Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review for PS3

On: PS3 Xbox 360  Check Price
Snake might be old but MGS4 doesn't show it
Snake might be old but MGS4 doesn't show it

Snake might be old but MGS4 doesn't show it

Metal Gear Solid is a big deal for a lot of people. Cinematic gaming probably wouldn't be where it is today if Hideo Kojima and his team hadn't brought us the original PlayStation game and for many the series stands way ahead of the pack. It's been far from a smooth ride though. Awkward controls and a convoluted, often overacted story made the PlayStation 2 games an acquired taste. The question looming over the head of MGS4, then, isn't if it'll please hardcore fans (it unquestionably does) but if Kojima has seen where the series needed improving. The fact that this is the single best PS3 exclusive released to date should answer that question for you.

A huge part of the Metal Gear Solid series is its story. It's often criticised for being too convoluted and told through excessive cut scenes, but for fans it's a big deal. We won't spoil anything here, but sleep easy knowing that Kojima delivers the goods and then some. Sure, at times the mixture of comedic elements, political comments and despair sit uneasily with one another, but familiar characters return, plot twists surprise and jaws hit the floor. It's typical Kojima storytelling, for better or worse.

The voice acting is top class, the direction is brilliant and it's not too difficult to follow the basic storyline. Some things are definitely hard to work out (I don't believe for a second that I full understood exactly what was going on in every facet of the storyline), but it in no way hurt my enjoyment of the game. And yes, the cut scenes are at times exceedingly long, and no, you can't save during the middle of them. This is one of MGS4's most disappointing aspects. I can't help but feel that with a harsher edit and a quicker pace the cut scenes could have been something really special. There's also an abundance of lengthy codec conversations and quite dull explanations that really needed to be re-worked into entertaining cut scenes. These moments hurt the flow of the game, as do the unfortunate loading screens in the middle of intense sequences - forgivable only because they often look so spectacular.

One of the most significant changes to Metal Gear Solid 4 is the control system. I played a few hours of MGS3 the night before getting my hands on MGS4 and the changes make for a far more playable game. For many the stop and shoot gameplay felt rather dated by the time MGS3 arrived, with the rooted to the spot first-person viewpoint feeling incredibly restrictive. This has been completely changed in MGS4, which allows you to move and shoot from either a first or third-person point of view.

L1 brings up your targeting reticule in a third-person perspective and from here you can move and shoot, albeit slower than when moving without a weapon drawn. MGS4 features a GTA-style auto-aim system, but you're able to disable this and use free-aiming if you wish. A tap on the triangle button while your weapon is drawn changes the action to a first-person perspective, giving you a more precise aim. You're still rather limited as far as movement speed goes, but are no longer forced to stand still, which will come as a huge relief to many gamers.

Familiar faces return and there are plot twists around every corner

Familiar faces return and there are plot twists around every corner

Elsewhere much remains the same. There's no jump button (which takes some getting used to) and L2 operates the item inventory while R2 handles weapons. As in previous games, these on-screen menus only show what's been equipped from the pause menu and your slots are limited. The first 20 minutes or so will prove to be quite difficult to newcomers even with the changes to the control scheme. MGS4 still plays rather differently to your average action title so you'll probably see the game over screen fairly frequently during the first act. You'll settle into it though, learning how best to move through each environment and avoid the patrolling enemies.

Early on in the game Snake is given a tactical eyepiece which allows him to use a radar and view threatening soldiers. The game uses an ally system, where you can help out rebels in order to win favour and easier passage. Blue icons represent friends, while red represents enemies. If you're seen to be taking out enemies you'll be able to move through a level without facing an onslaught from both sides of the war. It's easier said than done, as rebels will attack you if they don't know who you are, but worth the effort.

To make the most of the game's new-found gun prowess Snake has access to a black market gun retailer. Drebin appears early on in the game (along with his coke drinking, silver pant wearing monkey) and from that point on you're able to trade any collected weapons for points, redeemable for new weapons and ammo. All the weapons dropped by soldiers in the game are hard coded to each soldier and Drebin is able to unlock them and offer you a selection of side arms, rifles, machine guns and heavy duty weapons. At no point in the game after I'd met Drebin did I have a shortage of ammo. It might be a tad unrealistic to enter a shop while in the middle of a battle, but it makes the game more enjoyable to play.

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

Schumey's Avatar

Schumey

I hate how you just try to find flaws in MGS4. An 8 for gameplay, huh? That's probably the one aspect where MGS4 excelled the most. Gameplay has never been so smooth before!
Long cutscenes? They can be paused and skipped, so get over it! At least they're well worth watching!
MGS4 is the finest gaming experience you'll find this generation. Too bad VideoGamer didn't get the message.
Posted 08:47 on 03 June 2010
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer

i just love this game!
Posted 12:44 on 29 December 2009
KANE_AND_LYNCH's Avatar

KANE_AND_LYNCH

Iv been playing the MGS series sents the very 1st one for the Nintendo (actualy i still have it and yes i still play) i enjoyed this tittle alot what konami needs to do is creat them all on the next gen console (PS3) and sell them all in a bundle pack it would be quite expensive to do but it cost quite alot too like charge 250$ for the bundle with the for the nintendo to MGS3. (Id buy it)!
Posted 02:52 on 07 April 2009
Ronny's Avatar
Delete Post

Ronny

Just have to say something about the frame rate issue and texture.

Yes i admit im a fan, but what on earth?. I playd trough MGS4 and i havent notice any kind of frame rate issue or texture prob. Are u sure u havent playd trough the game with a HD tv on 1080p?(reviewer). Cause if u done so it will cause some weird frame issues. I playd Gears of war 2 on a 1080p HD tv, and i almost puked after 15min, cause of the FPS. wich where 30 i belive, 720p has 60fps. Makes evrything go a lot smoother. Cause i dont understand at all how MGS4 had any frame rate issues or texture for that matter. Cause i dident notice anything at all, and im quite sensitiv to these things. The game is still the best looking game to date on PS3, so it deserve 10graphic wise.

True the Cinematic can get a bit to long sometimes, but i ges thats why the game always create a bond with the player cause of the cinematics. 1 of the reasons LOTR got big, cause the movies was so long, it gave people more time to love the characters. 10hours+ or something total time of LOTR, The whole MGS genre has certainly a lot more^^.
Story is great. And complex with many twists and turns that keeps u intrested:).
Gameplay is great, heck they started a new unqiue playing style.
Music always great.
Certainly 10 overall:).
Posted 11:56 on 11 February 2009
safc's Avatar

safc

this game is a very cool game, if you like MGS games you will love this game also a bonus to this game is that it has online gameplay which is mint. I love the story mode on it too and im glad how it ends, but i wont say because i dont want to spoil it for you if you havnt played on it before. So my advice is buy this game!!!!!
Posted 09:25 on 11 February 2009
Gabriel's Avatar
Delete Post

Gabriel

@Sylencer

Are you sure you played the same game as the rest of the world ?
The writing in MGS4 is absolutely fenomenal, richly layered and allegorical. It is so much beyond anything in this medium and quite on par with some of the most thought provoking novels, movies & TV dramas out there.
Of course, seeing how some think that writing like: "Brucie likes pussy" is good writing or movies like Spiderman or Ironman are considered good movies, then God help us all.
Posted 11:58 on 03 February 2009
Ra1den's Avatar

Ra1den

Its Awesome there is no doubt in it.

Mgs4 is best PS3 game ever
Posted 09:15 on 22 November 2008
Yup's Avatar
Delete Post

Yup

Someone said Gears looks better? Are you joking? There's a little thing called variety...MGS4 has it, and Gears is almost entirely composed of one color.
Posted 17:08 on 05 October 2008
CJW's Avatar
Delete Post

CJW

METAL GEAR SOLID 4 IS MINT MINT MINT MGS ONLINE ALSO ROCKS PS3 BEST GAME BY MILES
Posted 11:16 on 05 August 2008
CJW's Avatar
Delete Post

CJW

Mgs 4 is mint best game i have ever played great great great !!!! it rocks
Posted 11:12 on 05 August 2008
Final_Rpg's Avatar
Delete Post

Final_Rpg

You gave Halo a 10? But not this? You shouldn't be allowed to have a keyboard. Honestly, don't review games anymore, your not worthy. I'm still in awe to how bias you are. Seems every game that deserves a 10 is either multiplatform or on 360. Your pathetic, no respect for true masterpieces. Gameplay an 8? 20 hour experience plus MGO sounds like infinite replay value to me.
Posted 16:00 on 24 July 2008
COLE ZOBEL's Avatar
Delete Post

COLE ZOBEL

WHY IS THERE NO TALK ABOUT MGS4/ONLINE PLAY?





Posted 08:08 on 04 July 2008
ehutch's Avatar
Delete Post

ehutch

there are NO frame rate issues in mgs4 and the textures are impressive. this is the best looking game ever to grace a console period. the dialogue is a bit long winded but i am really enjoying this game. i was initially put off by the news of long cut scenes and almost passed up on the purchase but the story is great although confusing, production values are through the roof, this game is really something special. i wigh it were longer though. anyone criticizing the graphics are just a JEALOUS XBOT FANBOY. thats a fact.
Posted 02:43 on 28 June 2008
DanteUY's Avatar
Delete Post

DanteUY

I"m sorry, just what kind of mind-blowing visuals were you expecting? Every rock, every bombed-out building, even the blades of grass and tall weeds you can hide in were flawless and realistic. Physics of characters, vehicles, even the fact that when you go from a bright to a dark environment it takes a moment or two to have Snake's eyes adjust to the change. Those "laborious" cut scenes also yield rewards-- hidden views, flashbacks that net more Drebin points if you're on your toes... clearly you are one of those that fall into the "God, why can't I skip the story and just kill things" player. If that's your way of thinking, then please, go back to your CoD and GoW. You're not welcome in a storyteller's paradise.
*********
This guy knows his sh*t, unlike the reviewer.
Posted 15:45 on 23 June 2008
Handwipe's Avatar

Handwipe

I just finished the game about 10 min ago, and I think the review is pretty solid. The graphics are good but not that amazing. I was a lot more impressed with Gears of War two years ago. The story is unequaled though. This game is such a crazy cinematic experience. Everyone who calls themselves gamers should play through it just to see what all the hype is about. The cut-scenes are really top-notch and set the bar for all future story-driven games. And the action in the set-piece battles are just mind-blowing.

Having said that, it is a stretch to call MGS4 a videogame. It's more like a 20 hour interactive movie. The reviewer states that the last third of the game does not have much gameplay in relation to cutscenes but in reality only the first couple acts of the game have any actual lengthy gameplay bits. I won't spoil anything but from the start of the last act to the end of the game contains literally about 20-30 mins of gameplay including boss battles and maybe about 2 hours of cutscenes. There were 3 times during the game that I had to pause the cutscene and take a nap because my eyes were getting too heavy and I didn't want to miss any important parts of the story. The acting wasn't that great either, with the cutscenes getting increasingly more over-acted and sappy towards the end of the game. Sometimes it was really pathetic. But they make up for it with amazing action sequences and some cut-scenes that are more fun to watch than movies. I found myself disappointed when they ended and I had to play again because the gameplay in MGS4 is honestly not very good. It doesn't even come close to competing with other next-gen games in the gameplay department. Playing was more of a chore than fun.

Overall it was worth the time I put in and I think everyone should experience it, at least rent it. Just make sure you have pop-corn ready before hand and don't expect much of a game.
Posted 01:46 on 23 June 2008

Game Stats

9
Out of 10
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • Stunning presentation
  • Awesome audio
  • Refined controls
  • Some cut scenes drag
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 12/06/2008
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Stealth
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,521 45
Check Price