I must confess I was one of those fanboys who was in denial over Metal Gear Solid 4's story. Blinded by the enthusiasm over the release I'd be happy anything with just the name MGS4 on it. Still 4 years passed by, and I'll watch the cinematics and enjoy parts of the story here and there. But it's not till the achievement update where I started to notice the glaring problems of the story.
Well this is just one of the 34 trophies, but it's a gold trophy so it's level of important is pretty significant. I honestly thought I could achievement, I lost count how many times I played the game past 30 times. But around the second act I couldn't take it, I would sit through every single cinema, and I'd just be anxious for the X button to pop up. By act two, with the exposition scenes with Naomi Hunter, I'd start to grow restless and start just looking at random items in my living room, just doing anything to keep myself entertained. Then I'd notice I'd miss my chance and press the button and then just move on with the game. By the time act 5 happened I caved in and seeked for a FAQ on where the flashbacks happened.
The biggest problem is a lot of the melodrama and more somber tones of MGS4 are really dragged on. There is a purpose for them, Snake is now dying, growing super old and Fox Die is transforming him into a walking bomb. The big cancer scene is any movie isn't going to get people to come out of the wood works, but still it's handled pretty horrible with extended dialog lots of made up mumbo jumbo dialog and then at the end the explaination for everything is ...... NANOMACHINES. It's just unsatisfying to watch.
MGS4 to me comes off as a Cult film your having difficult to understand the fandom over. Which is odd because I'm in that fan club, and yes, MGS4 could easily come off as cult film, old dudes stabbing one another with syringe in neck, crazy metal gear on metal gear violence, flashbacks of PS1 era graphics, etc. And that's why I eat it up, it's this level of crazy that I'd love to think is cool.
I've been going through cult cinema and there are awkward films, films with amazing one scene but the rest seems stiff and lifeless. An excellent example is Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik, super sexy crime film with some pretty terrible scenes stitching the film together. But the film has style, so much style it makes James Bond look boring. But it's beloved and gets immunity because of it's charms and not of it's flaws. But also other italian films like Don't Torture the Duckling, gets praised as a suspenseful Luici thriller but it's nothing more then a schlocky exploitation film.
MGS4 does have high ambitions but seems to be bloated with cinemas for about anything. These scenes are handled with double in hopes to sound clever end up just wasting the time of the viewer. Actually Dialog isn't really MGS4's best suit, in fact seeing Snake just ache his way through the game is effective enough. But we still get awkward moments of "I'm going to make a smoking joke, but it falls flat." And really growing old is an excellent scene in the PS1 MGS1 flashback scene. It plays out pretty much out of nostalgia, but then when faced with reality of how the controls and graphics have aged compared today, then it's true where you'd like to see how the game to turn out. And Act 4 being played out all in Shadow Moses is a brilliant moment that I do feel it's worth playing through the game.
But earlier last year MGS HD Collections was released, now while MGS2 and MGS3 were bloated in story and some horrible scenes, I'd prefer those games over MGS4. Yes, Rose's dialog "Your heart was empty like your room" do rank in the worst dialog I've ever seen, but I do think it's still much more enjoyable experience then MGS4's prolonged exposition leading to nothing remarkable. MGS3 had the bizarre Scientists who all DIE so there's no point in giving them over 30 minute long cinemas, but still I'd play MGS3 a million times over. And Peace Walker, a game which took the BEST IDEA EVER, and AXED ALL THE DIALOG OUT in favor of small bite sized sneaking missions.
Is MGS4 the worst game ever? Oh god no. It's still a remarkable commentary on private military, information wars, shadow government, conspiracy theory, the future of prosthetic limbs, etc. It opens the door for discussion, and it does it better then lets say Modern Warfare which is actually very enjoyable but makes everything feel like monster closets and turret sequences. In MGS4 the moment you have a giant shoot out, Snake will just vomit in disgust over himself enjoying the killing which renders him unplayable. And that's why I've loved the MGS series, since the PS1 game when the dogs peed on snake's box, or when Snake has the Box conversations. Just little touches like that in an overly pretentious narrative by an auteur who's in serious need of an editor.
I'm still halfway through this achievement, but I do feel I'm out of this denial, and yeah, MGS4 has a terrible story. AWESOME OLD DUDES STABBING ONE ANOTHER IN THE NECK.