I used to be really into online multiplayer games. When Call of Duty 4 was released, I probably went to my friends house everyday just to get on his Xbox 360 and play it; it's fair to say that I was addicted. A year later, my friends older brother purchased a Playstation 3 for a little game called Metal Gear Solid 4, which he said he'd been waiting for for more than 3 years. Me, being the little tike that I was, had no idea what this game was about (I was obviously sheltered from the finer things in life). I had never played a previous Metal Gear title, and I didn't really plan on playing the new one. I saw my friends brother play it and didn't really think twice about what I was witnessing. I watched him play the multiplayer, Metal Gear Online, and thought about how complex and daunting it looked. It didn't take much to decide that I'd just stick with good-ole, simple CoD. With my perfect 20/20 hindsight, I realize now that I was a fool. Because, as it turned out, MGO ended up being my favorite multiplayer of all time.
I first picked up Metal Gear Online during the summer of 2009. My friend, the one that I mooched all of those hours of CoD from, bought his own PS3. His brother convinced him to buy MGS4 and, subsequently, convinced me to buy it as well. I immediately fell in love with every aspect of the game; the story (I read up on the story with help from the magnificent Internet), gameplay, atmosphere, soundtrack, etc. One thing I especially enjoyed, however, was the multiplayer. There are a few reasons why, instead of playing Call of Duty, I played MGO.
To be completely honest, the first FPS I had ever played extensively was Call of Duty 4. First-person shooters just weren't my thing. I was accustom to third-person, action adventures. So, the first time I played MGS4, I felt right at home with the third-person controls. And to me, this point of view worked extremely well for a multiplayer game. What made MGO even more unique was the customization of my character. MGO has a skill system in place where the more a certain ability is used, say Runner, the more effective that skill becomes; in this case, faster running. I loved that I could create any kind of character I wanted. Whether I wanted a fast rusher who was proficient with sub-machine guns, or an assault savvy slowpoke, the possibilities were endless. Not only were the attributes of my character customizable, so too were his looks. Reward points, MGO's currency for buying articles of clothing for characters to wear, were awarded through daily visits to the game, survival matches, and tournaments. If I wanted my character to be camouflaged with the leaves of the jungle, or the sand of the desert, I could customize to my hearts content.
This level of character customization would mean nothing if people weren't there to gawk at all of the creations! The MGO community was definitely a lively one. What set MGO apart from most online multiplayer games was the presence of text-chat. This meant that anyone that was playing could join in on the conversations, regardless if they owned a microphone. And the community wasn't gigantic, so most players knew each other after a few sessions of play. Every game has the village troll, and MGO is no exception. Luckily though, there was a vote-to-kick option in which each player voted whether to keep, or boot, the player. This meant that annoying, laggy, and immature players got kicked. And those that just wanted to have a good time got to stay.
-The Game Modes-
The only reason why any game has a functioning community is because the game... exists. Metal Gear Online, while equipped with the usual deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, also has modes that are exclusive to it alone. As I'm sure that anyone reading this will know, Metal Gear is set in a universe with some pretty nifty tech; the main one being stealth camouflage. This technology allows for some very interesting and fun game modes; Sneaking Mission and Team Sneaking. Sneaking Mission is a basic team deathmatch mode, but it has a secret. Solid (Old)Snake is on the battlefield, and he's hunting dog tags. But my favorite game mode, by far, is Team Sneaking. Nothing was more fun than being invisible, stunning an enemy with a well aimed MK. 2 pistol shot, and/or capturing GA-KO/KEROTAN, effectively winning the game. These, however, weren't the only game modes that were unique to Metal Gear. As weekly events, MGO held Survival Matches and Tournaments. Survival Matches were basically mini-tournaments. A team of players would face another team at random, and the winners would be awarded Reward Points. The losers would be set back to the bottom rung; a teams objective was to win a maximum of five games in a row. Tournaments had the same concept, but if a team lost, they were out for good. Metal Gear Online had some of the most addicting game modes I had ever played, and I sorely miss them.
I miss the whole experience though. I spent an insane amount of time with MGO... around a thousand hours. Metal Gear Online was like my multiplayer comfort food. After I got tired of raging out at Call of Duty, I knew I could always hop on MGO and just have fun. I miss the third-person action, and being able to make my character look how I think solider should look, no matter how ridiculous. I long for the connections that were made through playing MGO, because those just don't happen in games like CoD and Battlefield. And I wish that there were unique and exciting game modes in other games, but none have struck me like that of Metal Gear. I played it right up until the bitter end. And ever since Konami officially shut down the servers for MGO, I've wanted to play it more and more each day. Here's hoping that in the next Metal Gear, whether it be Ground Zeroes or the “The Phantom Pain” (not fooling anyone), Kojima makes another multiplayer that's as absorbing as its' predecessor.