There’s something undeniably special about hearing the tobacco ravaged vocal chords of Solid Snake rasp his opening monologue on PS3. War may have changed, Snake – and so may you have – but our love for you hasn’t. Metal Gear Solid 4 is here to put that love to the test. This is the supposed conclusion to the franchise, and while it’s worth noting that series mastermind Hideo Kojima has been putting nails in Snake’s coffin since Sons of Liberty, Guns of the Patriots feels funereal from start to finish. By the time you’ve completed your first run through, you’ll have seen how war has changed. You’ll see how Solid Snake has changed. You’ll see how the series has changed, how Kojima has changed, even how gaming has changed. You’ll see how YOU have changed.
There’s no doubt that a reasonable knowledge of the series fictional background is needed to fully appreciate all this change, however – the infamous cut scenes are back with a vengeance, exploring occurrences and themes from every corner of the franchise and everything in between. Those among you who consider the ‘Patriots’ to be those idiots who hang moronic flags from their car aerials, or the ‘La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo’ to be a vocal exercise need not apply. That is, at least, if you intend to gain from Guns of the Patriots exactly what it has to offer. Whilst the game can certainly be enjoyed as a Metal Gear virgin, the majority of its cut scenes will leave you feeling like a toddler who’s lost his Mum in ASDA.
For those in the know, however, MGS 4 brings plenty of treats to the table. It would be borderline satanic of this reviewer to give anything away, but rest assured there are some profound moments of nostalgia throughout the game, someheart stopping twists, character comebacks and sly nods to previous titles – you may find it impossible to contain yourself. Guns of the Patriots is game for those who have been with Snake since the beginning, and anyone willing to embark on his final mission should dig out copies of past instalments in order to truly appreciate the magic that leaks through every aspect of the title’s make up.Metal Gear Solid 4 is wonderfully varied in terms of gameplay. Whilst it’s undoubtedly the most action orientated game in the series history, the balance between ballsy gunplay and cardboard box antics has never been more perfectly realised.
The combat is fluid and intuitive – you’ll find it much easier to blast your way out of trouble should you see the dreaded ‘!’. In addition,there is an extensive weapons library to be acquired thanks to superb new character (and Simon Phoenix lookalike) Drebin which should satisfy completists, and a whole new gameplay mechanic offered by the MK.2. Snake’s newest contraptions also include the Solid Eye which lends him instant night vision capability as well being able to tell which enemies are fighting for which side; in case you feel like doing a bit of shit stirring, the intracies of which will become clear as you make your way through the game. Camouflage also returns to play a vital role in proceedings,but Kojima has done away with the faffy menus of Snake Eater and equipped Snake with a handy Octocamo suit, which mimics his surroundings after a second or so of rest.
Enemy soldiers are as ruthless as they ever have been, using their radios to full effect in order to bring Old Snake to his knees, but you can be sure that if they don’t catch him, the bloodthirsty reptile/machine hybrid Gekkou will. These new enemies are stunningly captured, leaping over rooftops with a grace entirely unsuited to their terrifying demeanour. As for the game’s bosses, they really are best experienced first hand.
Typically for the series, they are absolutely fantastic.Let’s wind this up before i start blabbing. I’d love to tell you about the time Metal Gear Solid 4 reduced me to tears after a particularly affecting cut scene, about that moment with the microwaves, the emotional return to Shadow Moses or the sublime boss battles, but they genuinely are all moments which you need to experience for yourself, and I just can’t. I’d love to tell you why the game has been given the score at the bottom of this page, but i can’t. I’d love to tell you how war has changed, Snake has changed, Otacon has changed, Kojima has changed, gaming itself has changed, and why you will change. Honestly though, i simply can’t.