Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Guest Reviewers - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: Playstation 3 (Sony)
Produced by: Konami
Price Range: $51-60
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Adults Only
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Reviewed By: Zach Walton

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆
Genre: Third Person Shooter, Tactical Espionage Action
Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 2 of 5 (heavy)

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.  Illustration copyrighted.

21 years ago, a start up developer changed the action game genre with the one idea that the player must sneak past the enemies. That idea has spawned multiple sequels, spin offs and imitators. Now, in 2008, Hideo Kojima has created the final chapter in his saga that follows the final mission of special ops agent, Solid Snake.

Story: *spoilers from here on out* The story takes place 5 years after MGS2. Solid Snake is rapidly aging due to the cloning process that created him. He is told to complete one final mission. He is sent to the Middle East to eliminate his brother, Liquid Snake, who has possessed a mainstay adversary, Revolver Ocelot.
Suffice to say, Snake fails this mission and thus begins the global pursuit of Liquid Ocelot. You travel from country to country in pursuit of Liquid Ocelot to foil his plans culminating in an epic final confrontation between the two brothers.
I'm intentionally leaving a lot of story out to prevent spoilers. The story is fantastic and will keep any longtime MGS fan glued to their television screen until they finish it. MGS4 blends the boundary between film and games to create a truly cinematic story.


Gameplay: The gameplay is largely untouched from previous MGS games. The main goal is to sneak from point A to point B without being seen. The main change this time around is that there are less places to hide. The games main motto is “No place to hide.” That is evident in all the areas that are in the game. The gamer has a few items that will help them to stay hidden from all the enemy soldiers. The first and foremost is the OctoCamo which changes the sneaking suit's pattern to blend in with the environment. The others are mainstays such as cardboard boxes, stealth camo and costumes belonging to the enemy.
The game, however, can be played like an action game this time around. The combat system has been fully revamped to be more like a AAA action game such as Gears of War. To pull out a weapon, press the L1 button. To fire, press the R1 button and hold the triangle button to go into first person view. A lot of changes that MGS3 brought to the table are still present. Weapons are still limited in your in game inventory which you change out with the pause menu. Items are used the same way.
There are three gauges that gamers will have to look out for as they progress through the game. As always, Snake's health must be maintained through the use of rations, noodles, health drinks, etc. The stamina gauge has now been replaced with the psyche gauge though they are largely the same. If Snake runs low on psyche, his performance will be greatly diminished. If Snake's psyche runs out, he will be knocked out until you restore it to a certain level by shaking the left analog stick right and left.

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Graphics: The graphics are simply stunning. There is not a single badly animated character or a dull texture. Everything is sharp and brilliant. I have played the game both on a tiny SDTV and a large HDTV. On both, the game looks amazing and will please any graphic fans in the audience. Half-Life 2 held the gauntlet for years as having the best facial animations in the industry. MGS4 has taken the gauntlet from Valve with flying colors.
Sound: The soundtrack is simply fantastic showing once again that Harry-Gregson Williams knows how to create a score. Every single track fits the mood perfectly and there are a few great surprises thrown in as throwbacks to previous games' scores.
The voice acting is once again hit or miss. David Hayter impresses once again as Solid Snake. Phil LaMarr does a great job as Vamp. The other voice actors have moments of brilliance while bringing on the ham. The best example being Christoper Randolf as the voice of Otacon. He does a great job until an emotional scene. As seen in MGS2, he can not create a realistic cry and therefore, any emotion that the scene had is lost as you just laugh at how bad the voice acting is.

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Violence: As always, the MGS4 games are violent. MGS4 is more violent than others due to the better graphics. Enemies will bleed and will spew out blood upon being shot. Enemies will leave blood stains on the ground and the player can keep on shooting them to create more blood. A few of the cutscenes are quite violent as the player will see the Metal Gear Gekko's limbs being chopped off with plenty of blood and gore.
Language: This is definitely the most language filled entry into the MGS series. It is the first game to receive the “Strong Language” ESRB descriptor. One of the characters uses the s-word quite frequently as well as one of the bosses exclaiming, “It's so f***ing hysterical!” The rest of the language is usual MGS fare with frequent uses of d***, b****** and h***.
Sexual Content: A few of the female characters are loosely dressed showing a lot of cleavage. The Beauty and the Beat unit members are extremely detailed in all aspects including those of a sexual nature. They will also coo and make sexual noises during certain parts of the boss fights. Playboy magazine is the item in the game that replaces the magazine of previous games. The player can view the magazine in first person and view different pages to restore Snake's psyche. There is no nudity in the magazines though.

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Spiritual Content: There is a psychic once again in the game. Her powers are not of a supernatural nature though. There is also the presence of ghosts in the game as well as previous psychics whose powers are real. One of the easter eggs in the game is that you hear the voice of God after you shoot down a painting of the crucifixion. It's meant to be a joke mostly as the voice of God is Hideo Kojima but some may find it offensive. It's well hidden though so most gamers will most likely never see it.
Redeeming Features: Snake is a true hero. A friend of mine put it once, “It's strange that a Japanese game can make me feel more patriotic towards America than any American product.” This proves true yet again in MGS4. Solid Snake is a true hero and does not want to sacrifice anybody. People come to throw down their lives in defense of those they love but Snake stops them to remind them of their youth and how much more they can accomplish. He remains humble throughout the entire game and sacrifices everything so that the next generation can live in peace. One of the characters says, “We are born to atone for our sins.” Snake takes this to heart and takes everybody's mistakes upon himself. If there is ever a Christ figure in gaming, Snake is the closest to it.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is a great finish to a great series. The move to PlayStation 3 has not done anything but improve the experience for all who choose to play it. The game is a blast to play and is a must for any Metal Gear Solid fan. Those who were not fans before MGS4, don't even bother as the changes aren't enough to sway people who didn't like the games beforehand. I would recommend it to any mature gamer who's over the age of 18.


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Year of Release — 2008

[tags] 3.5 stars, Third Person Shooter, Playstation 3 (Sony), M (Mature), Konami [/tags]


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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