With the first three Metal Gear Solids under my belt, I was unbelievably excited to play Metal Gear Solid 4. Many people have told me it’s a great way to end the series, and it has some amazingly moving parts. Is it as good as that? Hardly. Is it still a good game?

...That’s a tough one.

First off, the story for this game. Is it god? Remotely interesting? Coherent in any sense of the word? No, no, and no. While I’m not ashamed to admit I shed a tear or two at the ending, most of the game’s story is completely nonsensical at best and absolute trash at worst. Liquid Ocelot is a fun character, but everyone else seems to fall flat on their faces in terms of being interesting. Well, everybody but Old Snake.

Nanomachines have rapidly increased Snake’s aging, giving him the appearance of a 70 year old man. He may look wildly different, but his personality is still recognizable as that of Solid Snake’s. David Hayter is as stunning as he usually is in this role, but I honestly think it isn’t as good as his MGS2 performance.

One of the biggest problems with the story is just how out of character some characters become. I won’t spoil who is returning and who isn’t, but a Chinese Spy and a Biomedical Engineer return in some borderline hilarious out of character interactions.

On the topic of returning characters, this game seems a bit too heavy on nostalgia pandering. There’s a designated button during cutscenes just to point out what they’re referencing, and it did get on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a lot of the nods the game had, but giving a button that basically tells you what they’re referencing it gets less novel.

For all the complaints I have about the nostalgia pandering, it’s kind of a double edged sword. While it does feel too forced at times, the entire fourth chapter took my breath away. Don’t worry if you don’t know what it is, no spoilers here, but I just have to say it’s something worth looking forwards to. I don’t know who had the great idea to make it happen, but man, it’s perfect.

Act 4 has some great combat sections and callbacks, but Act 5 is where the game takes full advantage of its storied stealth game roots. There are some tough guards to take care of, however this section is limited. Where this act really shines is in the final boss fight, which is up there with The End as a contender for the best boss fight in any game ever.

While the game has some fun boss fights and combat sections, I honestly believe it has too many combat sections for comfort. There are two on the rails shooting segments, which are as horrible as one might think. A few of the bosses encourage blind running and gunning, which honestly annoyed me to no end. You can pick up guns and ammo from everybody, and soldiers drop so easily that you’ll never run out of ammo.

Even if you do run out of ammo, never fear, as you can stop the game to purchase more ammo or more powerful guns at any time. Yes, I’m serious. There’s a sniper showdown in the last quarter of the game which I was able to easily bypass with a fully automatic sniper rifle. Since when is blowing away literally everything in sight “Tactical Espionage Action”?

Even though the gameplay itself is filled with annoyances such as the god-awful Act 3, I would love to have bad gameplay rather than no gameplay at all. Metal Gear Solid 4 has roughly 8 hours of pure cutscenes. And if you were to stack times in Codec on top of that, you would be looking at a very long time without any gameplay. In fact, I only spent about 7 hours in actual gameplay. In a VIDEO GAME which has taken emphasis on its GAMEPLAY and INTERACTIVITY that’s just completely unacceptable.

However, I can’t help but have a personal soft spot for this game. Every plotline is wrapped up by the end, and the final cutscene did move me to tears. It’s not an awful game, but as much as it pains me to say it… It’s a bad one.

+Wraps everything up neatly

+Acts 4 and 5 are godly

-Less emphasis on stealth, more focus on guns

-Act 3 is the worst MGS has ever been

-A mess of a story

-More time w/ cutscenes than gameplay

-Drebin’s Shop can ruin the game

Objective Score: 5.5/10

Subjective Score: 7/10