARMY" on it. Um, guys? Think you missed something?! Guys?!

Though to be fair, it's probably far enough away from Sokolov's site that the chances of finding it were deemed low, but even so, was a new paintjob too much to ask?

Hawki:

Dalisclock:
I'm a little way into MSG3 and I've just finished Virtuous Mission

Virtuous Mission?!

(Sorry, it got me that we couldn't even get five minutes into MGS3 without Snake repeating everything Zero says).

It's not only Snake either. It's quite a few other characters do it too. I can't tell if it's a translation issue, part of Kojima's writing style or he's just aware of the of the whole joke so much that he keeps doing the Parrot Exposition thing(I'm still kinda sad that it's not called "Metal Gearing" anymore).

Though Snake is definitely his fathers son, based on what I've seen of Big Boss/Naked Snake so far. I know he won't be Big Boss for a while(and won't meet Snake for another 3 decades or so) but it's hard not to think of him as "Young Big Boss".

So I'm getting pretty far into Snake Eater and there's one thing that's kinda bugging me. Namely the Shagohod. I get that they wanted to show a Prototype Metal Gear(which is where the trend of showing Metal Gear type weapons starting 30 years before the TX-55 started), but the Shagohod doesn't seem to make much sense.

If I understood it correctly, the idea is that they wanted a mobile nuclear launching system, so they built a tank, put rocket boosters on it and then designed it to fire a small nuclear missile once the tank reaches 300 or so mph. I'm not a math whiz or a rocket science, but I do know a decent amount about how rockets actually work and Shagohod doesn't seem like it would actually do what it's supposed to. Accelerating to 300 mph gives the rocket a bit of a speed boost, sure, but that boost is aimed mostly horizontally and thus not actually negating much the air resistance that the first stage of a suborbital rocket needs to overcome.

There's also the problem of the rocket needing to be aimed fairly correctly towards the target and considering the thing needs about 3 miles of traversable ground to reach that speed, that might be a tall order. Sure you might find 3 miles, but those 3 miles might be pointed 90 degrees from the target.

And if it's the speed boost that makes the difference, why not just launch it from a bomber(like the TU-95) which can fly 500 or so mph at a fairly high altitude and changing heading far more easily then a tank? It seems like Volgin wasted a ton of money on finding a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Yeah, I'm probably overthinking this, especially since I've long since made piece with the whole "Nuclear armed walking tank" concept(though I personally think the actual ranges those things are a threat at was highly overestimated(The box launchers on the first two look like they're basically carrying nuclear tipped cruise missles). So far REX is the only one that kinda works, by virtue of the railgun.

Anyway, I should be done with Snake Eater and have the write up done by New Years.

"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Hawki:
"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The whole Shagohod thing was just irrating my inner physics nerd(Interstellar was difficult to sit through for similar reasons). And I totally realize how weird it sounds to criticize that and not the guy who is COVERED IN BEES or the Sniper who apparently is full of moss or the creepy ass Spider/Predator guy(The Fury is a guy with a jet pack and a flamethrower, except when he's a flaming skull because why not). I guess because I've gotten used to Weird-ass bosses for reasons(Usually NANOMACHINES, but apparently it becomes Parasites or something later).

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

Dalisclock:

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

Do yourself a service: Hide in the cardboard box and call SIGINT.

Dalisclock:

Hawki:
"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The whole Shagohod thing was just irrating my inner physics nerd(Interstellar was difficult to sit through for similar reasons). And I totally realize how weird it sounds to criticize that and not the guy who is COVERED IN BEES or the Sniper who apparently is full of moss or the creepy ass Spider/Predator guy(The Fury is a guy with a jet pack and a flamethrower, except when he's a flaming skull because why not). I guess because I've gotten used to Weird-ass bosses for reasons(Usually NANOMACHINES, but apparently it becomes Parasites or something later).

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

There's a book called The Science of Interstellar in which Kip Thorne (being a theoretical physicist) basically admits a lot of it is high level speculation; as in "extremely unlikely", but still not thoroughly disproven or impossible. Pretty interesting discussions involving wormholes, blackholes, warped time, quantum gravity, singularities, etc. Might be worth checking out to make the movie's themes a bit more palatable.

On topic, yeah MGS3 Snake Eater is in my top five all time modern favorites. I know by this point Kojima basically said screw it regarding his more eccentric themes in response to MGS2 critics, but the setting, gameplay and characters are still outstanding.

Pointer: playing non-lethally will make a later section much more manageable.

hanselthecaretaker:

There?s a book called The Science of Interstellar in which Kip Thorne (being a theoretical physicist) basically admits a lot of it is high level speculation; as in ?extremely unlikely?, but still not thoroughly disproven or impossible. Pretty interesting discussions involving wormholes, blackholes, warped time, quantum gravity, singularities, etc. Might be worth checking out to make the movie?s themes a bit more palatable.

On topic, yeah MGS3 Snake Eater is in my top five all time modern favorites. I know by this point Kojima basically said screw it regarding his more eccentric themes in response to MGS2 critics, but the setting, gameplay and characters are still outstanding.

Pointer: playing non-lethally will make a later section much more manageable.

I have a passing knowledge of advanced physics from reading Hawking's books, so I got the concepts they were trying to convey. I just didn't think they did a good job at it. It felt like it was really trying to be 2001 but without the directing or writing to pull it off.

I've already met The Sorrow, but thanks for the advice anyway. I got spoiled about that particular encounter a long time ago(not even trying to) because it's one of those Iconic video game moments that gets brought up a lot, especially when talking about making characters/players consider the consequences of their actions. Though I've also been trying to play non-lethally since MGS2, because I kinda like role playing as "Kill only if I have to survive" in these types of games. I played Dishonored the same way.

I see people are talking about The Sorrow. Truth be told, while I think it's a very powerful scene, and a great case of story-gameplay integration, it never hit me in the way I felt it should...sort of. I will say though that I was surprised as to how many ghosts I had to deal with. I didn't think I'd killed too many people, since I always favor the stealth approach in Metal Gear games, but even then, apparently I'd killed quite a few people.

One thing though, I got stuck on the end a few times, when the Sorrow zaps you. I had to look up that you needed to use your wake-up pill (I mean, does anyone actually use the temporary sleeping agent ever in the game, except perhaps in the Gorznygrad cell?)

Gethsemani:
It is a story that holds up badly and frankly is a bit too much up its' own ass, especially when Kojima is also trying to deliver a deconstruction of MGS and a take-that at MGS fans.

This was my biggest issue with MGS2. I mean, the game at one point literally turns to the viewer gamer and says they tried to recapture the magic of MGS1, but failed. And that's what the whole game (minus the Tanker section) feels like. Apparently deliberately. Gee, thanks Kojima. Thanks for putting your need to express your concern over your own inadequacies to follow up MGS1 over the need of the audience.

Dalisclock:

Hawki:
"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The whole Shagohod thing was just irrating my inner physics nerd(Interstellar was difficult to sit through for similar reasons). And I totally realize how weird it sounds to criticize that and not the guy who is COVERED IN BEES or the Sniper who apparently is full of moss or the creepy ass Spider/Predator guy(The Fury is a guy with a jet pack and a flamethrower, except when he's a flaming skull because why not). I guess because I've gotten used to Weird-ass bosses for reasons(Usually NANOMACHINES, but apparently it becomes Parasites or something later).

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

Is Metal Gear REX's nuclear capabilities more plausible than the Shagohod?

Samtemdo8:

Is Metal Gear REX's nuclear capabilities more plausible than the Shagohod?

Let me put it this way. I can buy using a railgun to fire a nuclear warhead long distances(along with the lack of a heat bloom that would come with an ICBM launch) then putting rocket boosters on a tank and then firing what's still essentially a Short Range Ballistic Missile(SRBM) and expecting it to reach another continent.

Shagohod comes across as a really expensive and over engineered version of the FROG or SCUD mobile launcher, not to mention having the downside of a bomber(lot of fuel and a long runway required) without any of the advantages. The Soviets in 1964 already have both mobile missile launchers and bombers that can do the same job better and cheaper, so thus, why Shagohod? I can see why Granin was pissed(in more ways then one).

In all fairness, the first two Metal Gear projects(TX-55 and D) are also overengineered SRBM launchers, except with legs and more armor(so presumably can traverse a better range of terrain and can defend themselves better).

Dalisclock:

Samtemdo8:

Is Metal Gear REX's nuclear capabilities more plausible than the Shagohod?

Let me put it this way. I can buy using a railgun to fire a nuclear warhead long distances(along with the lack of a heat bloom that would come with an ICBM launch) then putting rocket boosters on a tank and then firing what's still essentially a Short Range Ballistic Missile(SRBM) and expecting it to reach another continent.

Shagohod comes across as a really expensive and over engineered version of the FROG or SCUD mobile launcher, not to mention having the downside of a bomber(lot of fuel and a long runway required) without any of the advantages. The Soviets in 1964 already have both mobile missile launchers and bombers that can do the same job better and cheaper, so thus, why Shagohod? I can see why Granin was pissed(in more ways then one).

In all fairness, the first two Metal Gear projects(TX-55 and D) are also overengineered SRBM launchers, except with legs and more armor(so presumably can traverse a better range of terrain and can defend themselves better).

If I recall correctly, the advantage of the Shagohod over a bomber or something is that it could fire a nuclear ICBM that could reach another continent without being easily detected. While the long runway that is needed is a big downside, the Shagohod itself is easy to hide and was built to be hard to detect. So you can transport it somewhere via helicopter, launch a sudden, hard to detect ICBM at another country/continent, then move it somewhere else. It functions like REX but uses acceleration instead of a rail gun to get around the usual nuclear deterrents. I believe it also gets implied that the reason they used the Shagohod instead of attempting Granin's Metal Gear idea was that they had the ability to make the Shagohod NOW rather than wait for something else to be developed. It's all rather silly but that's Metal Gear from you, and we love it for that.

Comic Sans:

Dalisclock:

Samtemdo8:

Is Metal Gear REX's nuclear capabilities more plausible than the Shagohod?

Let me put it this way. I can buy using a railgun to fire a nuclear warhead long distances(along with the lack of a heat bloom that would come with an ICBM launch) then putting rocket boosters on a tank and then firing what's still essentially a Short Range Ballistic Missile(SRBM) and expecting it to reach another continent.

Shagohod comes across as a really expensive and over engineered version of the FROG or SCUD mobile launcher, not to mention having the downside of a bomber(lot of fuel and a long runway required) without any of the advantages. The Soviets in 1964 already have both mobile missile launchers and bombers that can do the same job better and cheaper, so thus, why Shagohod? I can see why Granin was pissed(in more ways then one).

In all fairness, the first two Metal Gear projects(TX-55 and D) are also overengineered SRBM launchers, except with legs and more armor(so presumably can traverse a better range of terrain and can defend themselves better).

If I recall correctly, the advantage of the Shagohod over a bomber or something is that it could fire a nuclear ICBM that could reach another continent without being easily detected. While the long runway that is needed is a big downside, the Shagohod itself is easy to hide and was built to be hard to detect. So you can transport it somewhere via helicopter, launch a sudden, hard to detect ICBM at another country/continent, then move it somewhere else. It functions like REX but uses acceleration instead of a rail gun to get around the usual nuclear deterrents. I believe it also gets implied that the reason they used the Shagohod instead of attempting Granin's Metal Gear idea was that they had the ability to make the Shagohod NOW rather than wait for something else to be developed. It's all rather silly but that's Metal Gear from you, and we love it for that.

I know. I keep having to remind myself it's basically the "prototype" grandfather of the Metal Gear weapons, so they had to come up with something kinda plausible and yet recognizable of filling that same niche as a Metal Gear. I think it's because Snake Eater feels less "Sci-Fi" then then other games in the series(especially the Solid ones) even though that's pretty much what the series is half the time.

Edit: I've fought and beaten shagohod and I withdraw most of my complaint, on the grounds that the Shagohod comes across as so ridiculous for most of the fight that it's hard to take any of it seriously. Something about Shagohod thrashing about during the chase like an excited toddler makes it almost impossible to think of it as a military doomsday weapon.

Oh Kojima, never change.

Casual Shinji:

Gethsemani:
It is a story that holds up badly and frankly is a bit too much up its' own ass, especially when Kojima is also trying to deliver a deconstruction of MGS and a take-that at MGS fans.

This was my biggest issue with MGS2. I mean, the game at one point literally turns to the viewer gamer and says they tried to recapture the magic of MGS1, but failed. And that's what the whole game (minus the Tanker section) feels like. Apparently deliberately. Gee, thanks Kojima. Thanks for putting your need to express your concern over your own inadequacies to follow up MGS1 over the need of the audience.

I've gotten the impression from some of what I've read that Kojima might have been having a breakdown of sorts at the time. Apparently(sadly I don't have anything concrete to confirm it) there some desperation on the team to match or exceed the sucess of MGS and they clearly didn't know how to do so, so some of the wierder bits of the game were throwing shit at the wall and seeing what stuck.

MGS was a bit of a victim of it's own success here. Kojima happily cribbed a lot from the previous 2 MG games(especially MG2) to make MGS and he got away with it because MG and MG2 weren't really well known outside of Japan. If you hadn't played the NES port of Metal Gear or had an MSX, MGS was likely your first Metal Gear game and introduction to Solid Snake. In MGS2, he still tried to crib from the previous game and this time made up a meta reason to justify it.

Even Snake Eater has this issue. As great a game as it is, it owes a lot to the Earlier MG titles for the MSX in it's overall design, down to re-purposing (justifiably) forgotten bosses of MG/MG2 for the Cobras. The difference is that in MGS3, he figured out how to recycle(or possibly reboot) his previous work to make it feel fresh and exciting, whereas MGS2 not so much.

Going along with this is the constant theme I've seen that Kojima was clearly interested in being finished with the series and didn't want to make another one, so the weirdness and gainex ending of MGS2 might have bee a "Springtime for Hitler" moment where he was hoping to crash the series so hard he wouldn't have to make another one.

That's my take on it based on what I've seen from the games so far and what I've read about the events surrounding them.

Just popping in since I'm a pretty big MGS as that's what the "mgs" in my name is reference to.

-The Shagohod makes no sense just in the simplest understanding of physics.

-MGS2 did Bioshock better and before Bioshock, it is quite the masterpiece to this day. The story is even more poignant today than it was when it released. Kojima predicted a lot concerning information's affect on people, the Patriots were right. Whereas Bioshock just has some decent game commentary revolving around the dumbest assassination plot probably ever written.

Phoenixmgs:
Just popping in since I'm a pretty big MGS as that's what the "mgs" in my name is reference to.

So what about the phoenix part?

Phoenixmgs:

-MGS2 did Bioshock better and before Bioshock, it is quite the masterpiece to this day. The story is even more poignant today than it was when it released. Kojima predicted a lot concerning information's affect on people, the Patriots were right. Whereas Bioshock just has some decent game commentary revolving around the dumbest assassination plot probably ever written.

Can't say I agree. I think both games are good, even if BioShock is better, but gameplay differences aside, their themes/ideas are different. There's arguably similarities between Raiden/Jack and...um, "Jack," in regards to how they're manipulated by those around them, but in terms of settings/ideas, the takes are different. MGS2 does feel relevant in regards to its take on information control and information overload, with people today obsessing over the most trivial of things. BioShock however is a skewering of libertarianism/Randism/laise faire capitalism, its core idea being that a society without some level of control is doomed to collapse (if anything, MGS2 is about the dangers of too much control, BioShock is about the dangers of not enough control). BioShock has a fantastical setting, but its warnings are still relevant to a world where people still advocate for laise faire capitalism and reductions in government control.

But on a related note, I will concede that Fontaine's plan to use Jack relied on a lot of luck to execute. Then again, I wonder what the Patriots' plan was if Raiden bit the bullet.

Dalisclock:

Hawki:
"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The whole Shagohod thing was just irrating my inner physics nerd(Interstellar was difficult to sit through for similar reasons). And I totally realize how weird it sounds to criticize that and not the guy who is COVERED IN BEES or the Sniper who apparently is full of moss or the creepy ass Spider/Predator guy(The Fury is a guy with a jet pack and a flamethrower, except when he's a flaming skull because why not). I guess because I've gotten used to Weird-ass bosses for reasons(Usually NANOMACHINES, but apparently it becomes Parasites or something later).

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

I know what you mean. I love Snake Eater as well but Motorcycle Titty Girl is still a tough pill for me to swallow. I hate the idea of her "stealthily" riding a motorcycle through the jungle with her titties out *eyeroll*

ZombieProof:

Dalisclock:

Hawki:
"Shagohod?!"

...yeah, doesn't have the same ring to it. But, anyway, this being Metal Gear, just go with it. Snake Eater has to sell us on pyrokinetics, psychics, and wasp...ics...before even getting to where the Shagohod is stored. Doesn't stop it from being my favorite Metal Gear game though.

Oh, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. The whole Shagohod thing was just irrating my inner physics nerd(Interstellar was difficult to sit through for similar reasons). And I totally realize how weird it sounds to criticize that and not the guy who is COVERED IN BEES or the Sniper who apparently is full of moss or the creepy ass Spider/Predator guy(The Fury is a guy with a jet pack and a flamethrower, except when he's a flaming skull because why not). I guess because I've gotten used to Weird-ass bosses for reasons(Usually NANOMACHINES, but apparently it becomes Parasites or something later).

Hell, there's even that whole joke about Snake eating the glowing mushrooms and it recharging his batteries(which may be one of the most amusing CODEC conversations ever).

I know what you mean. I love Snake Eater as well but Motorcycle Titty Girl is still a tough pill for me to swallow. I hate the idea of her "stealthily" riding a motorcycle through the jungle with her titties out *eyeroll*

Yeah, I get the seductress part of her character(Though Snake did a much better job of seducing her without even trying). I don't see how that means she's gonna ride around on a motorcycle with her chest exposed all of the time.

I keep seeing that and commenting "Aren't you cold?" and "Are your coveralls too tight or something?"

Hawki:

But on a related note, I will concede that Fontaine's plan to use Jack relied on a lot of luck to execute. Then again, I wonder what the Patriots' plan was if Raiden bit the bullet.

Bioshock's twist would mean a lot more to me if there were any other possible route to reach Ryan, which there never is because all the other possible passages are always blocked somehow. You aren't so much being directed in one direction then funneled by the level design.

It also falls down because once you "break free" of the programming near the end, the level design is as linear as ever. It doesn't suddenly let you explore Rapture to your hearts content, you're still told by someone else to go do stuff and you do it because the levels afford you no other option.

There's the inherent weirdness that Jack is essentially a 1 year old you has been rapidly aged to about 20 or so, which still doesn't explain why he's able to function at an adult level despite having no more then a years worth of life experience(I have an 8 month old. She's still working on crawling).

Dalisclock:

Bioshock's twist would mean a lot more to me if there were any other possible route to reach Ryan, which there never is because all the other possible passages are always blocked somehow. You aren't so much being directed in one direction then funneled by the level design.

It also falls down because once you "break free" of the programming near the end, the level design is as linear as ever. It doesn't suddenly let you explore Rapture to your hearts content, you're still told by someone else to go do stuff and you do it because the levels afford you no other option.

I don't really agree with that. BioShock's linear in the sense that one sequentially moves from one area to another, but each area is quite open with a sense of exploration - certainly had to look at the map a fair share of times. Certainly felt in my case that I was exploring Rapture. It's not free exploration in the sense of open world, but more exploration in the case of segmented areas.

It's kind of noticable once Atlas is revealed as being Fontaine, that Jack just does what Tellembaum tells him to do regardless, I will say that. Personally, I think it would have been great for Jack to start talking at this point. His nature as a silent protagonist works in the first half because there's the sense that he's just a golem, with the illusion of free will, in reality just doing what Atlas tells him to do. Come the second half, he'd have benefitted from characterization, showing that he has a drive to take revenge on Fontaine.

Dalisclock:

There's the inherent weirdness that Jack is essentially a 1 year old you has been rapidly aged to about 20 or so, which still doesn't explain why he's able to function at an adult level despite having no more then a years worth of life experience(I have an 8 month old. She's still working on crawling).

Think we can assume that Wu's work allowed his mind to develop alongside his body. It's made up science that justifies his accelerated growth, we can assume it does the same for his brain development.

Hawki:
BioShock however is a skewering of libertarianism/Randism/laise faire capitalism, its core idea being that a society without some level of control is doomed to collapse (if anything, MGS2 is about the dangers of too much control, BioShock is about the dangers of not enough control). BioShock has a fantastical setting, but its warnings are still relevant to a world where people still advocate for laise faire capitalism and reductions in government control.

By Levine's own words BioShock is about how ideology is used as a justification for bad behavior. Ryan makes a big deal about his Objectivism, but audio logs makes it clear that he was just as much a dictator as anyone else, outlawing people he didn't like, forbidding the import on goods he didn't want in Rapture (the reason you see crates of bibles in Atlas' hideout) and demanding that people worship him as their savior. Atlas/Fontaine on the other hand uses altruism and utilitarism as excuses to make a profit and is very obviously just adopting whatever ideological rhetoric is needed at anyone point to make sure people will go along with his schemes.

BioShock absolutely delivers some scathing criticism of Objectivism (The "someone's got to clean the toilets even in Paradise" audio log comes to mind), but I don't think that's the core message of the game as much as it is some very nice and detailed set dressing.

Hawki:
One thing though, I got stuck on the end a few times, when the Sorrow zaps you. I had to look up that you needed to use your wake-up pill (I mean, does anyone actually use the temporary sleeping agent ever in the game, except perhaps in the Gorznygrad cell?)

You mean the suicide pill? It's useful when you're trying to get a good rating, it sends you to the real continue screen if you wanna restart the area when you get detected.

I'm really excited to hear OP's thoughts on MGS3, I think it's the greatest game of all time. The controls are a little bizarre, but they allow a really wide range of actions once you've mastered them. You can grab a guy, then go into first person and shoot over his shoulder while using him as a human shield. You can lower your gun by slowly releasing square when you have it aimed in first person. Another tactic you probably won't pick up on immediately but is super useful, you can hold enemies up by sneaking up on them and aiming your gun at them. This will cause them to surrender, even if you're out of bullets (although if you try to fire with no ammo and they hear your gun go 'click', they'll cut your ass). There's even a special camouflage for holding up The End, I strongly encourage trying to get it.

Make sure you talk to sigint and paramedic a lot, your crew is so charming in that game. Also, every boss awards a special camo if you defeat them by depleting their stamina instead of health, and they give you weird effects. The best one being The Sorrow's, which has a slightly different requirement (since you don't really fight him like that), and makes your footsteps completely silent.

I could really go on and on, MGS3 is such a rich tapestry. But I'll stop now, and wait for your review of it.

Hawki:

Phoenixmgs:
Just popping in since I'm a pretty big MGS as that's what the "mgs" in my name is reference to.

So what about the phoenix part?

Phoenixmgs:

-MGS2 did Bioshock better and before Bioshock, it is quite the masterpiece to this day. The story is even more poignant today than it was when it released. Kojima predicted a lot concerning information's affect on people, the Patriots were right. Whereas Bioshock just has some decent game commentary revolving around the dumbest assassination plot probably ever written.

Can't say I agree. I think both games are good, even if BioShock is better, but gameplay differences aside, their themes/ideas are different. There's arguably similarities between Raiden/Jack and...um, "Jack," in regards to how they're manipulated by those around them, but in terms of settings/ideas, the takes are different. MGS2 does feel relevant in regards to its take on information control and information overload, with people today obsessing over the most trivial of things. BioShock however is a skewering of libertarianism/Randism/laise faire capitalism, its core idea being that a society without some level of control is doomed to collapse (if anything, MGS2 is about the dangers of too much control, BioShock is about the dangers of not enough control). BioShock has a fantastical setting, but its warnings are still relevant to a world where people still advocate for laise faire capitalism and reductions in government control.

But on a related note, I will concede that Fontaine's plan to use Jack relied on a lot of luck to execute. Then again, I wonder what the Patriots' plan was if Raiden bit the bullet.

Phoenix is from X-Men as I loved the Phoenix saga as a kid.

I kinda feel the same way as Gethsemani about Bioshock's Objectivism being basically window dressing, good window dressing though.

The Patriots' plan really didn't hinge on Raiden at all. It was just a scenario set up to see how much the control of information would dictate human actions. If Raiden died, they probably would've just set up another scenario starting a new experiment basically. It's not like the Patriots needed Raiden to stop Solidus or anything, they had control of basically all the weapons from Metal Gears to nuclear missiles. It was only Emma that did anything to them and then they just had the other AIs pick up the slack basically.

Just a heads up that I finished Snake Eater this morning and am working on my write up now. Hopefully have it done tonight or tomorrow, and then I'm moving on to MGS4. I'm probably gonna watch the movie version of Portable Ops on Youtube just because it's apparently semi-canonical(as it "really broad strokes" cannonical) and I don't have it in the collection.

In short: Man that was fun. I have a strong urge to play it again being able to apply everything I've learned the first time(the superbunnyhop vid on it was also interesting. Apparently there are cigarettes somewhere that knock people out? How did I miss those?). However, I'm committed to finishing the series before I move onto any new games.

Hawki:

Dalisclock:

There's the inherent weirdness that Jack is essentially a 1 year old you has been rapidly aged to about 20 or so, which still doesn't explain why he's able to function at an adult level despite having no more then a years worth of life experience(I have an 8 month old. She's still working on crawling).

Think we can assume that Wu's work allowed his mind to develop alongside his body. It's made up science that justifies his accelerated growth, we can assume it does the same for his brain development.

I'm onboard with the wonky made up science(I think Infinite is the best game in the series, so I kind of have to be), but even assume a fully developed adult brain with a fully developed adult body, the issue is: Jack literally only has a years worth of memories and experiences. How the hell is he even able to interact with anyone and know how anything works?

It's kind of the replicant problem from Blade Runner. If you don't have experience and memories, how can you hope to pass for a normal human being? He doesn't even have the excuse the Clones from Star Wars have, where they were trained from birth to be soldiers to complement their accelerated growth program(and the ones who fail to perform are presumably discarded).

Dalisclock:

I'm onboard with the wonky made up science(I think Infinite is the best game in the series, so I kind of have to be), but even assume a fully developed adult brain with a fully developed adult body, the issue is: Jack literally only has a years worth of memories and experiences. How the hell is he even able to interact with anyone and know how anything works?

It's kind of the replicant problem from Blade Runner. If you don't have experience and memories, how can you hope to pass for a normal human being? He doesn't even have the excuse the Clones from Star Wars have, where they were trained from birth to be soldiers to complement their accelerated growth program(and the ones who fail to perform are presumably discarded).

In Blade Runner, the replicants (or at least NEXUS 6 and onwards) are given fake memories to provide the emotional base for them to function. Jack has a photo of his 'parents,' so presumably he does have false memories that could be said to act as a buffer as well.

Basically, if Rapture's technology is so good that it can program commands into Jack, where even simple phrases can trigger his actions, even slowing his own heart, I can buy that the same tech can account for false memories that give him a sense of identity and know-how in which to function.

Dalisclock:
In short: Man that was fun. I have a strong urge to play it again being able to apply everything I've learned the first time(the superbunnyhop vid on it was also interesting. Apparently there are cigarettes somewhere that knock people out? How did I miss those?). However, I'm committed to finishing the series before I move onto any new games.

I wanna say you get the cigarettes in the first lab where you have to use the scientist outfit to infiltrate. They're useful, being one of two weapons you can use while disguised as a scientist. They, along with the chloroform rag, are shockingly good at killing bosses as well, if you're going for the stamina kill.

Now you understand why I think MGS3 is the best game, I'm excited to hear your full thoughts.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Origins

Metal Gear Solid 2 was a solid game, but controversial to say the very least. A new and unexpected lead character (who many saw as inferior to Snake) combined with an increasingly bizarre and metafictional final act, as well as a notably similar setup to the previous game, did a lot to sour people on Metal Gear and Kojima's creative abilities. Arguably Kojima didn't even know where he was going with this, introducing a vast (presumably) retroactive conspiracy into the series mythos and implying every game to this point might have been a simulation (or a video game *rimshot*).

If MGS2 had been the final game of the series, as it almost seemed to be hinting at, a lot of people no doubt would have been very disappointed in how it ended. However, luckily this was not to be the case. MGS2 was successful enough to warrant yet another sequel (the 4th canon one thus far) and this time, Kojima decided to look backwards, both from chronological and developmental standpoint.

MGS3: Snake Eater (or more appropriately, "SNNNAAAKKKEEE EEEEAAATTTTEEERRR") takes numerous cues from the last MSX game, Metal Gear 2, reintroducing open environments into the series, drawing notably from some of the forgotten bosses of that game (and their signature move of exploding upon death) and making it worth it actually crawl again, as well as simultaneously toning back and enhancing the silliness in the series. It feels fresh again, while keeping the combat gameplay advances made over the past 15 years since MG2.

More overtly, the game draws one of its greatest strengths from the story of MG2, where Snake and the player began to realize that a lot of the black and white of Metal Gear was much greyer then previously believed. Former allies become enemies, Enemies gain realistic and interesting motivations and backstories. Big Boss is revealed to have a softer side (rescuing refugees and war orphans, even if it is to make them part of his army) and goes on at length about why he does what he does and why people willingly join and look up to him. And then Snake burns him to death, marking the end of the man if not the legend, paving the way for the games to follow.

As a side note, apparently, it's been argued that the region Snake Eater takes place in 1964(no, I'm not gonna try to spell it) is the same region that Zanzibar Land would arise in 1999 in MG2. As far as I know, there's no real evidence to support this but if it were somehow true then it ends a nice set of bookends to Big Bosses story, meaning that he began and ended his career in the same place 35 years apart.

MGS3 goes back nearly 50 years, to the height of the cold war in 1964. Jack/John AKA Naked Snake is dropped deep into the Soviet Union to rescue a Soviet weapons scientist named Sokolov who had been extracted to the West and then given back to halt the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. He's part of a special new CIA unit called FOX, designed for lone infiltration operations deep in hostile territory, on it's (and his) first real mission.

The so called "Virtuous Mission" goes deeply FUBAR almost immediately after Snake achieves his first goal, of meeting Sokolov. It turns out his mentor and mother figure, The Boss, had decided to defect to the Soviet Union at that very moment and bring a couple of Nuclear Mortars with her. Snake, unprepared for this (in more ways than one) quickly loses Sokolov to the Boss and her squad before being humiliated, having his arm broken and tossed off a bridge.

The remainder of the game revolvers around Operation Snake Eater, where Snake tries to fix this particular mess by rescuing Sokolov, assassinating The Boss and destroying this games version of Metal Gear, known as Shagohod (which, yet again, threatens the balance of power during a very hot time of the cold war). In addition to The Boss, the games predecessor to Big Boss as the
"world's most legendary soldier", are her Cobra Unit, who are the original quirky mini-boss squad that all of these games are required by law to have. A multinational team during WW2(and apparently contributed quite a bit to winning the war), they are strangely not named after different snakes, but the "emotions" they carry into battle. The Boss is known as The Joy (presumably of duty, rather then of battle), along with the Pain (who's COVERED IN BEES!), The Fear (who is a wierdass Predator/Spiderman mashup), The Fury(who apparently returned from orbit in his Spacesuit and loves fire) and The End(a seriously old Sniper who is not named after an actual emotion). As a callback to MG2, they don't actually play much of a role beyond their individual boss battles, other then occasionally showing up in cutscenes beforehand so you can get a peak at them. None of their weird powers are explained either, since they can't use the Nanomachine excuse.

The other notable villain is Col. Volgin, a Soviet Megalomaniac who is more than happy to hurt and kill anyone around him (including his own men) because he's really just an awful person. He also sets off the plot by blowing up one of his own military labs with a American nuke(a mortar affectionally known as a Davy Crockett), because he knowns the Americans (specifically The Boss) would be blamed. His complete sadism complemented by his ability to channel electricity.

Rounding out the cast are EVA and Major Ocelot. EVA is an intelligence agent who ends up playing the role of Bond Girl, both helping and trying to seduce him throughout the game, while also posing as a mousy Soviet Officer named Tatyana, who Volgin has unfortunately taken a really creepy liking to. Ocelot, OTOH, is a much younger version of the backstabbing magnificent bastard well known from the earlier games in the series, who here is shown as kind of a punk with a weird obsession with both Russian Roulette (using 3 revolvers because apparently a single revolver isn't overcomplicated enough) and Snake (who is has a weird love/hate relationship with). Amusingly enough, he discovers his love for both torture and revolvers because of Snake, but for some reason still gets away with dressing like a cowboy despite being a GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence) officer. Despite initial indications of loyalty, it should be no surprise to anyone by this point that Ocelot is a spy (apparently working for 3 or 4 parties at the same time in this game).

The gameplay is greatly expanded and has so many new nuances and surprises it's nearly impossible to talk about everything here. The emphasis on Snake being out there on his own is now reflected much better in the mechanics. Snake has a Stamina bar in addition to health, which wears down depending on what snake does and how much equipment he carries at the ready. Instead of food healing him (as in every other game up to this point), food is now used to recover stamina instead. Life, instead, is mostly recovered automatically as snake rests.

There is an exception, where certain injuries result in permanent effects if not treated. Broken bones, burns, cuts, gunshot wounds, eating poisonous food, animal venom are all included and all have to be treated through a fairly realistic, if simplified, manner. It makes the game a little more interesting, but since it often just means going into a menu (mostly during boss battles) it can sometimes be more irritating then interesting (looking at you, THE FEAR).

Food is found all over the game, mostly in the form of plants and animals that can be killed or captured. The primary difference being that dead animals will eventually go bad and become rotten and unhealthy to eat, while live animal remains fresh essentially forever. There's also packaged food that never goes bad either. How much stamina is recovered is based entirely off how much snake actually likes this food (amusingly, he enjoys pretty much every snake he eats, apparently because they needed some way to wring another meaning out of the title). This also leads to an amusing running joke where one of Snakes support staff, Paramedic, and Snake can have conversations about the various life he finds around the game world. Snake's eternal question "How does it taste?", leading Paramedic to occasionally question his sanity (and leads to amusing scene in the extras regarding a horse).

An interesting addendum to this is that saving actually has a story role and is considered to be Snake" taking a nap" which recovers Stamina but can lead to bad things happening (reloading from a save during a boss battle isn't always a good idea with this in mind). Spend enough time away from the console and food will rot while you were gone (and this can be annoying if you can't play for a couple days in a row).

The other new gameplay element added is the camo system. Now that Snake is now able to traverse a wide variety of environments (instead of say, an oil rig or a military base), the option is now available to change his camo (at the spur of the moment) to be blend in to the surroundings. Certain face makeup and camo works better in the forest then in the mountains then in a building with an indicator showing how well snake blends in at any particular time (anyone who played the original Thief games will remember the light gem and this serves much the same purpose). It also means that using tall grass, trees and staying low can prevent the guards from ever spotting you (and it works on bosses). It actually feels like this is the first time Metal Gear has actually used camo correctly and made it worth crawling around (I never really figured out if the sneaking suit actually helped in the first two MGS games or not).

The unarmed combat system is now expanded to include something called Close Quarter Combat or CQC, a more robust version of armed that allows a bunch of interesting moves, but unfortunately, I didn't really learn how to use it until near the end of the game.

Other things of note are the little details. You can mess around with the guards and the world much more then before, including using explosives to blow up their supplies (making them more vulnerable to follow up attacks), taking out a helicopter that's parked early on so you don't have to deal with it later on (it's not a boss but it can make your life more difficult) and at one point, can even snipe a boss to death before his battle (during a narrow time window).

The boss fights are generally well done, with some of the most impressive in the series so far. Some aren't great, such as The Pain who is hard to take seriously and not particularly difficult either while The Fury is just incredibly frustrating. The Fear can be cheesed fairly easily once you know the trick. Volgin and Ocelot are fine bosses but nothing exceptional.

Shagohod, built to be a metal gear-ish WMD that will tip the cold war in favor of the soviets, comes across as rather ridiculous when finally seen in action. The extended boss fight even more so, including a lengthy chase through the endgame fortress before a showdown.

Of particular note is the fight with The End, which is everything a Sniper Duel in a video game should aspire to be. Fought over three large maps between Snake and the Centennial Sniper (with moss or something inside of him), half the battle is knowing the maps and the other is knowing how to find him. It's less difficult then time consuming because he often knows where you are before you see him, but there are ways to outsmart him. I originally thought he was cheating because of how he would disappear once shot and could sit in areas where you couldn't get to them, but later I realized the map is interconnected enough to allow you to reach those same sniper perches and there are ways to track him when he moves. It's also possible to let old age kill him if you are just really tired of fighting him (which I really don't recommend, as the fight is its own reward). My only disappointment was killing him with tranq darts but being able to get his rifle (which is a special weapon you can only get from him).

The other is The Boss, who you fight in a field of white flowers under a 10 minute time limit (at the end of which the area is bombed to hell). I think I died to the timer running out far more often then I died to her, trying to figure out how to do enough damage to her quickly enough. Eventually I ended up using flowers to hide myself and snipe her whenever I got a clear shot, but despite that it was the right kind of challenge for a final boss and made it feel worth it. Presumably you're really supposed to beat her with CQC but I could never really figure out how to counter her effectively.

Everything about the game feels like a loving homage to James Bond films, especially the ear worm theme song that plays once the real game has begun. The aesthetic is 1960's with some near future(mostly) touches. The beginning and endgame sequences especially highlight this and it works wonderfully. Even more amusing as James Bond films actually exist in universe where on Codec call involves your CO, Major Zero, going on a rant about how much he loves them (prompted by Snake saying he films them unrealistic).

The game also has a hell of a lot more humor in it then the preceding Solid games, even without the "Secret Theater" outtakes (which are often hilarious). The support crew is generally likable and interesting, and all of them seem to acknowledge the camp despite the seriousness of the situation.

Even the pacing feels a lot better then the other MGS games thus far, with far fewer interrupting CODEC calls and cutscenes, letting the action play out. The ones that are forced are entertaining enough to be worth sitting through.

My biggest gripe is that Metal Gear still sucks at escort missions. Notably the one where EVA is injured and needs to be escorted across a few maps with enemies in pursuit. Since she's injured, she moves slowly and runs low on stamina quickly, despite being very, very capable before that. Not only that, it's really, really easy to leave her behind accidentally (as I did) and realize she's still behind harassed by enemies offscreen. Her limitations aren't terribly apparent considering this is the first time in the whole game you are escorting someone in such a way. It's quite irritating, since it's just before the end of the game and just after a really well-done action sequence. OTOH, it's still less obnoxious then escorting Emma in MGS2. By a lot.

One of the places this game really shines for me is on the overall story level, as MGS3 begins the start of darkness for the man who would one day become Big Boss, which the game incorporates nicely into its themes. Very early into the game, The Boss has a long talk with Snake about what is more important to him: His conscience or the mission? If the mission requires him to do something he considers terrible, would he do it? The fruits of this conversation come to bear during the confrontation with the boss, where she easily bests him in combat. Not necessarily because Snake doesn't know how to fight her. It's made clear she trained him for the better part of a decade and they know each other quite well (the implications they were lovers a platonic way brought up at least one). It's clear that Snake cannot separate his feeling for his mentor/mother/lover(?) from the orders he was given, which nearly leads to complete disaster. She even says that he's too "innocent" at that point in time, that he's not willing to do what is needed.

This theme, "Conscience or Mission?" is played out over and over again, not only through dialogue but through gameplay. Soldiers are human, allies and enemies change over time.
The gameplay and story work hand in hand here. Again, and again, you are reminded that the soldiers who oppose you aren't evil and are rarely if ever depicted as being such. Instead, they're shown as mooks doing their jobs, and a few cases, shown sympathetically (helping each other flee from a burning building, rather then try to stop Snake like in most other video games). Taking them down non-lethally is often easier, is less likely to raise an alarm if discovered and unconscious bodies normally yield ammunition and supplies, while dead ones don't.

Even bosses play into this, where defeating bosses by draining their stamina will often lead to you getting something nice from them. One of the final boss "fights" takes it a step further. The final member of the Cobra Unit, known as The Sorrow, doesn't actually fight you directly. Instead, the entire area is implied to be part of the afterlife or something similar, walking down a dark, dreary river in the rain. The Sorrow, who was only previously very briefly noticed, tells you to face your sins and in this case, the sins are the people you've killed (even the bosses). In one of the nicest pieces of gameplay and story integration done in a video game, every single kill from the point the game started will meet you as you walk up the river, even referencing how they died (including possible cases of 2nd hand cannibalism, weirdly enough) and try to hurt you in turn. If you've been playing mostly non-lethal or even completely pacifistic, this encounter can end up being very anti-climactic. OTOH, if you've been fairly bloodthirsty so far, Snake will have to face a horde of the dead, giving you a stark reminder of just how many people you killed.

The mid and endgame start tying these themes into it's lore roots with a much deeper. After the reveal of the Illuminati..er, Patriots in MGS2, it soon comes to light that the entire affair was a result of the continued machinations of their predecessor group, the Philosophers(who were prominent in Russia, China and the US). Apparently during WW2, the Philosophers pooled an enormous sum of resources and money to develop advanced tech and build the Cobra Unit to the defeat the Third Reich. However, with the war over, the US, USSR and China were enemies again and the fuckton of money they amassed ended up getting fought over. Volgin ended up with it (or at least, the means to recover it), so the Boss was sent in to get close to him and get it back. Unfortunately, she also ended up taking the fall when the entire thing almost spirals into WW3 and Snake was sent in to clean up the mess (without knowing why he was doing it).

This is where the real purpose of the The Boss and her company of heroes comes into play. Despite fighting together as comrades during the war, the cold war puts them on opposite sides once more. In particular, the Boss is forced to kill her comrade in arms/lover The Sorrow because she was ordered to and because politics and the philosophers demanded it. The rest of them end up on the wrong side of the history books and international politics, declared traitors (or at least the western ones did) because conscience and the mission become two different things, and because soldiers who fought valiantly are thrown to the wolves over money and the whims of politics.

In the finale, Snake finds out of this out that he had been used to kill perhaps the most patriotic soldier of all (sacrificing her life for a country that ordered her to commit treason), which he could only do because the hell he'd been put through allowed him to put the mission above her personal feelings. His victory, inheriting the title of Big Boss (a soldier even greater then his mentor) leaves him feeling broken and empty and it's beautifully shown how well it sets the scene for Big Boss to go rogue, starting down the dark road that leads to Outer Heaven.

The parallels are now in place. Naked Snake is betrayed by his mother figure The Boss(apparently) and Major Zero (and the rest of the Philosophers) and is no longer "innocent", but unlike The Boss, he can no longer put country and mission over conscience as she did. He begins his own quest to remake the world and fight back against the Philosophers/Patriots. Solid Snake, in 30 years' time, would be betrayed by Big Boss, who had presumably reached the Apex of his power and begun every bit the legendary soldier The Boss was, and would be forced to kill his father figure (and actual clone father). Solid Snake would lose his innocence (and later betrayed by his country at Shadow Moses), become broken in his own way begin his own quest to deal with the same problem after going off the grid (if not sinking to the same lows).
MGS3 is a weird, amazing combination. A weird sort of Dark Comedy, Tragedy punctuating Camp. It's an origin story that doesn't fall into most of the usual traps surrounding origin stories (you already know certain characters are going to live, rendering some of the drama pointless) and a start of darkness that could have been handled far worse (Star Wars Prequels, anyone?) We get a firm foundation to that whole Patriot weirdness, some moving themes and iconic characters. The gameplay is more refined then ever, the pacing hits all the right beats and there's very little I can say against it. I only hope MSG4 is somewhat decent in comparison to the masterpiece this turned out to be.

Next up: MSG4: The Movie: The Game

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Your account does not have posting rights. If you feel this is in error, please contact an administrator. (ID# 54106)