Thanks for (bringing back) the memories
I won't lie to you, I am a Metal Gear Solid fanboy. The original is my all-time favorite game, I could go on for months about how much I love everything about Snake Eater, and I still play Sons of Liberty to collect dog tags. I hold the series above any other video gaming saga to date.
As Guns of the Patriots approached, I knew that I would need this game. I saved my pennies for a Playstation 3 and a copy of my game. Finally, the day came, and I went to pick up the final entry in the epic Metal Gear series, and boy, was I excited.
First off, let me tell you what is good about the game, then I'll get to what makes the game worth only 4 stars. Gameplay, first and foremost, is as tight as any game has ever been. The Camera works wonderfully, the game controls well, and you have a great variety of options for tackling each situation. Once you figure things out, controlling Snake is a breeze. The game has the mark of a master, with a diversity of gameplay as well. You'll be fighting different enemies, sneaking through different areas, fighting creative bosses, and going through some excellent chase sequences. Metal Gear shines when it comes to gameplay and mechanics.
You would be hard pressed to find a better looking game then Metal Gear Solid 4. When you boot the game up and are treated to Snakes face as the game installs, you'll be amazed by the in game graphics. Nothing is rendered here, though you wouldn't know it some of the time. Visually, the game is breath taking.
Now, for my gripes. The thing that really, truly dissapoints me about MGS4 are the parts of it that are most memorable. At the end of the day, the game didn't create many new memories for me, it simply brought back old ones. It relies too much on past games to get it's "wow" factor. Going to Shadow Moses wou'dn't have been as memorable if it wasn't in the first game. Piloting a giant robot is cool, but it wouldn't have been as exciting if I didn't know what I was piloting. Screaming Mantis, at the end of the day, was simply a fanservice. I have no problem with fanservice, but MGS4 over did it all for me. When I look at why I loved the past games, it is because each one had its own elements that made it memorable. Looking back, I can name so many things enhanced purely by nostalgia, but I feel that at the end of the day, things that bring back memories aren't as sweet as those memories themselves.
Finally, the story went further into the drug-induced territory then MGS2. I'm more understanding of this, however, because explaining MGS2 isn't easy. I think that from now on, however, I would enjoy more coherent stories in video games.
I enjoyed MGS$ thoroughly, and still do with the online portion of the game. However, it is not, and probably won't ever be my favorite game in the series.