I am of course in agreement regarding your thoughts about MGS4, though it's still well above the quality of Peace Walker at least. For all the problems I have with MGS4 I at least couldn't say it was boring, and for what little gameplay there was it was still... interesting. Especially during the first two acts, where you're thrown in as a third-party between two AI factions duking it out. Then Act 3 occurs (Big Mama...?!) and UGGHHHH; then we have Act 4 and the fanservice is dialed up to 11, and then finally Act 5, where the game just completely shits the bed. The microwave hallway was a great moment at least, that much I hafta admit. Still, the game feels like Kojima was too obsessed in trying to jam everything into this one game, until it all collapses under its own weight. So many great characters given such ill treatment -- an unsatisfying conclusion for all involved.
I'm to believe that Kojima is actually rather aware of the problems people have with MGS4, given the irreverent quasi-parody that is Metal Gear Rising's final hour. Man, Rising was so fucking awesome. Now that was a game that felt like it had the right degree of stupid, with much less of the autofellatio MGS4 fell prey to. Raiden's ''Ripper'' voice certainly tested my resolve sometimes, though...
All things said, I am still pretty hyped for Phantom Pain though, even with all of my accumulated grievances MGS4 & Peace Walker have put me through. For while even if the story falls flat on its face, it looks like it'll at least have a lot of gameplay on offer this time around. And unlike Peace Walker, the actual sneaking/shooting gameplay looks like something that's worth a damn. Which when combined with all of the awesome base building elements, and not to mention the open-world aspect, Phantom Pain looks like a pretty fun time.
Also, funnily enough even though this was like a crazy close GOTY contender, Brad has on a couple of occasions commented on how he can barely remember anything that happened in it... Five stars!..