Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Genre: Stealth Action, Third- Person Shooter
Platform(s): PS3
Allegiance: Kojima Productions
Vintage: 2008
Rating: M
Intelligence Agency Report by: Shadow
War…has changed. The battlefield, life, and the economy are all controlled by war. ID-tagged soldiers, PMCs, and rebels alike take to the battlefield in a never-ending series of proxy wars. These wars are designed only to help drive the “war economy,” a product of the Patriots and their complete control of information. As a shadow returns to fight against the Patriots and mount an insurrection, a legendary hero by the name of Solid Snake must rise against his brother and put an end to it.

Weapons Expert Report by: Shadow 
Overall 9.75
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: Playstation 3 

Once in a blue moon comes a game series that rockets a game developer to that upper echelons.  For Hideo Kojima and his team, who have developed many wonderful games and movies, THIS was that series.  Fans of the Metal Gear Solid (MGS) series have come to know and love Solid Snake (and hate Raiden for the most part) and know the story of Snake, his brothers, and his father.  This game is a culmination of their stories going all the way from the Virtuous Mission to Shadow Moses and the rest of the world. There are two major caveats to this game:

  • 1.)    While you can get away with not playing MGS3 or Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, it is HIGHLY recommended that you play MGS and MGS2 first to understand a much deeper backstory.
  • 2.)    Loading the game takes several minutes on the first run, and there is a video sequence you’ll have to get through before the juicy action.  So have 15-20 minutes on standby before the fun, because there is no way to avoid it.

Like all of the MGS games, MGS4 is twisting and confusing and usually coming together only in the last half-hour or so, when the strands braid into rope.  This time, the rope is interwoven with other story lines that go way back, even past the MGS series itself at times.  The game became a tribute to Solid Snake and his lineage, something that will make the gamer proud.

Snake, who is experiencing rapid aging due to his genetics, has been called upon by his long-time friend Roy Campbell to assist in taking down Liquid Snake after Liquid shows up in the Middle East.  Liquid’s devious plot then begins to unfold, all while the world continues the proxy wars.  An unexpected twist happens when Naomi Hunter is back on the radar and attempting to enlist the help of Snake, whom she tried to kill 9 years prior at Shadow Moses.  MGS4 continues the trend of confusing storylines all the way until the highly emotional ending, which may leave even the most hardened MGS veteran crying.  The plot was by far the most solid of the MGS games, and delivered a wonderful ending to the story for Solid Snake.

MSG4 was seen as one of those games that was going to vindicate the usage of the PS3’s wonderful graphics and processing power.  Two benchmarks of the game showed just how far the PS3 has come since its grandfather, the original Playstation.  The first is that the mustache on Old Snake alone takes 4 times as many pixels as Snake and all his motions from MGS.  The second is that this game is the VERY FIRST to require a dual layer Blu-ray disc, a feat that even movies didn’t achieve at the time of the game’s release.  The graphics in the game were wonderful, rich, crisp, and had no issues with skipping or freezing.  While they aren’t the maximum of next generation graphics, they are very close to that ability and make buildings, characters, mustaches, and explosions come to life.  The audio is especially crisp and has an amazing soundtrack that blows away all but the series’ opening them.

Many of the favorite, and most despised, characters come back.  Snake and Liquid continue a nearly decade-long hatred of one another, while Meryl returns as a commanding soldier who has learned confidence, along with her team.  Mei Ling, Naomi Hunter, and even old faces from MGS3 return.  New bosses from the B&B Corps, which reflect all the bosses of the prior 3 games, show up to challenge Snake.  While Snake has old and new enemies alike to fight, he also has allies in Raiden (who is no longer quite as he was in prior games) and Drebin the gun launderer.

Kojima said that this would be Solid Snake’s last game.  While it is sad to see his story line end, fans of MGS still have plenty to look forward to with Kojima and his team making new games every couple of years. MGS4 was well put together, and a beautiful use of the Blu-ray and audio available, while also building a wonderful storyline that ties all the loose ends up.  Just don’t shuffle this game under a cardboard box, drop the money on it and have fun.