In this article I give a short rundown of my experience with the Metal Gear series, what I liked, what I didn’t and whether or not I recommend it to the masses.
No matter how long you have been playing video games, how many adventures you have completed and hours you have spent on Call of Duty; there will always be a widely popular video game series you have not played whether it be due to time constraints or simply the fact that it didn’t really appeal to you. For me, that was the Metal Gear Solid Series.
This was mainly due to the fact that I never actually owned a PlayStation console throughout my childhood years, I was exclusively a Nintendo gamer until mid-way through the previous console generation. So by the time I actually could play the Metal Gear Solid series, it was already on its fourth (and at the time; final) installment. Though a friend of mine would regularly recommend the series to me with the same line I fed people when I wanted them to play a Legend of Zelda title; “It’s absolutely awesome and I consider it the best video game series in existence”, and when you are given a recommendation as high as that, it’s very difficult to pass up.
A few months back I managed to pick up the MGS HD collection for my PlayStation 3, sadly this collection didn’t include the original Metal Gear Solid title released on the original PlayStation, so I started my playthrough of the series at Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, followed by Snake Eater and I am currently halfway through Guns of Patriots (or as some may call it; Metal Gear Solid: The Movie). Well, enough of my life story leading up to this moment. Here’s what I think:
The Metal Gear Solid series is a ‘Tactical Action Espionage’ game which means you have to spend most of the game avoiding encounters with enemies and trying not to raise any alarms through the duration of your mission. This doesn’t mean you can play the game as a pacifist akin to the original Deus Ex, there will be certain moments in the game where you have to kill bosses or kill a bunch of enemies in order to advance in the convoluted and at first very confusing story.
A gripe I found with the game early on is that even though the game tells you the very basic of things such as controls for movements, but most other things you just have to find out yourself. A good example would be the save system in Metal Gear Solid 2, I played it for 20 minutes at first and then decided that I wanted to stop, this meant I had to save but sadly the game didn’t inform me how to save the game which lead to me googling the phrase “How to save on Metal Gear Solid 2” which lead me to a forum of some moron asking the same question as me whilst millions of Metal Gear experts sniggered and laughed at this poor fellow. I then played the game for another hour before being told how to save.
In retrospect it isn’t a huge gripe and most certainly doesn’t justify the huge paragraph I typed out explaining the situation. In fact it is mainly a fault on my behalf for having the attention span of a goldfish with ADHD.
The next thing I’m about to say is something nearly anybody who has heard of the Metal Gear series will already know; and that is that there are a LOT of cutscenes in these games, seriously, if you and your friends ever feel like marathoning a TV show on Netflix but can’t figure out what, just pop a Metal gear game in and it will feel like a similar experience. Usually I don’t mind when a game features a lot of cutscenes, I talk a lot about my love for Telltale’s The Walking Dead; a game which is in its entirety just one giant interactive cutscene and also the Last of Us, a game which features roughly 7 hours of cutscenes. Cutscenes are brilliant ways to continue the narrative in a video game and can create some awesome and even some heartfelt moments, but when the majority of cutscenes take place in codec calls or is the cutscene equivalent to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or a phone call, it can get very dull after you realise you have been watching it for 15 minutes.
Though don’t get me wrong, those are my only gripes about this series. The rest of this article should be nothing but praise and recommendation featuring the odd humorous anecdote.
When you do actually learn the controls and sit through enough hours of cutscenes to actually play the game; it makes a very fun game. The controls are pretty tight and movement is very precise which means it will very rarely be the control’s fault that you were spotted, it will be your fault; because you are clearly terrible at this title. Its combat is also decent enough for a game that often advises you not to engage in it though if you are like me and prefer to shoot people using the click of a mouse rather than the pull of a trigger; gunning down your enemies may resort in you pumping many rounds into the walls surrounding your foes.
The story of Metal Gear Solid is made for anybody who enjoys story driven titles. They’re long and full of enough plot twists to even make M. Night Shyamalan jump excitedly in his seat like a child.
The game itself also has an element of cheese to it, especially in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater; which has seems to resemble the cheesiness of an old James Bond movie (awesome 70’s soulful intro song included) some of these moments would make the more serious gamer place their head in their hands and sigh, but I found them absolutely hilarious and made a nice to break from the more serious sections of the game.
The main question is do I recommend it? Of course, if you like cinematic gaming experiences such as Wolf Among us or the Uncharted series then this is for you, it’s essentially the father of cinematic experiences in video games and also offers a fantastic, lengthy story to engorge yourself in all summer long. Seriously, go play Metal Gear Solid.