When we began to think about this review we had quite the conundrum. How do we emphasise just how engrossing and incredibly amazing the story is without spoiling? It's hard, but we have to try. As you would know by now you play as Solid Snake, one of the world's most famous soldiers, trying to tie up all the ends that have been left open from the past three games. The game begins in the Middle East with Snake in the midst of a war between PMCs (Private Military Contractors) and a resistance force, something mirrored across the globe. Those of you who have played the first three games will get so much out of the story. However even those who are new to the series will find the story quite compelling, albeit without understanding a lot of the huge twists throughout the campaign. That is just the very, very base of the story with spoilers abound if we continue on.
As with MGS 3 Subsistence, the series has moved to a third person camera giving it a much more action feel. To us, this gives the game of a more pick up and play feel with the camera completely controllable unlike the previous games in the series. There is no doubt that Hideo wanted everyone to play and finish this game. There are many difficulty levels, ranging from the stupidly easy (you almost never die) through to one of the toughest challenges a game can offer you today. The gameplay itself can feel a bit cliche at times but this all depends on how you play. You can run and gun through and just use brute force to beat the game, or play it as generally MGS is meant to be played, which is with stealth. There really is only two times the game forces this upon you and players who want to run and gun will find these times incredibly frustrating.
At the higher difficulty levels stealth becomes key because Snake will take on some of the toughest foes he ever has. To go with this the developers have constructed 'Octocamo' - a quite stunning graphic effect that makes Snake like a Chameleon. Anything Snake lies on, the suit will turn to, allowing you to move without being seen. This works on every texture in the game, even those which typically you wouldn't lay on. Snake also has a number of weapons to choose from. In every situation there is a lethal and non-lethal solution. It is possible to go through the entire game without killing anyone, but it is an incredibly difficult challenge.
With the sandbox world opened up, the replay value is extremely high. One time through you might choose to kill everyone, the next time, try and play with a stealth manner. How you go about your tasks is up to you as long as you reach the point to progress further. It also helps that the gameplay just feels right with the over the shoulder camera employed for combat situations. We couldn't stop playing this and that is why it is such a shame it is over all too soon. There is a multitude of weapons in the game, with customization options which are accessed from the in-game menus. Some can be used with close quarter combat where Snake sneaks up and hits an enemy from behind, whilst others are purely used for brute force. This is why MGS 4 works so well - you construct the way you want to play the game. Series stalwarts make a return as well such as the cardboard box and dirty magazine.
The size of the game is epic in scale but the length of the game can be short. We finished it in twelve hours which compared to some of the other MGS efforts is a bit of a disappointment. It is possible to go slowly through the game and take it all in, but we would expect the average gamer to finish it in about the same time we did. This includes the cinematics but we will get to that later. However with the length of the game in mind, sometimes games can be too long and there is not one time that we felt the developers had put fluff in and wanted it to finish. There are some truly epic sequences in the game, one that fans of the series will appreciate. Just when you think you have this game figured out, a huge twist or gameplay mechanic will change and your jaw will drop yet again.
Last updated: Jun 16, 2020 at 04:31 pm CDT
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- Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 Review page 1
- Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 Review page 2