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Posted by Mikey2D

With the release and tsunami of rumours there after that The Phantom Pain was in fact another entry into the Metal Gear Solid franchise, it got me firmly in the hype camp for a certain Hideo Kojima.

The trailer led me to wanting to replay MGS 1 through 4 to really soak in the lore and backstory of all the unique characters that populated that universe. Thanks in part to me PlayStation Vita – this has become a reality. I had already purchased the Metal Gear Solid HD collection for the Vita not long after it had come out as I always felt the series was fantastic – granted I already owned them in their original formats, and I’m not one to buy many of the HD collections which seem to appear on a regular basis in this generation – but the series has always held a special place in my nostalgia so the idea of playing them on the go had me sold. Sadly Metal Gear Solid 1 was not included in the HD collection – but a quick trip to the PlayStation network secured this for a bargain of a price.

I played through Metal Gear Solid 1 in about 7 hours and I was surprised – I always through the game was a lot longer than that. But I guess having all the knowledge beforehand helped streamline the challenges. I knew where I was going, I knew how to take down the bosses, I even knew some of the lines of dialogue before they were uttered – over all I had a blast with MGS1. It still holds up today and really scratched my nostalgia itch.

With that game ticked off the list before 2013 hit, I have made a start on MGS2: Sons of Liberty. Whereas I’m still enjoying the experience over all I feel, in my opinion that MGS2 is the weakest entry of the four. At the time all those years ago there was the initial shock of Snake not being the main playable character throughout most of the experience, but even in terms of story and character, I feel the other games are leaps and bounds ahead of what we have here.

Having just hit Shell 2 I’m eager to continue my exploration of the franchise but it makes me pose this question. Which was your least favourite of the Metal Gear Solid series?

Posted by notdavid

I keep trying to do this every time a new MGS game comes out, but I feel like I'm cheating if I skip the first two MSX games. And I hate those.

MGS holds up like a motherfucker, though.

Posted by Mikey2D

@notdavid: The original two are included in the HD collection - I made an attempt at playing through but my God those have aged poorly. I've never actually played through the MSX games - my first entry into the series was MGS 1 so I'm happy just to take it from there - I've since picked up all the history and events of the original games so don't tend to worry about looking them over.

Posted by rentfn

I think MGS then MGS 4 then MGS 2. I've never finished Snake Eater. When it first came out I hated the camera controls so I didn't finish it. I have the HD collection I really need to go back to it.

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Posted by Mikey2D

@rentfn: I really enjoyed Snake Eater. I don't think any of them beat MGS 1. I think it's probably in part my fondness and nostalgia for that entry - but everything about it was just fantastic and as said it still holds up great. I'd agree you should look to finish up Snake Eater. There are some great moments to be had in that game.

Posted by kgb0515

I pretty much just play Metal Gear Solid, then I skip to 3 and pretend that 2 and 4 never happened. They aren't bad games, but I didn't enjoy them as much as 1 and 3.

Posted by Mikey2D

@kgb0515: Fair enough - if you don't enjoy them as much I don't blame you. How would you say you feel about The Phantom Pain so far? Does that hold your interest from the trailer that came out?

Posted by kgb0515

The Phantom Pain looks interesting if it really is as much of an open world as advertised. MGS 4 opened things up a bit more, but there were definitely set patterns to everything that became predictable and exploitable. If Phantom Pain is able to pull off more random enemy encounters through the sandbox environment then it will be great.

Posted by TJUK

It's great to hear I'm not the only one digging into the MGS back catalog on the back of the trailer for The Phantom Pain. I finished MGS 1 a few days ago so will be picking up the HD collection soon.

Posted by killacam

MGS2 is also my least favourite. I think the end game is mindblowingly good, but find the entire plant mission kind of a drag to play.

Posted by Mikey2D

@killacam: This. I am finding the exact same thing. WTF is up with the Hal and E.E. storyline :/ - I think i'd blocked some of it out cause I certainly didn't remember... (spoilers ahead)

...that Hal had apparently been seduced by his step mother. And I'm sorry to say it - but the bits with him crying uncontrollably around the pet parrot were laughable today - he really hams it up for that one.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

The Phantom Pain also got me pumped for Metal Gear Solid again and I too started from 1-4. I even bought Twin Snakes off Ebay because I was always curious about that one but unfortunately differences in that game compared to the PSone version detracted from the game for me. As much as people like to critique MGS2 mainly because of Raiden I feel MGS4 is the weakest of the four because I just couldn't get over how old Solid Snake was and the Beauty and the Beasts were laughably bad. Hideo Kojima has dug himself a hole where he has no way to go but down and that's why all we seem to be getting are prequels featuring Big Boss who I just don't find as interesting as what Solid Snake was.

Posted by Mikey2D

@Cold_Wolven: Snake was indeed tragically old in MGS4. On a secondary playthrough I just kept the 'young snake' mask on all the time. Also (as I've blogged in the past) I feel that they should have let snake die in MGS 4. It just seemed a more fitting way to wrap that story up in my opinion and it was going that way, but I think Kojima chickened out.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

@Mikey2D said:

@Cold_Wolven: Snake was indeed tragically old in MGS4. On a secondary playthrough I just kept the 'young snake' mask on all the time. Also (as I've blogged in the past) I feel that they should have let snake die in MGS 4. It just seemed a more fitting way to wrap that story up in my opinion and it was going that way, but I think Kojima chickened out.

I too used the young Snake mask with bandanna afterwards but unfortunately his fake old graveled voice and certain cutscenes taking it off entirely kinda ruined it for me.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@Mikey2D: I think we are way past rumors, this is Metal Gear Solid 5

Posted by Grixxel

MGS is so fucking good. I agree with the rest, while 2 was good ... eh I did not enjoy it as much as 1 and 3.

Posted by Mikey2D

@Bourbon_Warrior: True - I'm still waiting for the big reveal and for the wizard Hideo Kojima to step out from behind the curtain though.

Posted by WiredFolf

I still need to play through the HD collection of 2, 3 and Peacewalker I got awhile back. Though replaying 1 might not be a bad way to go to get the ball rolling.

Edited by Soapy86

I love the whole series, but Metal Gear Solid 2 is easily my favorite, and I think the best. It's the pinnacle of the classic style of Metal Gear gameplay, and the story is wildly unique and ambitious as well as strangely prescient. The Big Shell is my favorite setting in the series, the music is fantastic, and while the Plant chapter starts out very slow, once you kill Fat Man and Mr. X shows up, the game goes balls to the wall and doesn't slow down until the end.

Posted by Mikey2D

@WiredFolf: I fully recommend it - the first one holds up incredibly well and is still a joy to play - that is coming from a huge time fan of the series, but its a statement I hear from alot of people besides myself. It's also a steal of a price on the PSN at the moment. Fantastic if you have a Vita like I do cause you can take it on the go.

@Soapy86: I'm playing through MGS 2 at the moment. Just got to Arsenal Gear so I'm heading for the end. Personally one thing I dislike about the 2nd one is the whole Jack / Rose interactions - she's so annoying to me with the whole "What day is it, Jack?" Also playing MGS games as i am 'on the go' as it were on the Vita is getting harder with the later entries in the series thanks to the HUGE cutscenes...but i'm getting it done :P MGS 2 did have some great moments though - and its great to be playing it again.

Posted by liquiddragon

In the main 4 games, MGS4 is my least favorite. Kojima didn't even try with the bosses and I didn't think tying up every last loose ends was necessary.

Posted by WiredFolf

@Mikey2D:You'll get no argument from me about MGS1. It stands as one of my all time favorite games.

Posted by WiredFolf

@liquiddragon: Then again with modern games as they are. How many games that have come out in the last few years gave a decent amount of closure to the plot... instead of sequel baiting like a mo-fo?

Posted by liquiddragon

@WiredFolf: I liked the closure of it all but Johnny being the butt-ass naked genome soldier? Big Boss still being alive?

why Kojima why!!!

I was mostly really disappointed with the bosses.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

Really glad you decided to replay the MGS series, , Metal Gear Solid is my favourite game. In its honour, I will write as much as I can about it! I've played MGS every few years since that first time back when I was 11, and it really never disappoints. That said, I found the SK GameCube remake pretty awful. It's totally lacking the heart of the first game, and they take liberties with the game's cutscenes that are just in poor taste. Don't be tempted. By comparison, MGS comes across as very mature and sedate in its delivery of story. The "action" moments in the game's videos - Snake jumping in time to dodge Revolver Ocelot's bullet and Vulcan Raven's tank shot, for example - are relatively few and far between. You play all the awesome parts. Fighting the tank, the harrier, rappelling down the wall, and of course, the fight with Metal Gear, are still exciting moments. The scale and drama of that fight is rare, to put it mildly. A special shout out to the original VR missions too: playing as Gray Fox was and still is super cool.

Metal Gear Solid 2 is conceptually interesting, but it really doesn't hold up today. I enjoy playing the Tanker chapter, trying to perfect stealth it, but the pacing of the "real" game is rough, and the brilliant moments ("Metal Gear only has room for one!") are intersected by swaths of meh (and yeah, the inner workings of the Emmerich family). The end is cool. The simulation revelations are cool. But they are, today, not worth playing through the game for. And Rose, man. ROSE. Worst character in the series. The gameplay may still be fun, but it's second fiddle to MGS3, the best playing of the PS2-era MGS games. It also has the better story and boss fights. The End, yes, of course, but also the Sorrow and the Fury and the Boss. Plus, do I need to remind you that at one point you hit a super long ladder, start climbing it, and as you do, the fucking Snake Eater theme song kicks in? That is a one time event in video games. Best late title card ever.

I'd recommend Snake Eater to anyone who has even a passing interest in that generation of games, especially if you are a stealth fan (yes, all 3 of you!). The camouflage system stands out as the most cumbersome element, but the game's other strong points are more than enough to negate its failings. For gamers who can't deal with the MGS camera, now you don't have to! Not that that camera is perfect either, but it's certainly better.

Brings me to... MGS4! As an experience, this ranks really high. As you can probably tell, I really love Metal Gear, and playing this game for the first time was an experience that I still treasure. There are some stinkers, some scenes that are too long, some characters that should have died a long time ago and others that should have died in 4, but really, as one Bradley Shoemaker argued during the 2008 GOTY, the top 5 moments in MGS4 are the game of the year. Shit 2008? That's when MGS4 came out? My god. Only goes to remind me how good this game looks and sounds. The gameplay was a big change up for the series, and at first I was worried they had ditched stealth when I heard all the reviewers talking about it like an action game, but in fact they made the stealth more robust then ever. Snake's stealth controls are flawless and the quick-press camouflage is brilliant: playing this game on the harder difficulties, killing few or no enemies, is a hugely satisfying experience that, I'm pretty sure about this, is unavailable in every other game that is not this game.

SO: THE PHANTOM PAIN. Looks awesome. I don't understand people who think it's the same game as Ground Zeroes? Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think they're the same game. Two releases. I have to say that as an MGS fan I found some of the trailer discussion about TPP hilarious. Super, super obvious it's a MGS game. Ground Zeroes looks like an open-world style of Metal Gear, something to really take advantage of that AI they have. In a way it feels like a Super VR Missions. I don't expect much relevant story to occur, moreso loose ends being tied up and a bridge being built between the time of Ground Zeroes and MGS1. Also have to say here that whoever decided to combine Ennio Morricone ("Here's to You") and Hideo Kojima is a king. Phantom Pain will be Metal Gear V, a linear, shorter game. I'm very excited to play GZ, and very excited to see more of TPP, which I believe will shake up Metal Gear quite a bit.

Edited by ImaTreee

the most memorable parts of the whole series were probably the boss fights, since most boss fights were not the same and many of them were unique.

Posted by Mikey2D

@GERALTITUDE: I agree with pretty much everything you say and thanks for writting - nice to hear other peoples thoughts about the games. I'm really looking forward to my replay of Snake Eater :D

I'll always remember that as a kid I rented Metal Gear Solid and in doing so the game came without the case. So a little into the game when Campbell says the immortal line - "You need to contact Meryl, Her codec number is on the back of the CD case." suffice to say I was stumped. In the end I sat there and went up the codec numbers just adding one until I finally got through to Meryl. Good times - I do remember it fondly :)

Today in MGS 2 I made it to Arsenal Gear (after A LOT of cutscenes). In my mind - gameplay wise there really isn't all that much left. But then I remember there's probably an hour or two of cutscenes at a minimum to sit though too. I'll be writting more indepth about MGS 2 once the credits roll.

Posted by Mikey2D

So Metal Gear Solid 2 is complete - this would be the post to miss if you want to avoid spoilers. You've been warned.

Play Time: 09:50:39 Save: 28 times Continue: 23 times Alert Mode: 26 times Kills: 94 Rations used: 46 CodeName: Elephant

Not exactly the most stealth or sucessful scores I'll admit - but I am simply replaying the series primarily for the story and to enjoy the games.

I do feel for the most part, Metal Gear Solid 2 has a strong ending. Where as the start can be said to be a little slow from the 'big shell' side of things - it really picks up in Arsenal Gear - the big underwater base which houses row upon row of Metal Gears. Raiden may not have had a great reception when we all originally got our hands on him on our first playthroughs, but he's an interesting character. I like his backstory of being a child soldier and his relationship with Solidus.

One thing though - with an underwater base, rising up and crashing into federal hall, and with a man dead outside, you'd think the police might find a couple of guys in sneaking suits with guns and swords strapped to themselves a little more supicious? Yet both Snake and Raiden can converse in peace just like this, with cops near by looking at the body of the fallen Solidus. Odd.

One great moment in my opinion had to be the team up between Snake and Raiden inside Arsenal Gear. The two take down a ton of the Tenguu's and the only thing that could have made that moment better - would be the inclusion of a better choice of soundtrack. The Metal Gear Solid theme springs to mind.

One of the greatest moments in MGS 2 - the team up between Snake and Raiden

Metal Gear Solid 2 is still a good game but it's not in the same league as MGS 1. It has it's moments sure - but it just doesn't do enough to beat the PS1 original.

Metal Gear Solid 3 will be the next game to grace my Vita. I'm really looking forward to that one :D

Posted by GERALTITUDE

@Mikey2D: I had the exact same experience with the case. That's so hilarious. I'm sure 99% of kids renting ran into that problem. If we only we could see a montage of all our dumbstruck faces at that moment. Whaddyoumeanlookathebackofthecase!?

Also love the Snake/Raiden team up. It's amazing how much weight the scene where Snake appears in his sneaking suit (finally) carries. All your interactions with Plissken are cool, and in fact seeing Snake from the outside in, instead of playing as him, is a really fun, cool thing about MGS2 (like him breaking the cuffs & diving off Arsenal at the end -- what??). Snake giving Raiden the sword is a great moment too.

Gamewise, MGS2 let me down with the boss battles. Fat Man is fun, but...uh... the lady with the gun? Fate? Is that her name? Sorry I'm blanking out. That fight was a let down - again though, the ending, where Revolver shoots her through her so called force field - amazing. And then she actually throws off all those missiles? That's what happens right? My memory's a little shaky I guess. The Ray fight is fun enough but for me it kind of diluted the Metal Gear magic. In MGS the single Rex is an amazing challenge; killing 20 MG Rays makes the Metal Gears seem so much less capable. Now, the final boss is cool. Doctor Octopus + Two Swords = great, every time.

I'm really excited for you to play MGS3. Curious to know which camera + difficulty settings you roll with. Also excited to know how your The End fight goes. Or if you even have a fight!

Posted by Mikey2D

@GERALTITUDE:You're talking about Fortune. And yes her 'fight' isn't good. To be honest - you don't even attack her, you just dodge for a while and then it gets interupted. She does indeed throw off the missles, which is a great moment.

I loaded up MGS 3 and pulled a 'wtf' face at the start options of 'I like MGS 1', 'I like MGS 2' and 'I like MGS 3'. From a quick google, turns out if you choose 2, you get the Raiden mask from the start, 3 adds some new camoflague (but i notice you also get the Raiden mask). Difficulty wise - as I've said I'm just playing them to enjoy the stories again as I've played them all before multiple times - so I just went with normal. I didn't get a choice of camera's though? I'm playing on the Vita if that means anything though.

I watched the first few cinematics and reunited with my trusty backpack at which stage I was about half hour in and decided to save. After the first codec conversation with The Boss, I'm already way way more pumped to be playing MGS 3 again, then I was for MGS 2. 3 really is an incredible epic game :D

All the characters in 3 are great. I'd forgotten about Para-medic and how shes a huge time movie buff. She told Snake all about the original Godzilla movie :P

Very much looking forward to carrying on my 'virtuous mission'.