Welcome to another installment of Reverse Gear, where we gaze back at Metal Gear’s rich history with awe and nostalgia-filled wonder. In each Reverse Gear article, we explore a specific Metal Gear game, and attempt to sum up just what made it so special. Part 6 sees Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as the order of the day, and after the success of the previous fully-3D Metal Gear Solid, fans were eagerly awaiting this Playstation 2 installment. Whilst the previous games we’ve discussed may have been a bit before some of our younger readers’ time, Sons of Liberty has been released in shiny HD more recently in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and therefore finds itself far more easily obtainable and accessible in that respect. We would, as always, love to hear your thoughts on the game therefore. As always, leave your comment in the, er, comments!
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – 2001
With the release of the Playstation 2, Metal Gear fans were eagerly waiting to see how Snake would look, and how a Metal Gear game would play on this new, more powerful machine. And when we finally got to experience Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in November 2001, it was clear from the offset that Hideo Kojima was also keen to utilise this new potential to create an even more immersive world, more detailed characters and a more ambitious, cinematic storyline. The result was a game that not only played brilliantly but, as we have come to expect from a Metal Gear game, also delivered a level of storytelling that few other games could match.
Sons of Liberty opens with a flashback to 2007. Snake (and Otacon via the comm. unit) infiltrates S.S. Discovery, disguised as an oil tanker, where a Metal Gear – called Metal Gear RAY – is reportedly stored. However things are made more complicated when a Russian terrorist group board too, who seem to be intent on taking metal gear for themselves. This section, which offers a decent chunk of gameplay in itself, is only a prologue; an introduction for the main bulk of Metal Gear Solid: 2. The action continues at the “Big Shell” clean-up facility, which the terrorist group Sons of Liberty has captured. In this new setting, the player is introduced to, and plays as, new character Raiden. Raiden, as any Metal Gear fan can tell you, then went on to appear in future instalments of the series, including Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance as the main, playable character (but more on that game later!).
Metal Gear Solid 2 was considered to be ahead of its time, insofar as many were un-accepting, or at least unprepared, for the videogame medium to offer such sophisticated, inherently philosophical and moral stories. With the game exploring many heavy-hitting topics in a pretty full-on way, such as themes of political conspiracy, propaganda, manipulation of free will and artificial intelligence. This again exemplifies the Metal Gear series’ tendency to push boundaries. Metal Gear Solid 2 does this in many other ways too, such as in its visually groundbreaking cinematics, or in its unprecedentedly realistic enemy AI, or in its new part-first-person, part-third-person shooting mechanic (basically, we could go on). In short, Metal Gear Solid 2 did what fans now expected of the series: it build upon the now-familiar core mechanics of a Metal Gear game, whilst continually improving and innovating with each new installment. It’s little wonder that fans were excited for the next game in the pipeline…
Remember to let us know your Sons of Liberty thoughts in the comments below, or tweet us your Metal Gear Solid: 2 love at @KonamiUK!