Retrospective: Metal Gear Solid 4 Remembered

4 min

‘Retrospective’ is a new feature that I would like to introduce to you guys that will cover video games from the past. Hopefully, I will be able to make this a weekly feature. For now, I want to concentrate on games from this current generation of consoles as new consoles will be released later this year, bringing the curtains down on the PS3 and Xbox 360 era (technically, the Wii too). Game developers seem to be enthusiastic about entering a new era for consoles, thus I really don’t expect the PS3 and Xbox 360 to receive many games after 2014. With this in mind, I’d like to look back at some games that people should have played from this current generation. They will all be good games in one way or another (keeping in mind that ‘good’ is subjective). For the first retrospective game, I’ll be covering Metal Gear Solid 4.

As an opener, I feel it necessary to state that in order to fully enjoy Metal Gear Solid 4, you would have needed to have played the other Metal Gear Solid games in the series. There’s no doubt in my mind that if you enter MGS4 without that background knowledge, not only will you be mightily confused, you might be turned off by the game’s heavy story-telling moments. Let’s face it, even some MGS fans have problems piecing together the story behind the MGS games, so you have to expect others will have a problem too. That’s not the only problem though. MGS4 relies heavily on nostalgia. To appreciate MGS4 at its finest, you kind of have had to of been there from the beginning.

Nostalgia – Metal Gear Solid 4

In that sense. while I encourage those new to the MGS universe to play the games in order before playing MGS4, that nostalgia factor will likely still be missing from those people. That’s kind of obvious, as it has taken nearly 10 years going from MGS1 to MGS4. Even longer if you take into account the original Metal Gear games on the SNES. Nostalgia like that can’t be replicated without being there from the beginning.

That said, I still feel that MGS4 is a great game. The nostalgia factor merely pushes the game higher. The whole game is divided into 5 acts. The first 2 acts are kind of standard Metal Gear Solid levels, featuring a lot of sneaking around and intruding into hostile territories. The game did provide an alternative method of simply gunning down everything in sight, but that was for the more easily frustrated amongst us. The story wasn’t that heavy in these early sections, but it was important nonetheless.

Act 3 is a mixed baggage. The first half of act 3 is probably the worst part of the game. Another ‘sneaking’ mission begins the act, but it feels much less refined and instead feels forced onto you. It was also very slowly paced. The second half though, after a major information dump with the plot occurs, is a lot more hectic and fun. It’s one of those weird moments where cinematics and gameplay come together well. I loved the motorcycle chase scene. Not only because you were shooting from a motorcycle, but also because you could change the camera to look at the chase from different perspectives. It was gold.

Best Act – Metal Gear Solid 4

Act 4 and 5 finish off the game. Act 4 is probably my personal favourite act in the game. Some major spoilers here, but this is a retrospective look at a game that came out in 2008, so this is the only warning you’ll get. Skip to the next paragraph to avoid major spoilers. Anyway, act 4 features a return to Shadow Moses, where the events of MGS1 took place. This is where the nostalgia factor strikes home real bad. I really did like MGS1, and returning to the scene of that game was immense. Doubly so when the opening sequence utilized the old animations/visuals of MGS1. I even enjoyed the gameplay of this section, as dealing with the robotic guards felt similar to how we played MGS1 all those years ago with lesser A.I.s. The boss battle that occurs in this act is one of my favourites too. It really rekindled memories of Sniper Wolf. Mounting Metal Gear Rex was also a great moment, as was Liquid’s ‘Foxdie’ ploy. Act 5 kept the pace and the intensity that act 4 brought up. You knew things were headed for a conclusion and the game really did deliver some memorable ending scenes. Old Snake struggling through a microwave-esque area whilst Meryl and Johnny fended for their lives is simply unforgettable.

We have to talk about Liquid Ocelot too. I haven’t made much mention of the bosses in Metal Gear Solid 4, but there were plenty and the majority were pretty memorable. The beauty and the beast squad have some interesting backstory too, my favourite being Laughing Octopus. Liquid Ocelot is the final boss though, and like most MGS final bosses, your battle with him is another memorable moment in MGS history. You go back and forth with Liquid in a mano-a-mano fight. Even ’til the end, Liquid is a thorn in your side.

From a storytelling perspective, I found the parts that referenced events in MGS1 (or story plots that branched out from MGS1) to be the best parts of MGS4. The story parts that referenced MGS2 were the weakest parts. Not so much stuff involving Raiden, but stuff involving the convoluted ‘The Patriots’ plot point. I never did like ‘The Patriots’ angle, although I will admit it was handled and brought together well in MGS4. On the gameplay front, I was honestly fine with what was served up. There were a lot of cinematic moments that certain people like to assume is a negative, but I’m more than happy with the final product.

Thus ends my retrospective analysis of Metal Gear Solid 4. It still remains my favourite game of this current generation of consoles. Most of that is due to the nostalgia it brings with it, but it is a great game in its own right anyway. One of the biggest impacts of MGS4 on me was that it made me love MGS1 all over again. That’s just brilliant, and I now see MGS4 as MGS1’s true sequel.

It’s not my favourite game of all time though. Maybe I’ll have a chance to cover that particular game another time. I should also mention that I realise many will miss out on MGS4 simply because it is exclusive to the PS3. This is a shame, but hopefully lowering prices for current generation consoles will tempt more people to buy a PS3 and thus, Metal Gear Solid 4.

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  1. I really enjoyed this game- I would have to say that it is in the top 5 or 3 games of this generation. It’s a shame that only a handful of people will actually get to experience it before this generation ends like you said. I honestly didn’t mind the way that the game was structured with all the cutscenes and segments for gameplay-I found it very immersive and exciting. Though I think that if Kojima had waited a few more years or so to improve just a few gameplay mechanics, use Bluray so that more would have been in the game and graphics( I personally found that the image wasn’t as sharp compared to games now but I still thought the graphics were phenomenal otherwise.) and maybe fit more story so that the gameplay evened out the cutscenes but I was still very blown away by the game. I’ve already played it 3 times since I got it this past Christmas with my PS3 Super Slim and still wanna play it again-and again-AND AGAIN!!! I don’t know what exactly it is about it but I can’t help but want to keep playing this game over and over-it truly did innovate in the series. Although I played most of the other metal gear games before MGS 4 I hadn’t played MGS so instead of the boss at Shadow Moses reminding me of Sniper Wolf, it reminded me of The End in Snake Eater (which I found that and Crying Wolf to be very intriguing and awesome especially since I love using Sniper Rifles in video games, which I also used for both those battles so I really found them entertaining. In fact, I used a Sniper Rifle to defeat the boss at the end of Snake Eater because it was the only way that I found possible.) I don’t know how you defeated those bosses but that was what I did. Anyway, I kinda wish Kojima had maybe done something like he’s doing with GZ and TTP so that way instead of MGS 4 being mainly cutscenes, he could have split it into two halves and evened out the gameplay and all. I honestly think MGS 4 and Snake Eater are the highlights of the series, with MGS 1 following behind and the others come after. I really hope Kojima makes just one more game with Solid Snake, that follows MGS 4, i mean he can’t just die like that. ( i know Kojima’s been meaning to end the series for a long time but I can’t believe it would end like THAT though.) Beyond that, I found MGS 4 to epic just like the rest of the series. I recently saw a post on the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection-if it’s real I’m getting it. I’m the only one in my family who is really into Metal Gear Solid so I don’t think I’ll have a problem keeping the games and enjoying them for years to come. If Kojima does end up working on something else like Zone of the Enders, hopefully in the future he goes back to Metal Gear Solid for just one more game. MGS 4 is truly unforgettable-hopefully Kojima realizes what he’s done with it and improves that with MGS V, if not then let us all remember MGS 4 as a true zenith of the series that defines it to this day-even if most people out there didn’t get the chance to play it with awe. How do you think MGS 4 will be perceived over time and of it’s place overall in the series and the series overall compared to other extraordinary series Damon?

  2. The original metal gear games were released on nes and the msx console. I do not remember a metal gear game on snes.

    1. The real(as in canon) metal gear games were released on the msx console. The nes got worse noncanon metal gear games.

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