Developer: Konami (2008)
Reviewed by V1
Metal Gear 4 is very much an evolution of the changes seen in the MGS3. The game is played from a third person perspective & features the ability to aim & shoot in a first person view. The controls are far superior to any game in the series, & more like splinter cell in terms of movement. The biggest change to the gameplay is the ability to move when crouched (a first for the series), along with a myriad of improvements to CQC (close quarters combat, first introduced in MGS3). These include the ability to interrogate enemies, & a much wider range of options from the grab position. It’s also possible to link CQC attacks across multiple. This basically makes you fucking Batman with an eyepatch. Awesome!
Other improvements to gameplay include the Mk.II robot, which allows you to scout ahead & stun enemies. Octocamo is the evolution of the camouflage system used in MGS3. It’s an automatic camo system that helps you blend in with the surroundings. You can manually set it, but why would you? The fatigue gauge is now replaced by the psyche gauge. This increases during stressful times (heat/cold, when caught & when in combat) & it affects you healing & aiming. It can be lowered by reading playboy (I love you Kojima!).
Gunplay has been tweaked too. Getting caught is no longer panic inducing. Just take out your guns & shoot people. It controls just like you’d expect a 3rd person shooter to, far superior to any stealth game ever. It’s possible to play MGS4 like a Gears of War game & it’s perfectly competent. Bravo sirs!
I’m trying to think of negatives gameplay features & I genuinely can’t. The boss battles are not as good as MG3, but are better than the rest of the series. You could argue it’s a bit linear, but it never claims to be anything else. Metal Gear has always been a linear experience. This just happened to be the best linear experience of the lot.
Set 5 years after the events of MGS2, Guns of the Patriots sees an aged Solid Snake (as a result of being a clone) return to finally stop the Patriots plan of world domination through artificially created war. Most of these wars are fought using PMCs, all of which are controlled by the Patriots themselves, thus adding to the “War Economy”. All PMC soldiers are artificially enhanced through the use of nano-machine technology, & by controlling these nanomachines, they effectively have control of the world’s military forces. This control network is known as “Sons of the Patriots”.
Liquid Snake, who has completely taken over Ocelot’s body, plans to hijack SOTP & use the world’s forces to his own design. Despite only having a year to live, Old Snake accepts his final mission. He is to eliminate Liquid & put an end his “Guns of the Patriots” scheme & save the world from destruction.
I can sum up the story of MGS in two words… FAN SERVICE. While it may not be as well written a story as MGS3, it’s a far more satisfying story in all. It answers every single question left over from MGS1 ,2 & 3 & just about any other Metal Gear game ever released. Virtually every character in the story so far is featured & their story arcs completed. Although there are a few resolutions that don’t quite add up with past games, the satisfaction of seeing the crazy web of conspiracies unravel is just too good to be undone by such small changes.
Like in previous games, we’re fed the story through a mix of cut scenes & codec conversations. There are FAR less codec conversations throughout MGS4 compared to the rest of the games (MGS2 being the worst offender), with most of these replaced by in-game codec conversations that don’t take the control from the player. You can still use your codec to talk to your support at any time, but they have far less to say this time around.
So we’ve got less codec chatter this time around, but that means that we’ve got some extra time for more cutscenes right? Hell yeah! Kojima went a bit mental this time as MGS4 has some of the best, & longest cut scenes ever seen in a game. Some of these are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, & just fucking awesome too. There’s one hour-long scene (end of act 3) that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in any medium, not just gaming. Most of these cutscenes are interactive & you have the ability to zoom in at any time to get a look at the amazing textures in the game. They also feature the best animations & voice acting of the series to date.
MGS4 also has the best soundtrack of the series. Featuring reworked versions of songs from previous games as well as its own score (reworked many times, there’s a gorgeous acoustic guitar version), it’s one of the best soundtracks I can think off & is up there with the best gaming has to offer. Although the lack of Metal Gear Solid theme is sad, it’s more than made up for.
• Incredible looking game.
• Best cutscenes I’ve ever seen in a game. (Remember these are all in engine, so no claiming a Blizzard pre-rendered cutscene looks better)
• Satisfying story, great ending. Ties everything up & doesn’t hold anything back.
• Phenomenal soundtrack. Great new & old songs.
• Best gameplay of series. Amazing stealth & action.
• Chapter 4. No spoilers, just a MARK OUT moment!!
• Some cheesy writing & acting.
• Cutscenes may be too long for some (not me!)
• Long install time & some long loading times (more a PS3 problem, but still there)
Overall: This is nearly a perfect game. Definitely up there with the best games ever released. I absolutely loved this game & I had many late nights where I just couldn’t put it down. I was also sad when it ended, because I wanted to keep playing more. I can only say that about 4-5 games ever (I won’t say, I may review my favourite games a little further down the road). MGS4 is not a game, it’s an experience, & one well worth having at that!