Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

by Angela Simpson
author awarded score: 60/100

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Format Reviewed: Playstation 3
Reviewed by: Angela Simpson

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has been a long time coming and has garnered perfect scores on majority of sites, so this review will be a little different. We’re not here to slate the title by any means, but we intend to give a fully non-bias – non rose tinted spectacles - review for those that may be new to the Metal Gear franchise.

Metal Gear Solid has been around for a long time, with the first game in the series being released way back in 1998 on the PS1. Gamers tended to sit on one side of the fence or the other with regards to its ‘sheer brilliance’ or ‘overhyped’ positioning and to us it seems MGS4 certainly fits that framework well. We can’t really flesh out the game overly as we don’t want to spoil things, so forgive this review if it seems devoid of story / plot detail.

Briefly though, you take on the role of a character named Snake. He’s a guy with problems; he’s prematurely aging and sick as a dog. He looks kind of like Sam Elliot could play him in the movie version. He’s on a mission to find his twin brother and enemy, the amusingly named Liquid Snake. And so the story goes, kill or be killed, but MGS4 dishes up this age old formula in a convoluted yet stylish manner.

Graphically there is little doubt Metal Gear Sold 4 is a lovely title. Additions such as the refined stealth armor of Snake that changes – chameleon style - into whatever the background happens to be are nicely done. Character modeling too maintains a high production quality as do environments overall. Kojima and team have been extravagant in their presentation and it shines through. Sound too is of movie quality, with environmental sound effects almost taking on a life of their own at certain points, particularly with a good surround sound set-up. Some of the voice acting got a little screechy, but overall, really well done.

All those cut-scenes.
The major issue with Metal Gear Solid 4 for us is the sheer length of some of the cut-scenes. We felt this completely detracted from the flow of the game and whilst good at giving story elements seemed fractured with regards to the actual levels. It almost felt like you would run, sneak and gun a level then gain all the story insight via a convoluted cut-scene. If you like Japanese socio-political moralizing in huge doses, you’ll truly enjoy the cut-scenes, for us though it was all a bit too lengthy and boring, kind of like movie, split up with a few levels of gameplay. Add to this game installs at the start of each level and one will be putting the kettle on a lot. The ultimate disaster though is the final cut-scene, though whilst informative seems to go on as though it were a diatribe filled movie tacked onto the end of the game, be prepared to make a nice cup of tea and sit till your ass is numb.

Regarding the female point of view, there are quite a few female characters joining the party, no matter what age. Sunny for example is a young girl who unfortunately is being captived. Meryl Silverburgh is a female soldier who idolized and fought alongside Snake. And more to come: Naomi Hunter is a geneticist specialized in nanotechnology and another scientist is the Chinese-American Mei Ling. Big mama also comes along as the cold war-era spy but if Snake can't handle it, there's always Rosemary, a psychological counselor who offers her advice to Snake.

Metal Gear Solid 4 will either have you smiling with glee or wondering why you stumped up a hundred bucks for an elongated, slightly interactive, socio political commentary. One thing that can be said with certainty is that the mastermind behind the game – Hideo Kojima – didn’t compromise on his vision and did everything possible to tie up loose ends within the epic framework.

For us, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was a long winded movie with some game elements and annoying hard drive installs. Add to this the over macho premise and repetitive gameplay and we had to truly force ourselves to finish the thing. We feel fans of the series will love that this title ties up all the loose ends one can imagine. Die hard fans may berate us our negativity, but when compared to film narrative titles like Mass Effect or BioShock, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots fell a little short of our overall expectations. Still, that’s not to say it’s a dire game by any means. The love Kojima and his team have filled the landscape with truly does exude from every pixel. Our advice, rent it for a weekend and if you love it, buy it.

Review courtesy of our friends at LesbianGamers