Closure

Metal Gear Solid 4 provides all the closure I needed
I think it's in the nature of human beings to strive for resolution. There must be something in our genetic make-up that means we can only deal in finite information. While we have a concept of infinity, it's impossible for us to fully grasp the notion that something may have no borders, boundaries or end. We don't like it when things don't get resolved. We expect a finish. We expect a conclusion. And if closure doesn't immediately present itself, we either go off looking for it, or we wait patiently until it comes to us. The former is evident in scientific research and discovery, while the latter makes itself apparent through our hunger for sequels to our favourite books, movies and video games. Why do we read these books, watch these movies and play these games? Because we are driven by our desire to find out what happens to the characters, and how everything all turns out in the end.

Why am I getting all philosophical in my blog preamble? Because I just finished Metal Gear Solid 4. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll probably be aware that my friend and I swapped consoles so I could experience Guns of the Patriots while she played Dead Space. After a week of sneaking, I've finally brought myself to the dramatic climax of Solid Snake's epic story. The closure that I've been waiting for since first playing Metal Gear Solid 2 seven years ago, the closure that was teased in 2004 by Metal Gear Solid 3 only to pose yet more questions, has finally found its way into my life. And yet, despite all the self-hype I built up waiting to play the game, I didn't leave the experience feeling underwhelmed or cheated in any way. Quite the opposite, actually. When you strip away all the next-gen enhancements, Metal Gear Solid 4 is truly a Metal Gear game at its core. In my eyes, it's an extremely fitting end to the story arc, and well worth waiting for.

"Metal Gear...?!"
Before I get too involved in the main point of this blog, I should probably make my opinion of the game itself a little clearer. After the initial cutscenes, when I took control of Old Snake for the first time, I didn't feel like I was playing a Metal Gear game. My first thought was to send a letter to Hideo Kojima, politely asking him why he got Gears of War in my Metal Gear Solid. Ten minutes of perseverance later, I came to realise that the gameplay changes amounted to little more than improved shooting mechanics. Crawling? Check. CQC? Check. Camouflage? Check. Cyborg Ninja? Check. Huge nuclear-capable robots? Check. Once I rediscovered the tried-and-tested MGS staples of gameplay, I felt much more comfortable. The game plays really well, offering a healthy balance of stealth, action, several memorable boss battles, and some of the most awe-inspiring set pieces this side of the Half-Life games. Graphically, the game blows everything else I've ever played out of the water, and the audio score by Harry Gregson-Williams is certainly on par with his previous work. But above all else, what stood out for me was the game's epic, sweeping storyline.

Sneaking is (thankfully) still a viable gameplay option
The plot was probably my favourite thing about Metal Gear Solid 4. Maybe that's because it was my motivation for playing the game, or maybe it's just because I'm a bit of a Metal Gear nut. Whatever the reason, I'm not going to deny that I loved every facet of the game's story. I loved the way it was told, through the cinematically directed cut scenes and mission briefings. More than anything, I loved the closure that it brought. I loved the way every strand of the plot that's been hanging loose since the clusterfucked ending of MGS2 was combined with the new questions from MGS3 and existing information from the earlier games to resolve absolutely every doubt in my mind regarding the story arc. I particularly enjoyed the reveal of the Patriots' identities at around the mid-point in the game. In fact, I think that may have been my favourite part of the game. It marked the point for me when all the long-standing questions I had finally started to be answered. That was, after all, the impetus that drove me into the game in the first place.

Metal Gear Solid 4 pays homage to series and its fans
Metal Gear Solid 4 is an almost unhealthy helping of fan service. Like I said earlier, beneath the HD graphics and action-oriented gunplay, it is a true Metal Gear game at its core. In fact, it's arguably the most Metal Gear-ish instalment in the franchise since the original. As I mentioned, it checks all the boxes you'd expect a Metal Gear game to do. It also features some of the most impressive breaking of the fourth wall since MGS1. There are moments that feel a bit like cop-outs, but those moments also tend to be the moments that best capture the essence of the Metal Gear franchise. I'm not in the habit of leaking spoilers, so I won't go into any great detail on that matter, but I do think that the game's most Metal Gear-ish moments are the ones that have come under heavy fire from gamers for being too outlandish. After all, is it possible for anything to be too outlandish in the Metal Gear universe? Metal Gear Solid 4 may be fan service, but I am a fan. That's probably the reason why the game's plot left me feeling so satisfied.

As I said in the beginning, I think it's part of human nature to expect closure on a series of events. Our minds can't handle the indefinite. I spent seven years waiting for this closure, and now that I've experienced Metal Gear Solid 4 for myself I feel like it was worth it. Now that it is over, though, I just have one request for Konami: please leave Snake be. I don't want to see the franchise end, and I'd be more than happy to see more Metal Gear games made. All I ask is that any new material is exempt from the canon of Snake's story. Whether that means non-canonical games, or the creation of a whole new canon altogether, I really don't mind. You did a great job of providing closure for fans of the series. Don't mess it up.

Let sleeping Snakes lie.


Thanks very much for reading, guys. See you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
6 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by dankempster
Metal Gear Solid 4 provides all the closure I needed
I think it's in the nature of human beings to strive for resolution. There must be something in our genetic make-up that means we can only deal in finite information. While we have a concept of infinity, it's impossible for us to fully grasp the notion that something may have no borders, boundaries or end. We don't like it when things don't get resolved. We expect a finish. We expect a conclusion. And if closure doesn't immediately present itself, we either go off looking for it, or we wait patiently until it comes to us. The former is evident in scientific research and discovery, while the latter makes itself apparent through our hunger for sequels to our favourite books, movies and video games. Why do we read these books, watch these movies and play these games? Because we are driven by our desire to find out what happens to the characters, and how everything all turns out in the end.

Why am I getting all philosophical in my blog preamble? Because I just finished Metal Gear Solid 4. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll probably be aware that my friend and I swapped consoles so I could experience Guns of the Patriots while she played Dead Space. After a week of sneaking, I've finally brought myself to the dramatic climax of Solid Snake's epic story. The closure that I've been waiting for since first playing Metal Gear Solid 2 seven years ago, the closure that was teased in 2004 by Metal Gear Solid 3 only to pose yet more questions, has finally found its way into my life. And yet, despite all the self-hype I built up waiting to play the game, I didn't leave the experience feeling underwhelmed or cheated in any way. Quite the opposite, actually. When you strip away all the next-gen enhancements, Metal Gear Solid 4 is truly a Metal Gear game at its core. In my eyes, it's an extremely fitting end to the story arc, and well worth waiting for.

"Metal Gear...?!"
Before I get too involved in the main point of this blog, I should probably make my opinion of the game itself a little clearer. After the initial cutscenes, when I took control of Old Snake for the first time, I didn't feel like I was playing a Metal Gear game. My first thought was to send a letter to Hideo Kojima, politely asking him why he got Gears of War in my Metal Gear Solid. Ten minutes of perseverance later, I came to realise that the gameplay changes amounted to little more than improved shooting mechanics. Crawling? Check. CQC? Check. Camouflage? Check. Cyborg Ninja? Check. Huge nuclear-capable robots? Check. Once I rediscovered the tried-and-tested MGS staples of gameplay, I felt much more comfortable. The game plays really well, offering a healthy balance of stealth, action, several memorable boss battles, and some of the most awe-inspiring set pieces this side of the Half-Life games. Graphically, the game blows everything else I've ever played out of the water, and the audio score by Harry Gregson-Williams is certainly on par with his previous work. But above all else, what stood out for me was the game's epic, sweeping storyline.

Sneaking is (thankfully) still a viable gameplay option
The plot was probably my favourite thing about Metal Gear Solid 4. Maybe that's because it was my motivation for playing the game, or maybe it's just because I'm a bit of a Metal Gear nut. Whatever the reason, I'm not going to deny that I loved every facet of the game's story. I loved the way it was told, through the cinematically directed cut scenes and mission briefings. More than anything, I loved the closure that it brought. I loved the way every strand of the plot that's been hanging loose since the clusterfucked ending of MGS2 was combined with the new questions from MGS3 and existing information from the earlier games to resolve absolutely every doubt in my mind regarding the story arc. I particularly enjoyed the reveal of the Patriots' identities at around the mid-point in the game. In fact, I think that may have been my favourite part of the game. It marked the point for me when all the long-standing questions I had finally started to be answered. That was, after all, the impetus that drove me into the game in the first place.

Metal Gear Solid 4 pays homage to series and its fans
Metal Gear Solid 4 is an almost unhealthy helping of fan service. Like I said earlier, beneath the HD graphics and action-oriented gunplay, it is a true Metal Gear game at its core. In fact, it's arguably the most Metal Gear-ish instalment in the franchise since the original. As I mentioned, it checks all the boxes you'd expect a Metal Gear game to do. It also features some of the most impressive breaking of the fourth wall since MGS1. There are moments that feel a bit like cop-outs, but those moments also tend to be the moments that best capture the essence of the Metal Gear franchise. I'm not in the habit of leaking spoilers, so I won't go into any great detail on that matter, but I do think that the game's most Metal Gear-ish moments are the ones that have come under heavy fire from gamers for being too outlandish. After all, is it possible for anything to be too outlandish in the Metal Gear universe? Metal Gear Solid 4 may be fan service, but I am a fan. That's probably the reason why the game's plot left me feeling so satisfied.

As I said in the beginning, I think it's part of human nature to expect closure on a series of events. Our minds can't handle the indefinite. I spent seven years waiting for this closure, and now that I've experienced Metal Gear Solid 4 for myself I feel like it was worth it. Now that it is over, though, I just have one request for Konami: please leave Snake be. I don't want to see the franchise end, and I'd be more than happy to see more Metal Gear games made. All I ask is that any new material is exempt from the canon of Snake's story. Whether that means non-canonical games, or the creation of a whole new canon altogether, I really don't mind. You did a great job of providing closure for fans of the series. Don't mess it up.

Let sleeping Snakes lie.


Thanks very much for reading, guys. See you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
Posted by Red

As someone who had only known of Metal Gear Solid from notoriety and my brother's cries of frustration while trying to beat MGS2, I also found the story to be the greatest part of Guns of the Patriots. I never really cared for the gameplay, but the bosses and similar cinematic moments in the game were definitely fun. The 90-minute cut-scenes did get kind of confusing at times, but the beautiful graphics, action, and plot kept me coming for more. Watching Snake's slow descent into madness was painful to watch, but also incredibly endearing. 


My only problem with the story was that the game lasted 30 minutes longer than it had to. Since your blog was relatively spoiler free, I'm just gonna say that I had my closure 30 minutes before the game ended. When it actually did end, I was left confused and frustrated. 
Posted by Sweep

good read dan, nice work! I havent touched Metal Gear Solid since the initial installment on my PS1 (to be fair I played the remake on my GameCube as well) and I have always held the franchise with respect. As this point in time though I think I missed my oppurtunity to start an interest in the plot, as I undoubtably lack enough patience to visit 2 and 3.

I'm happy to quitly respect MGS4 from a distance. good blog mate :D

Moderator
Posted by Diamond

I thought the acting, writing, and story presentation was absolutely phenomenal.  Easily the best in any game ever, and better than most Hollywood productions.  It's seriously hard to get through the end without weeping.  It's convincing and the characters feel human.  The plot of the game taken on it's own is fine too.  The problem is the ends they try to tie up from previous games, well, they don't fit.  The motivations for characters, their goals and actions.  They describe it lengthily and in an overly complex manner in an attempt to confuse the player, but in the end it falls into a messy heap.

The game was a massive step forward for the series in terms of play control and core gameplay.  It left aside some of the mechanics from other parts of the series, and obviously they can't just remake every epic Snake battle from each past entry in the series.  If you thought the original Psycho Mantis battle in MGS1 was brilliant, even though MGS4 makes reference to it, the game doesn't have that battle.  I'd love it if they remade MGS1, 2, and 3 with the control, camera, and assets (sound and visuals) of MGS4.

So overall I think the game is great, but the worst part is the closure IMO.

Posted by Puppy

Nice blog, danKster!

Posted by mxdirector

firstly i loved mgs1 and 2, mgs3 was relativly weak in its story, but still delivered.
mgs4 had a awful plot. is closure a good thing, yes where appropriate .

was big boss returning a good thing, at face value yes it was bloodly cool. but not only did his return damage the games story but also future titles.
darth vader break dancing is bloody cool, but it is not appropriate just like big boss's return.
a good story should surpass its direction, its actors and its spelling errors. and that fact is that as soon as you strip away kojima's direction and action scenes you are left with a truly dreadful story.
lets put that in to perspective a bit, if you took the watchmen movie, take away the quality of the presentation, zack snyders excellent understanding of the source material, even take away all of the fight scenes. the watch men would still stand on its own as a great story.