They Punctured My Yolk

27 Jul

I decided to continue my backwards journey through the Metal Gear Solid series by picking up the original at my brother’s. As I’m typing this, Sniper Wolf is giving her death speech (which is quite good and well voiced.)

Playing through the game is making me think a whole lot. On the one hand, Metal Gear Solid is great game on its own, but when looked at within the series, there’s lots of room for criticism.

It’s not because of the dated graphics or controls. Having played the game when it first came out, I’m still able to appreciate the game despite its age. That’s not the problem.

The inconsistency in my previous post is the problem. Metal Gear Solid is an over-the-top drama full of philosophical musings that dwell on war, politics, and love. As nothing but a story, MGS is cliche’ but interesting. As a video game released in 1998, it’s quite remarkable. That being said, its presentation and tone are nothing compared to any of the three games that came after it. That’s where my criticism stems from.

Playing Metal Gear Solid now after experiencing most of what came after within three days fills me with mixed signals. I’ll never be able to shake the incredibly positive reception the series has received not for its gameplay (which is mostly justified) but for its plot which I’m convinced people are confusing with the incredible presentation of each installment.

Metal Gear Solid is great as a game, and sometimes, it’s plot is great as a plot. But when the two get together, the MGS series never amounts to anything more than a game. That’s to say, these games aren’t art. The gameplay and plot clash because they’re so inconsistent with the tone Kojima tries to reinforce at seemingly random moments.

You cannot inject realism into gameplay only to have tremendous leaps of faith or multiple instances of deus ex machina as the glue that not only connects those two elements, but also the games to one another; not if you want the elements to blend together to form something more than just a game.

This argument is probably useless, but I just want people to acknowledge that the Metal Gear Solid series is not the greatest story ever told or the greatest games ever made. They are far more stories that aren’t pieced together by miracles, and there are far more games that don’t contradict themselves or the other entries in their series.


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