By Philip DunkleyÂ
Every so often, a game is released to the world after some of the biggest hype and marketing campaigns, and even though doing quite well, does not live up to the expectations of everyone. Games can rely heavily on campaign after campaign to push sales, yet fail at the final hurdle. That hurdle is called; Deliverance. Now I’m not the world’s most serious reviewer, how can I take a pastime I love so much and be too serious about it, it would just become like work to me then, and you, the reader would never get the proper info you needed. Today I have to be a bit serious, just to get the correct point across.
Metal Gear Solid 4, is a game with a story going back years, a faithful following of millions and the ability to laugh at itself, in the small touches of humour that fly around within the game. I need to also confess to something here. I was not that excited about the game when it was announced, and I have also been avoiding most pre-release marketing and stories around the game, purely because I did not want to hype myself up on it, as I loved the whole Metal Gear Series, but believed it was time to either end it, or transform it. I got both.
I don’t want to divulge too much about the story to you guys, as this would ruin any experience that a player needs to go through, but I’ll give you the idea. Snake has aged, a lot, and he’s still fulfilling his missions on the battlefield, but just not as intense anymore, until he finds out that Liquid is back. War has changed. This is the theme spread throughout the game, and how it has. Soldiers now have Nanomachines in their bodies, and every aspect of the battle field is controlled and monitored, from health to mental state, and these little additions turn normal soldiers into super soldiers. The story gets tied up from the beginning, and the spoilers begin to pour in the minute you start the game. I’ll leave you at that, as anything more would give too much away.
From a gameplay point of view, this game plays so well it’s not even funny. The normal system is back, sneak around and get from one objective to another, but this time it’s a lot more about the action rather than just the sneaking. Snake is equipped with a multitude of weapons and extras, and these can be bought and upgraded at any point within the game through the in game “Shop”, and this time you can’t just pick weapons up, as these weapons are now ID tagged, and can only be used by the person they are coded for. But the illustrious Drebbin will help you out with that problem. He’s the “Shop” owner.
Every part of the game feels complete and well designed, with multiple paths to almost all destinations available, and a combat system that is not only the fastest and most fluid I have seen in the series, but a lot of games could take a page out of this book.
The game also features a lot of characters and Cut scenes, tying a story together that needed a proper setting behind it, and these characters become likeable and involved. They also give you such an insight into the world of Metal Gear like you have never experienced before, with references to all the games in the series being very frequent. If the term “interactive movie” is a term that you think has been overdone in the history of gaming, then be assured, this is the definitive version of that phrase, and it works better than you have ever experienced before. Some of the cut scenes are long, really long, but at no point does it seem to be overbearing, and I never once thought to myself, “Oh god, here comes another cut scene”.
This brings me to the visual side of the game. Oh, man. How do I begin to describe the masterpiece that Kojima has directed here?Â Every aspect of the game looks fantastic. From the emotion riddled intro sequence, to the battlefields, ever detail has been catered for. The directorship of this game is simply unbelievable, with every cut scene sparing no details, and you would forgiven for thinking that this was put together in one of Hollywood’s larger studio’s. Textures look great, and at no point did I experience any framerate loss, it just kept pumping out the visuals.
The visuals also tie in with the sound perfectly, with one the most dramatic scores to ever grace a game. The Dolby surround is mind blowing, and every weapon sounds as if it’s being fired in your living room. The fact that the game includes an IPOD that Snake can actually use in the game, playing all the music from the series as they get unlocked, is also a very neat touch.
I could tell you so much more about this game, but nothing will describe it to you like the actual experience yourself. I have been very lucky lately to have reviewed some great games, and I was very worried about reviewing this game because I could have ended up being labelled a PS3 fan boy, but I have absolutely no hesitation in making the following statement: MGS4 is THE best game I have ever had the experience to play, and to watch and to listen too. It will go down in my memory as an epic, and it is the most fitting end to a series of games, that were great to start with. This is THE reason to own a PS3, and I can finally and confidently say that the PS3 has just been delivered its Killer Game.
The online portion will be reviewed at a later stage, as I have not had a chance to even get round to it yet.
Just a quick note here, the initial install took exactly 7:28.4 minutes, and the cut scenes do range up to about an hour, but you’ll be disappointed when they end!!!
Gameplay: 10/10 (Fits like a glove)
Presentation: 10/10 (Welcome to Next Gen!!)
Sound: 10/10 (FANTASTIC!!)
Value: 10/10 (Just the cinematic portion are worth the price alone)
Overall: 10/10 (Nothing more to say)
Better Than: All the Metal Gears
Worse Than: Nothing
[Ed] This game was so big we decided to review it twice… Check Etienne’s review here