Welcome back to the chronological journey through the Metal Gear games that we have rather humorously titled “Reverse Gear” (as it’s looking back at Metal Gear – geddit?! Well we liked it anyway).
This article touches base at the year 2008. Some people might remember the year 2008 as being the year The Dark Knight hit the movie screens. Others will correctly declare it was the year Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince all celebrated their 50th birthday. And our readers from Cyprus and Malta will point out that 2008 was the year their country adopted the euro. But, of course, all these things pale into insignificance compared to the absolute most important occurrence in 2008 – the release of the much-anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
If you have never played Guns of the Patriots, we cannot fathom the reason why; our suggestion would be to read the below, get excited, and go out and buy it! If you are a Guns of the Patriots veteran, on the other hand, you can read the below in smug satisfaction, knowing that you have played one of the best games of the Playstation 3. Well done you.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – 2008
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the series’ debut to the Playstation 3, and yet again the move to a next gen system meant more power to provide even more cinematic and sophisticated storytelling – not to mention, of course, more detailed and immersive in-game environments. In the opening section of the game, you control a cloaked, hooded Solid Snake in the middle of an urban battle scene; except there’s something very different about Snake this time around. Canonically just five years after Son’s of Liberty, Snake has learnt that he has Werner syndrome, which accelerates the aging process. He has only a year or so left to live. As Snake battles an armed mechanical walker in the opening battle, he throws of his cloak and reveals the full extent of his advanced ageing – Old Snake, as he is referred to in the game, has grey hair and wrinkled skin. But this doesn’t mean he’s lost his ability to kick butt!
Whilst the core mechanics of Guns of the Patriots remains the same as previous Metal Gear Solid games – i.e. a satisfying mixture of stealth and action – it did bring some new gameplay elements to the table. The Psyche Meter is one such addition, which is influenced by Snake’s current mental state. Being hunted by the enemy, having to endure extreme temperatures, or nearing explosives can, quite understandably, stress Snake out. Prolonged exposure to these situations causes the Psyche bar to drop, and Snake suffers such penalties as worsening vision, difficulty aiming and an increased chance of passing out upon receiving damage. If Snake indulges in some of life’s little pleasures on the other hand, such as eating food, smoking a cigarette or having a casual flick through an adult magazine (the dirty old man), he’ll wind down and the Psyche bar will fill. Another tech-tastic asset at Snake’s disposal is his OctoCamo suit. Whilst Metal Gear Solid 3 introduced the mechanic of camouflage, the OctoCamo suit in Guns of the Patriot is rather more sophisticated; changing colour automatically to blend in with any wall Snake stands against. Anyone under the impression you can’t teach an old special operations soldier new tricks is sadly mistaken.
Metal Gear Solid 4 received extremely positive critical acclaim, as the vast majority of Metal Gear Solid games do! Gamespot wrote in their review that it was “the most technically stunning video game ever made”, whilst IGN considered it “a true classic and a masterpiece”. Many fans of the series see this story as having particular emotional charge and power, with a truly gripping conclusion. Suffice to say we won’t give it away here, because if you haven’t played through Metal Gear Solid 4 yet, you owe it to yourself to experience the journey of the story first-hand. But it’s certainly no secret that Metal Gear Solid 4 offers some of the best gameplay on the Playstation 3, so get it played!
Have you played through this Metal Gear Solid title? What are your thoughts? Please let us know in the comment below. Oh, and no spoilers please!