The Metal Gear series is a great series, it's just a very inconsistent one in terms of what the gameplay focus is...

RR-sama Talks: On Metal Gear Solid V’s hype

The Metal Gear series is a great series, it's just a very inconsistent one in terms of what the gameplay focus is...

Hello everybody, and welcome to the first RR-sama talks segment! These sections will be where I discuss games or series that don’t make it to my Rewind Reviews but are interesting enough that I’d like to discuss them. This might be because of an upcoming sequel, or maybe I just don’t feel like writing a full review about a game that everybody knows will get a decent score – even by my standards.

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These games will be included in these sections for a number of reasons ranging from them being lost from my collection to otherwise being otherwise inaccessible to me at this time. Don’t worry, though, the same rules still apply: No nostalgia glasses, no excuses, no rationalizing hardware limitations, and no sparing myself from angry fans and readers. So let’s dig in!

What is Metal Gear Solid?

My first experience with Metal Gear Solid came from Egoraptor’s Metal Gear Awesome parody. While the animation was hardly reminiscent of the actual game, when I first watched that animation I immediately wondered about what Metal Gear Solid was actually like. From my first impressions, it was supposed to be a game about stealthy infiltration of an enemy base of operations to stop, steal, or destroy whatever plans they had to do… something.

These expectations led me to believe Metal Gear Solid would be something like a hardcore version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s Forsaken Fortress where you would have to stay out of enemy sight or else suffer the consequences. This was true, in part, but I never suspected that the game would have been much easier and lenient than my expectations. I guess I was a bit naïve in that sense, but it did make sense to me.

So what is the real Metal Gear Solid?

The Twin Snakes was all about getting the jump on your enemy, as getting caught more often than not resulted in the player’s death

The Metal Gear series is anything but easy to define. While Metal Gear Solid or Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes did a better job of blending combat and stealth mechanics than I expected, I found that later additions to the series unable to do so. With the exception of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the remaining entries in the series did not punish you much at all for getting caught. In fact, combat gameplay was improved to the point that at certain points in the games that you could go on a one-man killing spree if you wanted to. 

Sure, in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty stealth was still important, but there’s a reason they added the first person mode. It’s a new way to combat the enemy, and any way to focus on killing your adversaries over staying invisible while making your enemies smarter is – in my humble opinion – a wrong course of action.

The worst game in the series for this lack of focus on stealth is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In MGS4, players can go through the entire game without a care in the world. Sure, there are portions of the game where stealth is required – namely the first 5 non-cinematic minutes. In a game literally labeled “Tactical Espionage Action,” I didn’t quite expect to be running down an alley shooting everyone down with an assault rifle.

 In Snake Eater, this scene would be your deathbed. In Guns of the Patriots, this is a target range on any difficulty below Big Boss mode…

MGS4 proved I couldn’t be more wrong about the series…

Unless you are playing the game on the highest possible difficulty available, Guns of the Patriots is a cakewalk. Let me correct myself… It’s a cakewalk up to the point where you get to the last mission that actually requires insane amounts of stealth. While I would have appreciated it if the game slowly built up to this difficulty, having got used to just killing everyone in sight made me have a severe case of whiplash. The short and sweet? I died over and over until I remembered how to “Snake”.

So what about the rest of MSG?

I can’t really speak for the non-console titles since MGS4 pretty much killed my expectations for the series, and as such I never bothered picking up the HD remasters of those games. I’ve heard great things about them, however. I would just be a bit hesitant to pick them up since – last I checked – they still have the online multiplayer mode.

My assumption would be that, as a result, they would resemble MGS4’s combat-heavy gameplay. But as I said, I’ve never played them, so this is merely speculation.

 Metal Gear Online pretty much represents all the failings of the newer games in my point of view…

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the Metal Gear Solid series up until this point has been a game with a great premise, but with a very inconsistent level of execution. More than anything, I know the games have a great story, provided you have the patience to sit through hours upon hours of cutscenes and take down notes.

If you really want a “Tactical Espionage Action” adventure, then I suggest picking up MGS3. If you want to just shoot everything, then rage quit after the game stops letting you do that, pick up MGS4. For everything else in between… pick the rest of the titles. Every single Metal Gear Solid title is well crafted, and they’re all good games, but they might not all match your expectations.

And Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain?

To be honest, I’ll probably skip it. I really don’t understand the hype. Maybe it’s because it is the concluding chapter, and as such it has “last game in the series” syndrome where everybody has to “play it for the story” so to speak. In the future, I might pick it up for nostalgia’s sake (I know, ironic coming from me).

Otherwise, I’ll just wait until the hype dies down, and the user reviews have settled on where exactly this game stands on the action-tactical scale without the hype preaching “best MGS yet!”


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Author
David Fisher
Author, GameSkinny columnist, and part-time childhood destroyer. David W. Fisher (otherwise known as RR-sama) is a no B.S. reviewer and journalist who will ensure that you get as close to the facts as humanly possible!