Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots – Kojima Productions – 2008 – PS3
‘Metal Gear?!?’ A question and exclamation that is old hat to Solid Snake as Metal Gear Solid 4 begins. It’s a similar sort of reaction to the one I have when I play games in the series, a fear of the unknown; a familiarity like an old friend; an anticipation of what’s to come and the knowledge that somehow someday, I’ll be back doing this again.
I’ve spent the last few days struggling to find the exact words for this part of my countdown. Unlike the other 3 Metal Gear games that make an appearance in my top 25, the magic of Metal Gear Solid 4 is difficult to describe in words without readers knowing the series inside out. You can talk about the technical prowess of the game, the un-noticeable transitions between cut-scene and gameplay being impressive 4 years on, as well as the excellent mo-cap and voice work by the cast. MGS4 is a good looking game, but to be honest, it would still be here if it wasn’t.
The true beauty of Guns Of The Patriots is the narrative, how Hideo Kojima and his team wields such an intricate and confusing story full of parallels to the real world with ease. I’ve grown up with these characters, Otacon, Meryl, Raiden and Snake and seeing their story come to a close in such a satisfying, albeit lengthy way combines a whole load of nostalgia with sheer awe to make me all emotional. Liquid Ocelot steals the show here though, the only character to appear in all 4 games, his final scenes casting a shadow on all the events prior.
I’m currently playing through MGS4 again, and my biggest connection to the game is an emotional one. Once Act 4 hits, where your mission takes you right back to Shadow Moses the setting of the original Metal Gear Solid, I’m crying 2 minutes into the chapter. The panpipes that open ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ sweep in over the harsh snow storm as you enter the heliport . I remember the first time I played the game and I just stopped still in my tracks and couldn’t move I was so overwhelmed. They had recreated one of the most iconic moments of my childhood, in fact nearly the whole of Metal Gear Solid’s map is here in 4. It’s not a sad moment, it’s not an epic dramatic scene, but it’s a moment that has me in tears within seconds. I was inconsolable, the flashbacks you see across the area not helping matters. ‘A Security Camera?!?…’ as you see one of them fall after so many years.
There are so many moments like this for me in Metal Gear Solid 4, the crawl through the microwave chamber as you see all of the other characters from the series feeling the same pain as Snake; Sunny talking to Naomi about her mother Olga; the Love Theme making me cry every time it starts playing; Raiden being a complete badass fighting hundreds of guards with no arms; and a closing line that defines the series perfectly, ‘This is good…Isn’t it?’.
While I do have to take a step back and see the many problems that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots has, for me it’s an evocative, inspiring and engaging experience that will remain with me as long as I play games. It’s not the best of the Metal Gear games, but is the perfect way to say goodbye to a true video game hero.
How Can I Play It? – You have to have played the first 3 games to really appreciate this game, and right now the only way you can is on a PS3.