The boldest sequel ever made to one of the most important games of its time. Including being the biggest technical leap you can witness a series going from one console generation to the next. I have little to elaborate on and expand upon from my first playthrough of this game months ago; I'm only just confirming my feelings on this now as though written on stone tablets. My quintessential favorite video game of all time remains Fallout: New Vegas, and that personal fact will never change, but Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty officially trails right behind as being my absolute second favorite in the medium.
It's an understatement to say this game was ahead of its time with how relevant its commentary has become this past year. Something that people in 2001 didn’t fully appreciate because they got too distracted by how far Kojima went in his cautionary story about subjective reality and the impending dangers that technology will impose on society without being aware of it. But thanks to the passage of time, what Kojima was trying to accomplish with his unconventional sequel is now better appreciated and taken to heart. The original Metal Gear Solid was about ‘gene’, the lineage that defines why we’re here in life and whether we should accept that. In Metal Gear Solid 2, we’ve moved onto ‘meme’, the passing of cultural ideas that we struggle to sort out for the future. Even though it doesn't seem like his favorite game (toss up between 3 and 5 from searching it up), I think this is probably Kojima's most personal game because of the themes and creativity. Metal Gear is a franchise about passionate people who are even more ideologically motivated, passing the torch to the next generation while struggling to decipher what needs to be passed on to let the world succeed. Kojima clearly resonates with these ideas a lot, and when taking a peek into his personal history, it makes sense why. This stems from a sad episode from Kojima's childhood where his father died, and he spent the rest of his life haunted by this memory. He was trying to make sense of his death and what his father must've wanted Kojima to take away from it to pass along for his future. These games feel like Kojima trying to express this personal struggle and understand more about himself alongside the player.
I believe that's why the ending of the game is the most inspiring and greatest ending in video game history because of its message. Like Raiden, Kojima finally found what he wanted to live for and pass on to the future when his time is eventually over. It's making these games, which reflect his passion for literature, movies, and video games, to impart onto the player, who'll pass along his ideas through their experiences. This was released in 2001, and they pulled this shit off? Unbelievable.