Interesting that you should say that. I just so happen to have picked up the Japanese version of this game earlier today, and plan on playing it soon. I'll be interested to see how the conversations differ, based on what I remember from playing it in English a few years back (when I didn't know any Japanese, heh.)
Isn't that they just having to adapt for scene durations?
I don't understand much about japanese at all, but I've heard that there are like single phrases in Japanese that if translated literally would turn into a 2 page essay in english...
No, that was probably just someone exaggerating, I fear. The Japanese language is definitely constructed in a way that allows for the conveyance of a lot of information in a compressed form when compared to any given English translation, but I can't really think of anything that would be so impossible to translate as to require such drastic changes in tone or dialogue.
Incidentally, I played through all four of the MGS games in Japanese over the course of the previous year. I'd played them before in English, but that was quite a while ago. Back when I was playing them in English, I remember thinking that some of the dialogue was strange or funny, which was often entertaining. The knowledge I have since gained about Japanese has cast a new light on that stuff though. Some of the idiosyncratic ways in which the characters speak in that series ("Metal Gear?!") make a lot more sense in the context of a Japanese anime-styled action game. That's not to say they're not still ludicrous and self-aware in the Japanese versions, but I found myself understanding better what caused the games and their dialogue to be the way it is. I'm currently playing through Persona 4 in Japanese and a similar sentiment holds true there, I think. It makes me wonder whether Jeff and Vinny (or, by extension, Dan and Drew) would find these games more or less entertaining in their silliness if their knowledge of Japan and Japanese had been more profound.