Metal Gear Solid 4: Sorta Review
I pre-ordered MGS4 from Amazon.com and beat it over a weekend. While it was pretty cool and definitely displayed all the neat stuff you can do with the PS3, I felt like it was getting out of “MGS” territory.
Metal Gear is supposed to be sneaking around and grabbing people, snapping their necks and stealing stuff from them. It’s about shooting their heads with so many tranquilizer darts that they look like the dude from Hellraiser. Basically, I think the Metal Gear Solid franchise peaked at around the end of the boat part of Metal Gear Solid 2. Don’t get me wrong, Metal Gear Solid 3 was also good. But it just felt like the series has been losing its original focus and going after too much, especially with the whole behind the back camera thing.
Also, in terms of story continuity, the Metal Gear series has just gotten insane. I “sort of” understood what was going on after Metal Gear Solid 1. But after the insanity of #2 (with the entire game flipping out at the end when you find out you’re really just in a simulation or something) and the prequel hijinks of #3, it’s too much to handle and tie up in the final 4th iteration. There’s a downloadable encyclopedia that you can get on the PS3, but that thing would take forever to load!
I agree with the Beta-Waffle guy that the boss battles seemed a bit contrived. In all the other games, you’re taking down an elite force of bad guys and you know you’re gonna fight them at some point. Remember in MGS1 when you were wondering exactly where Decoy Octopus was? In MGS4, you just kind of know that you have to fight these B&B chicks. And they don’t really have a back story until you’ve finished fighting them. And their back stories are dumb anyway. The bosses just turned out to be really generic and more tedious than anything.
Finally, I just couldn’t get used to the controls. They’re so messed up! You have to press R1 to aim, and R2 to shoot, but you need to press triangle to get to first person mode. When you’re in first person mode, you have about 0 mobility. So if a guy finds you and you need to shoot him, you go through a crazy set of button presses that will probably end up failing because he’ll shoot you first and you’ll just fall down. The controls just don’t work for the kind of FPS fighting that’s expected in some points.
Having complained quite a bit, MGS4 still is a pretty neat achievement. The graphics are great. The story is epic (but makes no sense). There’s lots of inside jokes referring to previous MGSes. But just like in the game itself, it looks like Snake’s job here is done. It’s time for him to take a vacation. At least we’ll always have the continue screen yelling. “Snake, what’s wrong? Snake? Can you hear me? SNAAAAAKKKKEEEEEEE!”