‘Metal Gear Solid 4’: An Act By Act Analysis | Scene by Scene

There is not a single video game that opens as profoundly, or as appropriately, as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does with Solid Snake’s “War has changed” monologue. In less than five minutes, not only is the game’s tone established, so is a new direction for the franchise as a whole.

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passenger77240d ago

I got till the guy with the octopus suit?... And then I said, well that's it, I don't wanna watch more video

UltraNova239d ago (Edited 239d ago )

Good for you then! I, however consider MGS4 as one of the best written, directed and executed games in history. The cutscenes were long I admit that but never did I find my self bored or my consentration broken simply because of the excellent direction, deep story , engaging characters and Kojima's quirks that a long time fan could not help but appreciate.

Than there's the excellent combat mechanics and the OctoCamo stroke of genious(even if it was underutilized).

Boss fights? Some of the most imaginative and mememorable ones ever, only equalled/surpassed by previous MGS entries.

Thats how I feel about MGS4 and I respect your opinion, taste is, in the end, aquired and subjective.

Edit: I'd definitely buy a -seriously- remastered MGS4 to play on my Pro.

The_Sage239d ago

I agree with all you've said... Also, there was the amazing way the storylines were made sense of, and wrapped up. The way they dealt with the Ocelot is is Liquid now was fantastic.

Damn... Now I have to play it again.

GamesMaster1982240d ago

This will always me my true Metal Gear swan song, a perfect end to the legend's. I just wish Kojima never gave in to all the casual gamers for MGSV and shortend cutscenes and pretty much removed the codec and most of the story, any true MGS fan would spend hours on the codec alone just messing around, shame as MGSV could of really been the best video game ever , as it already had the gameplay.

UltraNova239d ago (Edited 239d ago )

Agreed, MGSV was a chore for me, it was a a product of submission not passion, one I had to play at least once since it would be Kojima's final effort in this universe a universe that contains his DNA.

I still haven't accepted the fact that MGS is really over...

Goldby239d ago

Random fact, if you were to smoke the PHANTOM cigar for a straight hour, over 6 years would have passed.

"Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour"

Edito239d ago

I suffer from fatigue with MGSV i just can't finish it, i play it 20min and i feel tired, i bought it day one and i'm still at that place where you have to explode some thanks. Yeah it's like 2+h of gameplay.

Shame on me or the game has something wrong.

PhoenixUp239d ago

I’d like to add some things in response to the author

- The identities of the Patriots being Naked Snake's former support crew from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater seems like a bit of nowhere, until one realizes that it was Major Zero who coined the name of the organization, as well as the use of the term "La-li-lu-le-lo" (although the Director's commentary in the aforementioned game mentioned that "patriots" in that case were more a reference to the term rather than the name of the organization). It's also worth remembering that they aren't revealed to be the Patriots anyway, only the founders; it's just that the current Patriots, the AI system, aren't seen after the end of Sons of Liberty.

- This game represents Kojima's last attempt to duct tape every errant thread in the cloth of the pre-existing Metal Gear continuity into a coherent whole, therefore an iota of contestable confusion was inevitable. That there aren't more is a testament to Kojima's writing skill.

- Everyone likes to complain about the whole "nanomachines being used to explain everything in Guns of the Patriots". But the reliance of nanomachines is a big part of the game's story. PMC's and the Rat Patrol 01's reliance on nanomachines show the dark future ahead and how lost they are without them. People disregard their own SENSES (MGS4's major theme) in favor of technology.

UltraNova239d ago

"This game represents Kojima's last attempt to duct tape every errant thread in the cloth of the pre-existing Metal Gear continuity into a coherent whole, therefore an iota of contestable confusion was inevitable. That there aren't more is a testament to Kojima's writing skill. "

One could argue that he brought that to himself with all those years of writtiing previous entries without a coherent plan for future tie-ins/entries.

Its true that he wanted out of the MGS IP for a long time, maybe thats what caused all those " errant threads" as you put it, but we cannot know for certain.

That said I totally agree that the guy is an absolute script writtiing genious and I really wish he makes it over to the movie industry at some point and write & direct a cyberpunk conspiracy (think Ghost in the shell) movie!! Damn...

Goldby239d ago

Well he is a part of the movie, even just to keep the director on the right path

FallenAngel1984239d ago

I love discussing MGS4

“It is a reminder that, while MGS4 might change the lore of the series, the previous games cannot be altered. Metal Gear Solid is there, Metal Gear Solid 2 still works in its own context, and Metal Gear Solid 3 can be enjoyed without thinking about what comes next. Act four is about learning to accept what has come and what is gone.”

Series sequels are the vehicle through which these tropes find new life, and the need to justify sequels via the saga's story gives rise to the trope that justifies all iterations: the Hollow Victory. In order to establish new contexts for conflict, each sequel must nullify the preceding game's victory in order to return characters and events to the cycle of iteration.

The trope of the Hollow Victory undermines an important aspect of each MGS game's theme. Each game establishes its theme as a context that conditions an individual's identity, and then it insists that personal fulfillment can only occur by overcoming that context. Characters could not reprise their roles were they allowed to live the freedom achieved by overcoming genes, memes, or historical circumstances. Therefore, Solid Snake's victory at Shadow Moses fails to free him from the burden of his “warrior genes,” Raiden's victory fails to free him from reliving the violence of his childhood, and Naked Snake cannot truly leave behind the circumstances of his past.

“Big Boss’ inclusion in the epilogue is counterproductive to the essence of his character. Another issue with Big Boss’ return is what it represents for Solid Snake’s character arc.“

Critics may have denounced Big Boss's appearance as MGS4's greatest narrative blunder. However if we remember that MGS4 is driven by form as well as by narrative – only Big Boss's actual appearance can free Solid Snake from a proxy's death. This recalls MGS2's insistence that only the actual appearance of the real Solid Snake in MGS2 saved Raiden from becoming who he was not. By proxy I mean how Solid Snake’s character in MGS4 was heavily implied to be a proxy for Big Boss via his new eyepatch, the very first flashback event in the game, & sudden “newfound ability to perform CQC.

Speaking about that first flashback, MGS4 further clarified Solid Snake is no longer a shadow or a proxy by replaying the first Flashback Event with Big Boss saluting the grave of The Boss. Now, though, MGS4 associates those dead images with live images of the correct character. Solid Snake's life as a proxy ends, and the saga's memory of Big Boss finally reattaches to Big Boss. It was very appropriate for him to appear narratively.

“Big Boss never actually dying hurts the series when looking back on it with a Metal Gear Solid 4 context.”

It makes perfect sense within MGS4’s context. Think about it like this. A person is a man or a woman. An icon is an abstraction of a person. An icon doesn’t age or die, or live. Most importantly, it doesn’t change. In Metal Gear Solid 4, EVA explains how Zero has turned Big Boss into an icon, allowing him to neither live or die. The very principles of life are taken from him. He’s no longer a man, he’s an idea. Essentially Zero had dehumanized Big Boss to further his own goals, and theme of dehumanization runs heavily in MGS4.

UltraNova239d ago

Damn you REALLY like to discuss MGS4! Hehe. Very enlightening comments, enjoyed reading them.

FallenAngel1984239d ago

A couple more things I’d like to add

“Having Big Boss appear as a physical manifestation of that concept is an interesting idea with an almost mythological presence. Unfortunately, while he does work as a representation of Snake’s humanity and his closeness to death, Big Boss spends the entire epilogue monologuing about the Patriots; how Zero, a supporting character from Snake Eater, was the main villain all along; and his misinterpretation of The Boss’ will.”

Big Boss is a genetic patchwork of body parts harvested from his own clones, and, with his possession of The Boss's Patriot hand-rifle and Portable Ops's Gene's coat, he stands as the physical culmination of the Saga's villains. His character's history stands as a blend of motivations received from The Boss and finances received from Gene. His role and identity have varied according to whatever each Saga game needed. He supplied the main villain for the MSX Metal Gears, the physical cure for the Genome Army in MGS1, Solidus's ideological inspiration in MGS2, and the falling hero in MGS3. In his body, character motivations, and relationships to each game, Big Boss represents all tropes associated with the Saga's larger overarching villain and central character.

Meanwhile, Zero represents the Saga's larger trope of the mastermind. His character is a patchwork in the same manner as Big Boss's body. He attains his role as the Saga's final villain when MGS4 heaps upon him all the data about the Patriots culled from the margins of previous games. Each lingering conspiracy gels upon his character. His physical state recalls the invalid presence of MGS3's The End – a warrior from the previous generation whose death passes the baton to the next. His design also recalls that of MGS1's Armstech President Kenneth Baker: a bald, immobile old man who bore responsibility for multiple black projects. Zero is a monstrous compendium of the Saga's dark forces in a state of decay, which is exactly a large theme of what MGS4 is about.

PhoenixUp239d ago (Edited 239d ago )

Ironically despite being the ultimate mastermind of the series, the man behind the Patriots himself also ends up being deprived from his humanity similarly to how he deprived Big Boss of his humanity. He himself becomes an empty shell, a body without a mind, only alive because a bunch of machines keep him that way.

His body is not being controlled by his mind, it’s being controlled by machines. This way, Zero represents the helplessness of a man in the face of immortal machines. How much of a human being remains, when his individuality is lost? You could even say that at that point Zero was more machine than man than even Raiden was within the game.

MGS4 being about what happens when people’s senses are taken away, when their individuality is removed, and how this affects their actions is best exemplified by how Zero, who by this point has lost most of the unique identity he had in MGS3 and is very unrecognizable now, is portrayed in the end as being unable to commit any actions of his own free will which runs in complete opposition to the main character of the game and the series, Solid Snake, who in Naomi’s own words was kept together by the strength of his own free will despite being played as a pawn for most of his life.

At the end, he may even be as much as a victim of the System as anyone else. Big Boss acknowledges this fact before he releases him from the control of his very machines, thus mercy killing him.

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