THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS NO SPOILERS
Keen has been bugging me for a while to start writing more and I have little excuses left. I have an abundance of games and material to talk about and he finally cornered me into writing my initial impressions on the newly released Metal Gear Solid 4. Now I haven’t played for that long so far, but I intend this to be a first part in possibly several posts that detail my experiences in the game.
Where to begin… Well, I haven’t been much of a MGS fan. Sure I’ve played the games, but I never felt the immense hype that most do when it comes to the Metal Gear Solid series. However this changed when I went back and replayed the series not too long ago. I’m still by no means a die-hard fan, but I really do derive more enjoyment from the games. Anyways, onto the my impressions.
MGS4 had quite a bit of hype surrounding it ever since it was first announced and I’d say it has so far delivered. Do I think it’s “the most amazing game that this great Earth will ever gift to us” (Not my words) or worthy of perfect scores? Honestly, I don’t think so. Not yet, at least. Sure it’s a fantastic game, but I wouldn’t say it’s perfect. That doesn’t mean it’s not pretty close, though.
Alright, let’s start with the controls, since that just popped into my mind. Everything plays great and is really responsive, but for some reason they changed the classic MGS style control scheme. That kind of threw me for a bit, but I was somewhat prepared as it plays exactly like the MGS: Online beta did. There are definitely a lot more things Snake can do this time around, such as more CQC options and other general stealth techniques. The camera controls a lot better as well, keeping the new angle that was introduced in MGS3: Subsistance. Overall I’m pretty impressed with how things work.
I have mixed feelings on the gameplay at this point. For some reason it feels like the stealth/sneaking component of the games has devolved in MGS3 and MGS4. It feels like sneaking around mainly consists of slowly crawling around while trying to stay camouflaged. Sometimes I find myself getting impatient and just shooting people, which IS pretty fun. The weapons system seems to have gotten quite an upgrade in this outing. You can customize weapons by adding sights, silencers, lasers, etc and there are quite a lot of weapons to choose from. Anyways, back to the stealth gameplay… This time around Snake uses a pretty awesome camo suit that changes to match his surroundings. It’s pretty neat and a lot better than pausing the game every other minute to swap to a different camouflage outfit. I can definitely understand when people make the observation/joke that the game is just a crappy action game cleverly disguised as a stealth game, but I honestly enjoy most all of it.
The visuals really are impressive, and the surround sound is great too. At least when Keen lets me turn the volume up past the level only dogs can hear. Most everything looks great and the animations are pretty solid. There are some weird looking textures here and there, but nothing to distract you much. I’m playing it on a 52″ plasma display and it just looks fantastic.
Overall I’d say I’m thoroughly enjoying the game. I really can’t find many things to complain about, and the things I can just aren’t that big. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking it up. Sometime I’ll get around to trying the multiplayer component and provide an overview of that, but for now I’ll be sneaking (crawling) around by myself.