Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
released on Jun 12, 2008
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the final canonical Metal Gear game to feature Solid Snake as the main character. The gameplay of the previous games have been kept along with some new features, such as the ability to roll on your back and also to hide in bins scattered around the environment. Most of the story and the relationship between the characters are explained through cut-scenes with a considerable length, so knowledge of the prior games is recommended to fully understand the story. The game also features a complex multiplayer mode entitled Metal Gear Online with some original missions based on the stealth aspects of the single-player games.
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This game is a trainwreck, but it's a very enjoyable trainwreck.
Sadly this game marks the point where to me it feels like the Metal Gear games were being made more out of obligation to tie up loose ends rather than being passion projects like the previous games. The story of this game has never sit well with me. There are some interesting ideas, but I feel like it's trying so desperately to wrap up every loose ends so the series can finally end and in doing so we're given a lot of contrived answers to questions that really didn't need to be answered.
And that's a shame because the game itself is pretty good.
Gameplay-wise it builds upon what's been established in previous Metal Gear games and is a ton of fun. The octo-camo's ability to change on the fly is a really clever solution to the issue of constantly having to navigate MGS3's admittedly clunky survival viewer and as for new mechanics I really appreciate the threat ring thing as an alternative to the "eagle/detective vision/wall hacks" that every modern stealth game employs nowadays and I think it's a worthwhile mechanic that should be built upon.
My only real gripe with the game is the poor framerate. The framerate is unlocked and only rarely hits 60 hovering around 30-40 mark most of the time and when things get too hectic it often drops to the lower 10s. It's not ideal and I feel a locked 30 FPS cap could have made the game feel a lot more consistent.
The most gut-wrenching ending to a game ever. If only the events leading up to it were enjoyable.
War has changed.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is an achievement in fiction not just as a game or "movie" as some would describe it, but as a work of transformative art made only possible by a man as intricate and fascinating as Hideo Kojima. What Guns of the Patriots is able to do is close a chapter on the world of a franchise born in the eighties, with poignant and predictive storytelling truly ahead of its time. There is nothing like Metal Gear Solid in media today, there was nothing like it before, and there may be nothing like it after. The way MGS and Kojima were able to weave meta commentary on politics, war, and sociocultural impact is nothing short of miraculous. Touching on this story without devolving into spoilers is rather difficult, but I will say to anyone willing to embark on this incredible journey, it is worth it. This is the first time in a long time that I am truly speechless and having a tough time writing my post gameplay review. They almost always flow naturally from my fingertips, written as if they were a stream of consciousness... but alas Kojima has checkmated anything I could put to proverbial paper.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is a conjunction of MGS2/3's sneaking playstyle and the storytelling of a feature film. There's countless moments where you as the player are invited to put down your controller and watch a narrative maestro at work, carefully weaving together histories and plotlines that developed fifty years before this game takes place. In a way Chekov's gun reigns true, as KojiPro was able to close almost every conceivable plotline and moment from the series in this title alone in the way of convenient plot elements and character monologues/soliloquy. The story that began with the hero known as Snake aka Big Boss, Zero, Ocelot, and Eva all comes to a halt as does the hatred that drove them and the world all apart. The control of information and the puppetering of the war economy become a driving force for the antagonists as they steer humanity into a dark age of conformance. Can Solid Snake, Otacon, and their crew of problematic miscreants save the world in a myserious war against their psyches? The answer is provided in Guns of the Patriots, and it will take you and your creative whimsy into a previously untapped locale of media.
With the recent news of the revival of MGS for modern platforms, I am cautiously optimistic for a new generation of gamers to encounter (heh) the incredible world that Metal Gear truly is. I hope they are able to dissect the commentary that is written in about our future and our past from the game they are playing. I hope they can laugh in one moment to ponder the existence of memetics as a cultural driving force in the next.
Shine on Big Boss, Solid Snake, Otacon, and Hideo Kojima.
War has changed.
I'll never forgive Kojima for making Maryl marry that dweeb.