Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review for PlayStation 3

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review for PlayStation 3

A Snake Bite Worth Getting

For over a year, I have been writing articles about the world of Metal Gear, and for 20+ years I have talked with friends and family about Snakes, missions, secrets, and every twist in between. If there was one word I had to use to describe my feelings towards Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, it would be “life-altering”. Okay – so that is technically two words, but you get the point.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots screenshot

Metal Gear Solid 4, in my opinion, is Hideo Kojima’s magnum opus. Kojima has delivered a story so complex that it alone could refute the claims that video games are a medium devoid of incredible storylines and plots. Every Metal Gear game is involved the complex relationship mankind has with nuclear weapons. Of course, Metal Gear has usually amped up the feeling of urgency and has also highlighted the dangers of technology in general when it comes to war. This is easily accredited to the main character, Snake. Aside from the message about the dangers of war and advancements in dangerous technologies, there has always been one constant: one man can make a difference.

Metal Gear Solid 4 continues this sentiment. The one man who will make a difference is, once more, Solid Snake. Set in the year 2014, the world has changed. The military restrictions in foreign countries have been lifted tremendously, and now private military companies dominate the armed forces of the world. The five largest of these companies are owned and operated by one overarching company, Outer Haven. If you are familiar at all with the Metal Gear universe, then it comes as no surprise that Liquid Ocelot is the leader of this company. Newcomers will quickly learn that Liquid Ocelot is destined to be Snake’s ultimate nemesis. This makes sense, especially considering how double-dealing Ocelot is, and that Solid Snake’s genetic brother, Liquid Snake, is still involved in this mess. They could have gone with a new villain, but why destroy the countless years of hatred built up amongst fans? Liquid Ocelot definitely deserves a spot among the top villains of gaming, as newcomers will undoubtedly agree.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots screenshot

Liquid is not the only antagonist of this game though. Nanotechnology also plays a huge part. Soldiers of these private military companies make use of it, and one man, Liquid Ocelot, is controlling them. Solid Snake has a little more invested this time around. Snake’s body is rapidly aging, with a short lease left on life. Naomi Hunter, considered a questionable and hated character for most fans for what she did to Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, is possibly the only one who can save him, but she needs rescuing. She has been under the eye of Liquid Ocelot for a while, and now her life is in danger. She calls the one person she trusts to help her – Solid Snake. Aside from the rescue mission of Naomi, Snake is also asked by long-time comrade, Colonel Roy Campbell, to bring Liquid Ocelot down before it is too late. To reveal much more would be a disservice to new and old fans alike.

The storyline in MGS4 is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. To keep with the pace, Kojima and company bring you into the game with an awe-inspiring sense right from the get go. This is both a problem and a blessing. Instead of a solid introduction to the controls of the game, you are left with a sense of “what am I supposed to do?” Several standard actions in the game have been replaced with ones that result in quicker response time. This will be something even old fans will have to get used to. The main reason I enjoyed this is because, unlike a lot of recent sequels that kept similar control schemes, MGS4 decided to go against the “if it ain’t broke” mindset. The innovation has really helped the overall controls of the game, right down to a level many fans have wanted since the first Metal Gear on the NES and MSX2. As much as I like the new ways to do things, it would have been good to have had a few things laid out, especially if this is your first time.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots screenshot

However, there will be plenty for you to do in the game to help you quickly acclimate with the controls. Unlike previous installments, MGS3 included, where you felt enclosed and somewhat restricted in the games levels, MGS4 aides in abolishing all claustrophobia. In fact, I have yet to discover the true limits of the levels, and trust me, I have done some wandering. This is also a huge factor in the replayability.

There are several different strategies you can employ on any given level of the game. If you want to be all guts and glory, you can. Of course, if you want to be more of the sneaky snake (pun intended), then there are several routes you can take. It is important to note that in some cases you have a set path you have to take, but these occasions are minimal and make sense. The overall open feel of the game helps create the sense of a battlefield.

The vast weapon selection you will accumulate over the course of the game adds a lot to your approach. The fact you can now pick up enemy weapons is a huge factor. Unfortunately, several of the weapons you pick up from enemies are locked due to the PMC ID tags; but there is a way to get around them: a man named Drebin. Drebin is an arms dealer and enables Snake to use the ID-tagged weapons and purchase others with “Drebin Points”. This might sound like an annoying process, but it is an easy and interesting addition to this series. You will also gain points by giving Drebin the duplicate weapons you find; you keep the ammo, he gets the weapon, and everyone wins.

Another feature that’s new to the series is the Metal Gear Mk. II. Initially, I was opposed and offput by the little Otacon contraption, mainly because of the influence the motion controls were going to have. But, since they’re not required for the Scout Machine, it’s no longer a problem. After all, I enjoyed using the Mk. II to run up behind opposing forces and shock the crap out of them. It brought a sense of joy.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots screenshot

Talking about new features to the series, the OctoCamo works better than I had anticipated it would. It’s simple to use if set on automatic, and is a great expansion of the system introduced in MGS3. You can change around the camouflage settings of the OctoCamo almost the same way you did in MGS3, and there are just as many options. Snake’s CQC is also more advanced. The various combinations, and even how hard you push the beginning CQC button, make it almost feel like performing combos in a fighting game. These interesting new features will leave you wanting more of this installment of Snake’s life. And with graphics like these, who could blame you!

People have been saying it for years, Hideo Kojima is a visionary comparable to a movie producer. He is capable of capturing depth and emotion in his characters like few others have been able to master. This time around, he’s had the help of amazing graphics to tell his story. The environments, character models, and even the little intricacies of each weapon Snake holds bring a sense of realism to the title. The background action that goes on also aides in bringing it to life. Instead of all of the characters doing the same repetitive things, NPCs seemed to be fighting a gruesome battle and have life of their own.

While the character movements in the cutscenes are great, there is a problem that I found. Several times I noticed the lip-synching to be out of whack. Although this is usually the last thing to bother me, the experience was a little cheapened because it happened too often. Aside from the poor synchronization in a few scenes, the voice acting is some of the best I have heard in the series or video games. Of course, there are a few dry, overacted, and even downright awkward moments in the dialogue, but most fans will take it with a grain of salt because we have experienced it before.

The soundtrack does exactly what I expected in setting the stage for the cutscenes and the gameplay. There is a new feature in the sound department in addition to the cutting-edge surround sounds – your Ipod MP3 player. I know, it sounds really stupid. I thought so too at first, but then I started finding songs for it throughout the game, and I played through certain areas with classic music from other Metal Gear titles in the series instead of the standard MGS4 soundtrack. Those few out there that might not want to listen to the score of the game will have other options.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots screenshot

With so many new things introduced to the series by this entry, it is easy to see how you can get wrapped up for days. Trust me; it will be days and maybe even months. The inclusion of the Metal Gear Online starter pack increases replayability. You can get your buddies together to control the battlefield in small doses until the official title arrives. Five maps to play through is more than enough to hold you over while you wait to receive the full product.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a title I have been anxiously waiting for. Several things that happen in the game will give hardcore fans brain meltdowns, but even newcomers will be gradually eased into the story with flashbacks from previous games, so everyone can really understand what is happening. The control modifications especially make this entry more accessible to newcomers, by leveling the playing field. While some will have issues with given parts of the game, they are so small and trivial they don’t even matter. Whether this is Solid Snake’s final hoorah is something you will have to find out for yourself, and trust me, you will not be disappointed. MGS4 is the reason you bought your PS3!

What else can I say that you haven’t already seen or heard? They look better now than they did in the trailers: truly jaw-dropping. 4.7 Control
The controls are solid, but with so much to process right away, it feels a little overwhelming. It takes a little longer to get accustomed to than in past installments. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Breathtaking score brings the emotions of MGS4 to full light. Even if you get tired of the available score, you can listen to some nostalgic Metal Gear tunes. 4.8 Play Value
Different strategies, extra weapons, collecting all the emblems or ranks, and the starter pack for Metal Gear Online will keep you wrapped in the Metal Gear universe for months to come while enjoying every minute of it. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • MGS4 pushes the power of the PLAYSTATION 3 to its limits with cutting edge graphics and surround sound. It also aims to be the hallmark title for the new DUALSHOCK 3 controller.
  • Command Snake in his final mission, which spans the entire globe as he attempts to foil Liquid Ocelot and his massive army of PMCs.
  • Influence the tides of war through both passive and active means. Snake can directly aid local militia who engage invading PMCs soldiers or encourage more fighting to slip past undetected amidst the commotion.
  • Unlock custom weapons and modifications as you trade with your black market weapons dealer, Drebin.
  • Providing Snake with his most advanced stealth suit to date, OctoCamo, allows Snake to blend in with his environment as it digitally manifests nearby textures in real time.
  • Otacon is back to support Snake by providing new high tech gadgets, including Metal Gear Mk. II, the ultimate reconnaissance tool, and Solid Eye, which gives Snake real-time information on enemies and his surroundings.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 720p (Standard HD, Widescreen).

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