Why Metal Gear Solid 4 is nowhere near as good as you think

Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -

In the following I make certain claims about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In this preamble I want to briefly dismiss some common statements that will surely arise as a result of people reading this. For one, I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game. I merely think that it is nowhere near as good as people think it is. It is an average game. I don’t think it deserved any of the awards it received. It certainly did not deserve the scores it received upon release. I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game, and similarly I do not hate Metal Gear. I was once a devout fan of the franchise. I no longer am. I realized that its story is childish, its narrative is immature, and its script reads like it was written by thirteen-year-olds who think they can make a Hollywood movie with two handheld camcorders (to use an antediluvian term). Furthermore, I realized that there were many, many, many games that were far superior and that better deserved my time and money.

Nevertheless, Metal Gear Solid 2 remains one of my most beloved games, and I rank it in my top five “of all time”.

I repeatedly see Metal Gear Solid 4 brought up as one of the games to get when one first purchases a PlayStation 3. This is wrong, as I explain below. Metal Gear Solid 4 is not one of the best games on the PlayStation 3. It does not deserve to be on the same level as Uncharted 2. I find the notion that Metal Gear Solid 4 is as good as the first Uncharted, let alone Uncharted 2, to be nauseating.

But again, I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game. Anybody arguing that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game is plainly incorrect. Simply put, it is consumed by its flaws and it is not as good as some have suggested.

I would also like to point out that I will rarely praise Metal Gear Solid 4 in the following. The game does have some fine portions, though I could certainly count them on two hands with some digits remaining. Instead, the following essentially constitutes a list of the game’s flaws. I posit that you, the reader, should consider the game’s positives in your own time. I would be very happy to see some of those positives highlighted as comments.

Note that I do not make any attempt to mask spoilers in the following. Read at your own discretion. However, it’s not like you’re missing out on anything. If there’s a part of Metal Gear Solid 4 that is indeed “bad”, it’s the story.

I am a man who readily accepts errors he makes. I have thoroughly read through the following many times over. In certain sections I quote figures – numbers and the like. If I am factually incorrect at any point, I will gladly recant my position and issue a correction without deleting the original text, as I believe is proper practice for errors found in any critical piece.

Finally, the following is purely opinion. I personally believe that it is all fact, that it is all gospel, and that I am entirely correct – this I believe in my own mind. However, I understand and appreciate the nature of opinion, that most if not all that people write about video games is opinion. That’s what this piece is. I do not want to destroy Metal Gear Solid 4 for you. The fact that I do not like it does not change the fact that you may like it, that it may be one of your favorite games. I am simply promoting one argument and opinion about the game. Most of it may happen to be factually true, but you may feel like you can forgive the flaws in the story, and the flaws in the gameplay. I am less forgiving. Because, check it out: I paid $60 for a game that by my estimation is worth about $10.

Enjoy!

Edit 9/17/2011: I just came across this review of the game by one Tom Chick, written when the game was released in 2008. As the gentlemen on the Idle Thumbs podcast said (Idle Thumbs Episode Three), this is probably the only valid review written about the game by someone in the video game writing industry.

Design

Long install times

50% done and there's still four minutes remaining.

If you only play Metal Gear Solid 4 once you’ll encounter five install screens. The first one launches before the game begins; it takes close to ten minutes to install. Subsequent installs occur during act breaks. Each install takes approximately three minutes save for the final install before Act 5 which takes closer to sixty seconds. Having to install data in the first place is irritating; having to install so much data is nothing more than poor game design. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released six months prior to Metal Gear Solid 4. It requires no install and only shows the player one load screen before the game begins. That load screen is typically a mere twenty seconds.

No full install option is available

Since the game design is so poor, why not give the player the option to install the whole game at once? Perhaps the answer is that Kojima Productions didn’t want to reveal how poor it is at utilizing the ability to stream data. Overall the game would eat up approximately 10GB of hard drive space. This might not be space that the average player has to spare; nevertheless the option should have been offered. 80GB PlayStation 3s were available in 2007, well before game’s release. Consumers with less endowed units would just have had to put up with the act-by-act system. There should have been a choice to install the whole game at once. There wasn’t, and as a result Metal Gear Solid 4 suffers tremendously.

Long load times

The average load time throughout the game is between thirty-three and forty seconds. Repetition for effect: it takes thirty-three seconds (on average) to load between areas. Consider areas that the player jets through in less than a few moments, particularly the gameplay sequence on the back of Drebin’s truck. The gameplay is fragmented hopelessly and beyond recovery, and it completely destroys whatever semblance of immersion there is. What went wrong? For one, it’s what I’ve termed in the past as an arrogant approach to gameplay design. Kojima Productions insisted on having much of the cutscene audio uncompressed. Had that audio been compressed a ton of space could have been saved, and load times would be less stringent. Blu-Rays can retain a great deal of information but their read speed is slow. Compressing and reusing data, reburning the same data several times across the disc as Naughty Dog did with Uncharted and Uncharted 2, can reduce load times to mere seconds during gameplay. The load times are even more embarrassing when you consider Uncharted, which streams all its data right off the disc while the player is playing the game. This approach has been around since the PlayStation 2 era that I know of (for optical media). There’s no excuse here, especially considering the fact that Metal Gear Solid 4 was in development for close to five years. That should have provided more than enough time for Kojima Productions to acclimatize to the PlayStation 3. Naughty Dog had much less time and achieved much more than Kojima Productions could have even hoped to reach. The load times are embarrassing, pathetic, and disgusting, and the game should not have been released in such a state.

Press START to continue

If you consider that the player has to press START to clear the overwhelming majority of load screens, then Kojima Productions has very nearly gotten away with murder. At the end of the majority of the thirty-three second (on average) load screens, players are required to press the START button to proceed through and continue with the game. This quickly gets tiring. You’re forcing me to sit through a ridiculous amount of load screens; somehow you found the balls to make me press START too. And not even the X or Circle button either – no, it must be START. Thankfully the PlayStation button is very nearby the START button, so it doesn’t require too much extra energy to quit and find something else to play.

Choosing acts

It’s not possible to choose individual acts to play through after completing the game. The cynical part of me screams that this design choice was made because the only part of the game worth playing through more than once is Act 2. Maybe Kojima Productions did not want to reveal this glaring deficiency. Realistically, the answer is simple: you would have to install each time you wanted to play a different act. This is unacceptable. (Again, perhaps they should have designed the game so you wouldn’t have to install.)

No demo theater

Previous games in the franchise included a theater of cutscenes (a “demo” theater) that let players watch through all the cutscenes in the game. To be fair, Guns of the Patriots’ story is largely vacuous, poorly written, and boring, so maybe it’s for the better that no such feature was included. The simple reason why no such feature exists is that the player would have to reinstall each act every time to access each act’s cutscenes. Since the game doesn’t let you install all the data at once, this was probably deemed inappropriate.

There are no extra modes

It’s hard to fathom why Kojima Productions didn’t include extra modes as has long been tradition for the Metal Gear franchise. There are no VR missions or Boss Survival modes to be found. What’s provided is a shooting gallery mode that serves as a test ground for weapons. This had the potential to be interesting, but players are provided with stationary targets in an infinitely flat arena with no topographical variations or buildings or structures. Therefore the mode is redundant. It probably takes up around 50MB on the disc; it’s not even worth the space on which it’s printed. Metal Gear Online is touched on below; in short, it’s not worth the time or the effort or the 4GB install you’re forced to sit through if you select it from the menu.

Lasting appeal

Metal Gear Solid 4 has no lasting appeal. There are no extra modes worth playing and there’s certainly no reason to replay the game more than once, if you can bear completing it once.

The soundtrack is not the best

The part of the budget reserved for researching and developing seventy firearms should have been used to commission Norihiko Hibino.

Metal Gear Solid 4’s soundtrack is alright, but it’s not the best, and I certainly wouldn’t call it amazing. The only person who ever made any good songs for the ‘Solid’ franchise, Norihiko Hibino, was jettisoned in favor of Nobuko Toda and Harry Gregson-Williams, and the result is a soundtrack that is lacking tremendously in punch or style. But what style would you give Metal Gear Solid 4? Metal Gear Solid 4 is a generic war game. It’s not like Metal Gear Solid 2, where there was a more science-fiction-y feel, where that nice jazz style really suited the game. Guns of the Patriots is just another war game, with just another generic Hans Zimmer-esque Modern Warfare 2 soundtrack.

Graphics and Animation

Bad textures

Metal Gear Solid 4’s main graphical faults involve textures, which generally look blurred and artifact-ed, and are poorly realized. Included in the screenshots below are some press screens among which a is texture that’s supposed to represent a range of rocks on a flat plain is attached. I have also attached some screenshots I myself captured using the in-game camera. Notice how terrible the tree looks! That tree is actually about six feet away from the player. There’s also something strange going on with the texture for the handgun. See also two side-by-side screens where there’s something weird that’s happened with a rock. Finally, I’ve included some Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune screens for comparison. You’ll recall that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released six months before Metal Gear Solid 4, and probably finished proper development nine months before Metal Gear Solid 4 was released. Uncharted is plainly much better looking. Wasn’t Metal Gear Solid 4 meant to be the greatest game for the PlayStation 3, the best looking game, the game from one of the best developers currently operating, a developer whom we thank the heavens for? That’s me being sarcastic, which I realize is unpleasant, informal, and not proper conduct. Here’s the blunt reality: Metal Gear Solid 4’s textures look like garbage. They’re representative of a game released in 2006, not a game released in 2008, and they’re an utter embarrassment.

  1. The first image shows something strange going on with a rock. Also note how bad the tree looks even at this stage in the normal view. Wait until we look through Snake's eyes.
  2. This may very well be the worst-looking tree of this console generation.
  3. The blurred ground texture here looks like vomit. See also the rubble in the background.
  4. This ground texture is an order of magnitude worse than the previous image's ground texture.
  5. See the wall texture on Snake's left. Also the wall textures behind the hostile, that look fairly distorted even from this range.
  6. What's going on with the rocks in the background? Apparently Kojima Productions resorted to using stretched JPEGs.
  7. This ground texture was probably included as a joke. You thought nothing could look this bad -- you were wrong.
  8. That's a nice broken wall texture you've got there.
  9. In comparison, look at the ground texture below Drake's feet. If this was Metal Gear Solid 4, that would have been rendered as three massive pixels.
  10. Check out the sheen between the bricks.
  11. Check out the fidelity between the bricks.
  12. The ground texture and the wall texture here look great, and even though they're some of the worst textures in Uncharted, they're miles ahead of anything found in Metal Gear Solid 4.
  13. The stones on the ground are exceptionally well done (but not even I know what's going on with that grass).
  14. This mud looks almost photo realistic. All it needs is that tree from Metal Gear Solid 4 and it would be 100% lifelike, except not really.
  15. Another near-photo realistic stone texture.

Hair on the character models is terrible

The character models in Metal Gear Solid 4 are relatively well detailed though they are now outdated. The models nearly look as good as the textures look bad. However, all the good work was almost undone by the some of the worst hair modeling seen in any game this generation. Hair is stiff. Major strands do not move individually. Hair animates as one large, massive chunk. Vamp’s hair curtails across his back literally at two right angles with a flat base. It shimmies from side to side like a slider moves across in an options menu. Naomi’s hair acts similarly; the strands that fall down her face are particularly offensive. Snake’s mustache looks like it came straight from a mold. It never moves once throughout the entire game.

  1. In the first three images you'll see no change in the way Naomi's hair falls. It's always got the curl to the left, one small strand and one major strand, no matter what angle.
  2. The next three images feature Snake's mustache, which also never changes, and doesn't look all that great either, especially in the last one. I thought facial hair grows. Apparently nanomachines regulate hair strictly. If only Kojima had thought of that, he could of written it into the game.
  3. The last four images focus on Vamp's front strand which is almost identical to Naomi's. I want you to look carefully at the last one to see Vamp's perfectly square hair. Note that it's always stuck to his body like that, so it looks like it's part of his clothes. Also note that the cuts never variate.

Animations are outdated, stiff, and clunky

While the character models may look impressive, the way they animate is certainly not impressive. By in large the animations are stiff. They are slow, heavy, and unappealing. While the way characters move may be militaristically accurate, many of the actions they execute are completely unrealistic. Why maintain partial realism then, especially since those “realistic” animations are the ones that look the worst? Reload animations are also repetitive. CQC animations are more repetitive; there may only be one version for each action, but I cannot confirm this. (Also, this hasn’t been confirmed, but I’ve seen several comments online proposing that some animations are identical – that is, verbatim copies – to ones found in Snake Eater. I say this isn’t true, because Snake Eater’s animations are actually better than those found in Guns of the Patriots.)

Snake takes too long to fall through the air

The worst offender in the animation department is the action Snake makes when he falls down from a ledge or through the air. He sticks his arms and elbows out at an acute angle and bends his knees, resulting in a look like he’s treading water. Furthermore, it takes an impossibly long time for him to fall through the air. It’s like he’s wafting up there, or like you’re watching him fall in slow motion.

Gameplay

Much was made of Metal Gear Solid 4 implementing western-style gameplay mechanics into a game that is traditionally very Japanese. The development only goes halfway though, and it picks the worst parts of western archetypes to adapt.

Not actually a stealth game

Kojima Productions may like to think it has fooled you into thinking that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a stealth game, but don’t allow it the pleasure of doing so. The truth is that Guns of the Patriots is almost a bonafide action game. Sure, you could progress without setting off any alerts, but it’s much easier to simply blast your way through in the over-the-shoulder view and ignore the enemy’s advances. As a result, Metal Gear Solid 4 becomes Time Crisis, and that’s insulting Time Crisis because even Time Crisis has more depth. However, I find that Metal Gear Solid 4 is more enjoyable when you’re playing it like it’s Gears of War.

The psyche gauge is irritating

I would totally forgive all these flaws if Metal Gear Solid 4 had featured the Playboy issue with all the video game characters in it. That would have been too meta to handle.

If there’s one thing that labors the player throughout the game, it’s the psyche gauge. In areas where too many guns are being fired or too many enemies are around Snake (so it’s bad for both action- and stealth-oriented players) the psyche gauge begins to fill up. Once the psyche gauge begins to fill up, Snake’s ability to aim and hold a firearm steady virtually disappears. He becomes clunky and he vomits a whole lot. It makes the game very difficult to play; it’s Sisyphus pushing the boulder up a hill, because the game coaxes and coaxes you to use the weapons and then takes that right away (like Mirror’s Edge); in the converse the game coaxes and coaxes you to stay stealthy and then it takes that right away as well. The lesson learned is that you should never enter a battlefield lest you lose your mind in sixty seconds flat – unless of course you can take a break to look at some non-nude Playboy models in some Playboy magazines you happen to have handy. This seems to sort everything out pretty quickly.

No cover system

For an action game, it’s amazing that there’s no native cover system. To be sure, there’s plenty of cover available – sandbags, low walls, indeed, a lot of proper walls, but the only way of hiding behind low cover is to crouch, and then hit triangle to shimmy awkwardly. You then have to hold down a number of buttons to attack. The system is identical for walls. What’s even more astonishing is that it was easier to take cover and use a weapon in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, but Metal Gear Solid 4, with its more western-oriented approach design, has taken an inexplicable step backward.

Enemies are bullet sponges

On all difficulty levels, enemies absorb too many bullets. Previous installments in the series saw two shots – one for each leg – disable an enemy. This is ineffective in Metal Gear Solid 4. Enemies can take a multitude of rounds to the chest, certainly far too many to be realistic, even on the Easy difficulty; god forbid you play the game on Extreme.

Enemy AI is average at best

This has long been a problem throughout the Metal Gear series, but it’s at its worst in Metal Gear Solid 4. The game doesn’t compare well with its contemporaries, specifically games like F.E.A.R which released years earlier. The enemies fall into predictable patterns that involve standing up and letting you shoot them while occasionally firing back. To be fair, it’s no worse than many other games, but it certainly is not good, and one would expect better from a ‘monumental’ studio and a ‘terrific’ developer that is Kojima Productions, and the ‘brilliant’ mind of Hideo Kojima. Additionally, the threat of being caught or being chased is negligible compared to past games in the series because of Metal Gear Solid 4’s action-oriented play.

The camouflage system makes eluding enemies too easy

The octocamo: making every difficulty level akin to very easy.

While the concept of the Octocamo may be impressive, in reality it almost breaks the game, especially once the player finds the head camouflage halfway through Act 2. It’s amazingly easy to achieve an 85% to 90% camouflage rating. At that point Snake becomes virtually invisible, even though there’s a blatant man-shaped lump spread-eagled across the ground. You might as well give the player the proper stealth camouflage at that point, as both achieve the same purpose, except that one is “legitimate” (according to the game) and one is not.

The Drebin Points and Drebin Shop systems break the game

Previous installments of the series had players attempting to conserve ammunition and limit their use of weapons. Not so in Metal Gear Solid 4, because as aforementioned, Metal Gear Solid 4 is actually an action game! Being an action game is fine, but don’t lie about it, and don’t take away any difficulty by making resources instantly accessible. Now, by navigating through the pause menu, players can buy near every gun in the game and stockpile up on ammunition at almost any point in the game, even during boss battles. How useful! Now any challenge the game might have had has been thrown by the wayside. Sure, Drebin points – the shop’s currency – have to be accumulated, but they are very easy to come by, for all it takes is eliminating one soldier to racket up points, certainly more than enough points to purchase a ton of ammunition for the one-size-fits-all M4 (see ‘the game can be completed with just one gun’ below). The very premise of the shop is absurd. The idea is that Drebin drives his truck around following the player and can therefore provide the player with firearms. How is Drebin supposed to roll his truck up into the basement level of Shadow Moses where the boss fight with the Cyborg Ninja took place in Metal Gear Solid?

Not enough chaff grenades

It’s amazing that the only item that’s not available in the overly prolific Drebin store is the chaff grenade. By the time Act 4 rolls around players will realize that chaff grenades are among the most useful weapons against machines in the game. So why not make them available to the player in the Drebin store? Just about every other weapon in the game can be abused through the store; it makes no sense not to include chaff grenades as well.

The game can be completed with just one gun

The M4 is the only firearm you'll ever need because it can turn into a sniper rifle, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher. And you can stick a flashlight on it, too!

In all honesty, lack of chaff grenades probably isn’t that much of an issue since you can complete the entire game using only the M4, the very first weapon the player gets in the game. The weapon can be modified by equipping a silencer, a dot sight, a scope (to mimic a sniper rifle, a weapon which the M4 turns out to be surprisingly good at emulating), a shotgun attachment, as well as a grenade launcher attachment. Players will never run short of ammunition since the enemies seem to bleed 5.56x45mm rounds. All other weapons are weaker or less accurate or take longer to reload.

EDIT: Above I state that the M4 is the first weapon the player gets in the game. This is incorrect. Although the M4 is made available very quickly, the first weapon the player gets is the AK 102, not the M4.

There are too many weapons and not enough variation

In spite of this glaring deficiency, a total of seventy weapons are available to the player. Approximately fifteen of those are unique, and the remaining cache consists of variations with minor tweaks to the statistics (+1 recoil, -1 accuracy et cetera). What possessed Kojima Productions to include so many weapons? Grand Theft Auto IV had eleven firearms, and all of them had more weight, were more unique, and felt better than any of the weapons available in Metal Gear Solid 4. I don’t know how long it took to implement weapons, but even if it took Kojima Productions a short time – let’s say only three days for the sake of argument – to code, it was three days too many. Why didn’t they spend that development time to decrease load times or to make the textures look like they belonged in a game released in 2008 as opposed to a game released in 2006?

Beauty and the Beast boss battles

As with anything formulaic, it just gets stale after a while and that's a major disappointment.

I can say that I enjoyed the first few Beauty and the Beast boss battles, but towards the end you begin to realize that the battles essentially follow a template. There’s a cutscene of a hostile (attractive) woman beforehand, then the battle begins, then the player defeats the boss, the boss transforms into a more feminine form, the player defeats the feminine form, and the feminine form writhes on the ground and expires for good. This occurs a total of four times. It was well done and very impressive the first time around, especially the final death sequence. The same compliment cannot be issued for the second, third, and fourth time around.

There’s no native first-person view

Many games feature a native first-person view – that is being able to look through the player character’s eyes at the press of a button. Splinter Cell: Double Agent does, as does Assassin’s Creed. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune incorporates a useful zoom function. Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3 included a native first-person view also. Amazingly, Metal Gear Solid 4 does not. For a game that reportedly revolves around analyzing enemy behavior, this is a tremendous oversight. The only way to access the first-person view is to equip a weapon and aim it. One can also equip the binoculars or the camera, both of which are sluggish and difficult to use. How can you miss such a crucial feature? I certainly cannot surmise why this was left out.

MGS as FPS

Hideo Kojima very nearly lied (who would have thought?). He promised that players would be able to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 in its entirety as a first-person shooter. This is actually possible to do, believe it or not: I almost achieved this feat but I could not bear to play past the midpoint of Act 2. It’s extremely difficult to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 as a first-person shooter. The main issue is the fact that Snake moves about as fast as a turtle when he has a firearm drawn (again, the only way you can access the first-person view is to have a firearm drawn). Snake’s movement rate is painfully slow, and it actually makes it hard to focus attention on the game. I think it takes, like, ten seconds to travel across a room that’s about twenty feet in length.

The stupidity of the escort mission

There are a number of logical leaps that once has to make if one is willing to accept Act 3 as a legitimate piece of gameplay and not something that an infant thinks is good video game design. Why, for instance, doesn’t the resistance member wear his PMC design from the very beginning of the sequence? Why does the resistance member loiter around when you haven’t caught up with him? Why does the resistance member whistle aloud while he’s walking down thesilent streets, even though he knows he cannot allow himself to be caught? And how did the resistance members visit Big Mama’s house the hundreds of times they had to before Snake arrived on the scene to help them get through the dangerous back streets of “Eastern Europe”? Furthermore, why is it that as long as you don’t look like Snake PMC soldiers won’t be bothered, even if you’re wearing one of the ridiculous alternate face camouflages? (Credit goes to Ravi Singh of The Snake Soup for pointing these things out.)

The escort mission cannot be completed by jumping to the finish

Even if you know where you’ll have to end up, you still have to guide the resistance member through the twenty- or thirty-minute sequence through “Eastern Europe”. Why not just let the emeritus player carve his way straight through? Okay, fine, because it’s part of the game. That doesn’t make it good, however, and it doesn’t mean that logical disconnect should have occurred. Act 3 is like Swiss cheese. Or rather, it’s like air with some incidental cheese taking up some space.

Act 3 is entirely ripped from other Kojima games

Haven't I played this before? The answer is yes.

Following one individual around a nonsensical maze first debuted in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Riding around on a motorbike first debuted in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Much of the framing in the cutscenes is a call-back to Snatcher and Metal Gear Solid 3. Has Kojima Productions just run out of ideas, or is it so intent on providing a ham-fisted nostalgia trip that its willing to plagiarize itself?

Act 4 is light on gameplay

Act 4 is tremendously light on gameplay. The game forces the player to clear hackneyed sections and boring passages filled with robots that will either infuriate or will pose no problem. Whatever gameplay there is gets fragmented repeatedly by long, laborious cutscenes and radio conversations that essentially boil down to “we’ve been here before”. What jokes there are aren’t really funny. Being asked to insert the second disc is a nice callback, but it’s entirely a throwaway line, just as most of the act (and game?) as a whole.

The Metal Gear battle was underwhelming

Since the first Metal Gear the bipedal robots were something to be feared, but the Metal Gear boss battle – REX vs. RAY – turns the robots into cheap cartoon entertainment. The control of the vehicle is heavy but as a whole the robot doesn’t pack any punch. There’s no kick behind the attacks; there’s no visceral feedback to let you know that you’re in a machine that deals death. It’s like a half-erect reproductive organ: it’s uncomfortable, it’s sluggish, and it doesn’t do anything. What was once feared simply becomes a shell of its former self, an unintentional parody.

Act 5 has no gameplay at all

Act 5 is the textbook definition of linear. It begins in one, long bottleneck arena before progressing into some short hallways and then a long catwalk and then a hallway and then a hallway and then a hallway and then an arena and then a hallway. I might have mixed the order up a little bit; it tends to blend together. You understand.

The sum of Act 5’s gameplay is approximately fifteen minutes of control, five of which is spent alone, all of which is spent holding up on the analog stick, which is a forgiving way of saying that Act 5 is stupidly linear. For less able players it might be closer to twenty or thirty. Skill level decides how much mileage you’ll get out of this portion. Once more, the act is peppered throughout by cutscenes that are boring and melodramatic and poorly scripted and not worth your time.

Metal Gear Online is not good

Instead of having players register with the PlayStation Network, Konami has you register with them twice to play Metal Gear Online. You also have to have a PlayStation Network account; apparently one account wasn’t enough. At its very core, this multiplayer game just isn’t interesting. It suffers from the same flaws as Metal Gear Solid 4 does – its heavy controls and weak, unappealing weapons. Moreover, it never mustered a big enough user base and the few users that play now have been around since the very beginning. There is no room for debutants.

The in-game iPod is underwhelming

Having an in-game iPod is fine, but not letting the player put their own music on said iPod is not fine. The likelihood players will actually want to listen to some selected tracks from old Metal Gear soundtracks is slim, because Kojima Productions didn’t even manage to choose the best songs. Why not let the player stream music from the PlayStation 3’s hard drive? Who’s to say? It probably took too much time to implement. Either that or the way Guns of the Patriots was designed didn’t allow for the PlayStation 3 to simultaneously access songs from the HDD while its simultaneously struggling to spin the Blu-Ray and ripping itself apart. It’s the old Mirror’s Edge conundrum: if you’re going to make guns useless, don’t put them in the game. If you’re going to add an iPod, don’t make me wish that I could play my own music instead of Calling to the Night or Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday, thank you very much.

Emblems

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has a myriad of unlockables ranging from game-enhancing features to making-of featurettes. Naughty Dog did one very intelligent thing with Uncharted: they included achievements before Sony had implemented trophies. And the achievements? They actually did things. They unlocked weapons that you couldn't get in the game. They unlocked modifiers like god mode and infinite ammo. They unlocked new camera modes, costumes, and aforementioned special features – all of this adding an extra layer of re-playability to the game. To be fair, Guns of the Patriots has achievements as well. They’re called ‘emblems’, they number some forty, and they require the player to execute menial and ridiculous tasks for almost no reward. To get the ‘Chicken’ emblem, for example, the player must do the following: Trigger an alert over one-hundred-and-fifty times, kill over five-hundred individuals, require over fifty continues, use over fifty healing items, and rack up a total of thirty-five hours in playing time. What kind of achievement is this? This is literally as stupid as the achievements that XBOX360 games had in the console’s launch period. Madden NFL 06 gives you thirty points for scoring a touchdown. Metal Gear Solid 4’s achievements are worse. Here’s GameFAQs’ bfsrc’s guide’s advice for racking up the thirty-five hours of play time required for the Chicken emblem: “Plug your controller in the USB port to keep it charged. Hide somewhere [in the game]. Leave PlayStation 3 on overnight. Mess about in the game. Leave it on overnight again. You should pick up thirty hours that way. Watching cut scenes will help as they are included in the total time.” Note the shopping list-like grammar, denoting the banality of the task. To be fair, you at least got a Solar Gun and some face camouflage for getting the emblems. Because, you know, those are the kind of essential items that really provide the impetus for another playthough.

Story

The story is not good

Metal Gear Solid 4’s story is not good. It is largely vacuous and utterly third rate. In that sense it’s your quintessential video game story, so perhaps it’s not so much of a problem, then. It’s entirely nonsensical and is strung together by cheap, resigned, tired explanations for why things happen. “Nanomachines”, as we’ll see, Is not a legitimate answer for everything. Having a ten minute long wedding scene at the end of the game is completely unwarranted and silly. How many bullets do Meryl and Johnny absorb during their dumb quasi-love making marriage proposal sequence? Why would you inter cut a laughable scene with Snake being cooked to death in a hallway full of microwaves? It’s completely anti-climactic. Moreover, almost every character that is dragged from the annals of Metal Gear history only barely has a reason to exist. Why is Naomi even there? As if there aren’t any better scientists on the face of the earth. Why risk your entire operation by picking such a volatile scientist? There are so many silly holes and blatant pitfalls, I cannot hope to summarize them in the short space I’ve allotted myself here; perhaps I’ll do a separate post just analyzing the story, but it strikes me as fruitless endeavor.

Characterization

We’ll touch on this very briefly. Many of the characters in this game are uninteresting or broken or poorly developed. It’s impossible for Snake to do what he is able to achieve; he’s falling apart by the end of Act 1 and yet he’s able to survive and defeat Ocelot at the end of Act 5, and he’s still alive at the end of the game. There’s no point of showing and telling the player how Snake is close to death when he plays and acts just as his younger self. Then there’s Ocelot. Not even the writers can decide who Ocelot is. He’s Ocelot, except he’s actually Liquid, except that it’s the nanomachines playing tricks, except that he’s actually always been Ocelot and is just playing around, except that he thinks he’s Liquid, but he’s actually Ocelot. So we return back to the long running theme here: what is the point? Why not just make everything simple and spare the players the agony, and stop insulting their intelligence?

The story is largely retconned

The worst part is that the story doesn’t even need to be retconned in the manner which it is. It would surely have been easier to come up with original answers and new characters as opposed to reaching into the grave the franchise has dug for itself just to revive old characters. Kojima’s clearly a fan of conspiracy theories; a conspiracy theory involving the United States government and the Patriots (much as the player understood them as at the conclusion of Metal Gear solid 2) would have been more satisfying and more logical than “The Patriots were actually these people you knew all along except we hid it from you and the only reason we were able to hide it from you is because we actually didn’t know about it ourselves”. The problem with retconning is that you end up breaking things, and if they don’t get broken they get warped beyond recognition. That’s what Metal Gear Solid 4 did to the Metal Gear Solid “lore” (a phrase which affords the series’ narrative more credit and stature than it deserves).

Long cutscenes that don’t contribute to anything

Guns of the Patriots is full of cutscenes that are thirty or forty or fifty minutes too long. In many instance the same message could be conveyed using cutscenes of approximately five minutes in length. A fine example is the conclusion of Act 3, which runs near thirty minutes in length. Five minutes of this involves many soldiers arriving in the area; a further stretch involves the same soldiers being executed non-invasively by Ocelot. The remaining time is used up by long exposition and melodramatic dialogue, capped by EVA’s senseless death as she hurls herself into the water. The scene could easily have been truncated to what’s most important: Ocelot’s actions and the essential things he has to say for the narrative to keep ticking along. The ending sequences with Big Boss and Major Zero is much the same. Similarly many other scenes: fights with Gekkos, shots of soldiers sliding down rooftops – while impressive, these are ultimately nothing more than fluff when utilized more than once. It’s disappointing, but one can expect no less from unprofessional writers and ersatz film directors.

The script is bad

The story may have been a hair’s width more bearable if the script wasn’t so bad. Fans have long criticized Metal Gear Solid 2 for what they see as a terrible script; if this is true then Metal Gear Solid 4 truly paints Metal Gear Solid 2 in a divine light. The lines the characters vomit from their mouths hold no illusion of being good or well written. This is pure soap opera material. Not even a great writer could salvage the refuse of the train wreck that is Metal Gear Solid 4’s script. See here, one of many examples:

Raiden: It was never going to work out for me. It even rained the day I was born.
Snake: You've got it all wrong. You were the lightning in that rain. You can still shine through the darkness.
Raiden: The lightning....

Yes, Raiden. You were the lightning in that rain. The lightning. Get it? Because Raiden, also called Raijin, was the god of thunder and lightning in Japanese mythology. We’re so good! That’s gold, Kojima! Gold!

“The System” and “Nanomachines”

Characters sure like to say “The System”. In fact, the script has one-hundred-and-sixteen instances of that very phrase. There are sixty-seven instances of the word “nanomachines”, which, compared to the phrase “The System” may not seem that bad – but only when you forget the fact that nanomachines are the excuse for every single thing that has ever happened ever in the Metal Gear series. The nanomachine is Kojima’s ultimate deus ex machina, and he just cannot get past it. The way nanomachines are employed is desperately unfortunate. How can you justify explaining everything in Guns of the Patriots using just one thing? It’s so dissatisfying. It’s terrible storytelling. It’s unacceptable and utterly unconvincing, and Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery would have a lot to teach Kojima if she ever got her hands on him (those who have read Misery will recall that Annie Wilkes does not enjoy cheap answers to mysteries and tough situations). Why is Snake old? Nanomachines. Why can Snake still move like he does? Nanomachines. Why can’t Vamp die (except when he dies)? Nanomachines. Why can Vamp heal himself? Nanomachines. How does Naomi survive? Nanomachines. How does FOXDIE get transferred? Nanomachines. How does Liquid Ocelot control people? Nanomachines. Why is Liquid Ocelot so good at doing the jazz hands? Nanomachines.

Explanations about the Patriots are convoluted and unfair

The explanation provided about the Patriots is convoluted. Everybody you ever trusted throughout Metal Gear Solid 3 was actually working for the Patriots it turns out, except that there was never any sign of or a hint of this in any of the other games. So thanks for turning up and paying your admission fee. It’s like every bad episode of 24 compressed and then expanded again. Any good conspiracy theory is bulletproof: that is, any evidence against the conspiracy has simply been planted there by the people behind the conspiracy to cover the conspiracy up, and any evidence for the conspiracy is conversely a slip-up by the people behind the conspiracy. There’s no possible way to disprove the conspiracy theory, then. Metal Gear is a little bit like a conspiracy theory. I can sit here and say that the Metal Gear story is silly and immature and not well written, but on the other end of that people can sit there and say, “But don’t you get it? That’s the point.” Metal Gear’s story is bulletproof. Except it’s not. It’s just not good.

Act 3’s story is just as bad, if not worse, as Act 3’s gameplay

Why present Snake with revelations about the Patriots that are completely irrelevant to what’s actually going on? Why have Snake and Big Mama chase a van in which Big Boss’ corpse isn’t actually contained in the first place? Why does EVA jump in the river when she knows that body is actually Solidus? Why doesn’t FOXDIE harm Liquid at this stage in the game? (Credit goes to Ravi Singh of The Snake Soup for pointing much of this out.)

Drebin and the Beauty and the Beast

Part of the formulaic nature of the boss battles involves Drebin, who calls Snake after each woman is killed to launch into a three minute monologue about the character’s back story. That’s great, except the characters don’t really exist in the mind of the player because they’re never looked into with enough detail outside of the actual battle itself. The only time they appear in cutscenes is when they’re killing people. What’s the point of analyzing the character when there’s no character there to begin with? Why should the player care about their back stories when the Beasts are invoked only when they are to be killed by the player? Kojima knows this, and he knows the Drebin monologues are boring and pointless: case in point when Drebin says so himself.

Name drop

One of the many retcons that doesn’t make sense involves Dr. Madnar. Madnar was a character that appeared in the two original Metal Gear games for the MSX. He was not mentioned in the first three ‘Solid’ games. Suddenly his name is just randomly dropped in this game in relation to Raiden. The worst part of all is that the name doesn’t even elect a reaction from Snake, who’s meant to know who Madnar is! So what’s the point of even putting it there in the first place? Perhaps due to some weird twisted fantasy that the story will actually be important if you summon every Metal Gear character under the sun. Well, Running Man wasn’t included. Too bad.

There’s no game

That was a crass overstatement. It’s not an overstatement to say that Metal Gear Solid boils down to six hours of gameplay and ten hours of cutscenes. This is not enough to constitute a $60 game or even a $30 game that has no replayability. The player and the consumer expects more and deserves more. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad if the story and the cutscenes weren’t so atrocious. Unfortunately they are. When you really start to consider this, I’m amazed that Metal Gear Solid 4 took five years to develop. What were they doing the whole time? Infinity Ward took a little over a year and a half to develop a first-person shooter with a marginally longer single player mode and an excellent multiplayer mode. Kojima Productions couldn’t achieve the same feat in five years.

Bad characterization of women

If only this actually made any sense and had any relevance to what's going on in the game's paper thin story. Way to dispel popular stereotypes of the Japanese, Kojima Productions.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Hideo Kojima is a pervert. I’m in no position to say, so I won’t, but I do know his latest Metal Gear game included being able to see a nubile girl (who looks to be all of fourteen years of age) in her panties. In Metal Gear Solid 4, players can see Snake look down women’s tops and look up women’s skirts. Each Beauty and the Beast character can be coaxed to pose suggestively. It’s nothing but sheer perversion that provides a tremendous disconnect with what’s meant to be going on in the game (you know, friends dying and the earth essentially going to hell).

Addendum: A brief and simple thought

Most of Metal Gear Solid 4’s worst problems could have been avoided if the game had been developed for the XBOX 360 as a multiplatform title. The crucial factor is this: a Blu-Ray holds 50GB of data while a DVD holds 9GB. What Metal Gear Solid 4 needed was streamlining. It needed to have only six hours of cutscenes and twelve hours of gameplay, instead of the converse. Load times would have been razed to nothing on the XBOX 360. Audio would have been compressed; the game would be smooth and visceral. Moreover, it would have helped to get to the very core of what the experience is supposed to be. In 2005, on GameSpot’s podcast The HotSpot, then-GameSpot editor Bob Colyaco wondered how many hours of cutscenes Hideo Kojima might be able to fit onto a Blu-Ray. The answer is seven hours too many.

#1 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -

In the following I make certain claims about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In this preamble I want to briefly dismiss some common statements that will surely arise as a result of people reading this. For one, I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game. I merely think that it is nowhere near as good as people think it is. It is an average game. I don’t think it deserved any of the awards it received. It certainly did not deserve the scores it received upon release. I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game, and similarly I do not hate Metal Gear. I was once a devout fan of the franchise. I no longer am. I realized that its story is childish, its narrative is immature, and its script reads like it was written by thirteen-year-olds who think they can make a Hollywood movie with two handheld camcorders (to use an antediluvian term). Furthermore, I realized that there were many, many, many games that were far superior and that better deserved my time and money.

Nevertheless, Metal Gear Solid 2 remains one of my most beloved games, and I rank it in my top five “of all time”.

I repeatedly see Metal Gear Solid 4 brought up as one of the games to get when one first purchases a PlayStation 3. This is wrong, as I explain below. Metal Gear Solid 4 is not one of the best games on the PlayStation 3. It does not deserve to be on the same level as Uncharted 2. I find the notion that Metal Gear Solid 4 is as good as the first Uncharted, let alone Uncharted 2, to be nauseating.

But again, I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game. Anybody arguing that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game is plainly incorrect. Simply put, it is consumed by its flaws and it is not as good as some have suggested.

I would also like to point out that I will rarely praise Metal Gear Solid 4 in the following. The game does have some fine portions, though I could certainly count them on two hands with some digits remaining. Instead, the following essentially constitutes a list of the game’s flaws. I posit that you, the reader, should consider the game’s positives in your own time. I would be very happy to see some of those positives highlighted as comments.

Note that I do not make any attempt to mask spoilers in the following. Read at your own discretion. However, it’s not like you’re missing out on anything. If there’s a part of Metal Gear Solid 4 that is indeed “bad”, it’s the story.

I am a man who readily accepts errors he makes. I have thoroughly read through the following many times over. In certain sections I quote figures – numbers and the like. If I am factually incorrect at any point, I will gladly recant my position and issue a correction without deleting the original text, as I believe is proper practice for errors found in any critical piece.

Finally, the following is purely opinion. I personally believe that it is all fact, that it is all gospel, and that I am entirely correct – this I believe in my own mind. However, I understand and appreciate the nature of opinion, that most if not all that people write about video games is opinion. That’s what this piece is. I do not want to destroy Metal Gear Solid 4 for you. The fact that I do not like it does not change the fact that you may like it, that it may be one of your favorite games. I am simply promoting one argument and opinion about the game. Most of it may happen to be factually true, but you may feel like you can forgive the flaws in the story, and the flaws in the gameplay. I am less forgiving. Because, check it out: I paid $60 for a game that by my estimation is worth about $10.

Enjoy!

Edit 9/17/2011: I just came across this review of the game by one Tom Chick, written when the game was released in 2008. As the gentlemen on the Idle Thumbs podcast said (Idle Thumbs Episode Three), this is probably the only valid review written about the game by someone in the video game writing industry.

Design

Long install times

50% done and there's still four minutes remaining.

If you only play Metal Gear Solid 4 once you’ll encounter five install screens. The first one launches before the game begins; it takes close to ten minutes to install. Subsequent installs occur during act breaks. Each install takes approximately three minutes save for the final install before Act 5 which takes closer to sixty seconds. Having to install data in the first place is irritating; having to install so much data is nothing more than poor game design. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released six months prior to Metal Gear Solid 4. It requires no install and only shows the player one load screen before the game begins. That load screen is typically a mere twenty seconds.

No full install option is available

Since the game design is so poor, why not give the player the option to install the whole game at once? Perhaps the answer is that Kojima Productions didn’t want to reveal how poor it is at utilizing the ability to stream data. Overall the game would eat up approximately 10GB of hard drive space. This might not be space that the average player has to spare; nevertheless the option should have been offered. 80GB PlayStation 3s were available in 2007, well before game’s release. Consumers with less endowed units would just have had to put up with the act-by-act system. There should have been a choice to install the whole game at once. There wasn’t, and as a result Metal Gear Solid 4 suffers tremendously.

Long load times

The average load time throughout the game is between thirty-three and forty seconds. Repetition for effect: it takes thirty-three seconds (on average) to load between areas. Consider areas that the player jets through in less than a few moments, particularly the gameplay sequence on the back of Drebin’s truck. The gameplay is fragmented hopelessly and beyond recovery, and it completely destroys whatever semblance of immersion there is. What went wrong? For one, it’s what I’ve termed in the past as an arrogant approach to gameplay design. Kojima Productions insisted on having much of the cutscene audio uncompressed. Had that audio been compressed a ton of space could have been saved, and load times would be less stringent. Blu-Rays can retain a great deal of information but their read speed is slow. Compressing and reusing data, reburning the same data several times across the disc as Naughty Dog did with Uncharted and Uncharted 2, can reduce load times to mere seconds during gameplay. The load times are even more embarrassing when you consider Uncharted, which streams all its data right off the disc while the player is playing the game. This approach has been around since the PlayStation 2 era that I know of (for optical media). There’s no excuse here, especially considering the fact that Metal Gear Solid 4 was in development for close to five years. That should have provided more than enough time for Kojima Productions to acclimatize to the PlayStation 3. Naughty Dog had much less time and achieved much more than Kojima Productions could have even hoped to reach. The load times are embarrassing, pathetic, and disgusting, and the game should not have been released in such a state.

Press START to continue

If you consider that the player has to press START to clear the overwhelming majority of load screens, then Kojima Productions has very nearly gotten away with murder. At the end of the majority of the thirty-three second (on average) load screens, players are required to press the START button to proceed through and continue with the game. This quickly gets tiring. You’re forcing me to sit through a ridiculous amount of load screens; somehow you found the balls to make me press START too. And not even the X or Circle button either – no, it must be START. Thankfully the PlayStation button is very nearby the START button, so it doesn’t require too much extra energy to quit and find something else to play.

Choosing acts

It’s not possible to choose individual acts to play through after completing the game. The cynical part of me screams that this design choice was made because the only part of the game worth playing through more than once is Act 2. Maybe Kojima Productions did not want to reveal this glaring deficiency. Realistically, the answer is simple: you would have to install each time you wanted to play a different act. This is unacceptable. (Again, perhaps they should have designed the game so you wouldn’t have to install.)

No demo theater

Previous games in the franchise included a theater of cutscenes (a “demo” theater) that let players watch through all the cutscenes in the game. To be fair, Guns of the Patriots’ story is largely vacuous, poorly written, and boring, so maybe it’s for the better that no such feature was included. The simple reason why no such feature exists is that the player would have to reinstall each act every time to access each act’s cutscenes. Since the game doesn’t let you install all the data at once, this was probably deemed inappropriate.

There are no extra modes

It’s hard to fathom why Kojima Productions didn’t include extra modes as has long been tradition for the Metal Gear franchise. There are no VR missions or Boss Survival modes to be found. What’s provided is a shooting gallery mode that serves as a test ground for weapons. This had the potential to be interesting, but players are provided with stationary targets in an infinitely flat arena with no topographical variations or buildings or structures. Therefore the mode is redundant. It probably takes up around 50MB on the disc; it’s not even worth the space on which it’s printed. Metal Gear Online is touched on below; in short, it’s not worth the time or the effort or the 4GB install you’re forced to sit through if you select it from the menu.

Lasting appeal

Metal Gear Solid 4 has no lasting appeal. There are no extra modes worth playing and there’s certainly no reason to replay the game more than once, if you can bear completing it once.

The soundtrack is not the best

The part of the budget reserved for researching and developing seventy firearms should have been used to commission Norihiko Hibino.

Metal Gear Solid 4’s soundtrack is alright, but it’s not the best, and I certainly wouldn’t call it amazing. The only person who ever made any good songs for the ‘Solid’ franchise, Norihiko Hibino, was jettisoned in favor of Nobuko Toda and Harry Gregson-Williams, and the result is a soundtrack that is lacking tremendously in punch or style. But what style would you give Metal Gear Solid 4? Metal Gear Solid 4 is a generic war game. It’s not like Metal Gear Solid 2, where there was a more science-fiction-y feel, where that nice jazz style really suited the game. Guns of the Patriots is just another war game, with just another generic Hans Zimmer-esque Modern Warfare 2 soundtrack.

Graphics and Animation

Bad textures

Metal Gear Solid 4’s main graphical faults involve textures, which generally look blurred and artifact-ed, and are poorly realized. Included in the screenshots below are some press screens among which a is texture that’s supposed to represent a range of rocks on a flat plain is attached. I have also attached some screenshots I myself captured using the in-game camera. Notice how terrible the tree looks! That tree is actually about six feet away from the player. There’s also something strange going on with the texture for the handgun. See also two side-by-side screens where there’s something weird that’s happened with a rock. Finally, I’ve included some Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune screens for comparison. You’ll recall that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released six months before Metal Gear Solid 4, and probably finished proper development nine months before Metal Gear Solid 4 was released. Uncharted is plainly much better looking. Wasn’t Metal Gear Solid 4 meant to be the greatest game for the PlayStation 3, the best looking game, the game from one of the best developers currently operating, a developer whom we thank the heavens for? That’s me being sarcastic, which I realize is unpleasant, informal, and not proper conduct. Here’s the blunt reality: Metal Gear Solid 4’s textures look like garbage. They’re representative of a game released in 2006, not a game released in 2008, and they’re an utter embarrassment.

  1. The first image shows something strange going on with a rock. Also note how bad the tree looks even at this stage in the normal view. Wait until we look through Snake's eyes.
  2. This may very well be the worst-looking tree of this console generation.
  3. The blurred ground texture here looks like vomit. See also the rubble in the background.
  4. This ground texture is an order of magnitude worse than the previous image's ground texture.
  5. See the wall texture on Snake's left. Also the wall textures behind the hostile, that look fairly distorted even from this range.
  6. What's going on with the rocks in the background? Apparently Kojima Productions resorted to using stretched JPEGs.
  7. This ground texture was probably included as a joke. You thought nothing could look this bad -- you were wrong.
  8. That's a nice broken wall texture you've got there.
  9. In comparison, look at the ground texture below Drake's feet. If this was Metal Gear Solid 4, that would have been rendered as three massive pixels.
  10. Check out the sheen between the bricks.
  11. Check out the fidelity between the bricks.
  12. The ground texture and the wall texture here look great, and even though they're some of the worst textures in Uncharted, they're miles ahead of anything found in Metal Gear Solid 4.
  13. The stones on the ground are exceptionally well done (but not even I know what's going on with that grass).
  14. This mud looks almost photo realistic. All it needs is that tree from Metal Gear Solid 4 and it would be 100% lifelike, except not really.
  15. Another near-photo realistic stone texture.

Hair on the character models is terrible

The character models in Metal Gear Solid 4 are relatively well detailed though they are now outdated. The models nearly look as good as the textures look bad. However, all the good work was almost undone by the some of the worst hair modeling seen in any game this generation. Hair is stiff. Major strands do not move individually. Hair animates as one large, massive chunk. Vamp’s hair curtails across his back literally at two right angles with a flat base. It shimmies from side to side like a slider moves across in an options menu. Naomi’s hair acts similarly; the strands that fall down her face are particularly offensive. Snake’s mustache looks like it came straight from a mold. It never moves once throughout the entire game.

  1. In the first three images you'll see no change in the way Naomi's hair falls. It's always got the curl to the left, one small strand and one major strand, no matter what angle.
  2. The next three images feature Snake's mustache, which also never changes, and doesn't look all that great either, especially in the last one. I thought facial hair grows. Apparently nanomachines regulate hair strictly. If only Kojima had thought of that, he could of written it into the game.
  3. The last four images focus on Vamp's front strand which is almost identical to Naomi's. I want you to look carefully at the last one to see Vamp's perfectly square hair. Note that it's always stuck to his body like that, so it looks like it's part of his clothes. Also note that the cuts never variate.

Animations are outdated, stiff, and clunky

While the character models may look impressive, the way they animate is certainly not impressive. By in large the animations are stiff. They are slow, heavy, and unappealing. While the way characters move may be militaristically accurate, many of the actions they execute are completely unrealistic. Why maintain partial realism then, especially since those “realistic” animations are the ones that look the worst? Reload animations are also repetitive. CQC animations are more repetitive; there may only be one version for each action, but I cannot confirm this. (Also, this hasn’t been confirmed, but I’ve seen several comments online proposing that some animations are identical – that is, verbatim copies – to ones found in Snake Eater. I say this isn’t true, because Snake Eater’s animations are actually better than those found in Guns of the Patriots.)

Snake takes too long to fall through the air

The worst offender in the animation department is the action Snake makes when he falls down from a ledge or through the air. He sticks his arms and elbows out at an acute angle and bends his knees, resulting in a look like he’s treading water. Furthermore, it takes an impossibly long time for him to fall through the air. It’s like he’s wafting up there, or like you’re watching him fall in slow motion.

Gameplay

Much was made of Metal Gear Solid 4 implementing western-style gameplay mechanics into a game that is traditionally very Japanese. The development only goes halfway though, and it picks the worst parts of western archetypes to adapt.

Not actually a stealth game

Kojima Productions may like to think it has fooled you into thinking that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a stealth game, but don’t allow it the pleasure of doing so. The truth is that Guns of the Patriots is almost a bonafide action game. Sure, you could progress without setting off any alerts, but it’s much easier to simply blast your way through in the over-the-shoulder view and ignore the enemy’s advances. As a result, Metal Gear Solid 4 becomes Time Crisis, and that’s insulting Time Crisis because even Time Crisis has more depth. However, I find that Metal Gear Solid 4 is more enjoyable when you’re playing it like it’s Gears of War.

The psyche gauge is irritating

I would totally forgive all these flaws if Metal Gear Solid 4 had featured the Playboy issue with all the video game characters in it. That would have been too meta to handle.

If there’s one thing that labors the player throughout the game, it’s the psyche gauge. In areas where too many guns are being fired or too many enemies are around Snake (so it’s bad for both action- and stealth-oriented players) the psyche gauge begins to fill up. Once the psyche gauge begins to fill up, Snake’s ability to aim and hold a firearm steady virtually disappears. He becomes clunky and he vomits a whole lot. It makes the game very difficult to play; it’s Sisyphus pushing the boulder up a hill, because the game coaxes and coaxes you to use the weapons and then takes that right away (like Mirror’s Edge); in the converse the game coaxes and coaxes you to stay stealthy and then it takes that right away as well. The lesson learned is that you should never enter a battlefield lest you lose your mind in sixty seconds flat – unless of course you can take a break to look at some non-nude Playboy models in some Playboy magazines you happen to have handy. This seems to sort everything out pretty quickly.

No cover system

For an action game, it’s amazing that there’s no native cover system. To be sure, there’s plenty of cover available – sandbags, low walls, indeed, a lot of proper walls, but the only way of hiding behind low cover is to crouch, and then hit triangle to shimmy awkwardly. You then have to hold down a number of buttons to attack. The system is identical for walls. What’s even more astonishing is that it was easier to take cover and use a weapon in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, but Metal Gear Solid 4, with its more western-oriented approach design, has taken an inexplicable step backward.

Enemies are bullet sponges

On all difficulty levels, enemies absorb too many bullets. Previous installments in the series saw two shots – one for each leg – disable an enemy. This is ineffective in Metal Gear Solid 4. Enemies can take a multitude of rounds to the chest, certainly far too many to be realistic, even on the Easy difficulty; god forbid you play the game on Extreme.

Enemy AI is average at best

This has long been a problem throughout the Metal Gear series, but it’s at its worst in Metal Gear Solid 4. The game doesn’t compare well with its contemporaries, specifically games like F.E.A.R which released years earlier. The enemies fall into predictable patterns that involve standing up and letting you shoot them while occasionally firing back. To be fair, it’s no worse than many other games, but it certainly is not good, and one would expect better from a ‘monumental’ studio and a ‘terrific’ developer that is Kojima Productions, and the ‘brilliant’ mind of Hideo Kojima. Additionally, the threat of being caught or being chased is negligible compared to past games in the series because of Metal Gear Solid 4’s action-oriented play.

The camouflage system makes eluding enemies too easy

The octocamo: making every difficulty level akin to very easy.

While the concept of the Octocamo may be impressive, in reality it almost breaks the game, especially once the player finds the head camouflage halfway through Act 2. It’s amazingly easy to achieve an 85% to 90% camouflage rating. At that point Snake becomes virtually invisible, even though there’s a blatant man-shaped lump spread-eagled across the ground. You might as well give the player the proper stealth camouflage at that point, as both achieve the same purpose, except that one is “legitimate” (according to the game) and one is not.

The Drebin Points and Drebin Shop systems break the game

Previous installments of the series had players attempting to conserve ammunition and limit their use of weapons. Not so in Metal Gear Solid 4, because as aforementioned, Metal Gear Solid 4 is actually an action game! Being an action game is fine, but don’t lie about it, and don’t take away any difficulty by making resources instantly accessible. Now, by navigating through the pause menu, players can buy near every gun in the game and stockpile up on ammunition at almost any point in the game, even during boss battles. How useful! Now any challenge the game might have had has been thrown by the wayside. Sure, Drebin points – the shop’s currency – have to be accumulated, but they are very easy to come by, for all it takes is eliminating one soldier to racket up points, certainly more than enough points to purchase a ton of ammunition for the one-size-fits-all M4 (see ‘the game can be completed with just one gun’ below). The very premise of the shop is absurd. The idea is that Drebin drives his truck around following the player and can therefore provide the player with firearms. How is Drebin supposed to roll his truck up into the basement level of Shadow Moses where the boss fight with the Cyborg Ninja took place in Metal Gear Solid?

Not enough chaff grenades

It’s amazing that the only item that’s not available in the overly prolific Drebin store is the chaff grenade. By the time Act 4 rolls around players will realize that chaff grenades are among the most useful weapons against machines in the game. So why not make them available to the player in the Drebin store? Just about every other weapon in the game can be abused through the store; it makes no sense not to include chaff grenades as well.

The game can be completed with just one gun

The M4 is the only firearm you'll ever need because it can turn into a sniper rifle, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher. And you can stick a flashlight on it, too!

In all honesty, lack of chaff grenades probably isn’t that much of an issue since you can complete the entire game using only the M4, the very first weapon the player gets in the game. The weapon can be modified by equipping a silencer, a dot sight, a scope (to mimic a sniper rifle, a weapon which the M4 turns out to be surprisingly good at emulating), a shotgun attachment, as well as a grenade launcher attachment. Players will never run short of ammunition since the enemies seem to bleed 5.56x45mm rounds. All other weapons are weaker or less accurate or take longer to reload.

EDIT: Above I state that the M4 is the first weapon the player gets in the game. This is incorrect. Although the M4 is made available very quickly, the first weapon the player gets is the AK 102, not the M4.

There are too many weapons and not enough variation

In spite of this glaring deficiency, a total of seventy weapons are available to the player. Approximately fifteen of those are unique, and the remaining cache consists of variations with minor tweaks to the statistics (+1 recoil, -1 accuracy et cetera). What possessed Kojima Productions to include so many weapons? Grand Theft Auto IV had eleven firearms, and all of them had more weight, were more unique, and felt better than any of the weapons available in Metal Gear Solid 4. I don’t know how long it took to implement weapons, but even if it took Kojima Productions a short time – let’s say only three days for the sake of argument – to code, it was three days too many. Why didn’t they spend that development time to decrease load times or to make the textures look like they belonged in a game released in 2008 as opposed to a game released in 2006?

Beauty and the Beast boss battles

As with anything formulaic, it just gets stale after a while and that's a major disappointment.

I can say that I enjoyed the first few Beauty and the Beast boss battles, but towards the end you begin to realize that the battles essentially follow a template. There’s a cutscene of a hostile (attractive) woman beforehand, then the battle begins, then the player defeats the boss, the boss transforms into a more feminine form, the player defeats the feminine form, and the feminine form writhes on the ground and expires for good. This occurs a total of four times. It was well done and very impressive the first time around, especially the final death sequence. The same compliment cannot be issued for the second, third, and fourth time around.

There’s no native first-person view

Many games feature a native first-person view – that is being able to look through the player character’s eyes at the press of a button. Splinter Cell: Double Agent does, as does Assassin’s Creed. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune incorporates a useful zoom function. Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3 included a native first-person view also. Amazingly, Metal Gear Solid 4 does not. For a game that reportedly revolves around analyzing enemy behavior, this is a tremendous oversight. The only way to access the first-person view is to equip a weapon and aim it. One can also equip the binoculars or the camera, both of which are sluggish and difficult to use. How can you miss such a crucial feature? I certainly cannot surmise why this was left out.

MGS as FPS

Hideo Kojima very nearly lied (who would have thought?). He promised that players would be able to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 in its entirety as a first-person shooter. This is actually possible to do, believe it or not: I almost achieved this feat but I could not bear to play past the midpoint of Act 2. It’s extremely difficult to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 as a first-person shooter. The main issue is the fact that Snake moves about as fast as a turtle when he has a firearm drawn (again, the only way you can access the first-person view is to have a firearm drawn). Snake’s movement rate is painfully slow, and it actually makes it hard to focus attention on the game. I think it takes, like, ten seconds to travel across a room that’s about twenty feet in length.

The stupidity of the escort mission

There are a number of logical leaps that once has to make if one is willing to accept Act 3 as a legitimate piece of gameplay and not something that an infant thinks is good video game design. Why, for instance, doesn’t the resistance member wear his PMC design from the very beginning of the sequence? Why does the resistance member loiter around when you haven’t caught up with him? Why does the resistance member whistle aloud while he’s walking down thesilent streets, even though he knows he cannot allow himself to be caught? And how did the resistance members visit Big Mama’s house the hundreds of times they had to before Snake arrived on the scene to help them get through the dangerous back streets of “Eastern Europe”? Furthermore, why is it that as long as you don’t look like Snake PMC soldiers won’t be bothered, even if you’re wearing one of the ridiculous alternate face camouflages? (Credit goes to Ravi Singh of The Snake Soup for pointing these things out.)

The escort mission cannot be completed by jumping to the finish

Even if you know where you’ll have to end up, you still have to guide the resistance member through the twenty- or thirty-minute sequence through “Eastern Europe”. Why not just let the emeritus player carve his way straight through? Okay, fine, because it’s part of the game. That doesn’t make it good, however, and it doesn’t mean that logical disconnect should have occurred. Act 3 is like Swiss cheese. Or rather, it’s like air with some incidental cheese taking up some space.

Act 3 is entirely ripped from other Kojima games

Haven't I played this before? The answer is yes.

Following one individual around a nonsensical maze first debuted in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Riding around on a motorbike first debuted in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Much of the framing in the cutscenes is a call-back to Snatcher and Metal Gear Solid 3. Has Kojima Productions just run out of ideas, or is it so intent on providing a ham-fisted nostalgia trip that its willing to plagiarize itself?

Act 4 is light on gameplay

Act 4 is tremendously light on gameplay. The game forces the player to clear hackneyed sections and boring passages filled with robots that will either infuriate or will pose no problem. Whatever gameplay there is gets fragmented repeatedly by long, laborious cutscenes and radio conversations that essentially boil down to “we’ve been here before”. What jokes there are aren’t really funny. Being asked to insert the second disc is a nice callback, but it’s entirely a throwaway line, just as most of the act (and game?) as a whole.

The Metal Gear battle was underwhelming

Since the first Metal Gear the bipedal robots were something to be feared, but the Metal Gear boss battle – REX vs. RAY – turns the robots into cheap cartoon entertainment. The control of the vehicle is heavy but as a whole the robot doesn’t pack any punch. There’s no kick behind the attacks; there’s no visceral feedback to let you know that you’re in a machine that deals death. It’s like a half-erect reproductive organ: it’s uncomfortable, it’s sluggish, and it doesn’t do anything. What was once feared simply becomes a shell of its former self, an unintentional parody.

Act 5 has no gameplay at all

Act 5 is the textbook definition of linear. It begins in one, long bottleneck arena before progressing into some short hallways and then a long catwalk and then a hallway and then a hallway and then a hallway and then an arena and then a hallway. I might have mixed the order up a little bit; it tends to blend together. You understand.

The sum of Act 5’s gameplay is approximately fifteen minutes of control, five of which is spent alone, all of which is spent holding up on the analog stick, which is a forgiving way of saying that Act 5 is stupidly linear. For less able players it might be closer to twenty or thirty. Skill level decides how much mileage you’ll get out of this portion. Once more, the act is peppered throughout by cutscenes that are boring and melodramatic and poorly scripted and not worth your time.

Metal Gear Online is not good

Instead of having players register with the PlayStation Network, Konami has you register with them twice to play Metal Gear Online. You also have to have a PlayStation Network account; apparently one account wasn’t enough. At its very core, this multiplayer game just isn’t interesting. It suffers from the same flaws as Metal Gear Solid 4 does – its heavy controls and weak, unappealing weapons. Moreover, it never mustered a big enough user base and the few users that play now have been around since the very beginning. There is no room for debutants.

The in-game iPod is underwhelming

Having an in-game iPod is fine, but not letting the player put their own music on said iPod is not fine. The likelihood players will actually want to listen to some selected tracks from old Metal Gear soundtracks is slim, because Kojima Productions didn’t even manage to choose the best songs. Why not let the player stream music from the PlayStation 3’s hard drive? Who’s to say? It probably took too much time to implement. Either that or the way Guns of the Patriots was designed didn’t allow for the PlayStation 3 to simultaneously access songs from the HDD while its simultaneously struggling to spin the Blu-Ray and ripping itself apart. It’s the old Mirror’s Edge conundrum: if you’re going to make guns useless, don’t put them in the game. If you’re going to add an iPod, don’t make me wish that I could play my own music instead of Calling to the Night or Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday, thank you very much.

Emblems

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune has a myriad of unlockables ranging from game-enhancing features to making-of featurettes. Naughty Dog did one very intelligent thing with Uncharted: they included achievements before Sony had implemented trophies. And the achievements? They actually did things. They unlocked weapons that you couldn't get in the game. They unlocked modifiers like god mode and infinite ammo. They unlocked new camera modes, costumes, and aforementioned special features – all of this adding an extra layer of re-playability to the game. To be fair, Guns of the Patriots has achievements as well. They’re called ‘emblems’, they number some forty, and they require the player to execute menial and ridiculous tasks for almost no reward. To get the ‘Chicken’ emblem, for example, the player must do the following: Trigger an alert over one-hundred-and-fifty times, kill over five-hundred individuals, require over fifty continues, use over fifty healing items, and rack up a total of thirty-five hours in playing time. What kind of achievement is this? This is literally as stupid as the achievements that XBOX360 games had in the console’s launch period. Madden NFL 06 gives you thirty points for scoring a touchdown. Metal Gear Solid 4’s achievements are worse. Here’s GameFAQs’ bfsrc’s guide’s advice for racking up the thirty-five hours of play time required for the Chicken emblem: “Plug your controller in the USB port to keep it charged. Hide somewhere [in the game]. Leave PlayStation 3 on overnight. Mess about in the game. Leave it on overnight again. You should pick up thirty hours that way. Watching cut scenes will help as they are included in the total time.” Note the shopping list-like grammar, denoting the banality of the task. To be fair, you at least got a Solar Gun and some face camouflage for getting the emblems. Because, you know, those are the kind of essential items that really provide the impetus for another playthough.

Story

The story is not good

Metal Gear Solid 4’s story is not good. It is largely vacuous and utterly third rate. In that sense it’s your quintessential video game story, so perhaps it’s not so much of a problem, then. It’s entirely nonsensical and is strung together by cheap, resigned, tired explanations for why things happen. “Nanomachines”, as we’ll see, Is not a legitimate answer for everything. Having a ten minute long wedding scene at the end of the game is completely unwarranted and silly. How many bullets do Meryl and Johnny absorb during their dumb quasi-love making marriage proposal sequence? Why would you inter cut a laughable scene with Snake being cooked to death in a hallway full of microwaves? It’s completely anti-climactic. Moreover, almost every character that is dragged from the annals of Metal Gear history only barely has a reason to exist. Why is Naomi even there? As if there aren’t any better scientists on the face of the earth. Why risk your entire operation by picking such a volatile scientist? There are so many silly holes and blatant pitfalls, I cannot hope to summarize them in the short space I’ve allotted myself here; perhaps I’ll do a separate post just analyzing the story, but it strikes me as fruitless endeavor.

Characterization

We’ll touch on this very briefly. Many of the characters in this game are uninteresting or broken or poorly developed. It’s impossible for Snake to do what he is able to achieve; he’s falling apart by the end of Act 1 and yet he’s able to survive and defeat Ocelot at the end of Act 5, and he’s still alive at the end of the game. There’s no point of showing and telling the player how Snake is close to death when he plays and acts just as his younger self. Then there’s Ocelot. Not even the writers can decide who Ocelot is. He’s Ocelot, except he’s actually Liquid, except that it’s the nanomachines playing tricks, except that he’s actually always been Ocelot and is just playing around, except that he thinks he’s Liquid, but he’s actually Ocelot. So we return back to the long running theme here: what is the point? Why not just make everything simple and spare the players the agony, and stop insulting their intelligence?

The story is largely retconned

The worst part is that the story doesn’t even need to be retconned in the manner which it is. It would surely have been easier to come up with original answers and new characters as opposed to reaching into the grave the franchise has dug for itself just to revive old characters. Kojima’s clearly a fan of conspiracy theories; a conspiracy theory involving the United States government and the Patriots (much as the player understood them as at the conclusion of Metal Gear solid 2) would have been more satisfying and more logical than “The Patriots were actually these people you knew all along except we hid it from you and the only reason we were able to hide it from you is because we actually didn’t know about it ourselves”. The problem with retconning is that you end up breaking things, and if they don’t get broken they get warped beyond recognition. That’s what Metal Gear Solid 4 did to the Metal Gear Solid “lore” (a phrase which affords the series’ narrative more credit and stature than it deserves).

Long cutscenes that don’t contribute to anything

Guns of the Patriots is full of cutscenes that are thirty or forty or fifty minutes too long. In many instance the same message could be conveyed using cutscenes of approximately five minutes in length. A fine example is the conclusion of Act 3, which runs near thirty minutes in length. Five minutes of this involves many soldiers arriving in the area; a further stretch involves the same soldiers being executed non-invasively by Ocelot. The remaining time is used up by long exposition and melodramatic dialogue, capped by EVA’s senseless death as she hurls herself into the water. The scene could easily have been truncated to what’s most important: Ocelot’s actions and the essential things he has to say for the narrative to keep ticking along. The ending sequences with Big Boss and Major Zero is much the same. Similarly many other scenes: fights with Gekkos, shots of soldiers sliding down rooftops – while impressive, these are ultimately nothing more than fluff when utilized more than once. It’s disappointing, but one can expect no less from unprofessional writers and ersatz film directors.

The script is bad

The story may have been a hair’s width more bearable if the script wasn’t so bad. Fans have long criticized Metal Gear Solid 2 for what they see as a terrible script; if this is true then Metal Gear Solid 4 truly paints Metal Gear Solid 2 in a divine light. The lines the characters vomit from their mouths hold no illusion of being good or well written. This is pure soap opera material. Not even a great writer could salvage the refuse of the train wreck that is Metal Gear Solid 4’s script. See here, one of many examples:

Raiden: It was never going to work out for me. It even rained the day I was born.
Snake: You've got it all wrong. You were the lightning in that rain. You can still shine through the darkness.
Raiden: The lightning....

Yes, Raiden. You were the lightning in that rain. The lightning. Get it? Because Raiden, also called Raijin, was the god of thunder and lightning in Japanese mythology. We’re so good! That’s gold, Kojima! Gold!

“The System” and “Nanomachines”

Characters sure like to say “The System”. In fact, the script has one-hundred-and-sixteen instances of that very phrase. There are sixty-seven instances of the word “nanomachines”, which, compared to the phrase “The System” may not seem that bad – but only when you forget the fact that nanomachines are the excuse for every single thing that has ever happened ever in the Metal Gear series. The nanomachine is Kojima’s ultimate deus ex machina, and he just cannot get past it. The way nanomachines are employed is desperately unfortunate. How can you justify explaining everything in Guns of the Patriots using just one thing? It’s so dissatisfying. It’s terrible storytelling. It’s unacceptable and utterly unconvincing, and Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery would have a lot to teach Kojima if she ever got her hands on him (those who have read Misery will recall that Annie Wilkes does not enjoy cheap answers to mysteries and tough situations). Why is Snake old? Nanomachines. Why can Snake still move like he does? Nanomachines. Why can’t Vamp die (except when he dies)? Nanomachines. Why can Vamp heal himself? Nanomachines. How does Naomi survive? Nanomachines. How does FOXDIE get transferred? Nanomachines. How does Liquid Ocelot control people? Nanomachines. Why is Liquid Ocelot so good at doing the jazz hands? Nanomachines.

Explanations about the Patriots are convoluted and unfair

The explanation provided about the Patriots is convoluted. Everybody you ever trusted throughout Metal Gear Solid 3 was actually working for the Patriots it turns out, except that there was never any sign of or a hint of this in any of the other games. So thanks for turning up and paying your admission fee. It’s like every bad episode of 24 compressed and then expanded again. Any good conspiracy theory is bulletproof: that is, any evidence against the conspiracy has simply been planted there by the people behind the conspiracy to cover the conspiracy up, and any evidence for the conspiracy is conversely a slip-up by the people behind the conspiracy. There’s no possible way to disprove the conspiracy theory, then. Metal Gear is a little bit like a conspiracy theory. I can sit here and say that the Metal Gear story is silly and immature and not well written, but on the other end of that people can sit there and say, “But don’t you get it? That’s the point.” Metal Gear’s story is bulletproof. Except it’s not. It’s just not good.

Act 3’s story is just as bad, if not worse, as Act 3’s gameplay

Why present Snake with revelations about the Patriots that are completely irrelevant to what’s actually going on? Why have Snake and Big Mama chase a van in which Big Boss’ corpse isn’t actually contained in the first place? Why does EVA jump in the river when she knows that body is actually Solidus? Why doesn’t FOXDIE harm Liquid at this stage in the game? (Credit goes to Ravi Singh of The Snake Soup for pointing much of this out.)

Drebin and the Beauty and the Beast

Part of the formulaic nature of the boss battles involves Drebin, who calls Snake after each woman is killed to launch into a three minute monologue about the character’s back story. That’s great, except the characters don’t really exist in the mind of the player because they’re never looked into with enough detail outside of the actual battle itself. The only time they appear in cutscenes is when they’re killing people. What’s the point of analyzing the character when there’s no character there to begin with? Why should the player care about their back stories when the Beasts are invoked only when they are to be killed by the player? Kojima knows this, and he knows the Drebin monologues are boring and pointless: case in point when Drebin says so himself.

Name drop

One of the many retcons that doesn’t make sense involves Dr. Madnar. Madnar was a character that appeared in the two original Metal Gear games for the MSX. He was not mentioned in the first three ‘Solid’ games. Suddenly his name is just randomly dropped in this game in relation to Raiden. The worst part of all is that the name doesn’t even elect a reaction from Snake, who’s meant to know who Madnar is! So what’s the point of even putting it there in the first place? Perhaps due to some weird twisted fantasy that the story will actually be important if you summon every Metal Gear character under the sun. Well, Running Man wasn’t included. Too bad.

There’s no game

That was a crass overstatement. It’s not an overstatement to say that Metal Gear Solid boils down to six hours of gameplay and ten hours of cutscenes. This is not enough to constitute a $60 game or even a $30 game that has no replayability. The player and the consumer expects more and deserves more. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad if the story and the cutscenes weren’t so atrocious. Unfortunately they are. When you really start to consider this, I’m amazed that Metal Gear Solid 4 took five years to develop. What were they doing the whole time? Infinity Ward took a little over a year and a half to develop a first-person shooter with a marginally longer single player mode and an excellent multiplayer mode. Kojima Productions couldn’t achieve the same feat in five years.

Bad characterization of women

If only this actually made any sense and had any relevance to what's going on in the game's paper thin story. Way to dispel popular stereotypes of the Japanese, Kojima Productions.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Hideo Kojima is a pervert. I’m in no position to say, so I won’t, but I do know his latest Metal Gear game included being able to see a nubile girl (who looks to be all of fourteen years of age) in her panties. In Metal Gear Solid 4, players can see Snake look down women’s tops and look up women’s skirts. Each Beauty and the Beast character can be coaxed to pose suggestively. It’s nothing but sheer perversion that provides a tremendous disconnect with what’s meant to be going on in the game (you know, friends dying and the earth essentially going to hell).

Addendum: A brief and simple thought

Most of Metal Gear Solid 4’s worst problems could have been avoided if the game had been developed for the XBOX 360 as a multiplatform title. The crucial factor is this: a Blu-Ray holds 50GB of data while a DVD holds 9GB. What Metal Gear Solid 4 needed was streamlining. It needed to have only six hours of cutscenes and twelve hours of gameplay, instead of the converse. Load times would have been razed to nothing on the XBOX 360. Audio would have been compressed; the game would be smooth and visceral. Moreover, it would have helped to get to the very core of what the experience is supposed to be. In 2005, on GameSpot’s podcast The HotSpot, then-GameSpot editor Bob Colyaco wondered how many hours of cutscenes Hideo Kojima might be able to fit onto a Blu-Ray. The answer is seven hours too many.

#2 Posted by Ace829 (2083 posts) -

I haven't read this yet, but holy shit. I may read it when I wake up in the morning.

#3 Edited by JA050N (127 posts) -

Talk about comprehensive, though I have to say this is formatted very nicely.

#4 Posted by HODGEY3000 (344 posts) -

sadley true.... 
 
Naomi is still the hottest  assembly    of polygons though 
#5 Posted by FCKSNAP (2299 posts) -

I don't believe MGS4 is the best of the series but it was necessary the way it came out. But also,

 Nevertheless, Metal Gear Solid 2 remains one of my most beloved games, and I rank it in my top five “of all time”.    

Your argument is invalid. No more further reading from you! Everyone knows MGS3 is the best followed by MGS1 and MG 1 and 2.
#6 Posted by Jazz (2184 posts) -

I disagree with you on many points, but MGS4 isn't the greatest game of all time...my only problem with the game was the ending and the lack of..finality. Otherwise it was exactly what I expected an MGS game to be. Mad, cutscene heavy stealth action. I played the game without being seen once by anything but the bosses and only used the tranq gun. I had no intention of running around shooting everything and I thought the homage to the Third Man in act 3 was superb...I think a lot of the enjoyment I get from Kojima games is recognising the pop culture references. I'd also say that if you look too hard at any videogame story, it's going to come apart. I could write a similar blog about GTAIV or Bioshock. Though claiming that if it had been developed on a system with less disc storage would have made it a better game is...odd to say the least. 
A lot of your complaints come down to taste or expectation, but it's well ordered and written. Hopefully it will promote a decent discussion and not a slagging match.
Online
#7 Posted by Redbullet685 (6029 posts) -

I started playing it after I bought it a few weeks back, and I can't get into the story mode. Though I do love Metal Gear Online.

#8 Posted by emkeighcameron (1876 posts) -

I haven't played MGS4, but I still found this a very interesting read. Also, you have some balls, prepare for Sony fanboy backlash.

#9 Posted by Heartbreak (288 posts) -

i thought it was a great game, but I'd still put MGS2/3 over it because it really is unplayable after the 1st time

#10 Posted by Jadeskye (4366 posts) -

All true, all well formated and all good arguements. 
 
I approve your effort sir!

#11 Posted by W0lfbl1tzers (1787 posts) -

Why my long winded opinion is better than yours.

#12 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@emkeighcameron said:

" I haven't played MGS4, but I still found this a very interesting read. Also, you have some balls, prepare for Sony fanboy backlash. "

My name is in blue! To be honest, they can complain if they want, but Metal Gear was never a Sony exclusive franchise to begin with. It's been on the MSX, on Nintendo systems, on PCs, and it'll soon be on the XBOX 360. Also, there was a version of Metal Gear Solid that was developed for the Game.com. It was never released, but still.
#13 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

You totally broke it down into a science. I might of said that mgs4 is the most overated game ever, (no offense to those who likes it I am not here to tell you what to think. Also i've moved onto to splinter cell games now so I see mgs4 without the fan service, rather the gameplay, even if there wasn't alot of it) However you put into words all the complaints I had with the game. In fact I will go as far to say what you wrote was brilliant and better than what ign could write and should be a real article. You were right about the 6 hours and 10 hours of cutscenes, you were right about everything.  
 
I also think the octacamo makes you stick out of the ground, if anyone saw someone in real life with that, they might notice it. Even if it takes them a few seconds and they are already shot, they will see a thing sticking out of a wall or ground. It's like your practially invisible as you said. I think optic camoflauge is more effective in an urban environment. You covered every point, there is no point of me elaborating on it, you left no stone unturned. I think even kojima should read it.

#14 Posted by apoptosis61 (600 posts) -

agree , mgs4 didnt impress me at all, still believe mgs3 is by far the best in the series followed by mgs1

#15 Posted by CrazyCrazyDoctor (41 posts) -

While I greatly enjoyed all of the nostalgic bits in the game, and loved the game itself once I beat it, most of the things you talk about are valid. But that microwave hallway was goddamned fucking harrowing. If I had to list the greatest gameplay moments of 2008, repeatedly hitting the X button through that hallway would easily be #1.

#16 Posted by FlyingRat (1445 posts) -

I respectfully disagree.

#17 Posted by MancombSeepgood (319 posts) -

You're brave, I'll give you that :P
 
I loved Metal Gear Solid 4. Absoloutely adored it. Most games I absoloutely adore, I end up replaying, but I've only played MGS 4 once. I think it was just that at the time, it was so incredible, and I'd been waiting such a long time to play it, so, y'know, I was a bit enamored by it.
 
You raise many valid points. I'll still love MGS 4, but for the reasons you raised, I wouldn't replay it again. 
 
It's an odd relationship I have with that game, heh.

#18 Posted by gunslingerNZ (1899 posts) -

I'm sure you put a lot of effort into this analysis but most of it reads like your personal gripes with the game rather than more broadly held criticisms of it.
 
There are certainly problems with MGS4 like any other game but I think you maybe overreacted to some of the niggling issues without stepping back and considering the game as a whole.

#19 Posted by GunstarRed (5040 posts) -

must.not.get.angry.at.internet. 
 
Some of your points are fair, wrong but fair. I especially disagree with the music being bad. The Harry gregson  stuff is  as you say zimmeresque by numbers but  he did very little of the music in the game. The BB boss battle music is awesome. 
It was an experience, one ive never had with any other game. The lack of gameplay and over reliance on talky cutscenes are what I loved about the damn thing. The metal gear battle literally made me cheer with joy.  I have never felt so incredibly drained and satisfied after finishing a game before. I genuinely believe MGS4 is a masterpiece and there is nothing quite like it. (discounting 2 of course)  I think a lot of parts of your arguement fail when you factor in different playing styles. the game can be played a number of ways and each way makes it a very, very different experience. I played it three different ways going for badges and that to me is a ton of replayability. some of those badges  require a lot of work with one of my playthroughs (for the assassin outfit) took a good 25-30 hours. the emblems are a worthwhile addition, as worthwhile as any achievement or trophy system anyways. 
 
The install stuff is fucking attrocious, I agree 100% with that.
#20 Posted by bonbolapti (1599 posts) -

I dunno.. sounds more like you want to force yourself to hate it. Forgive me if I don't have a huge reply :(
I just don't want to sit here and psycho analyze it, but I'm sorry you had a terrible experience.

#21 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Nice work there, I can see the passion in the writing.
Buuuuut, the way you took this game apart you can take any game apart.
Also, there's quite a time between MGS4 and UC2, but I won't disagree, most of the big titles are overrated hyped to death games.
I blame fanboys!

#22 Posted by RoyCampbell (1096 posts) -

Read every word. And I cannot agree more. I've always been of the opinion that I'd (and many others) have been better off without MGS4. One particular thing I especially agree on is with "nanomachines" being the answer to everything. It took away that certain "coolness" I felt for the bosses of the series; thus, I pretend MGS4 never came to be. Seriously. Also, MGS4's bosses, for me, ...sucked. Can't compare to the likes of Fatman and Psycho Mantis. (to name a few)
 
Oh, and Metal Gear Solid 2 was and is still phenomenal -- and my favorite. Don't even get me started on its soundtrack. Gooooood stuff.

#23 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@TaliciaDragonsong said:
" Also, there's quite a time between MGS4 and UC2, but I won't disagree, most of the big titles are overrated hyped to death games.  "
Just to make a clarification here to all who read it in case it wasn't clear: most of the time I am referring to the first Uncharted, that is, Uncharted: Among Thieves. Where ever I mentioned Uncharted 2 I make it explicitly clear; obviously comparing Metal Gear Solid 4 to a game that came out a year after it is unfair, and I wouldn't do this.
 
Uncharted: Among Thieves was released seven months before Metal Gear Solid 4. Please note that all the screenshots included are from Uncharted, not Uncharted 2.
 
I also mention F.E.A.R. in the text. F.E.A.R. was released over a year and a half before Metal Gear Solid 4.
#24 Edited by Akeldama (4238 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:

" I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game."  

 Is that why you called it garbage in a previous thread?     
 
@ZanzibarBreeze said: 

@LiquidPrince said: 

@ZanzibarBreeze said: 

" Yay! (For everything apart from Metal Gear Solid 4.) "

ZanzibarBreeze does not like Metal Gear? Zanzibar? "
Metal Gear's alright. Metal Gear Solid 4 is absolute garbage though. 
#25 Posted by immike (714 posts) -

I'm confused. Are you attempting to sway others into believing your way of thinking? The title definitely leads one to think that this notion is correct. If so, why? Why not let people keep assuming that they love MGS4? This, like a user before me, sounds like you are trying to convince yourself to hate this game by over-analyzing it and gaining reassurance from others. I'm sorry you feel so strongly about it.

#26 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

I haven't played any of the MGS games but from the overall discussion of MGS4 I get the impression that there's been a backlash of sorts against the original hyperbolic praise upon release, and that a lot of people nowadays agree that MGS3 in particular is a superior title gameplay-wise (with MGS1-2 being, if nothing else, at least more historically significant titles than 4).

#27 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@immike said:

" I'm confused. Are you attempting to sway others into believing your way of thinking? The title definitely leads one to think that this notion is correct. If so, why? Why not let people keep assuming that they love MGS4? This, like a user before me, sounds like you are trying to convince yourself to hate this game by over-analyzing it and gaining reassurance from others. I'm sorry you feel so strongly about it. "

 
The eighth paragraph in the preamble reads as follows, see particularly the portion I have bolded out:
 
Finally, the following is purely opinion. I personally believe that it is all fact, that it is all gospel, and that I am entirely correct – this I believe in my own mind. However, I understand and appreciate the nature of opinion, that most if not all that people write about video games is opinion. That’s what this piece is. I do not want to destroy Metal Gear Solid 4 for you. The fact that I do not like it does not change the fact that you may like it [emphasis added], that it may be one of your favorite games. I am simply promoting one argument and opinion about the game. Most of it may happen to be factually true, but you may feel like you can forgive the flaws in the story, and the flaws in the gameplay. I am less forgiving. Because, check it out: I paid $60 for a game that by my estimation is worth about $10.
 
I also predicted in the preable that people would accuse me of hating the game. I will repeat that I do not hate the game. I do not think it is good as people seem to think it is, and perhaps that's what led to the somewhat sensationalist title.
 

@Akeldama

said:

" @ZanzibarBreeze said:

" I do not think Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game."  

 Is that why you called it garbage in a previous thread?     

 
I did type those words. I have also written elsewhere on these boards in older threads that I do not think it is a bad game, similarly to what I wrote in the preamble of the post. I freely admit that the word "garbage" was probably a poor choice. However, I hold no reservations that compared to the other four or five games on that list Metal Gear Solid 4 is indeed garbage, because it's nowhere near as good as those five. Once more, I do not think that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a bad game. It's just an average game.
#28 Posted by animateria (3252 posts) -

Pfft... hahaha. After reading a few of those issues with the game I just skimmed through the titles of every issue you had with the game. And they just seem a bit there for arguments sake.
 
Granted some are true, like installing after every chapter and what not, but overall it's just over zealous criticisms on a system that was perfectly fine, or taking the story and characterizations too seriously (MGS has always had a weird quirky and sometimes comical streak that shows you that even Kojima knows the whole thing is pretty absurd. Come on, there's freakin poop jokes in the game.). 
 
Statement's like "No replayability" is a bit of bullshit. The game has New Game + for one, even if it's just to get the weird weapons and gadgets that break the game even more. (If you didn't enjoy Snake screaming "SUNLIGHT!" with the Boktai gun, what the hell.) I had a lot of fun getting a near 100% stealth, no kills finish on my second run. And played the game a third time just to use all the stuff I unlocked.  
 
Anyways, most of it's stuff is a bit too nick-picky or haphazard... Like the no stealth thing (which is untrue), no cover (unnecessary), no act select (er, really?), texture issues (which are present in all games if you want to look for them) etc, etc.
 
As a guy who isn't all crazy about the whole MGS series (only played 3 and 4), I found the game well made (minus the few over extended cut-scenes anyways) and perfectly enjoyable, not just a mere 'okay' as you put it. It's actually was an intense game throughout putting me on the edge of my seat multiple times.
 
Anyways, posts that consist of "[insert game here] is not as good as people think" is never all that convincing since they all seem like they are try a little too hard. Easy to get a reaction from people though... They always get me to say this last bit every time at the very least.

#29 Edited by vidiot (2737 posts) -
@HitmanAgent47 said:
"

You totally broke it down into a science. I might of said that mgs4 is the most overated game ever,

<_<
(Sorry Hitman, I read that and couldn't resist. :P)
 
Mighty good read sir, and several valid opinions that deserve recognition. 
There's also several points that seem very nit-pickish, a full-blown paragraph regarding the hair for the character models? Hate to break it to you bud, but a lot of videogame characters have horrible hair. 
Complaints about texture quality aside (Music really? Okay- not the best in the series, but it sure fairs far better than most game soundtracks without a doubt.), I actually do agree with some of what's been written here. I felt that the story did too much to try and explain all of Kojima's built-up plot threads that sadly were not fleshed out or realized when they were initially written.  

I enjoyed the game. I don't consider it the best of the series however, and our opinions defiantly differ regarding MGS2. I do believe though that it did a pretty good job trying to give endings to all the chaos each entry of the series created from a narrative perspective.
 
You also touch on another subject that I've been battling in my head for a while. 
MGS4's development time always bothered me, more recently Final Fantasy XIII reminded me of long development times with perhaps questionable results. I feel like it's really difficult to gauge what one could consider "appropriate" development time this generation. That factor in-itself is a very complicated subject that deserves attention.
 
Questioning that Kojima might be a pervert? Played Policenauts recently? :P 
#30 Posted by themisfit138 (25 posts) -

I would have liked Metal Gear Solid 4 more if they would have put the "fuck me" code in the game.

#31 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2129 posts) -

Should have just put this in a review, just for the sake of it.  But overall a good write up except for the end.  The 360 recommendation wouldn't work anyway, as Kojima would just split the game to a few DVD's and force consumers to accept that, or get the PS3 version in that scenario.
 
I was amazed that MGS4 was capable of getting awards and I believe a few GOTY awards in it's poor state.  It is fun with the right mindset, but not deserving of any real awards.

#32 Posted by swamplord666 (1757 posts) -

Why MGS4 is as good as I think? because I enjoyed it despite its flaws. end of.

#33 Posted by papercut (3451 posts) -

You know, I never though MGS4 was as great as everyone says, yet I disagree with you. Weird. 

#34 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

I agreed with you throughout most of your analysis, for sure. I've been arguing that MGS4 is a blight on the trilogy for a while now (then again, I'm not crazy about anything in the series that wasn't either part of the trilogy or on the NES) and you've touched on most of my biggest problems. 
 
Act III was a gaming travesty, and Act IV wasn't much better (Wolf was meh, but my mileage with that boss seems different from most people's.) Act V I felt was actually very satisfying, though mostly for the Mantis fight, the microwave chamber tunnel sequence (something I regard as a highlight of this generation still,) and the final boss fight with Ocelot. The soundtrack was my least favorite in the franchise (my favorite being the beautiful noir material that appeared in MGS3), though I felt the graphics were really strong. Hair generally sucks in games, but I wouldn't be surprised if Drake's Fortune didn't have that problem based on how strong Among Thieves was graphically. Those textures are definitely a valid point, though, and renew my faith in Uncharted being one of the best looking games on the market (albeit in UC2 I'm definitely having a fuzziness problem, pushing MW2 and Mass Effect towards the top slot.) 
 
And yes, the script was painful. I'd never skipped a cutscene in a Metal Gear Solid game before on my first playthrough, but Act III was so full of bullshit I just couldn't listen anymore and skipped some stuff once EVA was reminding me of what happened when I played Metal Gear Solid 3 ("I remember, it's one of my favorite games ever, shut your damn mouth!") Nanomachines ex machina is inappropriate as well, and sometimes things are just better left unexplained (see the case in Pulp Fiction, Shepherd Book in Firefly, most of No Country For Old Men.) Plus, the finale with Big Boss and Major Zero is complete fanservice bullshit and turns what was an already unacceptable storyline on its head to replace it with an even MORE unacceptable storyline. 
 
That said, Act V had some very strong moments, and Act I and II were both pretty strong overall. Act I was mostly a tutorial, so I can see saying it had no replay value, and Act V was a one-playthrough act (albeit that was more for the reasons Braid is one-playthrough and not so much due to a lack of quality), but I definitely know I'd probably never play through Act II again either because the guns feel terrible and that's mostly an action sequence. 
 
I'm going to go one step further and say this was a well-developed bad game. There's really no sections of the gameplay that are fun, and while the story picks up enough at times to make some of the game's better sections engaging, they're still never really entertaining. There are highlight moments that really should've been complete shlock (the microwave sequence), but the FOX team is a strong enough group of developers that they knew how to make the game's best moments shine, and to bait you through the complete nonsense with the promise of some quality to come. The problem isn't so much that they couldn't present the game well, though, and more that they just got handed a lot of bad material. I mean, the script was bad, the story was nonsensical, and even the level design is nothing to speak of. There's certainly not a section of the game I can say I remember as well as Big Shell, Shadow Moses (except for, of course, their shitty remake of Shadow Moses), or even the lab or the opening areas of MGS3. Hell, I remember simple rooms like the large circular room at the center of one of the Big Shell rigs, the Fat Man boss fight zone, and most of Shadow Moses really better than any area in MGS4 other than the opening bottleneck arena in Act V. 
 
My point is, basically, that while Kojima's team did okay (and not even good, for most of the reasons you listed) with the shitty script and level design they were handed, the magic in the map design and the story is completely gone at this point in the franchise. They were handed poor material to work with, and honestly, they did admirably. I certainly don't trust Kojima anymore after Portable Ops and MGS4, though, so I'm definitely skipping Rising. If the FOX team continues on after he leaves and elects someone new with their own story to tell to be new Chief, I might be interested. But as is, I won't be purchasing another Kojima Productions title, and certainly not another Metal Gear. 
 
I'm sorry, the man tried to shove morality about FPSes into a high-stress moment of the game (Act III, the worst blockbuster gaming experience I've ever played.) By the way, did Modern Warfare have better textures than MGS4? I'd be curious for someone to do a decent screencap comparison.

#35 Posted by immike (714 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze: Well then you have a major contradiction in your defense my good sir. The title of this thread is very directly challenging others' opinions of the game. I have been reading others comments and seeing that you called the game 'garbage' in the past as well. You know, I don't have a problem with you not liking the game at all, I really don't. We can all like whatever games we want, but that's just it. There should not be a thread titled like this, because no one person should try to dissuade us from liking a particular game.  
 
I'm not sure what your angle is, still. This may just be because there were a few contradictions in the argument as a whole. However, I will say that you categorized each point nicely and orderly. It was really long, but it's not like it was just a huge bloc of text or anything.
#36 Posted by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

It's fun, I like the ridiculous plot, I like the characters, the game part of it is okay and it's just a nice game. Sure, it's got problems, every game does, they don't really bother me though.

#37 Posted by tooPrime (338 posts) -

Okay so I read the first sentence and have no interest in reading this whole things but I get the sense we agree.  MGS4 was fine, but I personally love 2 and I think 3 and 1 are probably easier to point to and say most "people would like this."  2 has some problems but I literally played it in one sitting and it was the best wtf roller coaster ride I've ever had from a video game.  The gameplay is 4 isn't really mind blowing (not that the gameplay in any of them is) and the story is  werid and the ending sort of blows its momentum.  Also all the bosses having the same backstory  threw me off.  All MGS games have dumb shit like that, but near the end I felt like the other ones dropped it to focus on the conculsion while in 4 Snake was still predending to die or whatever that was.

#38 Posted by RVonE (4606 posts) -

You thought a lot about this. Nice read; well done. 
Despite the fact that I agree with most of the points you make, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game. Perhaps I'm easily amused. That said, I completely agree that the Uncharted games are on another level.
#39 Posted by RE_Player1 (7551 posts) -

I like MGS4 a lot... does that make me a bad person? lol

#40 Posted by luce (4045 posts) -

I actually like the game part a lot. I just wish there was more of it.
 
I got sick of the story half way through
 
Big Boss just seems way more interesting to me then Solid Snake

#41 Posted by Pazy (2561 posts) -

Although I am enjoying MGS4, though I am stick on a boss battle in Act 4 although all my friends tell me it is ridiculously easy, I would agree with most of your points. The only thing I disagree with, although I understand it, is that I am really enjoying MGO and Ive been playing it pretty regularly with 3 guy's starting about 3/4 weeks ago. I am enjoying it enough to get all of the DLC, which essentially breaks down to map pack's it seems, as soon as I get paid.

#42 Posted by Organicalistic_ (2954 posts) -
@HODGEY3000 said:
" sadley true....  Naomi is still the hottest  assembly    of polygons though  "
i agree with this
#43 Posted by Organicalistic_ (2954 posts) -
@Jazz said:
" I disagree with you on many points, but MGS4 isn't the greatest game of all time...my only problem with the game was the ending and the lack of..finality. Otherwise it was exactly what I expected an MGS game to be. Mad, cutscene heavy stealth action. I played the game without being seen once by anything but the bosses and only used the tranq gun. I had no intention of running around shooting everything and I thought the homage to the Third Man in act 3 was superb...I think a lot of the enjoyment I get from Kojima games is recognising the pop culture references. I'd also say that if you look too hard at any videogame story, it's going to come apart. I could write a similar blog about GTAIV or Bioshock. Though claiming that if it had been developed on a system with less disc storage would have made it a better game is...odd to say the least. A lot of your complaints come down to taste or expectation, but it's well ordered and written. Hopefully it will promote a decent discussion and not a slagging match. "
mgs4 is not at all a stealth game, that is why i dont like it
#44 Posted by Hashbrowns (650 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
"@emkeighcameron said:

" I haven't played MGS4, but I still found this a very interesting read. Also, you have some balls, prepare for Sony fanboy backlash. "

My name is in blue! To be honest, they can complain if they want, but Metal Gear was never a Sony exclusive franchise to begin with. It's been on the MSX, on Nintendo systems, on PCs, and it'll soon be on the XBOX 360. Also, there was a version of Metal Gear Solid that was developed for the Game.com. It was never released, but still. "

Heck, MGS2 was on the original Xbox!  That still seems crazy when I think about it.
#45 Posted by Tebbit (4449 posts) -

In my opinion, the story and music got awesome (and when I say awesome, I mean they actually started to have an effect on me other than meh) at the REX battle. I thought that was fantastic - note, this battle is immediately after  SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content. 
Now, when that bullet fires and the credits rolled, I thought FUCK YEAH, that was a good ending to a beloved franchise. 
 
But no. 
 
Oh Kojima, why did you have to keep the game going for a further 25-30 minutes? I know you are aware of this thing we call pacing, why could you not, just this once, consider a little restraint? 
 
A LITTLE RESTRAINT IS ALL I ASK! 

#46 Posted by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

You spent a lot of time distinguishing the "no shit" facts about the Metal Gear games.

#47 Posted by JeffGoldblum (3701 posts) -

Must suck to be you.

#48 Posted by Pessh (2454 posts) -

No.

#49 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10524 posts) -
@FlyingRat said:
" I respectfully disagree. "
As do I. In fact, I liked the game so much I played it 12 times. 
Online
#50 Posted by bhhawks78 (1203 posts) -

The gameplay was atrocious, take the worst parts of a 3rd person shooter and worst parts of a stealth game and mash them together...ugh.
 
The cutscenes were fun to LOL at when drunk on youtube though!

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