Oh, Inconsistent Me

25 Jul

I really need to finish Metal Gear Solid 4. Unfortunately, I can’t just barge in to my brother’s house and commandeer his PS3. I can, however, borrow his copies of the other MGS games. I spent the last 48 hours playing through Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (first time through) and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in that order.

You may remember that I gave MGS3 a try a few weeks back and hated it for its less than stellar control scheme. Well, I was watching GameTrailers’ MGS Retrospective and got that guilty feeling you get when you give up on a game that has been given so much praise.

This time around, I browsed through some of the game’s options and found a briefing on some of the game’s more complex maneuvers. I decided I would start a new file and give these techniques a try. Turns out, a simple control such as holding circle is incredibly superior to the awkward square shooting controls.

Now, I could actually sneak up on enemies and cut their throats. Going backwards to MGS2 and the original, weird neck break move was hard after slaughtering exactly 200 guards with quick knife slashes in MGS3. The move was so effective that I would actually run up to groups of up to three guards without fear, knowing that I could knock out the first two by ramming them into the ground and slitting the last one’s throat right away. Of course, I would stab the unconscious guards in the face and drag the trio into the brush afterwards.

The point in all this is that I was finally able to enjoy the majority of Snake Eater‘s gameplay through bypassing the guns as much as possible. I actually beat the entire Snake Eater mission without turning the PS2 off. It was one of those strange video game moments where I was just so sucked in that I couldn’t quit. That’s not to say I have no new complaints. Quite the contrary.

It’s now dawn outside and the credits to Sons of Liberty finished a few minutes after I began typing this post. I really want to finish MGS4 now because, having experienced half the series’ plot within two days has made me realize how inconsistent the Solid series is.

People rave about the series claiming its art and that the plot is so well-thought out and thought-provoking, but I doubt most have stopped to see it the way I just have.

I went see The Dark Knight before coming home to finish Sons of Liberty. On the way back, I told my friend how ridiculous the first movie, Batman Begins, would seem if you watched the two one after the other. While Batman Begins introduces us to a new, more realistic take on the Batman universe, The Dark Knight is something special.

You see, The Dark Knight would have been incredible even if it weren’t a Batman movie. In fact, I personally think it would have been even more incredible if it weren’t a Batman movie. Despite Batman Begins starting the new series of movies with a more realistic tone, The Dark Knight was leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor in terms of this presentation. In effect, The Dark Knight is to Batman Begins as Guns of the Patriots is to Sons of Liberty (the game that preceeds it chronologically.)

The games are very inconsistent both within themselves and in how they connect. I plan on typing up a full fledged article on these specific elements once I complete MGS4, but basically, my main point is that MGS4 cannot be considered this incredible work of literary art when it is so inconsistent with its connection to previous games and its own gameplay in its equally inconsistent attempt to inject realism in random moments and gameplay mechanics.

The series just reeks of the odor that comes with an overall story arch that wasn’t planned out in its entirety ahead of time. Guns of the Patriots compromises Sons of Liberty‘s incredibly optomistic ending for the sake of beginning itself with a very depressing cast of characters ripe with conflict. Snake Eater craps upon the entire franchise by injecting characters that can’t die if the future were to remain unchanged in situations where not being killed conflicts with the realism that Kojima injected into both the gameplay and plot of the games set in a later time.

Metal Gear Solid 4 spits in the face of all the games in the series that came before it in order to immerse the player in what is probaby the best presentation of any game in any franchise so far in history. It’s in this regard that Metal Gear Solid 4 itself is inconsistent and unworthy of the specific praise it receives. I can only agree with someone who has played 4 and no other entry in the series as they couldn’t possibly know the compromises the game makes with the plot presented so far.

It’s almost as if there is some void where chronology and continuity could be suspended in order to include a fifth Metal Gear Solid game that makes up for the compromises and fills in the odd gap that makes Old Snake more like Naked Snake/Big Boss from the end of Snake Eater.

*Sigh* I need to finish MGS4.

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