Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review
June 27th 2008 06:32
METAL Gear Solid 4 for the PS3 is not just an espionage and action video game.
It's an artwork, a piece of literature, and an interactive blockbuster film rolled into one.
While the first three games were classics within their own right, Metal Gear Solid 4 will be remembered as the flagship production of the series, truly heralding a new generation of gaming.
Players assume the role of Solid Snake, a hardened war veteran who has aged substantially since his last outing in the field of combat.
Snake engages in a number of story-driven scenarios requiring him to sneak through a variety of settings, from jungles to cities, and even war-torn Middle-Eastern towns, to achieve a number of objectives and stop his brother Liquid from taking over the world.
Before I go any further it's worth noting that the production values in Metal Gear Solid 4 are ahead of their time.
From the breathtaking, flawless PS3 graphics, to the true sounds of war, and heart-pumping mixture of stealth and action gameplay, Metal Gear Solid 4 is an experience every gamer should treat themselves to.
The title highlights what the PS3 is capable of achieving as a high-definition console, and from now on should be seen as the bar to jump for other developers working on new titles.
So once you stop drooling at the beauty of Metal Gear Solid 4, you're then absorbed into the game by a profound, somewhat earnest look at where war could be heading to in the not too distant future.
Snake's own battle against accelerated ageing is cast against the greater story of the mechanisation of war, to the point where it has become as routine as a football teams competing each weekend.
Players are treated to an inside look at how soldiers are controlled by nano technology injected into their bodies, that gives commanders the chance to monitor, in real time, their performance, as if it is a video game.
Snake, the last of an older breed of soldiers, is tasked with using old technology to combat new, so in theory he is not only outmanned, but outgunned.
The greatest part of Metal Gear Solid's story is that you are neither for nor against either side at war, so at times you'll be crawling along the ground surrounded by the sounds of a futile war - guns firing, tanks rolling, rocket shells destroying walls, and people dying - all the while trying to tie the ends of an epic story that began on the original PlayStation.
You are welcome to use weapons but the defining feature of the Metal Gear Solid series is using stealth.
For this, you are rewarded, and gamers will want to replay levels to complete them without triggering any alarms or killing any enemies. It's difficult, but indeed possible, and the game will reward you with 'badges' a series of achievements that, I assume, will count for something when PlayStation Home is launched.
Back to the production values for a moment - can I just say that the voice acting is immaculate. Metal Gear Solid 4 is in many ways a motion picture.
The attention to detail is stunning and is something rarely found in a video game.
It combine high-res textures with smooth animation, incredible close-up detail, finer points such as dirt on the camera lens, and seamless transition, at times, between cutscenes and gameplay.
Most films aren't edited this well, and they don't have the challenge of user-input to contend with. It's a real credit to Hideo Kojima, the brains behind the series, and the production.
We'll be back with a review of Metal Gear Online, but because the single player game is so substantial, Metal Gear Solid 4 is entitled to this special treatment.
Never, at any stage during the game, does one feel bored. Just as the game enters a slower pace of stealth, it rewards players with an action-packed level of wartime destruction.
A contender for Game of the Year.
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