There is one area to the game though that is going to attract controversy for a long time to come. We may have finished the game in twelve hours but we honestly believe at least a third of that was spent watching cut scenes. It seems that you watch an epic cut scene, play for ten to fifteen minutes and then watch another epic cut scene. The amount of times we had to place down our controller due to the length of the cut scene was of a high number. Kojima Productions have put together one of the most cinematic and epic games ever made but there are times where you feel that a character takes ten minutes to cover something which could have been said in a minute or two. If we want to be cynics we would call Metal Gear Solid 4 an interactive movie; a cinematic film with gameplay elements rather than the other way around. Sometimes it seems like they were too innovative. In one particular case, a stunning cut scene plays on half the screen while you take on some enemies. It is a real shame that because of this, you miss the cut scene. Also, when you finish the game, don't do it in the wee hours of the morning, or you will fall asleep watching the thirty or so minute final movie.
Another thing slightly related which is frustrating is the loading. Again it seems every five or so minutes a load screen pops up even between cut scenes, and having to install the game between acts again is just annoying. Obviously they did not want to have a twenty minute to half hour initial install, but it just breaks up the game too much.
The places you visit (we won't go into specifics) are varied and unique. There is also a massive shot of nostalgia in there. One particular area had our jaws dropped. Those who have played right from the start of the series are in for a real treat. The graphics engine really comes through during these sequences. However what really stands out with the level design is that there is not one time where we got stuck. Sometimes you do have the radar to help, but other times you have to rely on instinct. There are many paths generally through each area, with this again reinforcing the replay value of the game.
Visually the game is an absolute treat. This shows what the PS3 can do and then some. Snake has some of the most incredible animation and detailing in a game seen, and the cut scenes, which play out all in engine, are truly astonishing. It is by far the biggest factor in building the epic atmosphere that Metal Gear plays in and will set the bar for PS3 developers to attain in their future games. From the very start to the very end you are in a visual wonderland and paired with the stunning cinematic animation and voice acting, Metal Gear Solid is going to be one of the most epic and entertaining productions this console generation. The sound is of an incredibly high standard with true dolby surround employed and a soundtrack by Harry Gregson-Williams which will have fans happy. We don't think it's a spoiler to mention that throughout the game you have an iPOD system which can play music you find in hidden areas. It is worth finding this music.
However that's not all this game has. The other half of the game takes Snake online. Metal Gear Online, originally designed as a stand alone game, is now part of the package and further enhances MGS4 gameplay. This is not your average online shooter with stealth and team work the key. In one particular mode, the game puts one player as Snake and the rest as enemies. That player who is Snake must survive. This is just one example of the incredible thought that went into this production. Other modes are typical squad based modes where Snake does not exist. Resistance versus PMCs, just like the main game and whilst a multiplayer game, there is something to be said of the graphics and sound in this mode as well. One frustration is that the game does not use your PSN ID. Instead you have to sign up for a specific ID. Let's not go down the Nintendo path of friend codes Sony.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is epic. It is a title that will be remembered for years to come as the game that truly showed what the PS3 can do. It may have taken them four years to do it, but the four years were worth it and there is no doubt that this truly ties it all up. It is a shame to see such a legendary series come to an end but we must give them credit for quitting while they are ahead. It may have its problems, but Metal Gear Solid truly is the first must own PS3 exclusive, and for that Sony will be laughing all the way to the bank. It is good enough to buy a PS3 system for. It is a game that truly must be seen and played, and while we have no doubt it has its issues, the good far outweighs the bad. This is the end, but it is only the beginning for the legendary status this series is sure to hold for years to come.
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