*Disclaimer: All pictures shown in this review are credited to their rightful owners. Sorry, I just used Google. And Spoilers Warning just to be on the save side.
The holy grail of the MGS series with perfect scores given out to by different games reviewing sites; this is one of my most anticipated game and my thought of the game is its pretty darn good; from my enjoyment point of view and no, don’t get me wrong here thinking like “I’m just jumping on the hype bandwagon”. I’ve played the game and I’ve experienced the game. You just have to bear with the intercom chatters and some over the top cut-scenes then the game won’t be as convoluted as one might think. At the core of its game you have a great espionage game and at the surface you have a game that any possible gamer can enjoy. While the story can make people scratch their head for mostly the wrong reasons; the game still managed to make the story coherent even if you don’t have any prior knowledge of the series and yes, I only got to know the most of the back-story from GameTrailers retrospective but I still enjoyed MGS4 story. Technically, the graphic is really well done on my home TV but on my monitor it looked less remarkable; don’t know, maybe it’s the monitor’s fault but it really does look less sharper than my TV. Anyway, that’s what my first impression in the first 2 hours of the game, specifically the war-thorned Arab city. The only missable part is the talk about the Sons of the Patriot system between Snake and Debrin and how he managed to find holes in it to do business and clear the tags on the weapons. Now that my early impressions are done with, let’s get to the meat of the game.
First, let’s talk about the game’s design. For the most part, the stages are fairly decent in nature; usually there is more than one right route to maneuver Snake but for some other parts, there’s just one correct path or two obvious path for the sneakers or the shooters even in a large field of land. While that is just minor, the fact that the route become like that after the first chapter is even more annoying, likewise why they ever promote the game using the first chapter’s stage. The intercom is hilariously bad for the most part; I’ll take a 10 hours cut-scenes than a 1 hour intercom talk and the mission briefing scenes are explicitly bad. Sometimes I just felt cheated looking at it when what they are doing is not briefing on the mission but making LOVE inside the HELO. Hello? What that got to do with the mission briefing? That don’t even have anything to do with the story– wait? What? It actually have something to do with the story? Oh, right, Naomi is Otacon’s love interest. Well, ok. The characters are mostly established so nothing to say there. The only thing I can say about the characters are that Raiden’s awesome and the Beauty Beasts squad is amazing and psyche out in their own rights.
For the presentation, I’d say it really hit the spot and you can’t be more wrong when you say the game’s presentation is just decent. I’s awesome but that’s just me. It’s Graphic is technically awesome and the Octo-Camo effects is really well done. As for the soundtrack, again it hit the spot and I especially like the final scene when Snake have to go through the microwave tunnel. My God, well done indeed. Voice acting is top-notch and you only find the acting bad in some spots but overall the voice actors did a tremendous job and hit it right in the eye (or ass… sorry). If you feel hung up with all the gunshot sound and what-not, try the iPod which Snake conveniently brings along with him. Contain tracks from previous MGS titles and the infamous PV song which really pump Snake up for no apparent reason resulting in, what I see, faster psyche regeneration. Snake’s psyche also went up high went you make him stare on women breasts (Otacon can’t make Snake high damnit) which is amazingly abundant in the game. From Naomi to Meryll to the FROGs to the B&B babes, even fucking … I shouldn’t go there. Ehem, with that we learn that a Super Soldier like Snake is still a normal man like us. In any case… Overall, graphically, I can’t really find a glaring fault other than the Night Vision which make you blind when you play in the dark. Ironic that you use the NV to see through the game darkness but you yourself got blind playing in the dark… Guess I better heed the game’s warning to play in well-lit room… As for the overall presentation, I’m impressed and that’s all I can say; just watch the game in action and you will understand (maybe?).
Now we’ll talk about the gameplay elements and all I’ve got to say if you managed to fool one enemy in that stage then you can pretty much get through without much hassle. Just be sure to have full ammo for your sedate gun or your silenced hand gun or the game will quickly turn into a shooter which happens quite sometimes for me. Especially the mission in South American where you need to find a way to get to the place Naomi is held only to find a house full of PMC soldier. Being the good Samaritan myself, I tried to silently head shooting everyone in the building but to no avail; they just kept on re-spawning and I almost got myself killed. Took me a good hour before I gave up on the Militia and just find the secret route to Naomi. See, the PMC/Militia conflict where you can choose side and everything is a good system but when the game decide whether the Militia can overpower the PMC or not is purely a guessing game. Well, I guess if the freaking Militia still haven’t manage to overpower the PMC after 30-minutes of none MG pressure then they are not going anywhere, just ditch them. Which comes another point; would you rather help the Militia or the PMC? Sure, having the Militia as friend greatly improve your sneaking because they are like bullets magnets, they take a whole ton of PMC bullet to go down but they cannot kill a single PMC themselves. On the other hand, if you befriend the PMC, you just need to sneak past the Militia and it’s home stretch from then on. That’s what I guessed cause I haven’t try it yet but that’s how the concept supposed to go right?
Next up, the OctoCamo suit is pretty much Snake’s better equipment over the series; better than the gun that make you have 95% (or 90 something, can’t remember) camouflage in MGS3 and well, the invi-suit from the MGS2 opening may be better but you can never use them. The suit practically give you a 60/40 chance of the enemies not noticing but that’s not all; with your sedate gun on-hand, you can practically go right in the enemy compound while crawling slowly and shooting one enemy on site and let the others come to their rescue and shoot them while more come to their rescue, continue till no one is left not sleeping, easy. Unlike the camouflage system from MGS3, the OctoCamo is greatly automated; just stop for a second at a new surface and it will change in accordance, neat. While the suit played greatly for espionage purposes, it doesn’t help in a gunfight at all, period. You will die a lot if you can’t find a good cover or cannot make head-shots in 4 out of 5 enemies cause the PMCs take a ton of damage while you obviously not. New to the game other than the suit is the Solid Eye which on its default setting can detect enemy presence, show you where your objective are and the state of the enemy all through a radar like thing on the top-right of the screen. It also came equip with a binocular and a Night Vision mode which serve their purpose respectively. The Solid Eye usage will deplete its battery after a certain amount of time so you need to unequip it for a while to get it to recharge. The Eye is great whether you’re going spy or commando because of its enemy detection feature. Just make sure if you’re going the espionage route then take a very good look at the way Snake’s butt move and try to like or live with it because you will see it every single second you’re crouching or crawling. That’s right, in MGS there’s Meryll’s ass, in MGS2 there’s Raiden’s ass, in MGS3 we get Big Boss’ crotch and in MGS4 we have Snake’s ass. There’s a whole lot of ass-y joke in the series (forgive the pun, I HAD TO DO IT).
Alright, it’s time for the enemies roll call. First, the freaking militia. Second, the PMCs. Third, the Patriots Frog goons (girls…). Fourth, Drebin’s smoke stealing monkey. Fifth, hot legs Gecko. Sixth, hot vampire Vamp. Seventh, METAL GEAR ray. Eight, the Beauty & the Beasts squad. Ninth, Psycho Mantis. That’s right folks, Psycho Mantis is inside the game but not just as a boss but as your freaking nightmare! He will attack your weakened mind when you had killed a lot of enemies making you squeal and barf your rations out (or its just the attack of the bad tasting rations, don’t know). You will still meet him after the fourth B&B fight but he only made minor cameo that is just as funny and bizarre as in the first game. As for the actual boss battles, you have the B&B bout which is different and unique for every fight and the freaking REX vs ray bout which I really like; seeing the old MG REX up and running kicking the stupid ray’s face is a scene I would treasure all my life. So, why I’m hung up about REX that I love and ray that I hate? I hate it that I didn’t play MGS for REX but I played MGS2 just to find ray. It’s disheartening. At first I didn’t believe that ray is a MG and I just tell my friends that its just a robot named ray but nooooooooo; the freaking thing is MG. Hell be damned, I’m God smacked because even then I know how cool REX is and I find ray. My eyes bleed REX’s fanboy tears.
Okay, now that’s all settled, lets talk about the man himself. Lets talk about mister Solid Snake, espionage extraordinaire. The programmer did a great job programming the way he is controlled; really smooth and simple at that. Pressing the “L2” button opens up your item scroll menu while pressing appropriate button to either use or set action for the item and by pressing “R2” opens the weapon scroll menu which is still pretty handy even after all this time. “L1” brings up the cross-hair and if you press the “/\” button, the third-person aiming will change into the first-person aiming while pressing or holding “R1” will let bullet fly out of your chosen weapon or stabs a guy with a knife. Tapping “R1” without pressing “L1” will result in a Close-Quarter Combat move which I cannot manage to do or maybe I just didn’t try. That’s what the sedate gun is use for, long range CQC. “” will change your aiming from manual to auto-aim which suck by the way. You can’t fucking aim with it. When you use manual aim, after you press “L1”, the aim will go up at the direction your camera is facing which is convenient but when you use auto-aim, when you press “L1” the auto-aim suddenly changes your camera to face the direction Snake is facing which is pretty dumb and you won’t hit your target anytime soon but most of the time you just put a bull-eye to Snake’s ass (another ass joke, woohoo!). From a standing position, tapping “X” will make Snake crouch, tapping it again to make him stand up again while holding “X” from a standing position will make him crawl and so on. It’s a pretty good system, one that I praise with high regard. Though you can’t really find fault with the system, there’s just one problem that I have with it… you can’t DROP DOWN A SMALL LEDGE FROM A CRAWLING POSITION! Other than that its fine.
I’ll talk about the multi-player but I haven’t tried it out so I can’t talk about it. Well, there’s nothing more to say about this game except for the story but I guess by this time most of us already know the story and I’m trying as hard to get it spoiler free. Great presentation, great and versatile gameplay, somewhat confusing story but still enjoyable on its own, great characters and just about everything plus more getting thrown in but they still managed to keep everything tight and working. I thoroughly enjoy it all the way through with my only complain is the long intercoms and some pointless scenes during the mission briefing make the enjoyable ride quite stale at times.
4 out of 5 Snake’s Asses (bite me)