Eye.Have.You (First Impressions of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

20 Jun

I finally got a chance to play Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, for six hours no less, so I had a chance to formulate more than just a few first impressions.

-The emphasis on shooting in open environments combined with your potential native rebel allies is very welcome change of pace.

-The load screen between areas isn’t too bothersome but makes each area feel like levels in a more traditional game instead of one large warzone. They also hinder a very fast-paced, and otherwise enjoyable, scene in an awkward way.

-With such a large selection of weapons and custom parts, the gun shop can be pretty daunting, but I’m sure the wide variety will add loads of replay value.

-Despite the new focus on combat, the classic MGS stealth action returns intact. In fact, it’s even more fun this time around because of the action since there is so much going on around you while you’re sneaking around.

-The OctoCamo is easy to use and pretty addicting.

-I was worried about the length of the cinemas and was partly right. In classic MGS fashion, some cinemas tend to shift from vital conversations to long-winded lectures about the complicated technology and plot at hand. I’m all for a complex plot as long as it’s well thought-out and executed, but if you need to spend twenty minutes explaining what’s going on, you need to work on your storytelling, at least when working with video games.

-It should be noted, though, that the cinemas do have a bit of interaction involved here, including cool, mini flashbacks that use the graphics from older games when past people, places, and events are referred to.

-Compared to the cinemas, the Codec conversations are ridiculous. They’re plain unrealistic to begin with as they typically happen at the beginning of each new area despite enemies lurking all around. What’s worse is the fact that the conversations start off simple enough, asking relevant questions, but just like the specific cinemas mentioned above, they spill into other areas of conversation that Snake (and, more importantly, the player) doesn’t have time for.

-Like my experience with Crisis Core, I occasionally found myself wishing the game would actually let me play, rather than watch. It wasn’t quite as bad as Crisis Core though since the cinemas in MGS4 are beautifully done.

-The first boss fight I encountered, as far as I can tell so far, was pretty unnecessary. It had a few cool, even shocking moments, but it came off as filler; just a bizarre character to show off the depth of Kojima’s imagination. Hopefully, I’ll be proved wrong later in the game.

Overall, the game is really good, but with a game this important and praised, it’s hard not to see flaws that wouldn’t be issues otherwise. I came into MGS4 with a bit of skepticism, but it hasn’t ruined my experience.

Still, the I think people who are claiming the game is a new form of storytelling should really stop and think about what a game should be. A great game should never leave me wishing I could play instead of watch. I understand that there are some fans of this style of presentation, and that’s fine, but overall, a game should be able to present its storyline in more interactive ways.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish the game at my brother’s house in the next week or so.

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3 Responses to “Eye.Have.You (First Impressions of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)”

  1. Jason June 20, 2008 at 8:15 PM #

    I’d have to agree with you the cutscenes ARE pretty long, but if you’ve been with the MGS saga from the beginning, you’ll appreciate it. The only thing I do miss from the game though is the feature they used on MGS3. The whole feeding/curing option. There should have been a way to implement it. Just a thought. Oh yeah, I just remembered something. It’s totally unrelated. But, if you fill up any time from now til Thursday, save your receipt. Jack-In-The Box will be having a TWO FREE TACOS DAY on Thursday June 26th. All you have to do is present a valid gas receipt and you’ll receive TWO FREE TACOS. Easy as that. I know it’s going to be hard to pry yourself from MGS4, I know I did every time I had to go to sleep or work. I still haven’t started my second playthrough though. But yeah, definitely take advantage of TWO FREE TACOS DAY at your local Jack-In-The-Box. JUNE 26th.

    http://www.jackinthebox.com/twofreetacosday

    Note: I can just imagine Snake saying “Mmmmmmm. I want some moooore” LoL

  2. chasmang June 20, 2008 at 10:37 PM #

    Haha, thanks for the info. 😛

  3. namekuseijin June 21, 2008 at 5:56 AM #

    “A great game should never leave me wishing I could play instead of watch. I understand that there are some fans of this style of presentation, and that’s fine, but overall, a game should be able to present its storyline in more interactive ways.”

    I fully understand your pain. This is exactly why I’ve dropped out of mainstream gaming industry offering and am so addicted now to interactive fiction. You know: the author describes places, objects and characters in textual format and you can interact with this story by giving some imperative natural language commands such as “go north”, “enter car”, “examine object”, “put cup on the table”, “ask tom about something” etc

    Perhaps you’ve already seen this in my post at brainygamer. No problem, try them again. 🙂 Modern web browser required.

    http://parchment.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/parchment.html?story=http://parchment.toolness.com/if-archive/games/zcode/shade.z5.js
    http://parchment.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/parchment.html?story=http://parchment.toolness.com/if-archive/games/zcode/Tangle.z5.js

    I’m sure you’ll agree with me they’re far ahead most cutscene-driven games in sheer interactiveness and setting (which, after all, occurs in your head).

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