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Session #2 saw me playing more of the game, with weapons that could be customized and would be more friendly to the first-person shooter experience.
I'll be carrying out a "liveblog" of sorts on my Twitter account. You can find me at @mgscholar. All MGS as FPS-related tweets will be hashtagged #mgsasfps. Click here for a full chronicle of events. I've suggested that some other people jump in with the same hashtag, so if they do we'll get a full melange of Metal Gear Solid 4 FPS experience tweets.
Session 2: Meeting Metal Gear Mk. II > Advent Palace (after FROGS battle)
- It was nice finally starting with weapons that I had chosen. Although I appreciate that in typical first-person shooters you'd get a progression of weapons, from handguns up to explosives, here I just went ahead and equipped M4 custom (suppressed), the Operator (suppressed), the HK MP5 (suppressed), and that sniper rifle that's also suppressed.
- After "meeting" Otacon in the bombed-out building, the game immediately presents you with the chance to take out four or five patrolling enemies. I dispatched them immediately using the M4 with a dot sight equipped. I also had the Solid Eye equipped, making it easier to differentiate the enemies from the militia. Deciding to kill rather than to stun was a simple decision to make; I don't want enemies reviving themselves all of a sudden. This portion of the game has you situated just before reaching the militia's underground tunnels. I demoed out each weapon on the enemies. The sniper rifle forces you into the scope, which is typical for first-person shooters anyway, but with a game like Metal Gear Solid 4 I did find myself rushing to eliminate the enemies I had chosen and revert back to another, scopeless weapon. The blacked-out surroundings while looking through the scope in that thin, tunnel vision was unsettling, and I wanted to see as much of the environment as possible. The handgun was weak and effectively useless. I cannot foresee using it all that much. I preferred the M4 over the MP5SD (although its use would come later).
- Picking up ammunition didn't seem to be too much of a problem early on. On problem I did encounter and eventually ended up remedying was the dot sight on the M4. Although it's intended to be useful, it's really blocky and takes up a lot of the screen, so I just did away with it after meeting Drebin. This means looking down the iron sights which are still surprisingly adequate.
- I don't think I'll be strictly going for headshots throughout the game. There just isn't the need - I'm fast enough on the trigger to take down one enemy of two enemies working together with bodyshots, especially using the M4.
- On major issue I encountered was trying to change weapon while using the M4. For the M4's secondary fire I've equipped a shotgun attachment. The problem is that the secondary fire is activated with R2, the same button used to change weapons. Furthermore, you can't actually change weapons while in first-person view. It's a bit like a dance attempting to switch firearms, and more often than not I'm ending up setting off the very, very loud shotgun attachment, which is irritating.
- The next area to pass through was the militia's underground. By now they liked me, so there was no need for stealth. The effect created by the night-vision/thermal goggles (or night-vision solid eye, rather) is very nice, and it's certainly one of the best effects I've seen on any action game on the PlayStation 3. I did go down dead ends several times because it was a bit hard to keep track of where I was going, but this was not a major issue.
- The cutscene with Drebin was very amusing, merely for the number of times "the system" and "nanomachines" came up. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to count the number of times the "war economy" was invoked.
- After leaving Drebin, the game has you navigate a platforming section in a shelled-out house. It essentially consists of climbing up ledges, crawling under ledges and the like. This was very difficult using the first-person view, and I even caught myself once wishing that I could just switch to the third-person camera. I resisted, however, leading to me getting lost several times. Having Otacon eventually guide me through the entire thing from start to finish was irritating.
- The fighting sections in the streets here saw a real change in the way the enemy played the game. For one, I found myself being spotted a lot more. For example, I'd walk past an alleyway that happened to be a spawn point right when an enemy was spawning. This caught me out several times. Then, I happened to emerge behind enemy lines and almost got slaughtered. Thankfully I was able to flee to safety, under the guard of the militia. (Well, they just happened to be taking most of the bullets.)
- The next section was getting through Advent Palace where we first meet Rat Patrol Team 01. Much of the building is mined with claymores and sleep-gas grenades. I ended up crawling through the majority of the building, as I was on low health and didn't want to use a ration - I knew the cutscene would restore my health and stamina, and nullify the stress gauge. Running around, even in first-person view, I knew I'd end up tripping a mine.
- When I began the fight with the FROGS, I chose the MP5SD, under the belief it would be harder hitting with its faster rate of fire. What actually happened was just me using up a ton of ammunition without actually doing a whole lot of damage. It necessitated a trip to the Drebin Store (my first), and at that point I switched over to the M4. I quickly found that the shotgun attachment was deadly from close range, so that ended up being the method of death for many soldiers towards the end of the FROGS section. I also had to use a ration at this point.
- I left the game in the carpark of Advent Palace, with one of the harder sections of Act 1 ahead.
- Kills: 62 (previous 3, total now 65)
- Stuns: 0 (previous 0, total now 0)
- Cautions: 0 (previous 0, total now 0)
- Alerts: 4 (previous 0, total now 4)
- Drebin Store visits: 1 (previous 0, total now 1)
- Rations used: 1 (previous 1, total now 2)
- Continues: 0 (previous 0, total now 0)
- Load screens: 4 (previous 4, total now 8)
- Full time waiting for loads: 30 seconds (previous 198 seconds, total now 228 seconds)
- Times the phrase "The System" was mentioned: 22 (previous 1, total now 23)
- Times the phrase "proxy" was mentioned: 1 (previous 1, total now 2)
- Times the phrase "nanomachine" was mentioned: 12 (previous 1, total now 13)
- References to controls in cutscenes: 0 (previous 1, total now 3)