The lights are on
First off, I love the Metal Gear series more than I should ever love a series of video games. I love its characters, its strange humor, and the stories and struggles of every character. All us Metal Gear fans could ask for was a good ending to Solid Snake's epic tale of hardship, victory, and terror. From killing his father in Metal Gear 2 to unlocking the secrets of the Patriots, Snake has had a long, hard life. This game wraps up everything you've ever seen in the series and gives not only a great ending but, in my opinion, the only ending that a legend like Solid Snake really deserved. While not for everyone, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is an outstanding game that any Metal Gear fan would feel right at home playing.
"War has changed..." These words are spoken very early in the game, and it is very true. War is no longer a battle of ideology. It is no longer a battle of separate beliefs. War is now a business, fought routinely between military businesses called PMC's and local militia groups that are resisting them. War is now fought with payed mercenaries and dangerous AI's. This type of war is fought every day in the Middle East, and somehow, Liquid Ocelot is in the middle of it. Solid Snake, now codenamed Old Snake, has been sent to find Liquid Ocelot. From there, you will meet characters from the other games, discover and unlock the secrets of Metal Gear Solid 2, and get your own share of good and bad news. The story is told beautifully, albeit with a heavy heart. There's a lot of emotion in the game and some moments where you really worry and really feel bad for the characters. This is no easy situation they're in, and I was feeling every bit of the emotions they were. Customary to tradition, there are quirky moments where the game tries humor. Some would think that the weird quirkiness would upset the flow of the game, but it really doesn't. In all the crap that's going on, it's actually kind of a relief to see a monkey smoking or hear him burp after a nice soda.
The concept of Metal Gear Solid 4's gameplay hasn't changed. You sneak through enemy territory like any other Metal Gear. The difference here is all the ways you can do it. You enter the battlefield at the beginning disguised as a militia soldier. If you keep that disguise up, you could use it later in the game by simply shooting at the PMC's and not at the militia. It's an effective way of hiding in plain sight. Tons of new gear has also been introduced to the core gameplay. One core element is called OctoCamo. It is a sneaking suit that changes its color and texture depending on what you're laying on. For example, if you lean on a brick wall, the OctoCamo will automatically change to resemble the color and pattern of the wall. While it doesn't match every pattern perfectly, it helps the flow of the game more than if you had to change manually, and it's just cool to see it work. Another immediate change is the Solid Eye. It's basically a mechanical eye patch, and it can be really useful. It works as binoculars, night vision goggles, and just a basic tool to help you sneak and see enemies. It also gives you a motion sensor in the form of a radar-like screen in the top-right corner of the screen. It's useful and fun to use.
Since Metal Gear Solid 3, you've been able to fight your way out of most situations. On the easiest difficulties, you could just go through every situation with guns blazing. This is the same in Metal Gear Solid 4, but there are some situations in the game that force you to fight. Both sneaking and fighting are really fun, and a huge improvement has been made for one of the series oldest complaints, that the enemy AI isn't smart. That's changed. Now enemies will take cover, flank you, and their aim is deadly. These are enemies that are a challenge to fight. Boss battles, as always, are fantastic. Some of them take specific strategies to beat, and they're just challenging and fun.
Unlike the other games, you can also buy and sell weapons and equipment with a man named Drebin. This system is based off of credits, and even ID locked weapons can be unlocked. This also brings up the fact that there are tons of things to buy and tons of weapons to use, adding replay value.
The graphics are amazing in every way. Character models look great, battles are awesome, and the animation is great. I actually just sat and watched one battle for about ten minutes and didn't get bored. Dust settles on the screen when you're in crumbling buildings, and water runs down the camera after you're done swimming. Some companies are just reaching this level of gameplay now when Hideo got it in 2008. Everything about this game looks fantastic.
The Metal Gear series is known for having great dialogue and voice acting, and Metal Gear Solid 4 isn't any different. As always, David Hayter has done a great job. Even unimportant characters sound good. The sound in this game is great. Guns sound powerful, and explosions sound more powerful. From the explosions to the dust settling after them, everything sounds amazing.
The main issue with Metal Gear Solid 4 isn't even an issue with the game; it's an issue with the gamers. This game-this series-simply isn't for everyone. Some are going to hate it, and others (like me) love it. I've seen tons and tons of bad user reviews. Understand two things before you play it. First off, this series is unlike any game you've ever played before. We've seen sneaking and action, but no other game is like Metal Gear. Second, do your homework if this is your first Metal Gear game. These games are consumed in a history of over fifty years. You will never be more confused than if you play Metal Gear Solid 4 first.
Nevertheless, this is a game that catches the hearts of fans. One thing is obvious: Hideo Kojima knows his fans, and this game proves it. Solid Snake's story has been long and hard, but this is the only end great enough for a legend in gaming. As one of the greatest characters in gaming, Snake will live on with the people who have played as him since the beginning in Outer Heaven. Through hell and back, Solid Snake's story is now over.
And I couldn't have asked for more.
This is game is for sure 10-10 material.