Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Also on: N/A (PlayStation 3 exclusive)
Console Played On: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Thursday June 12th 2008
Rating: 15 BBFC, 18 PEGI
I said it for Grand Theft Auto IV and I’ll say it again, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is awesome. But unlike GTA IV, I’m also gonna say this, it’s one of, or just maybe, the best game of all. Kojima-san finally his his masterpiece at long last after 3 attempts at it. 20 years ago, he made Metal Gear for MSX and it won critics over, same for the true sequel , Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake 3 years later but both were no masterpieces. It only took 8 years later and the PlayStation for Kojima’ potential to be finally seen for real this time with Metal Gear Solid.
Again, no masterpiece but Metal Gear Solid, while most likely the best game on the PSX (With Final Fantasy VII), showed that there was some promise with Kojima and that something big was on the rising. It didn’t come with Metal Gear Solid 2 (Raiden and the somewhat confusing story had to do with it most likely) as good as it was but it nearly came for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Sadly, there was something not there with MGS3 to call it a masterpiece.
But, at long last, Hideo Kojima has made a game he can finally call a masterpiece (Yes, I’m aware of how many times I’ve said the word “masterpiece” but its true) but just how spectacular and brillant is it?
Story: I’d like to point out that while there could be some mild spoilers (Some such as locations or story), there wont be any major spoilers such as “Does Snake Die?”, “Who are The Patriots” or as such explain the big massive finale which makes the saga go full circle.
However the gist of the story is this. You return one last time as Solid Snake asked to take one more mission by his old boss and his friend, Colonel Roy Campbell who nows works for the U.N…except by the looks of things, Solid Snake wouldn’t be the codename I’d give to him…it’d be Old Snake because, as such, he’s aged dramatically. Whatever it’s down to FOXDIE or of accelerated aging due to the fact he’s a clone of Big Boss, I wont reveal as that is a major twist in the game. However, he ain’t done yet, it’s because of the fact that he’s been asked by Campbell to do this last mission, a wetworks mission…to eliminate Liquid Ocelot.
Why? Well, as trying to keep it as short, straight forward and keep it away from very major spoilers as I can, Liquid is about to fortake an insurrection and stop The Patriots rule of the world (Well, he’s taken over one thing anyways…Revolver Ocelot’s body from Metal Gear Solid 2 if you’ll remember) and rule the world himself. That’s because, after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2 where Arsenal Gear crashed into New York, the entire world led its condemnation of America because of the events of Sons of Liberty and therefore, because of this, the world shunned America and its army by enlisting Private Military Companies or PMC’s for short. At the start of MGS4, it’s said that the 5 main PMC’s are owned by a dummy mother company? And the mother company? Outer Heaven, ran by Liquid.
And within these PMC’s are nanomachines which are now inside every soldier fighting called SOP where every solider who has SOP has their actions controlled as such like pointing a gun at their employer. It’s here Snake make’s his last stand against Liquid. But your not alone as you have support all the day through from Otacon, your good friend, Campbell in Snake’s mission briefings (Just to point out, to see the full mission overview before Snake starts his mission, you’ll need to go to Mission Briefings in the main menu) but also Meryl Silverburgh from MGS1 leading her team RAT PATROL Team 01, Drebin, a gun launderer who will help you unlock ID tagged weapons used by the PMCS via Drebin Points (That explained in a while) and a familar face will also turn up to help you in the codec from the 2nd act onwards but I wont spoil who that person is. But also, Sunny, a bright little girl brough in by Otacon after she was rescued by The Patriots by Raiden (That is explained in due course) but as to who she really is, I wont spoil but the above hint and another massive hint in the TGS 07 trailer gives it away.
There are many more characters returning this time such as Raiden who’s now a badass ninja after his big fat floppy fail in MGS2 (I actually though he was OK in it), Vamp who we last seen at the end of MGS2 mixing in the crowd after Arsenal Gear crashes, Naomi Hunter who makes her first appaearence to the series in 10 years (9 in the UK) and many more come to your rescue as well but I wont mention them as such as they’re massive spoilers.
So, what is the Metal Gear of choice this time? From Metal Gear Solid onwards, you’ll see some of them there like REX and RAY as seen in the trailer shown at last years Tokyo Games Show but as for MGS4, it’s Metal Gear GEKKO who put up a pretty stiff fight I’ll give.
But what about your baddies? In MGS1, you had Fox-Hound. In MGS2, you had Dead Cell and in MGS3, you had The Cobras. Now, in MGS4, meet Beauty and the Beast, 4 women who have been scarred of war and battle themselves somehow so the only way to deal with it is fight in war itself (Watch the GC 2006 trailer to get an idea of who they are). They all have the names of bosses from MGS1 with some of them even having persona’s of them (One of them actually makes an appearance…guess who.)
The story is now broken into 5 acts with mission briefings before in each act with Snake infiltrating 5 environments. Somewhere in the Middle East, somewhere in South America, somewhere in Eastern Europe and 2 more environments I ain’t prepared to reveal as both are major spoilers but one of them may just be obvious to you if you’ve seen the videos.
Overall, the characters that do return from all the MGS games, (Yes, MGS3 included) that are still alive make the saga full circle and thus set up a explosive finale and it is explosive. If you think you know everything, you ain’t see nothing yet.
Gameplay: The gameplay has changed a fairbit since Metal Gear Solid 3. Now, instead of leaning up a wall by holding up the analog stick into the wall to hide, you now have to press triangle to do so as such. However, it maybe because of a brand new camouflage system for which if you remember was introduced in Snake Eater.
But instead of gathering camo layouts (But you can still collect them as you go through the game), you put yourself up against the wall and your new stealth suit, the OctoCamo, changes color and hides you from the wall. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock a Facemask which is OctoCamo enabled and will therefore hide your face as well.
As I mentioned above, there is a new character called Drebin with his monkey, both of which love drinking coke with the monkey later on taking up another habit which Snake has as well but hey, lets not get into the monkey, lets get into Drebin Points. Drebin Points is when you collect weapons off PMC’s. While they are ID tagged, he can unlock it for you…at a price. But this is one of the beauty parts, the more weapons you collect from soldiers, the more Drebin Points you get and therefore, the more to spend in his store when you bring up the pause menu where not only you can buy weapons or buy ammo, you can also collect parts for you gun to customise it such as grips, scopes, laser sights and grenade launchers.
Another new gameplay element is the Metal Gear Mk. II. I didn’t use it throughout the game except once in the Middle East just as I got it. From Metal Gear Mk. II, you can control it about in the battlefield giving weak electric shocks to the enemy…and that’s all it can do but you can also move it about in Mission Briefings as that works in several ways. 1st, press L2 in the Mission Briefing to get 3 options. To see the cut-scene in full, to see a camera of an empty room (or sometimes, see Sunny in there as well) or as I said, take control of Mk. II throughout the Mission Briefings.
As well as that, Snake also has…an iPod? Yes, an iPod. It also seems the game is full to the rim with Apple Computers and an iPod in the game and that is explained how in the integral MGS4 podcast when you hear it in your iPod when Aki Saito explains in it (To download it, you need to go to Extra Features, then network. The rest should be straight forward). And the iPod does come in handy, replenshing your Stress Metier which is also a new and handy feature in the game.
If you get caught and are in battle too much, the Stress Metier will rise and rise to the point where you really aim straight in the game with your guns at all. As such, there are so many new adjustments and new gameplay feautres altogether that there are too many to mention.
But overall, you’ll not find a better and solid gameplay package then with MGS4.
Graphics: The graphics in MGS4 are without a doubt the best on PlayStation 3 yet. They looked brillantat E3 2006, gorgeous at E3 2007…the game itself? Improved and spectacular, so much that you’d swear blind that now the MGS4 trailer back at TGS 2005 was actually pre-rendered and not in real time. They really do look spectacular and if I’m truly honest, better then that of Assassins Creed (Speaking of, if you finish the game with a certain rank, you get an Altair camouflage).
The character models are just top scratch and you swear blind as if you are watching a movie as you were. And the enviroments are just jaw-dropping gorgeous (Particularly in Act 4). And once again, the character art done again by the very great Yoji Shinkawa who’s been main artist on the game since MGS1 and has been on Kojima’s console games since (Including Zone of the Enders. Hopefully, ZOE3 will be his and Kojima’s next project)
And you get to see something nice and hot with the B&B unit. Defeat them and you get to see them as gorgeous as they were in their battle suits.
And as well as that, you now dont get the over the top view from past games, you now get a 3D fully workable camera which was first trialed in MGS3: Subsistence. With that camera, you can turn the camera full round and see Snake spectacular looking character model as such.
Graphicswise, this game just shines. It just aint the best looking PlayStation 3 game ever in its short lifespan, it’s also one of the best looking games of all time, truly breathtaking. If you bought a PS3 to look at the graphics of MGS4, I wouldnt blame you at all but in all honesty, you wasted money when you could have seen them on YouTube.
Just look, let your jaw drop to the floor and gauge your eyes at the best looking PS3 game ever, it now, like everything else, is nearly getting the Hollywood treatment.
Sound: Again, nearly like getting the Hollywood treatment here…except it actually is getting the Hollywood treatment as far as the music score goes. Nobuko Toda who does his first main MGS score (His 3rd Metal Gear experience if you include Metal Gear Ac!d and Metal Gear Ac!d 2) but the main man of the moment as far as music goes in the game. Major Hollywood composer Harry Gregson Williams in his 3rd Metal Gear Solid score (The 1st being Metal Gear Solid 2) and both do great work of the score. Love Theme and Old Snake are notiable mentions I should give for the music in the game, especially Old Snake as that is without a doubt the game’s finest piece of music when you hear it in the main menu, near the end in the spectacular final fight and in the credits.
Gregson Williams, with all credit and respect to Toda-san, has shown that his Metal Gear scores have given the Metal Gear experience even more cinematic and Hollywood like and with MGS4, it’s no exception. It’s something he should truly be proud of.
But it’s the game’s voice cast work here that really shines. David Hayter returns once again as good Old Snake (Forgive the pun) along with faimilar voices from past games such as Christopher Randolph (Otacon), Quinton Flynn (Raiden), Debi Mae West (Meryl), Paul Eiding (Colonel Campbell), Jennifer Hale (Naomi), Phil LaMarr (Vamp) and Patric Zimmerman (Ocelot) for which there was some anger from fans of the series over picking him voice Liquid and not Liquid’s normal voice actor, Cam Clarke. Kris Zimmerman, who was married to Patric Zimmerman at one point, even denied reports of nepotism.
But despite some doubts at first, Zimmerman pulls off the role very well (And needed to as you’ll find out near the end) and as well as him, Hayter, Randolph and Christina Pucchelli (Sunny) really steal the show in the Nomad where all the mission briefings take place as well as Snake’s home in the sky.
Truly, its something to behold with a great score done by Harry Gregson Williams and a great voice cast headlined by David Hayter, just spectacular.
Metal Gear Online: The reason why its getting its own catagory here is that its a game in its own right and if I were to put it in into gameplay, it’d take too long. Anyways, there will be another extended review of Metal Gear Online some point over the weekend but I will say this. In the time I have been playing MGO, I’ve enjoyed it very much. It’s gonna take some to adjust to it though as I have some very good memories of the original MGO from Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. Its nice to see that, like in the main game, you can adjust your weapons with parts like scopes etc.
With this being a Starter Pack (It being called a Starter Pack means what you get is to start with, it’ll improve with DLC) there are the normal gametypes such as Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Capture, Sneaking and Base Mission with 6 maps called Ambush Alley, Groznyji Grad, Midtown Maelstrom, Urban Ultimatum (A new verison of City Under Siege from MGO1) and Blood Bath.
Sadly, it is region locked for now which means you cant play Americans vs Europeans or Japanese vs Europeans or Japanese vs America etc etc.
Also, for anybody who was in the open beta and made a character from it, you dont get to transfer them over tothe main MGO itself sadly. As well as that, to unlock more tickets, costumes and to create more characters, you have to pay for them…with real money.
Not good at all. But other then those things, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have the feeling that I’m gonna be playing with this all year now after last year with Gears of War and Team Fortress 2.
Final Thoughts: Get it. Seriously. This game is without a doubt one of the greatest games ever (Yes, its a bold statement but true) and Kojima has finally got his reward, a game which be can finally be proud of at long last. No, the game aint true perfection but is very very very nearly close to it. The story has so many shocks and turns that you will not see happening from a mile away, the new gameplay features are absoutely brillant, graphics are just gorgeous, the score done by Harry Gregson Williams, the voice cast of the game, Metal Gear Online, it’s the perfect package (Yes, I could be controdicting myself but fuck it)
Final Fantasy VII did what it did for RPG’s, Grand Theft Auto III & IV did what it done for open world-gaming, Call of Duty 4 raised the bar for FPS’s, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time completely redefined the action-adventure genre and Super Mario 64 re-defined the platform.
But what is the link? For most of them, they are hailed as the greatest games of all time and at long last, Metal Gear Solid’s place as one of the best games of all time with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is finally, and deservingly, sealed at long last.
Story: 10.0 – Quite frankly, the best story in all of videogaming of all time in my opinion. There are so many shocks, so many surprises, so many oh my god moments and one moment in particular will make you look like you had an out of body experience after seeing it.
Gameplay: 10.0 – The Drebin Points system plus more makes the gameplay absoutely solid (No pun intended, again). You see something totally different to past Metal Gear Solid games…and it works oh so well.
Graphics: 10.0 – Beautiful, just beautiful. The enviroments, the character models, the camerawork, the art done by Yoji Shinkawa everything is done absoutely right. The graphics are without a doubt the best on the PlayStation 3. Truly amazing, truly beautiful, trule Metal Gear.
Sound: 10.0 – A perfect music score done by Harry Gregson Williams once again outshines his original MGS work and as well as that, amazing voicework in the game with absoutely spectacular acting and voicing from David Hayter and Christophher Randolph prove that that Metal Gear Solid 4 isnt just a wannabe Hollywood blockbuster, it IS a Hollywood blockbuster…or it should be anyways (Hopefully, our prayers should be answered when the MGS movie touches down soon)
Longtivity: 10.0 – There are so many things which make you go for a 2nd, maybe 3rd playthrough after you done with the game to get more rewards out of the game but if you dont wanna go straight back to single player, Metal Gear Online is a great way to keep the lifespan going.
Overall: 10.0 – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots desevres more then a 10 if possible, really possible. It makes me look back on the 10 I gave Grand Theft Auto IV a while back and make wanna take a couple of points off it when you compare it to this.
If you dont have a PS3, this truly is the first reason why you should get one. Didn’t buy all the stuff said on Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, Unreal Tournament III or Warhawk as to why you shouldnt get a PS3 or even if you dont have a current gen console, Grand Theft Auto IV as to why you should get a PS3?
Yes, GTA IV deserved and still does deserve some praise for what its done but it was way overhyped. Metal Gear Solid 4 is a absoutely spectacular amazing conclusive finale to the series which brings Solid Snake’s 20 year mission to a full and complete stop at long last as well as actually deliever on the hype.
At long last Snake, after all the fights, after all the deaths, after all thats happened throughout the years, you can finally get your rest in peace.