Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

aka: MGS4
Moby ID: 34773
PlayStation 3 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Metal Gear Solid 4 is the fourth major game in the Metal Gear Solid series developed by Hideo Kojima. It ties up all of the loose plot points of the previous games while bringing back a number of characters from the earlier games in the series such as Colonel Campbell, Naomi Hunter, Otacon, Meryl Silverburgh, Mei Ling, and many more. The game's main antagonist is Liquid Ocelot. Most of the story and the relationship are explained through cut-scenes with a considerable length. Due to the series extensive history, knowledge of the prior games is recommended to fully understand the story.

As the story begins Solid Snake, now looking like an old man due to accelerated aging, is being deployed in the Middle East on a mission to stop Liquid Ocelot. The game is set in 2014, five years after the Big Shell Incident of Metal Gear Solid 2. Liquid aims to take control of the Sons of the Patriots, the nanomachine system used to enhance the capabilities of the mercenaries of different factions. By this, he plans to assemble an army. The game is divided into five acts followed by an epilogue and a briefing. The various missions bring Old Snake to more than one location, including the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe, and a few more that can surprise the players familiar with the franchise.

In this game, all of the actions of the previous game have been included along with some new ones such as the ability to roll on your back and fire and the ability to hide in bins scattered around the environment. Similar to the Subsistence re-release of MGS3, the player has full control of the camera rotation on one analogue stick while walking with the other. Shooting is now enhanced to support a new shoulder camera not seen in the franchise before, much similar to that of Resident Evil 4 which will help you to easily counter-attack the enemy without having to fire randomly or switching to 1st-person perspective. The Close Quarters Combat system has been redesigned and players are now able to interrogate guards for information or supplies. The earlier camouflage system has been replaced with Octocamo that allows Snake to blend into the environment. The stamina meter from Snake Eater has been replaced by a stress meter. Based on the fighting and the climate conditions it can offer additional accuracy and reduce sustained damage. The other meter, Psyche, reduces accuracy and can be replenished by reading an adult magazine, eating, or drinking.

Snake has access to the largest arsenal of weapons ever made available in a Metal Gear game, with a large array of pistols, rifles, and explosives, along with the ability to mod the weapons adding scopes, suppressors, lights, and other equipment to create custom weapons.

Other gadgets in the game include the Solid Eye, which is an electronic eye patch that can be used as binoculars, night vision goggles, or just a device for displaying information about enemies and items scattered around the levels. There is also the Metal Gear Mk. II, which is a small robot that can be used to scout levels and electrocute enemies knocking them out for a period of time.

The game also features a complex multiplayer mode, simply entitled Metal Gear Online. Aside from the usual suspects of multiplayer shooter modes, such as "deathmatch" and "capture the flag", there are some original modes that are based on the stealth aspects of the single-player games. "Sneaking Mission" mostly plays out like a standard team deathmatch, with the exception that one player is assigned to control Snake, who is equipped with his radar and Octocamo. Snake's goal is to tranquilize his enemies in order to acquire their dog tags, without getting spotted. If there are enough players in the game, one player will also control Metal Gear Mk.II to assist Snake. "Team Sneaking" is basically "Capture the flag", in which the attacking team is equipped with stealth camouflage and non-lethal weapons. The defending team can only see the attacking team's shadows and weapons.

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Credits (PlayStation 3 version)

983 People (928 developers, 55 thanks) · View all

Old Snake
Hal "Otacon" Emmerich
Roy Campbell / Drebin / Zero
Meryl Silverburgh / Crying Wolf
Johnny (Akiba)
Ed
Jonathan
Vamp
Naomi Hunter / Rosemary / Laughing Octopus
Sunny
Raiden (Drama)
Raiden (Action) / Little Grey
Little John
Big Mama / Screaming Mantis
Liquid Ocelot
Mei Ling / Raging Raven
Big Boss
Missouri Crewman
Soldiers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 93% (based on 104 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 80 ratings with 5 reviews)

Finales are hard.

The Good
Metal Gear Solid 4 is a strange beast. Upon its release, it was a hot-selling title which earned rave reviews almost across the board, as with the previous games. But these days it seems to be a title that is strangely forgotten and rarely discussed anymore, except when discussing which PS3 exclusives are the best to start off with. It feels half-forgotten even amongst its peers. Even the earlier games in the series seem to be brought up with more frequency on internet discussions. This disparity between critics reviews and overall impact made this the game I was most looking forward to playing when I started my journey with MGS. Afterall, how can a game which earned a 10 from two of the biggest sites in gaming be forgotten about so quickly?

MGS4 begins about five years after MGS2. It’s the future (well, it’s really the past, since the game is set in 2014) and war has become a profit machine, where countries hire Private Military Corporations, to fight their battles for them, regardless of ideology. The PMCs are monitored and controlled by a network of nano machines and AI handled by the Patriots, referred to as the “System”. This allows for things such as battlefield support and stress regulation. Most notably, soldiers can only fire guns and drive vehicles of their own. Meanwhile, Solid Snake has begun aging rapidly due to his nature as a clone, but is tasked with his final mission to stop Liquid from taking over the System and mounting an insurrection of the world.

The gameplay of MGS4 retains some of the better ideas of Snake Eater while adding in a number of new elements of its own. Camouflage is still a factor in this game, however Snake has a unique suit called the OctoCamo, which is automatic camouflage that matches the texture of whatever it is pressed against. However, you have to hold still for a second or two before it actually changes, making moments where you must crawl over different textures very tense. It also makes it easier to hide if you end up getting spotted, as enemies have to come quite close to you before they actually notice you. In addition, enemies are more sensitive to sound, and can even smell you if you’ve been hiding in a dumpster.

Early on, Snake acquires a pair of really cool new gadgets, both of which become important to the game. The first is the Solid Eye, which acts as a radar, binoculars, and night vision goggles all-in-one. It also lets you see which side soldiers are on and what items are laying on the ground. It’s an extremely useful device, and you will likely have it equipped for about 90 percent of the game, though there are times when you’ll need to unequip it so that it can charge, which can be very tense. The other major new gadget is the Metal Gear Mark II, an adorable miniature Metal Gear that serves as Snake’s support unit in the field. This little robot can scout ahead, grab items, and can even knock out or distract guards with its stealth camo capabilities. There are a couple of other neat uses that it has, but I would be spoiling some great moments if I told you about them.

The other major addition is the weapons shop owned by Drebin 893. Drebin is an arms dealer that you meet early on who can remove the ID restrictions on weapons that you find in the field. Finding multiples of the same weapon will allow you to sell the surplus to Drebin for points, which you can use to purchase new guns, ammunition, and weapon licenses. What this means is that you’ll rarely have to worry if you forgot a weapon for any given situation, as if you’ve got the points, you can simply buy it. Of course, it’s easy enough to find weapons out in the field, however, and you can play the game ignoring the weapons shop entirely if you wanted to.

This is all backed by great level design, which is pretty consistent in allowing the player to either shoot or sneak their way through. Levels typically offer multiple paths, and thorough exploration will earn you some of the best goodies, just like in MGS3. There are a ton of unlockables throughout the game, ranging from unique weapons to additional soundtrack songs and face skins for Snake.

Perhaps the greatest change is the new, shooter-style control scheme more in-line with contemporary games such as Gears of War. This control scheme offers a much smoother experience, especially when it comes to dealing with occasional shootouts Even the boss fights and setpieces, which are expected from every MGS game, are better than ever here thanks to the revamped control scheme.

The last interesting thing to mention is the game’s structure. While previous games mostly centered around specific settings over a small area, MGS4 offers a true globetrotting adventure. What’s even more unique is that it allows the game to offer much more variety than any MGS game in the past.It honestly feels like Kojima Productions made five different games and threaded them through with the storyline.

Upon release, MGS4 was hailed as having the best graphics in any console game up to that point in time. While the graphics were quickly surpassed, even by later PS3 efforts such as Uncharted 2, I have to say that game’s visuals are still quite good by today’s standards. In particular the character models are visually spectacular, with great detail and excellent facial animations that help to really bring the personalities to life, and I dig the slightly plasticine look that they have. Compare these to the faceless models from MGS1 and the difference is really quite stark. Video games really did come a long way between 1998 and 2008, and MGS4 was proof of that. Details exist in this game that I’ve never seen anywhere else - you’ll actually see dust and sand particles on the camera when sneaking through the middle east, and aiming down the iron sights when laying on a ledge actually distorts the camera view to reflect what Snake is looking at. About the only thing that isn’t up to modern standards are the environmental shadows, which are horribly blocky and unconvincing. In addition, the framerate can take a nasty hit during heavy, high-octane action sequences, of which there are quite a few throughout the course of the game.

The Bad
While much of the gameplay is the best it’s ever been, there is one slight drawback to it all- the AI doesn’t seem as smart this time around. They aren’t nearly as ruthless in searching the place out as they were in 2 and 3. They can detect you pretty easily, but aren’t quite as aggressive enough in coming after you or scouting you out. I was able to end an alert by simply hiding behind a car, where the guard never chased me I think the developers were aware this, as Snake takes a lot less hits this time around before he kicks the bucket. Now granted, I only played on Solid Normal, and I’ve heard the game is much harder on the other difficulties. The again, this could be the result of the controls. Whatever the case, the game simply doesn’t have quite the same level challenge of the last two games, though it still remains enjoyable thanks to minimized frustrations.

The major thing when it comes to MGS4 is the story, which is given a much more increased emphasis here than in the previous entries. MGS4 is infamous for having some of the longest cutscenes in gaming history. There are parts of the game where you will spend over an hour until you can actually play again, and the ending cutscenes alone are nearly feature length. The reason for this is pretty understandable, since MGS4 is all about giving closure to a 20 year story, plus the games were always known for having a lot of cutscenes and dialogue. Hideo Kojima really wanted to wrap everything up here, so he tried to give closure to just about every major character in the Metal Gear series. Of course, this is hardly the last game in the series, which does take out some of the story’s weight.

The story is torn between trying to develop an alien new world while trying to somehow involve every major living character from the MGS series. The game goes to great lengths to explain things like the war economy, the nanomachines, and the system, before shoving in references from half-forgotten events and characters from previous games. As a result, the story ends up unfolding in ways that feel inorganic. Characters and events are included not because they make sense but because Kojima is trying to please the fans. MGS4 suffers from some serious fan service overkill, and while it makes for some very engaging moments if you’ve played the previous games, the story ends up suffering as a result.

The split desires between reveling in past glories and expanding the Metal Gear universe ultimately hampers the storytelling. Moments that were supposed to be mind-blowing or emotionally gripping sometimes ended up eliciting a “who cares” response from me, because either I couldn’t quite grasp what was going on or had little interest in the characters. That said, the fan service was still enjoyable at times and made me recognize just how epic of a journey I’ve been on, and there were some truly wonderful surprises and easter eggs to be found within the game. Ultimately, I suppose MGS4’s story is okay enough in the end, but just okay doesn't cut it when you have a legacy of over 20 years of iconic stories to live up to.



The Bottom Line
Upon finishing MGS4, I recognized that I had played a very good game - one of my favorite PS3 games, in fact, It's an improvement over the previous game in many ways: graphics, gameplay, and acting, except where it matters most: the story. While MGS4 is great as a video game, it doesn't quite hit the mark as a conclusion to one of gaming's grandest sagas. MGS4 leans too heavily on nostalgia for its own good and as a result doesn't satisfactorily wrap things up, even with its long cutscenes. MGS 4 should have ended with a nuclear-sized bang, instead it explodes gently like a legal firework. The end result is still worthwhile and entertaining, but not quite what you are hoping for.

PlayStation 3 · by krisko6 (814) · 2015

Konami does another masterpiece

The Good
It's been over 2 years since the game was released. Since I have managed to beat it multiple times, I can confidently say that Metal Gear Solid 4 is one of the best games ever. The first you notice when you play the game are the graphics. They are truely breathtaking. The cutscenes are amazing, and it constantly feels as if you are playing through a movie instead of a game. Moving on to the story, this is where all the Metal Gear Solid game are the best at. This game is divided into various chapters, where each chapter explains more of the storyline. The story is presented in cutscenes, which makes it very addicting to watch, and makes want to know more about it. Looking at the gameplay, Metal Gear Solid has always been a stealth game, and there are many different ways to play it. You can play it as stealth, or as an third person shooter. Unlike Metal Gear Solid 3, where you have to match your environment with your clothes to avoid being seen, here you get something called octo camo, which will change your camo to the surrounding. All in all, I can say that the gameplay is better than it's predecessor.



The Bad
The only thing that let me down, where the install times. Between the acts, there will be install times, which is pretty annoying, even if you can watch snake smoking.

The Bottom Line
I can say that Metal Gear solid 4 is as close to perfection as any game could ever be. From its amazing interaction between the story and gameplay, to the amazingly deep characters and plot, to the much improved stealth and mechanics, to its improvement in graphics and sound. This is a game that I deeply recommend to any PS3 owner.

PlayStation 3 · by Deleted (381) · 2010

Goes out with a bang (a pretty loud one too)

The Good
I know what some people are going to say. "I loved everything!". Unfortunately, that is not the case for me. For now, let's concentrate on the good. To start things off, the presentation is typical Metal Gear Solid (referred to as MGS from here on) fare. In other words, the presentation is great. You know it's the last MGS game, and it makes no attempt to cover this up even from the incredible intro and title screen. The whole package just feels right.

The menus are easy to navigate, options are pretty self-explanatory, getting online is a piece of cake (if you have your PS3 set up to go online), and so on. With all of the me-too 3rd party games being ported from one system to another, it seems that companies are just churning out games that are half-created for the masses to buy them and throw them away a day later. So it's nice to see a game like this where the production values are top-notch all the way.

The game really makes you feel like you're just another soldier in a war you aren't putting too much stock in from the beginning... and as you play through it, you begin to care about the characters as you find yourself getting more and more involved in the situation. And boy what a story it is. Political intrigue, treachery, backstabbing, social commentary, romance... you name it. It's all here. And it's all believably done through narrative and an astonishing plot that will leave your mouth hanging open by the end.

Moving on to the visuals, they're... what is the word? Breathtaking. This is the reason why I bought a PS3. So I could see games with graphics like these. Everything from the smoke that comes off of Snake's cigarettes to the emotions that are portrayed in the characters' faces to the amazingly accurate mouth movements when they speak... everything looks incredible. The environments are fantastically rendered, character models look and behave the way you would expect, and even the various enemies look great (although I wouldn't stop to admire their beauty while playing, unless you happen to enjoy the 'game over' screen). Truly, this game is a work of art from every perspective. And for those of you that haven't bought a flat screen high definition TV yet, this could very well be the perfect reason to go out and do so.

Moving on to sound, we have another winner. Music can be changed with an in-game iPOD and by collecting hidden music tracks strewn throughout the game, but more often than not you'll find yourself listening to the track that the developers have chosen as a default for certain areas. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is blockbuster movie quality. The voice acting makes you feel like those are the character's real voices. Nothing sounds "phoned in" or forced. Emotions, ranging from anger to sadness, are all realistically portrayed. Even the score is appropriate from scene to scene, whether you are on a stealth mission or fighting for your survival... it all fits the mood to a T. Even the sound of the guns firing, reloading, and the spent shells dropping: it all feels just right. Game developers with voice acting in their games take notice: this is how it should be done.

Gameplay is also good. I say good, because while it isn't great, it does fit the MGS style. It takes the 3rd person / 1st person change-up from previous games and improves it dramatically. Switching from modes is a breeze, thanks to a button press... and thankfully, it is much easier to move around while in 1st person and still fire. Controlling the movements of snake, while not on par with games such as the Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher, is easy and you never feel frustrated that the character isn't doing what you wanted him to do. The enemy AI, depending on the difficulty, is very intelligent.

If you are caught, enemies will take cover, call for backup, and do everything they can to take you down while trying to stay out of the path of your bullets. And depending on the difficulty you've chosen, the enemy can be absolutely relentless in their search for you if you are found and try to hide. One thing that I loved was the fact that you can crouch and walk or if you hold the crouch button down, crawl. This option was unfortunately missing from MGS 2 (not sure about 3), and I'm glad the developers put it in, as it adds a whole new level to the stealth sections of the game.

And what would a MGS game be without the selection of weaponry. Well, no need to fear. The selection is ENORMOUS. From grenades to rocket launchers to dolls that can manipulate your enemies... tons and tons and TONS of gadgets to find, unlock, and buy. Believe me, you'll be spending a lot of time on this game if you want to get all the unlockable stuff.

Which brings me to the length. On average, if you just slog through it, you'll beat this game (cutscenes included) in about 12 - 15 hours which is par for the course for action games nowadays. If you want to unlock everything, expect to spend quite a bit more time. And believe me when I say it never gets dull, and never feels repetitive. And for the especially masochistic, try beating it on extreme and getting the no-kills award.

Also, I can't help but mention the humor. What would a MGS game be without easter eggs and the 4th wall humor that made this series unforgettable. It's still here. Even Snake's dry (and often sarcastic) sense of wit is alive and kicking. There is even a point where Otacon jokes to Snake to switch to disc 2, then realizes the game is on a PS3. Also worth of note, there are a TON of (often hysterical) easter eggs to find if you have the time to look for them.

The Bad
Now for the bad. This should be considerably shorter than the above "good" section, and for "good" reason (Heh, pardon the pun). Well, the only thing I can't seem to get past is the CQC (Close Quarter Combat) in MGS 4. While it was never good to begin with, it is also exceptionally bad in this one as well. Granted, you won't be getting into melee fights often with enemy soldiers (if at all), but the times when they are too close to shoot and are beating you down, you can't help but feel frustrated that in all his years as a mercenary, Snake NEVER learned anything more complex than the punch punch kick combo.

And yet, in some of the cutscenes you see him pulling off these fantastic maneuvers with enemy soldiers that you can not, for the life of you, recreate. As I said, this isn't a melee game, so I didn't expect much in the CQC area. But there is one place where you are FORCED to fight hand to hand (I won't spoil it for you), and it just makes you realize how limited the fighting engine is. In fact, you almost wish they had left that section out if only it weren't integral to the story. Even grappling with an enemy from behind (the infamous choke-hold maneuver) can be difficult to accomplish and I found myself getting frustrated when trying to pull it off and doing the all-too-familiar punch, punch, kick combo instead and getting caught off guard by the enemy.

While I'm on the topic of gameplay problems, I have to bring up the stealth part of the game. While not terrible, it is definitely not great. Or even good. Sorry. There it is. I said it. The stealth part of this game is not that good. After being spoiled by Splinter Cell and the amount of ways you can take out a guard... playing a game like MGS where stealth was made mainstream made me feel disappointed. How you take out (or just slip by) the enemy sentries is extremely limited and feels a bit too linear for my tastes.

Also, there are very few places to hide in a game where being invisible is a top priority. While the octo-camo suit that takes on the appearance of whatever texture you're up against was nice... I rarely used it as it took up precious time, and chances were you'd be going to an environment with a completely different texture style soon anyway.

Another thing that may turn off first-timers into the metal gear solid series (which will be very few if any) is the length of the cutscenes. Wooooo boy, are some of them long. Anyone who has played a MGS game knows that the cutscenes in a MGS game can be long and dramatic, but be ready to have to pause so you can take bathroom breaks for some of the cinematics in this one. And the ending, while more than an appropriate ending (and should get an award, honestly) to the series, is quite possibly the LONGEST, and most drawn-out cutscene I have EVER seen in my life.

The developers did include some opportunities to break up the monotony through flashbacks by hitting the x button or changing to snake's point of view during certain parts (the ones around the various ladies' are especially humorous), however it doesn't take away from the fact that you are sitting through one cutscene just to... possibly sit through another one. And right when you thought you were going to get to play... oh, one more cutscene. Or even two. Sometimes, you're getting ready to play only to find you have to sit through another 10 - 15 minutes of story telling. And while the story is never dull, sometimes you just want to PLAY THE GAME.

The Bottom Line
Anyone who owns a PS3 should play this game. If you are even remotely interested in adventure espionage type games, you should play this game. If you wondered how they would end the Metal Gear saga, you should play this game. It ends the story with an epic BANG (no pun intended), and what a story it is. It's emotional, thought-provoking, modern, and perfect for all that's going on in today's "information age". It is THE best game to come out for the PS3 so far, and one of the best games to come out this year period.

PlayStation 3 · by Daemion Blackfire (14) · 2008

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Trivia

References

A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 4 PlayStation 3 can be seen next to the kitchen radio during the briefing missions on Snake and Otacon's aerial transport.

Soundtrack

Metal Gear Solid's main musical theme is not present in the game because of legal issues. Russian composers had found it too similar to music written by Georgy Sviridov from the 1970s. Konami was too sensitive about the situation and just decided not to use the music in the game.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2006 – #3 Best Trailer of the Year
    • 2007 – #2 Best Trailer of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – #9 Game of the Year
    • 2008 – #3 PS3 Game of the Year
    • 2008 – PS3 Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2008 – PS3 Action Game of the Year
  • Golden Joystick Awards
    • 2008 - PlayStation Game of the Year

Information also contributed by piltdown man and Sciere.

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Game added by Paul Johnson.

PlayStation Now added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Sciere, MegaMegaMan, Solid Flamingo, —-, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger.

Game added June 26, 2008. Last modified December 5, 2023.