| The Good
Awesome attention to detail
Top-notch voice acting and sound effects
Enemy AI is well done
| The Bad
Story may be too deep for some
For those who don't know, Metal Gear Solid 2 is the
sequel of the critically acclaimed PS game in which you play
as stealth agent Solid Snake, who must sneak into an Alaskan
base to stop terrorists from using the secret Metal Gear Rex.
Without going into too many events (because I don't want to
ruin any of the excellent plot for this game), the sequel
starts up a few years later when Solid Snake, now a freelance
with the anti-Metal Gear "Philanthropy", arrives on a disguised
Marine boat, in search of a new Metal Gear prototype, specifically
built to counter all of the Metal Gears recently built after
the last game. For this point, you must sneak in and gather
photos of the gear and info about where the boat is headed.
This only scratches the surface of where this game is heading.
I don't usually section this category off, but in a game like
this, it has to be done. Metal Gear Solid 2's story
is so in-depth and packed with twists, that it easily blows
away anything I've played in years, even the original title
(and I didn't think that was possible). When it comes to dramatic
twists, this game really delivers. The last time I came even
this close to being surprised was at the end of disc one on
Final Fantasy 7. This story
is not for those who prefer simple plots and don't have a
grasp philosophy. It's deep, even if to a fault.
Lifelike, but not to the point of trying to completely emulate
life. The graphics are done in such a way as to represent
a realistic world that we can see and feel without being real.
There is a philosophy in art that teaches not to paint exactly
what you see, but what looks visually correct. I think this
approach is definitely used in the game. The use of real-time
lighting is excellent and the character models have volume
and a fine level of detail. Rain effects and water both look
top-notch. The environments are well detailed, even to the
point of the player being able to interact (mostly shooting)
with items on countertops and tables.
Everything that Metal Gear Solid was, but more and
better. The addition of new moves and a higher level of interactivity
with the environment really add to an already great experience.
Now, the player can look around corners and even jump out
to make quick shots at enemies in the hallway. The addition
of the anesthetic dart gun also gives a serious level of depth
to the game, allowing the player to basically finish the game
without killing anyone. Collecting dog tags adds a fun mini-game
like quality to dealing with the guards. To get dog tags,
the player must perform a "hold-up" by sneaking up on the
guards and aiming a gun at them. Holding guards at gunpoint
and aiming at certain areas, or shooting them in a limb, will
cause them to drop their dog tags. Collecting all of the tags
will gain you secret items for later use. Enemy AI is top-notch.
If you run up or down stairs, they can hear you and when you
are found out, teams of soldiers will work to find you. If
an enemy spots you and calls for aid, back-up teams will come
to either investigate or aid in the battle. The interaction
with the environment is also key to the success and enjoyment
of the game. Pipes and extinguishers can be punctured, locker
doors opened and knocked off, lights shot out and even the
tarp that Olga hides behind in the first boss fight can be
shot loose. Curious gamers will want to experiment with everything
to see if it's possible to do.
Musical score, voice acting and sound effects - flawless.
In fact, the audio portion of this game sets a benchmark that
will be hard to surpass any time soon. The voice acting alone
is so well done that I have to wonder if Capcom is intentionally
using bad voice-acting in their games (Resident Evil,
Onimusha). It's obvious that it
can be done well (in both this, Soul
Reaver 2 and Grand Theft Auto 3).
But, to be honest, with a story this strong, the voice acting
has to be excellent, or the story just falls flat. Considering
the effect of sound effects in the game (most noticeably when
the either luring or sneaking up on guards), they had too
be handled well. When it comes to the audio portion in general,
I would have to say that it's excellent because anything less
would not be acceptable.
I would say that if there is anything that could be considered
a liability for such a monumental game, it would be that the
story might be too deep. So deep that at times it feels like
it looses focus. Too much time is spent talking in the Codec,
which only weakens some really dramatic conversations. To
be honest, the philosophy and some of the intellectual conversations
may be over the heads of younger, less educated gamers.
This is the kind of game that sells systems. Everyone whoever
considered themselves a gamer (whether hardcore or casual)
should play this game. Anyone who comes away from this game
with anything more than a few nitpicky complaints should just
give up videogaming, period. Everything that this game does
goes above and beyond the capability of the current competition
and will easily set a bar for quality for years to come.