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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PlayStation 2)

93
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  woods01 (154)
Written on  :  May 30, 2002
Rating  :  3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars3.43 Stars

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Summary

A wildly overrated game.

The Good

This game improves on the strengths of the previous game's engine. The same stealth emphasis is here only now you have more abilities to use. Most notable is the addition of being able to peak around corners for a view of whats a head and being able to hang over the edge rails by your hands.

The AI is greatly improved over the first MGS game. If you are spotted then the enemy will radio for reinforcements. If you manage to kill a guard quietly you still need to vacate the area because when the guard fails to radio in its status report, other guards will arrive to investigate.

The graphics and animation in this game are fantastic. They really show off what the PS2 is capable of. I especially liked the fluid movement of the characters. While I have problems with the actual story presented in the cut scenes they are a technical high point. They are the best looking ones presented in any game I have played.

The Bad

Like the last game, this one is quite linear and very short. This game can be easily won in a weekend. If you've played it before and know what to do, it can be beat in a single day. Apart from seeing how fast you can beat it there is not really any replay value here.

While I earlier praised the AI of various guards you have to get by, the boss characters are not very well done. The strategy for beating them was basically finding a pattern for doing damage and then repeating until they were dead. These supposedly "climatic" battles were something I came to dread. The boss fights were dull slug it out fights. And did not compare to the tense, stealthy measures you had to employ against the lowly guards!

Adding to the game's lack of replay value are the very long cut scenes. You will spend as much time watching movies as playing the game! Its obvious that the creator of this series really wanted to be a movie director but ended up in video games. Watching long cut scenes would have been acceptable of the game's plot were not so terrible.

The story is bad, soap opera bad. I don't expect much from a video game plot but when you spend so much of the game learning about the story it should at least be tolerable. There is a basic thread of covert terrorists groups working to gain leverage over a corrupt U.S. government. That would have been fine but they had to throw in a lot of bad long lost brother-sister-father-son crap. Plus a trite bit about incest and suicide and an apprentice gone bad. All this would have been comical if it were not presented so seriously.

The Bottom Line

Metal Gear Solid 2 is fun weekend rental. I really enjoy the whole stealth aspect of the Metal Gear games. Its unfortunate that these games are short on actual play value and long on soap opera plotting.