Metal Gear Solid 4(1)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth
Year: 2008
Developed by: Kojima Productions
Published by: Konami
Platforms: PS3
Feeling Like: Old

Metal Gear Solid 4 came out TWELVE YEARS AGO?

That’s not possible.

After all, it was the first Playstation 3 game I played/saw. It was the first game Dobbo played at our first apartment ever at 1138 View St. I remember it like it was yesterday. We didn’t even have proper furniture.

Metal Gear Solid 4(6)
But we did have the Dude. And a 52 inch TV.

It feels great when I have pictorial evidence. Nobody cares, of course. I know you believe me. Trust me, I’m not doing this for any sort of accolades or awards, so I don’t really have any reason to lie. It’s just nice to take a stroll down memory lane and remember how our entire apartment setup was devised so we could have drunken parties at our place with Rock Band 2 and the Wii at our disposal.

So, there you have it. Metal Gear Solid 4 on our TV. I’m not going to go back and watch retrospectives of this one; I’m mostly afraid that doing so will waste three hours of my life since the “cut-scenes” in this game are long. Hilariously long. Like, not even in the realm of reasonable. Like close to 90 minutes long. Yes, that’s the typical length of a feature film. Within a video game.

What kind of game is this? Why is this as high as it is on the 500? If I don’t like the stealth gameplay, or the story of any of the Metal Gear Solids, why are ALL FIVE of them on the 500?

Metal Gear Solid 4(5)
It must be the realistic depiction of Octopus Soldiers

I hate to keep repeating myself, but it’s because they provide a spectacle that no other game can. Nobody but Kojima can cram this level of batshit into a game and it come out as a cohesive product. Nothing about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is lazy, or put in as a joke. Even the jokes don’t sound like jokes. You have a large amount effort showing real life military minutia, descriptions and depictions of Private Military Companies, threats of nuclear war…and of course stuff that is so unrealistic that it’s like Kojima is trying to make Saving Private Ryan if it was starring Naruto characters.

On top of that, Snake is now really old so you get the benefit of rheumatoid arthritis on top of incredible new graphics for you to enjoy. Well hell, I already felt like an old man trying to sneak around with a broken back in previous games. This isn’t that much of a push.

Metal Gear Solid 4(2)
Snake is back…oof, my back!

The story is all about nanobots taking control of other people and PMCs taking over the world and only Snake can infiltrate a hot-zone of fighting and defeat four super soldiers that all have incredible robot-y powers that are tied to animals somehow. Think a Mega Man game, but the Blue Bomber needs to take 11 pills in the morning to not fall asleep by 3pm and you have to watch a 17 minute video before you enter each stage. It’s seriously not far off my experience.

Some of the stealth stuff was bullshit, though. I remember crawling through a field, trying to avoid a firefight happening between two opposing factions. They’re shooting, shooting, shooting. Ok, I want to get in on the action. I pop off ONE shot and all of a sudden they know exactly where I am and start to light me up.

But Henry, you say. It’s a stealth game. You’re supposed to sneak by without shooting anybody.


This is why I’m terrible at stealth games.

Metal Gear Solid 4(3)
You know, I’d really like to tell you who these people are. I would. But I can’t. I’m also terrible at remembering stealth games.

But man, when this game works, it works. Weaving through an area and finally disarming that sniper is like studying for a final exam and getting 100%. The patience and hard work pays off. The game gives you a ton of tools to do so; smarter players won’t even alert a single enemy in a playthrough. In the hands of a wizard, Metal Gear Solid 4 is like a movie if the projectionist just has to be really quiet and avoid waking up the patrons who have fallen asleep in their chairs.

The last few hours are pretty incredible; Snake, already taxed physically beyond what he can manage, has to crawl through a literal microwave to get to his destination. In true anime form, it’s completely over the top, melodramatic and totally epic. To have a split screen going on at the same time isn’t something I’ve ever seen before in a game, and it definitely hit home. Even with me half-mocking the story and characters the whole way, I had to admit – this worked. Have a watch.

Additionally, the final confrontation seems so appropriate for the series. It has the feel of an over the top action movie, like Face-Off or The Rock. The end is near. There’s an incredible sunset. There’s verbal quips back and forth. A long history between two rivals. Neither talks like a real person. But dammit, it’s about the best curtain call an old war horse could ask for.

Metal Gear Solid 4(4)
On top of a nuclear mechanized robot, naturally.

That’s about all I got. The graphics were insane to me at the time, insane. It’s remarkable how well they’ve aged, you can tell they put a ton of thought, effort and work into this. It’s sort of strange how big the game was at launch, but seems to have vanished among internet discourse. Hardly anybody discusses it among Metal Gear games, though most I know wouldn’t necessarily have it at the bottom. Maybe it was too early in the Playstation 3’s lifecycle and nobody played it?

*Checks Google*

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has sold a total of 5.67 million copies worldwide, making it the bets selling third party PlayStation 3 exclusive to date.

Also, it launched a year and a half after the PS3 launch.

Ok, well there goes my theories out the window. I don’t understand anything about this franchise. But I do know it’s a zany experiment that works enough of the time to keep me hooked enough to see it through to the very end. Another notch in the “Konami leaving gaming forever really sucks” belt. Will we ever see Metal Gear Solid 6, Suikoden 6 or a proper updated treatment of Silent Hill? Hopefully, the sun hasn’t set on them like it did on Naked Snake and Ocelot.

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