I have to admit, I haven’t been a Metal Gear Solid fan for a long time. To be more specific, I picked up a copy of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence just a couple years ago. I was looking for a new game series to get into, and since Metal Gear Solid was a big name title, I thought about giving it a try. And you know what, I’m glad I did because it was one of the best games I’ve ever played.
“Why is it so good?”
I asked myself this question when I played the game and was trying to figure out what it was that made MGS3 so enticing. Sure, it has a developed story that keeps you engaged, it has dynamic characters with distinguishable personalities, the soundtrack and voice acting is well done, and it has excellent gameplay mechanics that don’t take very long to understand but can be a challenge to execute (at least if you’re trying to go for the proper “stealth” infiltration).
But there was also something beyond these general factors that really gave the game an added value. Instances in the game that just had this uncanny “Kojima Touch” that had you thinking, “Hideo Kojima is a genius.”
To emphasize what I’m talking about, I’m going to give you the Top 5 Innovative Experiences of Metal Gear Solid 3. Each of these moments in the game were unique because they capitalized on a thoughtful, interactive player experience.
5. Capturing Raikov in Groznyj Grad
During this mission, you have to capture this questionable, pretty-boy Major named Raikov, in order to steal his uniform. In order to do so you must knock him out, and then proceed to drag his body into a locker without being seen by enemy soldiers patrolling the hallways. What made this a defining moment is the fact that it gives the player the flexibility to approach the situation using the tactics they desired. Instead of making the mission linear, Kojima gives players the ability to strategize and choose how they will complete the task. The method you choose? Well, that’s up to how creative you can get.
4. Ocelot and the Time Paradox
In Metal Gear Solid, you can get a game-over for several reasons. Some of the common ones are running out of time during specific boss battles, dying, or (if you’re playing European Extreme difficulty) simply setting off the alert. In Metal Gear Solid 3, there is also another ingenious way a player can earn a game-over, and that’s by killing a character that’s supposed to show up later in the series’ timeline. Remember, Metal Gear Solid 3’s story is a prequel to MGS1 and MGS2, making it earlier in the timeline. If you decide to let your curiosity take over, you’ll quickly see that killing Ocelot, a character in MGS1 and MGS2, results in an instant game over. This factor deserves to be a defining moment because it breaks the fourth wall by telling the player they have created a time paradox. Definitely an innovative feature to include in a prequel game!
3. The Boss Battle with The Sorrow
In a typical boss battle, you expect to have a dramatic duel with your enemy. Metal Gear Solid 3 implements something much more unique than this. In the “boss battle” with The Sorrow, you are literally going for a walk. Through a stream. That’s it. I think it’s genius, as it goes against the stereotypical hack-and-slash boss battle to provide something refreshing. It’s also interactive because the length of your walk upstream is determined by the amount of enemies you’ve killed in the game. Perhaps it is punishment for abusing the use of your arsenal. Whatever the reason, it is one of the most iconic boss battles I’ve ever experienced.
2. The End’s Early Death
Another one of Metal Gear Solid 3’s unique bosses is The End. He’s basically an old man who’s known as the world’s greatest sniper. In the boss battle, it doesn’t take long to find out how good his aim is. But the innovative moment I want to talk about is not the boss battle, but something that can occur out of sheer curiosity. (At least for me, this came as a surprise). Early in the game you’ll reach a dock next to Ponizovie Warehouse , and if you pay close attention to the game’s interface, you’ll notice the health bar of The End appear. As a gamer, I know this will usually appear when I can engage a boss, but at this given point of the game, I wasn’t supposed to be fighting The End. So what did I do? I was curious, so I thought about trying to snipe The End (without any prior knowledge of the game) just to see if anything would happen. Providing players with incentives and alternatives to later gameplay is a great way to reward player curiosity and the reason I chose this innovative moment.
1. The Ladder Climb
The never ending ladder climb is my number one experience in Metal Gear Solid 3 for just being so awesome. Okay, the ladder does end but this part of the game really made me speechless for its sheer ability of combining music, gameplay, and mood to create a dynamic player experience. As you’re climbing this ladder, the game’s theme song, Snaker Eater, slowly fades in from the beginning and keeps playing as you continue to climb. The catch? The only way to reach the top of the ladder is by listening to the entire song. This quality not only makes the game impressive, but also shows us that Kojima is a man with a strong attention to detail. In addition, the placement of this moment is also very calculated. It takes place at a stage of the game where Snake knows everything is at stake and must contemplate these facts, throughout his ascent, knowing it’s do or die. Thinking about it from this point of view, this moment was beautifully executed and something to revisit if you didn’t catch it on your first playthrough.
If you haven’t had the chance to play MGS3, you will have the opportunity July 9th with the release of the Playstation 3-exclusive Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection!
What do you think was innovative from Metal Gear Solid 3?