Having recently finished Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots I feel safe to say that it is easily one of the greatest videogames I have ever had the pleasure to play. As a consummate Metal Gear fan I was prepared for lengthy cut scenes, codec conversations that threatened the half-an-hour mark, and plot threads more tangled than a fisherman’s knot. In fact, I was more than prepared for these things. I wanted them, and I certainly got what I wanted.
Despite nearly falling asleep at the end, and the layers upon layers of exposition that sometimes felt more endurance test than game, I fell in love. The devotion to character, imagination and setting is absolute, and inarguably as good as anything Kojima has offered before. The Beauty and The Beast unit typify the idiosyncratic nature of the auteur’s vision when it comes to crafting memorable set-pieces.
The non-interactive chunks of MGS’s playtime have long been the cause of a splintering of gamers into love-it or hate-it camps. The cutscenes found in MGS4 are unashamedly lengthy, and while some devote whole sections to narrative and conversation (which is still entertaining in its own right) it’s the expertly composed actions sequences that truly electrify. Even the word ‘expertly’ fails to convey just how well constructed these visual spectacles are. Surpassing even Spielberg’s on-screen creations Kojima’s choreography feels like a blend of Bruckheimer and Woo-Ping Yuen – with a cheeky pinch of Lynch thrown in for good measure.
There’s a new fluidity to gameplay, providing the player with a Metal Gear experience that is less rigid in its reliance on stealth. And it’s certainly not coy in its sharing of gameplay elements with other triple-A titles. However, this is turning into a mini-review, and I don’t intend to do a review any time soon (I’d have given it a nine, if you’re wondering). What I would like to talk about is one very specific section, one of the game’s five acts that’s up there with the finest moments I’ve ever enjoyed in my life as a hardcore gamer.
Read on to find out more, but beware. There are epic spoilers ahead.