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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

PlayStation 3
Genre: Action
Developer: Konami Official Site: http://www.metalgearsolid.com
Publisher: Konami Classification: MA15+
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Genre: Action
Developer: Konami
Official Site: http://www.metalgears...
Publisher: Konami
Classification: MA15+
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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review
Review By @ 04:54pm 03/07/08
PS3
Let me preface this review by first admitting, I did not enjoy playing through Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I struggled to see it through to the end, and frankly, if it weren't for this review, I doubt I'd have lasted more than about an hour in. To quickly flameproof that statement, the reasons behind this are not necessarily because it's a weak game, it just has many elements that, while polished, did not appeal to my tastes. At the same time, others will no doubt be playing this game over and over for months to come.

With that out of the way, I'll try to approach this polarised title as objectively as possible and delve into the specifics to try and give you an idea of which side of the fence you'll be on. Of course this review is an opinion, but I'll attempt to make it obvious whether a criticism is a reflection of my own tastes or a design flaw of the game.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the latest title from Kojima Productions, the Konami subsidiary helmed by Hideo Kojima, a Japanese game developer renowned almost entirely for his work on this popular series.

The story goes... well there really is too much back story to attempt to summarise here; apparently too much for the game as well, as much of the narrative will leave most newcomers scratching their heads. If it's the story line you're interested in and you haven't played any previous Metal Gear titles, it might be an idea to brush up on your MGS history first. Veterans of the series shouldn't have any issues here though.

You're once again thrown into the shoes of Solid Snake; he's looking a bit long in the tooth these days but can still kick just as much ass. Stealth action is the aim of the game but on the regular difficulty setting you shouldn't have too much trouble run and gunning most missions, if that's more your style. While it’s nice to have the option, I'm a bit mixed over it. Several times I'd endure a lengthy session of skulking around and eventually die only to realise I could just dash past a lot of the action to get back to where I left off, in a fraction of the time. There are of course rewards for completing missions with minimal detections and fatalities but they're all inconsequential to the storyline. I'll leave that up to you as to whether that's a good or bad thing.

Gameplay consists primarily of the stealth-action staple third-person view with a couple of brief departures for some forgettable on-rails vehicle sections and one other controllable vehicular battle (that I won't spoil) which while great, is over far too quickly. The AI is nothing special, which is par for the course in stealth-action games really. If you trigger an alarm prepare for spawn waves until you can hide long enough for a timer to countdown.

After playing other third person games like Gears of War and Assassin's Creed (both with very fluid movement animations), Snake's instant snap turns feel a little jarring. That would be my only complaint about the game's control method though as everything else is quite intuitive and accessible. There's no real tutorial though, so prepare for some light reading to suss things out. The game pauses when you're browsing your inventory, however, making for a pretty forgiving learning process.

Snake now comes with some sweet new gear and you'll gather more as you progress. Pistols, shotguns, machine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and RPGs – The ability to carry the entire arsenal at all times and purchase extra munitions directly from the menu means you won't ever not have the right weapon for the job. Again, good or bad? Does handing out everything on one plate like this remove some strategy from the game or help stop it from becoming boring?

You've also got configurable camouflage, definitely one of the game's coolest new additions. When you lay down prone or take cover, Snake's Octo-camo suit will take on the texture properties of the environment, allowing you to hide in plain sight as enemies walk by – a really slick visual effect and a massively useful addition to the game's stealth system. A down-side of this is it negates the usefulness of Metal Gear's famed cardboard box disguise and the new rolling drum leaving them solely for novelty and nostalgia purposes. Then there's a MKII, a cute remote-control robot you can use to stealthily scout the dangers ahead.

Another interesting addition is the ipod. With this portable audio device in Snake's inventory you can manage the in-game music and even listen to developer pod-casts while you play. The control mechanism for this feature is pretty cool, simulating the ipod's clickwheel function in an intuitive manner. On that note, there is a bit of product-placement advertising in the game but it's not too overbearing. The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was when the game jokingly instructs to change disc only to say, oh never mind, we're on the PS3 using blu-ray so you don't need to! This might have been amusing if it wasn't for the mandatory harddrive installs that required three minute waiting periods on the first load up and again before each act.

Graphically, Metal Gear Solid 4 is up there with the hottest console titles. Indoor areas and character models are exceptionally detailed, outdoor areas lack a little but are still no slouch and the cinematic scenes (all rendered in real-time) are in a league of their own.

The game's full motion video cut-scenes visually exceed anything we've seen in a videogame before, it's often easy to forget that they are indeed being rendered in real-time. But why does a cut-scene even need to be real-time rendered if a blu-ray disc can store so much? Well Konami's answer would be “because they are interactive”. While the scene is playing out you can pan and zoom within a limited focus point. Other scenes like the main briefings even let you choose between several different camera angles of the scene or even potter around the room from the MKII robot's viewpoint.

There is an absolutely exhausting amount of scripted animation and dialogue here, so much so that in the first two hours of play, depending on your pace, you'll only be in control of snake for about 20 minutes of that. Cut-scene length has been a talking point for all recent Metal Gear titles but Guns of the Patriots surpasses all before. I'm not going to try and quantify it, suffice to say that upon completing the game I felt that I had spent more time watching than playing.

There are some great themes covered by the rich and incredibly detailed storyline, influences drawn from other games, movies, political and social commentary but much of this is drowned amongst its overwhelming length, drawn out small-talk and painful posturing. They are all skipable of course, but the problem is, that there really are some unforgettably brilliant action scenes hidden amongst it that mean suffering the slow parts if you don't want to miss anything.

It's definitely a matter of taste, with Kojima blurring the lines between what is a videogame and what is a movie, but for me it seemed that in trying to be too much of both, the result was not quite enough of either. The voice acting, character movement and facial animations are all phenomenal leaving the pacing as the only real point of contention. Personally, I wouldn't hold interest in a film or television show with the pacing of MGS4's cinematics but then I'm sure others will be thoroughly engaged. Hell, people are still watching Big Brother after eight seasons.

Moving on to multiplayer, I almost don't want to mention it at all because it's not technically part of MGS4. A 'starter pack' for Metal Gear Online is included on the disc but it's best not to associate this with the parent game as its so far removed from the feel of the single-player that it might have been better to release it separately. It's not terrible, just generic. The interesting aspects it does present are overshadowed by flawed matchmaking that lumps Australians with Europeans and frequently leaves you waiting excessively just to join a simple deathmatch. Some might be able to find entertainment here, but I'm going to omit it from the overall score, lest it reflect poorly on the feature presentation.

For those holding out for that one must-have PlayStation 3 exclusive title to justify the shiny machine's unfaltering price, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots may or may not be the answer. While it may be an exceptional work of art and a material example of the PS3's technical capabilities, you'll either enjoy it, or you won’t.

Like Snake's old cardboard box, much of the game is only here for fan-service - novelty and nostalgia purposes; it really goes above and beyond in that respect. However, if the game's humour and drama is not your style and you don't have the history for the nostalgia, then some pretty polygons, a long-winded story and a bit of generic stealth-action might be all MGS4 has left for you.

If I could put two ratings in the box below, one would be 10 out of 10 for Metal Gear fans, 7.8 for the average gamer. But each game only gets one score so let's split the difference.
What we liked
  • The best looking real-time cut-scenes in a game to date.
  • Massively intricate storyline and characters.
  • A huge fan-service to Metal Gear fans young and old.
What we didn't like
  • Long winded drama smothers the great action scenes
  • Esoteric humour and an overwhelming backstory
  • Multiplayer is best disassociated with the singleplayer
More
We gave it:
8.9
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Scooter
Posted 06:12pm 03/7/08
Why are you always reviewing MGS4/PS3 stuff!?!?!?! Why not some Xbox 360 stuff!

Have yet to buy my own copy but a mate has and as he works alot I get to play it, very cool. Didn't really get into MGS much |(After the first) but this brought me right back.
Spook
Posted 06:22pm 03/7/08
i hate games that go nuts for the cutscene (ff series)

surely they require a lot more work form the developer doing all that animation, that would be better spent coming up with fun gaming ideas . . ..
ctd
Posted 06:52pm 03/7/08
well I have almost finished the game and i have easily enjoyed it more than gta4. best SP game in a fair f***en while. I love MG though.

I reckon you needed to have played and liked the other games to have enjoyed this. So many inside jokes and stories, plus they remade the shadow moses base from MGS1 which was awesome.

last edited by ctd at 18:52:58 03/Jul/08
BassMan
Posted 07:01pm 03/7/08
It must be a hard life Dan - getting paid to play all these games? :)

Good review mate.
Twisted
Posted 08:50pm 03/7/08
Imagine having to force yourself to play crap like this though...
Bah
Posted 09:34pm 03/7/08
8.9, hang your heads in shame ausgamers, this game is a perfect 10.
Midda
Posted 09:55pm 03/7/08
^^ Get f***ed.
B.Hardball
Posted 10:10pm 03/7/08
Interesting review. I personally HATE long cut scenes... Just tell me my mission objectives and let's go.
ara
Posted 10:30pm 03/7/08

men0, whY i5 th1s call3D ausGamers wh3n a11 yoi d0 is review c-0nsl0e gAmEs? were are tghe PeeCee gam4e reviewz? y0 shuld call it ausConsolelovergamerz.com or s0met1ng.
Fish
Posted 11:08pm 03/7/08
hide in plain site

needs more proof reading i say :)
Khel
Posted 12:17am 04/7/08
Yeah, I'm about halfway through this, and absolutely loving it. I expected to enjoy it, cos I'm a fan of the other MGS games, but it surpassed my expectations. But yeah, if you're not a fan of Metal Gear Solid then this isn't going to convert you.
trog
Posted 11:02am 04/7/08
8.9, hang your heads in shame ausgamers, this game is a perfect 10.
haha I watched Dan play it for a little bit and I was bored s***less by what I saw. Pretty much agree with Khel, if you're not an MGS fan you're probably not going to enjoy it as much.

It looked like it had a bunch of cool stuff, but I don't have the patience for sneaking around; in one scene I happened to see he was outside in a blizzard and I remarked upon the slow movement speed - there's no run or sprint, only a crouching shuffle that is pretty slow. Dan mentioned it was a rare moment in the game when you were in a fairly big open space, but it's like the Doom 3 flashlight/gun thing - a sort of weak gameplay mechanic just to force a style of gameplay that I for one don't want to play.
Resonate
Posted 03:44pm 04/7/08
Just finished the game and i thought it was absolutely fantastic.
Crizane Tribal
Posted 05:34pm 04/7/08
Midda
Posted 07:01pm 04/7/08
^^I think the actual dirty hobos are the people who can't comprehend that it's possible to enjoy both.
Crizane Tribal
Posted 09:07pm 04/7/08
^^I think the actual dirty hobos are the people who can't comprehend that it's possible to enjoy both.


Agreed. For me it's more sort of 'PC=one player, alone type stuff. Consoles = Multiplayer fun when friends are over'. Although I prefer PC for single player experience, both platforms have their merits and I appreciate having both. But then, having reasonable, rational and logical discussions on the internet defeats the purpose.

So, yeah, lol@consolef***.
Midda
Posted 01:01pm 05/7/08
Okay, for the people who have played this, I'm considering whether I should get this or not. I played the first one on Playstation back in the day, and enjoyed it. I watched my housemate play through MGS2 not too long ago, and though it was a little crap. I haven't played or watched MGS3.

Does anyone here think I'd enjoy it?
ctd
Posted 03:42pm 05/7/08
If I was to say it was the best console game since MGS1, is that something you might be interested in?
Bah
Posted 04:47pm 05/7/08
If that statement were true, why the f*** have people bothered with consoles since mgs1?
Resonate
Posted 04:55pm 05/7/08
If you enjoyed mgs1 then you will love mgs4. Besides, there's some sort of misconception about having to be stealthy. I shot the s*** out of everything that moved and with over 77+ weapons in the game, i had a lot of fun doing it.
Khel
Posted 07:00pm 05/7/08
Yeah, I didn't really use the stealth to sneak past people, so much as get in a good position from which I could kill them :P And then their buddy would come running over when he realised his mate had been shot, so I'd shoot him too.
Crizane Tribal
Posted 07:05pm 05/7/08
*knock knock* "What was that?.... URGH URGH" *CRUNCH*
Twisted
Posted 07:31pm 05/7/08
Agreed. For me it's more sort of 'PC=one player, alone type stuff. Consoles = Multiplayer fun when friends are over'. Although I prefer PC for single player experience, both platforms have their merits and I appreciate having both. But then, having reasonable, rational and logical discussions on the internet defeats the purpose.
For me...

Console = Single player
PC = MP
Going outside and/or beer = Friends
Bloodhound
Posted 11:25am 06/7/08
Im a PC gamer myself. Single player and multiplayer are both best on PC. The keyboard/mouse controls are more accurate and fluid when it comes to your 3rd and 1st person shooters. Consoles just pale in comparison. That said MGS4 is utterly amazing. I purchased it hesitantly, and was very happy after an hour of play. Yes the cut scenes did get a little tedious though. Good review Dan. Honest and precise.

Long live PC, lets hope for a resurrection soon!
Scooter
Posted 12:25pm 06/7/08
Depends on the game and how well the controls were programed. I like RPG's better on console, because I lie down on the couch to play them.
Midda
Posted 07:49pm 06/7/08
I bought it yesterday. Yes, it's a very good game, but anyone who thinks it's worth more than 8.9 is either seeing something I'm not seeing, or seeing something that simply isn't there. It's got more than it's fair share of problems and irritating perks. I've been amazed on many occasions at just how stupid the AI can be.

I am still enjoying it quite a bit, and despite their unbelievable length and frequency, I've found the cutscenes entertaining enough to watch too. I'll more than likely skip through most of them if I were to play through it a second time though.

And what the f*** was up with that interview when you start a new game? That one with the creepy old lady and the dude with the Solid Eye?
ctd
Posted 08:12pm 06/7/08
And what the f*** was up with that interview when you start a new game? That one with the creepy old lady and the dude with the Solid Eye?

There is a couple of variations. One time I started it was an interview with david hayer (voice of snake) and another time it was doco about a type of octopus.
Khel
Posted 08:44pm 06/7/08
I've had an ad for one of the PMC's and an "exercise with a personal trainer over the internet" infomercial.
Resonate
Posted 09:24pm 06/7/08
Hahaha yeah, when i first started the game and saw it i was like wtf is this? You can actually change channels using the controller.
DarkTreader
Posted 02:22pm 07/7/08
The ads at the start of the game are all based in the Metal Gear world -- there are 6 or 7 of them that I can recall, all dealing with aspects of the game. There's the interview with David Hayter (as stated, the voice of Solid Snake), the '7 Levels of Hell' which gives some random background info on the makeup of the PMCs, the 'personal trainer' ad which shows the level of nanotechnology that's throughout the MG universe, ads for various equipment in the game: OctoCamo, the target lock system, etc..., and then there's one that's an ad for a PMC itself IIRC, the one with the guy in black/girl in white and the aerial gun/CQC battle.

As was stated, this game is NOT for those who have not played the previous MG games. If you pick this up as a 'first time introduction' the the MG story, you'll be completely confused. But for those of us who recognize the sheer awesomeness that is Solid Snake, you'll appreciate how thoroughly Kojima wraps up all of the loose ends. I'd also recommend paying particular attention to the Gregson-Williams soundtrack, as it may possibly be his best work to date.
Midda
Posted 02:34pm 07/7/08
If you pick this up as a 'first time introduction' the the MG story, you'll be completely confused.

I've kept up with the story in the first and second games, and I still end up occasionally saying to myself "what the f*** are they talking about?". I've had to jump onto Wikipedia to try and get up to speed on all the different crap they babble about, while trying to avoid the MGS4 info I haven't encountered in the game yet.
ctd
Posted 03:59pm 07/7/08
You can download this database off the PSN which links up with your savegames so you don't get spoiled.


SPOILERSSS******* (whats the code again for it)
Spoiler:

I wish the game ended with snake killing himself, instead of that extra stuff it had after the credits




last edited by ctd at 15:59:05 07/Jul/08
Midda
Posted 04:10pm 07/7/08
Oh cool, I wanted to get that, but I read that it wasn't available outside of the USA and Japan. Is it available here now, or do I need to make a US/Japanese PSN account?
ctd
Posted 04:18pm 07/7/08
available with an AUS PSN-ID
BassMan
Posted 06:42pm 07/7/08
As was stated, this game is NOT for those who have not played the previous MG games.
You're not kidding - back to EB straight away. Just not my cup of tea. :(
blahrat
Posted 02:42pm 08/7/08
Never really got into MGS, but I'm not a patient player.
Dm
Posted 11:15am 13/7/08
Never got into the MGS series. I've always found that when I want to play a stealth game, i'll boot up a GOOD one like any of the thief series (even 3, although that was'nt as good as 2)
Midda
Posted 07:52pm 13/7/08
I think it's pretty silly that they write "tactical action espionage" on the front cover of this game. After having played it this week, I went back and played the CoD4. I think the ghillie suit mission in that game is more tactical than anything in MGS4. It's still fun, but I wouldn't really say it's particularly tactical.
ctd
Posted 10:24am 19/7/08
Spoiler: This is SP steven farrelly game of the year
Midda
Posted 01:25pm 19/7/08
I'll be disappointed if this game gets Game of the Year.
LOLOMGWTF
Posted 09:31am 22/7/08
MGS 4 deserves a perfect 10. They have long cut scenes because its the last game and they need to explain a lot of secrets. Just respect it and dont talk bulls*** about it thx ^^
TiT
Posted 10:14am 22/7/08
Is it coming out on PC... WTF is with games that arent coming to PC... FPS are made for PC not gamepads...
Midda
Posted 10:50am 22/7/08
MGS 4 deserves a perfect 10. They have long cut scenes because its the last game and they need to explain a lot of secrets. Just respect it and dont talk bulls*** about it thx ^^

Pumpkin_pete was a much better troll account.

Is it coming out on PC... WTF is with games that arent coming to PC... FPS are made for PC not gamepads...

It's not an FPS. MGS1 and 2 (the only ones that were on PC) weren't really any easier on PC than on the console, imo. It's not a twitch game by any means, so there's not really any benefit to be had from a keyboard and mouse.
Midda
Posted 02:31pm 31/7/08
Why advertise WoW services in a thread about MGS4? F*****g fail.
Donovanonfire
Posted 11:35am 24/6/09
This is the most honest online MGS 4 review I've read. I've tried to get into every game MGS game since the revamp of the series forthe original Playstation, but I can never get into them, and MGS 4 was no different. This game is practically unplayable unless you're a MGS fan already.
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