reviewed on PS3
‘War has changed’, Snake tells us in gravelly tones at the beginning of the final entry in Hideo Kojima’s much-revered series. ‘ID-tagged soldiers carry ID-tagged weapons. War has changed.’
If anybody was in any doubt of Metal Gear Solid 4 sticking to its roots, this first cut scene will have them reassured, or disappointed. For the Metal Gear series has always been incredibly divisive among gamers; some love its sprawling cut scenes and ridiculously complex plot-lines, whereas others find it overreaching, and think the cut scenes are far too long to warrant waiting for them to end, so one can begin playing. Most reviews of MGS games contain the text ‘this won’t change your mind if you didn’t like the others,’ but on this occasion, I’m not entirely sure if that’s true.
New Ways to Play
Metal Gear has been revamped. If you hated MGS3’s insane controls, you might find something you like here. If you hated MGS2’s ‘sneak or die’ attitude, you might be able to stomach this one. Because MGS4 is all about your way of playing. And this is maybe the reason it’s got gamers and journalists so excited. You can play it as a First Person Shooter, a cover based Third Person Shooter, a traditional stealth action game, or you can be a ghost, moving from one area to the next unseen, leaving only a trail of unconscious soldiers as proof of your presence. The game gives you a staggering amount of freedom to simply play how you want, and it’s all the better for it.
But is the gunplay good enough that you’ll want to abandon sneaking forever? It certainly is. Pressing L1 in MGS4 will move the camera into an over the shoulder viewpoint, not unlike the camera angle used in Resident Evil 4. From there, you’re free to move around, zoom in, go into first person mode or prone for a better shot. It’s refreshing, and any MGS 1, 2 or 3 fan will feel as though they have been released from the shackles the previous games kept them in when it came to combat. The gunplay here is superb, and is good enough to rival many combat-focused titles.
The sneaking remains unparalleled. It’s now given even more scope for experimentation thanks to Snake’s new Octocamo; an all-purpose camouflage device that will allow you to blend into the environment around you simply by staying still. It can lead to some wonderfully intense moments, as guards round corners and face you just as you blend into the floor. Stealth is also enhanced thanks to the Metal Gear Mk. II: a remote controlled, mini Metal Gear. You can use it for reconnaissance, and it can give any guards you scout out a nasty electric shock, clearing your path further.
No Pros and Cons at this time