Not since Halo 3 have I seen so much hype surrounding one game. For anyone interested in video games Metal Gear Solid 4 (MGS4) was a unavoidable part of your daily routine. I won't lie, I bought into the hype as well and was right there picking it up the first day it released. During my time with Metal Gear Solid I developed mixed emotions about it before coming to my conclusion.
If you have ever read any of my reviews, typically I dedicate this section to giving a plot summary without spoiling the story. Unfortunately Metal Gear Solid 4 is way too lengthy and convoluted to sum up in just a paragraph. Just incase you haven't read any of the other 100 reviews for this game I'll give you a brief synopsis. Metal Gear Solid 4 is the last ride of Solid Snake (the world’s greatest spy) in his fight to save the world. Before you play MGS4 you should think long and hard about whether or not you like to watch cut scenes. I say this because a majority of your time spent playing MGS4 will not actually be spent playing the game. Now this is not to say that MGS4 doesn’t tell a good story, it just features too much filler and has too many loose ends to tie up. Don’t be surprised if your second time through the game includes you hitting start and selecting skip every time a cut scene begins.
Metal Gear Solid 4 has some of the best stealth action gameplay I have experienced to date. The first two levels are as close to perfection for a stealth action game as I have ever seen. What is also great about MGS4 is the way in which you can upgrade and unlock a plethora of weapons and attachments. Combine that with the ability to approach every situation differently and you have a game that is fun and fresh even after multiple play throughs.
Not to beat a dead horse but MGS4 is way too heavy on the cut scenes. The last time I checked I have never spent $60 for a movie. As great as the first couple of levels are, you can’t say the same for the final few. The final few levels consist of a lot of cut scenes and gameplay that is not as engrossing as the introductory levels. Metal Gear Solid 4 also features boss fights that range from too easy (even on the harder difficulty settings) to frustrating and annoying.
When it’s all said and done, MGS4 is a game that at times proves why the series is so revered, and at other times makes you wonder how it has had so many sequels. I would still consider it a must play for any gaming fan, and it’s still one of the best games on the console. Hopefully the next installment will feature more gameplay and less cinema.