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PS3 Review – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

June 16, 2008 Written by Anthony Severino

The bar has officially been raised.  Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots is the single most ambitious game to be released thus far.  If you own a PlayStation 3, or consider yourself a fan of video games, then you OWE it to yourself to play this game.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots, is the ultimate game for fans of the series, explaining every last plot detail, and offering a perfect conclusion.  Newcomers to the series should have no trouble picking up the gameplay, as this game can be played with its conventional stealth tactics, or you can choose to play it as a shooter, and run and gun through the whole game.

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The game picks up 5 years after the Big Shell incident from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty and is a direct sequel.  However the story will explain everything dating back to the first Metal Gear, even the prequel, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.  The story is told through gameplay, and the over the top cinematic cutscenes that blend together seamlessly and never take you out of the action.  This time around cutscenes are fully skippable, even though we don’t recommend skipping them at all.   We suggest you instead take the time to catch all of the flashbacks, which can be initiated by pressing the X button during certain parts of a cutscene.  Cutscenes at points, offer a first person view from Snake so you can see things going on, that you wouldn’t normally be able to see.  During “mission briefings” you can take control of the Metal Gear Mk II and inspect areas that are off limits to gameplay, netting you hidden items, and a special view of the Nomad.  The characters have the biggest impact on the storyline, and no other game has done a better job of making you feel what the characters are feeling.  No other game brings you closer to having a relationship with the characters, where you actually develop an emotional attachment to them.  One moment you will be rooting for someone, then next moment you will be furious when they double cross you.

During the game Kojima Productions really stresses the “Final Mission” theme.  You will actually feel Snake’s pain, and by the end of the game, just like an “old dog of war” you actually want to see him “put down” to end his suffering.

Another one of the game’s themes is the psychological effect of warfare, and throughout the game, they did an amazing job showing it.  From letting you feel the mental anguish of the Beauty and the Beast Unit, only to hear their back story, and actually feel bad for them.  To, getting a chill when you hear the call of a Gekko.

The game is broken up into 5 acts, each of which feels like a different game from the past, while also feeling completely new.  The game starts with a 8 minute install, and between each act requires additional 3 minute installs.  While this may sound like a bad thing, its actually great, because other than the installs, I didn’t want to put the game down at all.  It provided time for a much needed break.  In fact during the installs, the game itself recommends you get up and stretch, among other things.

While the game is linear, the way you go about progressing is nothing of the sort.  You have many paths to travel to get to your goal.  You could play each act 10 times, and it will never be the same twice.  You can use your espionage tactics to stealthily sneak through each stage, or you can forgo any stealth, and run and gun your way through the stage.  Stealth is the way the game is meant to be played, and you will find that using stealth to you advantage offers many rewards.

The controls are very intuitive.  Series vets will feel right at home, but it they have altered the control scheme just enough so that newcomers can pick it right up and play.

This isnt the Metal Gear Solid you remember, gone are the patrolling guards of the past.  The game is now set amidst a ongoing war, where you not only have to avoid guards but the rebel forces as well, that is until you can befriend them.  Guards will actively seek you out, and are much more intelligent than ever before.  Gekko patrol the streets giving a feeling of horror when you see how massive and devastatingly agile they can be.

The weapon system is deep, and offers some unique customizations.  Each customization effects different attributes of the gun.  You can only hold 5 weapons in your quick select menu, which offers the challenge of choosing the best weapon set for the enemies you are encountering.   You scour dead bodies on the battlefield, trying to procure ID locked weapons so you can sell them for “Drebin points” to the game’s arms dealer Drebin.  Drebin ends up playing a more important role in the game than just “arms dealer”, he fills in tid bits of the storyline you may have questions about, and even saves snakes hide a couple times.

The boss fights are just what you would expect from the MGS series, each one epic, needing a completely different strategy to take down each adversary.  One particular boss fight, is THE boss fight to trump all other boss fights for now on, as you get to do something that you only dreamed of doing before in the series.

The games visuals are simply the best that any console game has to offer, and really shows what the PlayStation 3 is capable of.   During the whole playthrough, I didn’t notice any screen tearing, or any frame rate drops, only smooth, breathtaking gameplay.

The audio in the game really brings the battlefield to life, espcially if you have a decent surround sound setup.  The sound of bullets flying by, and people screaming are so realistic it will really give you the feeling of being there.  The musical score, is the best the series has seen, every track going perfectly with the atmosphere of the game.  Snake even has an iPod, where he can choose tracks discovered throughout the game.

As soon as you finish the main game, it will leave you wanting to play it again and again.  It even gives you plenty of reason to play it, with many unlockables, alternative costumes, and an emblem system rewarding you for things such as, “no continues” and “no alert phases”.

Even if you were to do everything the main game has to offer, you can always swith to Metal Gear Online, with its many multi-player modes.  Play with as many as 16 players and test your stealth and shooting skills online.  MGO even offers the games “Drebin Points” system, and allows you to customize your weapons as well as your weapon inventory.  Full clan support, and rankings are available community features.

In summary, this is the best video game I have ever played.  So good, that every other game I had once considered a 10, has me reconsidering that score.  Before MGS4, I didnt realize how complete a video game could be.  This is the first game this generation to “wow” me, the first game to make me say” so this is what next gen is”.   As I said before if you own a PlayStation 3, or are a fan of great video games, then you simply must play this game…

This is the only game I feel comfortable giving a perfect score to, Kojima Productions have given us nothing short of perfection, and I must give respect when its due.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


Graphical powerhouse!

Huge arsenal of weaponry and items.

Truly epic story arch that wraps up many loose ends.

10 out of 10