As some may have noticed, I’ve been playing through my Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection and enjoying it quite a lot. I’m a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid games and am overly familiar with all their foibles and features. Playing them back-to-back certainly helps make MGS2 make a little more sense. The parallels with MGS1 are clearer.
My favourite is MGS3. It’s technically stunning and succeeds in feeling more advanced than its prequels even though its story is set a generation or so before either of them. This is reflected in the available technology in the game. No soliton radar for Snake this time! There are, as always, some self-deprecating nods to bits of plot and terms.
I’d planned on playing through Bully and then having something fill the time between that and the next major sandbox game on my playlist. Likewise, I’ve had my fill of Metal Gear for a bit but will probably be as keen as ever to get my teeth into Metal Gear Solid 4 when it ships in mid-June.
I think the Metal Gear Solid games come under a bit of flak because of their high profile and also because of the apparent linear or shallow nature of their gameplay. Another point of criticism is their indulgent and lengthy cut-scenes that deliver character development and plot exposition (and convolution).
Whilst it’s unlikely critics will be converted by this information, I’d like to present you with links to a couple of Metal Gear oriented articles.
The first, Driving Off the Map – A Formal Analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2, deals with the story and characters of Metal Gear Solid 2. A lot of players felt rather cheated by the game due to the change of lead characters. The article is lengthy and quite a challenging read but offers some interesting (though not necessarily authoritative) views on the various subtexts in the game’s narrative and interpretations of what messages it is delivering the player. When I first read the article it opened my eyes to a broader view of the events in the game and turned my disappointment to appreciation.
The second article is actually a collection of pages covering the gameplay features and quirks of the entire Metal Gear series. It’s an unfussy collection of tips, tricks and details that feature in all the games and shows just how much care and thoughtfulness was put into the gameplay of each game. There are details of literally hundreds of events and circumstances in the games that you can try out. It’s astonishing to see so much hidden content in games that feel so complete and rich in their ‘vanilla’ gameplay.
Fan or not, a look at some of the information available on those sites will give a broader appreciation of a game legacy that rightfully has fans across the globe and has resulted in one of the most watchable and compelling characters to ever grace our videogame screens. It certainly makes you wonder what will be hidden in the depths of Metal Gear Solid 4, doesn’t it?