Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Platform: Playstation 3
Release: 2008

Set 5 years after the events of Sons of Liberty, our frail protagonist is on his final mission… the hunt for his twin brother Liquid.

Nanomachines, a sort of body implant, are able to allow monitoring and give their user enhanced abilities in the battlefield. Before the events of Guns of the Patriots, these electronic implants were made mandatory for all members of private military companies. Liquid wants to take control of the system that is in place to regulate it and use it for his own means. Solid Snake, who is referred to as Old Snake in-game, is flown in to stop him once and for all. Just as with other games in the series the story is told heavily through cutscenes, some of which last over an hour.

Our hero is suffering from a disease called Werner’s Syndrome, of which dramatically accelerates ageing. He is the only one able to stop Liquid, but his time to do so is running out. Luckily Snake has some new tricks and gadgets available to him.

First of which is the OctoCamo. Similar to how camouflage was a key mechanic in MGS3: Snake Eater, the player is able to disguise and blend in to the environment. However, this time Snake’s camouflage automatically adjusts based on the surroundings. If leaning up against a brick wall the camouflage will change to compliment it, matching the colour and pattern.

The Solid Eye is also new. It is able to mark items in the game, show enemy movements and it even has a night vision mode. Worn over Snake’s left eye, the Solid Eye is a much welcome addition and makes the player feel well equipped for any given situation.

Guns can also be purchased and modified using credits collected during the adventure, while this helps in tight situations where you may need some extra fire power, I didn’t find the need to venture much into the store myself. The main reason is that this is a Metal Gear Solid game, and its always best to try to avoid detection and take out enemies using non-lethal techniques. But I can see the store helping players who prefer to take the more direct, guns blazing, route.

Gameplay and controls overall are very much the same as previous titles, so fans of those games shouldn’t have too much of a problem with this game. In fact I found this game substantially easier than all of the prior ones.

Metal Gear Solid 4. Guns of the Patriots Screen Shot 10:02:14 18. 31

As mentioned earlier, the gameplay is cut-up with cutscenes of varying length, some being extremely long. The final cutscene is as long as some feature length films. While I did enjoy these story segments I did find myself having play sessions where I would have a short gameplay segment with the rest of the time being used up by watching a cutscene. Even though I am glad the story got a lot of attention, some parts felt unnecessary and bloated. Apparently the cutscenes alone are roughly 9 hours in length, considering my total game time was 16 hours, that means I was watching more than playing.

For fans heavily invested in the Metal Gear saga, Guns of the Patriots provides a fantastic ending. But people new to the series should hold off and play the older games first. Due to the heavy story elements I can see newcomers being put off, bored and immensely confused.

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