Cut to present day. Like war, a lot has changed. I tried playing the MGS remake Twin Snakes on hard mode, only to succumb to frustration two hours later. For today's Metal Gear Solid 4 release, I brushed up on Metal Gear lore, exhausted Wikipedia, and commissioned one of our writers to give me a crash course in the series. I got my copy last night, installed the game, and I was ready to play.
This is Metal Gear Solid 4, through rookie eyes.
(Let me give obligatory spoiler warning here. While I'll try to abstain from big plot reveals – having only played 2 hours of the story, that shouldn't be too hard – if you don't want anything ruined for you, it might be best to avoid the rest of this article.)
Acknowledging that my sneaking skills are lacking and determined to enjoy the narrative, I started up the game in Liquid Easy mode. The first act loading was balanced by letting me sift through these random channels with some mind-screwing content, each followed by a PMC ad. I ended up on the David Hayter interview (highly recommended).
"I found sneaking to be painless and, quite frankly, a lot of fun."
The game's cut scenes have so far all come from previously released trailers and footage, though it was great to see them again with context. For the first part of the game, small cut scenes are spliced with equally small play portions, easing you into the controls. Thanks in no small part to it being easy mode, I found sneaking to be painless and, quite frankly, a lot of fun.
The rest of my time was spent sneaking, watching cut scenes, and sneaking some more. Here are some other highlights:
- During the flashbacks you're prompted occasionally to hit the X button if you wish to see some more context. Unfortunately, those who are clueless to the Metal Gear Solid series will be very confused by the 1 to 2 second clips.
- I ended up getting caught once or twice but was able to avoid killing anyone. Having watched PS3 Fanboy's Nick Doerr play through hard mode, I'm quite glad to be playing it on easy for the moment. I want to enjoy the story for now; after getting through that, I'll gladly replay on a harder difficulty.
- I haven't found a way around it, but Snake runs slow. It didn't come up a lot, though, since I spent most of the time crouched or in prone position.
- "Excuse me waiter, there's an Apple in my snake." Snake hits the battlefield with an iPod, which you interact with via the right thumbstick. We chose Sea Breeze from MGS3 and found it quite amusing juxtaposed with gunshots, shrill screams and explosions. Also, we discovered Meryl uses a Macbook Pro. What, are there no Sony Vaio's in the future?
- I can't say enough about the graphics and audio. Top notch!
- Being a survivor of the Xenosaga series, I didn't find the cut scene length to be a problem. So far, at least.
- Speaking of humor, there's quite a bit to be found. Search every crevice. Listen to soldier's talk. You'll be well rewarded. If you come a cross a certain magazine, be sure to look it up in the inventory and inspect the cover.
Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAKE! Check out our Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots page for all things Metal Gear.