Spoilers and LE Review may follow…

Well, its been a bit without a post, but most of the time has been spent working, sleeping and playing Metal Gear. I picked up the game on Thursday afternoon and had it finished Saturday morning. My overall verdict is that it is an awsome game, but not the greatest game I’ve ever played.

I think GameTrailer’s score is justified. Personally, I’d probably go with a 9.5, but everyone can have their own opinion. I just thought it was kind of stupid that there was so much outrage over GT’s Less than 10 score for the game when 99% complaining hadn’t played it yet.

The storyline was great and I loved how it used whatever existing material from the series it could before creating anything new. The new combat controls made gunplay a lot easier to handle. I loved how the first two acts were far more open to different types of gameplay than the previous Metal Gears. In these two acts you really were free to play the game as a combat game or as a stealth game. Granted previous games let you run and gun but at the cost of having an entire army on you in seconds, basically making that type of gameplay impractical and forcing you to sneak.

By far the biggest improvement this time around was the use of five entirely different locations. As much as I loved the previous games, the monotany of the environments does begin to wear on you after a while. Metal Gear Solid 4 keeps it fresh by throwing you into an urban desert environment, a jungle environment, the streets of an Eastern European city, the ruins of Shadow Moses, and finally a facility type environment.

As for where the game lost points with me, the loss of codec messages first off. One of the most entertaining things to do in the previous Metal Gear games was to call up everyone on your contacts list every time you entered a new area or got a new item just to hear what they had to say. That’s missing for the most part in this game. You only have two codec contacts that you can call at will, Otacon and Rose, neither of which provides much context-sensitive entertainment. The scene at the end with Johnny and Meryl kind of felt out of place. Proposing marriage in the middle of a gunfight? shooting badguys while rolling around straddling each other? It just felt too much like Will and Elizabeth’s marriage at the climax of At World’s End (not a good thing). Also, while I enjoyed the cutscenes for the most part, the length on some of them really were pushing it. The Cutscene(s) at the end of Act 3 runs nearly as long, if not longer than the total playtime for that one act and the ending feels longer than all the gameplay in Acts 4 and 5 combined. At the very least, the cutscenes were actual cutscenes as opposed to endless codec messages.

In the end, though, it is Metal Gear. No more, no less.

On a slightly related note, I think MGS4 kind of solidifies Twin Snakes as canon. I’ve never understood the resistance to its inclusion and I’ve heard rediculous explainations as to why it shouldn’t, including Kojima didn’t work on it and because the rest of the series is on Playstation.

First off, Kojima did work on it. It says Produced by Hideo Kojima right on the front of the box. He may not have directed it but I highly doubt that anything would have been put in there without his approval. Same with the criticizism about the cut scenes. When Ryuhei Kitamura presented Kojima with his first pass at the cut-scenes, they pretty much just updated the original cutscenes and Kojima rejected them and told him to re-do thim with his own unique touch. I don’t know about the rest of you but to me, that sounds like Twin Snakes is doing what Kojima wanted to do.

Then there’s the voice acting. People were up in arms over the changing/removal of characters’ accents saying that they were inferior to the originals. But guess what? Kojima used those some changes in Metal Gear Solid 4. Naomi and Mei Ling both lacked their heavier accents from the original and even Gray Fox’s voice in the flash backs used the voice actor from Twin Snakes.

And then there’s the cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4. The fights with Raiden were about as off the wall (in my opinion way further) than the ones in Twin Snakes were. Yes, its a bit over the top for Snake to backflip onto a missile and fire back his own, but I think its more over the top for Raiden to be doing break dance moves with a Gekko swinging from each leg, cyborg or not. The way Snake took down Eva’s guards at the Cathedral in MGS4 is very reminiscent of the way he stopped the soldiers in Twin Snakes before being held at gunpoint by Sniper Wolf.

Some people may argue that Twin Snakes is not canon because MGS4 uses the original Playstation version for the flashback before the start of Act IV. I personally think that that was done for two reasons. 1) Nostalgia. The original Metal Gear Solid was what made the series a household name and using the old, low-poly, pixelated game made it feel all the more nostalgic. 2) this is probably the bigger reason, Twin Snakes was a joint effort between Nintendo, Konami, and Silicon Knights. It wasn’t a Konami game that just happened to be a GameCube exclusive. Nintendo had a share in the project and I doubt they would want what was partially their game used to support a Playstation exclusive game.

Still, I’m not so blind as to not realize that the two games are practically identical in story and the game overall so making one canon over the other doesn’t make that great of a difference to the storyline. I’m probably just upset by this because it feels that people don’t want to recognize Twin Snakes mostly because its not on a Playstation (I’ve thumbed through PSMs where editors are howling for an MGS remake…as long as its on a Playstation)

Oh, and MGS4 has Liquid and Snake simultaneously punching each other in the face, ripped straight out of Twin Snakes.

And now, just to get it out of the way:

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition

MGS4

 

Inside:

  • Metal Gear Solid 4
  • Bonus Blu-Ray
  • Soundtrack

Metal Gear Solid 4: The standard version of the game. Just grab one off the shelf and throw it the box and you have what you get here.

Bonus Blu-Ray Disc: What used to be a bonus dvd is now a blu-ray disc. The disc included one Japanese documentary on the making of the game of very Meh quality. The second, multi-part documentary is far more interesting and covered different areas of the game in much more detail. The final section of the disc includes all the random opening videos that can play when you start a new game. Not particularly interesting if you ask me.

Soundtrack: Not the complete soundtrack to the game, mind you. The Japanese stand-alone soundtrack is two discs with over forty tracks. Here you get one disc and sixteen tracks. Still a good selection and nice to have.

All this comes in a little cardboard (not tin as some outlets have reported) box with artwork by Yoji Shinkawa. Overall this is a very typical Limited Edition…except for the price. What shouldn’t cost more than $10 above the regular edition ($69.99) is being sold at retail for $85!!! That’s robbery, especially when you consider that the Bioshock Limited Edition matches it almost feature for feature, except for a smaller soundtrack but with a figure to make up for it, for only $10 over the regular edition. Hell, the regular edition of Silent Hill 3 comes with a soundtrack CD. You’re just not getting enough to be worth the $85 you’re spending….that is, if you got it at retail.

I pity anyone who’s thinking about buying this on e-bay as I’ve seen it going for as much as $200 including the free bonus items you recieve for pre-ordering. If I wasn’t so heavily inclined towards the series and collectibles in general, I probably wouldn’t have bothered pick this up. I have no problem with a Limited Edition being just the game and the bonus disc so long as its priced accordingly. Unfortunately I, and many other people, did take the hit and buy this for one reason or another and companies will just assume $85 as the new going rate for Limited and Collector’s Editions, despite lackluster bonuses. Its already started to happen with Devil May Cry 4, GTA IV, and the upcoming Soul Calibur 4 limited editions all costing over $80 despite no real increase in bonus material value.