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Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

aka: MGS2S, Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - HD Edition
Moby ID: 7715
Xbox Specs

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Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is a re-vamped and revised edition of the original Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in which Solid Snake must recover the stolen Metal Gear Ray from a group of terrorists bent on using its power for unthinkable reasons.

Along with the original espionage shooter comes a collection of 200 virtual reality (VR) missions. Missions range from killing certain targets and using particular weapons, as well as seeing the world of Solid Snake from different perspectives and styles, with first-person target modes and a variety mode including crazy characters of different shapes and sizes.

Also included are various alternative missions, ranging from the protagonist sneaking around and snapping photos of targets to bomb disposal, all out destruction, and more.

Spellings

  • 潜龙谍影2真实之影 - Chinese spelling
  • 메탈 기어 솔리드 2: 서브스탠스 - Korean spelling

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214 People · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 46 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 99 ratings with 4 reviews)

A solid improvement over the original!

The Good
It’s safe to say that Metal Gear Solid 2 was one of the most anticipated games of all time. MGS1 was a runaway hit, and fans were clamoring for its next-gen followup after seeing what Konami was able to produce on the weak PlayStation. The game was a heavy motivator for early PS2 sales. The game was so hotly anticipated, that well over half a year before the game’s release, a demo of MGS2 was bundled along with another Konami game, Zone of the Enders.

MGS2 begins a few years after the original. Solid Snake is sent by Otacaon to infiltrate a tanker leaving New York which may contain a new version of Metal Gear. When that turns out to be the case, the tanker ends up being destroyed with Snake apparently dying in the wreckage. Two years later, a offshore cleanup plant, codenamed the Big Shell, is constructed over the remains of the tanker, and the player is sent in to (of course) infiltrate the facility and stop a terrorist group called Dead Cell. But this mission is not Solid Snake's.

Instead, players got to step into the sneaking suit of a new character, Raiden. Raiden is on his first “real” mission after extensive training using VR , a clear nod to the VR Missions released for the first game. Raiden is almost the exact opposite of Solid Snake. He’s young and (seemingly) inexperienced, but that’s what makes him interesting.In some ways. As cool as Solid Snake was, he was basically an amalgamation of every Hollywood action hero and military soldier. Raiden, in contrast, is genuiniely tense and scared, and desperate to complete the mission so he can see his girlfriend again. and is a much more believable character.

Metal Gear Solid 2 makes many great additions to the gameplay of the original, fleshing it out considerably and making the game that much more fun to play. The player can now hang from railings. This allows the player to drop out of sight if a guard is coming close to them, or they can use this to quickly drop down to lower areas. A dodge move has been added, by pressing the crouch button while moving, the player can jump over gaps and loud floor tiles. New to the series is a tranquilizer gun, which puts enemies to sleep. Using this weapon allows you to play the game with potentially zero kills. Perhaps the biggest addition is a first-person mode, which allows you to shoot your gun and throw objects with pinpoint accuracy. You are going to need this, as head (or groin) shots will instantly incapacitate guards.

To compensate for all of these player advantages, the game’s AI has been smartened up significantly and there are new systems in play. Killing or knocking out a guard does not make their body disappear: you must hide the body, preferably in a locker, so that other guards may not see it. If a guard has not been heard from for a while, additional guards will be sent into the area to investigate. Even when spotted, guards will radio in for reinforcements, which swarm the room and make it darn near impossible to escape. Guards can even spot footprints or trails of your blood left over from an attack, and investigate.

With all of this in place, Metal Gear Solid 2 is a VERY difficult game, far more so than the original. Stealth is king here - levels are much more cramped, so you’ll have to look around corners often and use your weapons to make sure everything is safe. Although the guards still possess the small FOV as seen in the original MGS, the tighter corridors help to mitigate this a lot. In addition guards can also hear and spot you from different vertical heights, making them that much more ruthless. Even crossing the line of sight just out of their field of view is enough to make them suspicious this time around.

Metal Gear Solid 2 is also bigger and longer than the first game. The Tanker alone is almost 75 percent as big as the original Metal Gear Solid, and the Big Shell is 2-3 times its size, despite the fact that you don’t get to visit absolutely every strut. There is a LOT more stealth in this game, with boss fights and setpieces cut back somewhat from the original, (though not entirely). This Makes MGS2 feel like a more substantial game than its predecessor. Konami did the unthinkable with MGS2. They increased both the quantity and the quality of the gameplay.

On top of all of this, Metal Gear Solid 2’s game world and graphics are some of the most convincing I have ever seen. Yes, even in 2015, the game still holds up. Every room is meticulously crafted down to the finest detail, and many things are interactive : shoot a pipe and a burst of steam will explode out of it, shoot a bottle and it explodes, wet shoes leave footprints on the floor. These elements are not just for show: you can use the steam from the pipes to damage enemies, and the footprints can be followed by guards. water makes droplets and streams on the camera. and enemies have realistic rag doll physics, It is kind of amazing how in the push for bigger and bigger game worlds, game developers focused less on the details and more on creating the biggest world possible. But it goes to show that a smaller, more detailed world, can feel more real and immersive than even the largest and most expansive of open ones. As amazing as the upcoming open-world Metal Gear Solid 5 looks, it’s going to have to work very hard to match the quality of MGS2’s world. In some ways, the realistic nature of the game world makes the plot’s themes stand out in much sharper contrast.

Much was made of the fact that Hollywood composer Harry Gregson-Williams, a protege of the legendary Hans Zimmer, would score MGS2. In general the score of MGS2 is more cinema-like in nature as opposed to the gamey score of MGS1: recognizable motifs, such as jazzy saxophone trills, breakbeat electronica, and numerous variations of the MGS theme are used throughout. In general MGS2’s score is not quite as good as MGS1’s, but it’s certainly up there, and the various arrangements of the MGS theme are very memorable.

The Bad
The biggest issue with MGS2 is that parts of it, feel recycled from the original Metal Gear Solid. There’s a section where you have to use a guided missile to hit a circuit breaker which will allow you to pass through a hazardous area. There’s an extended sniping section. A battle with a harrier is nearly the same thing as the battle with the helicopter in the first game. Certain boss battles utilize identical area designs to boss battles in the original. You’ll use Stinger Missiles to battle a Metal Gear once again. You might say that this is laziness, and you’d probably be right. Yet amazingly, but perhaps aggravatingly, the game actually tries to use its narrative to justify all of the reused elements.

The game also has a considerably stranger storyline than the original. Okay, we had a psychic soldier, a cyborg ninja, and clones in the original, but that is nothing compared to what is in MGS2. One of the terrorists is a vampire. A replacement arm for a character from MGS1 who lost his arm is able to somehow possess the person it has been grafted onto. In addition, you also have to also play a section of the game with Raiden completely naked, and yes, you do get to see his bare butt. Thanks a lot Konami, we really needed that (not). And I’m don't even want to mention some of the disgusting stuff with Otacon. Just ugh.

As in the first game, conversations are long and frequent. You can’t take a few steps without someone contacting Raiden on his codec, and more calls must be taken by him than in the original. The final moments of the game in particular are an overstuffed, undercooked mess. There are plot revelations and surprise reveals every minute, and awkward philosophizing about censorship and control that just makes your head hurt trying to process it all. Although Metal Gear Solid 2’s plot is more thematically ambitious and risk-taking than the original, it isn’t quite as satisfying, even though it kept me glued to my controller for long stretches of time. There are so may double crosses and deceptions it is impossible for even the most astute players to keep track of them (on their first time) all and you’re never quite sure what is fact and what is fiction. On top of that you have a challenging stealth action game to get through as well. Even the game itself is a deception: all of the marketing and opening hours made players think that they were going to be playing as Solid Snake, only to have the rug pulled under them hours in when they discovered that Raiden would be taking the lead. As maddening as that is, it’s actually quite brilliant.



The Bottom Line
With all that said, I felt that Metal Gear Solid 2 was an incredible improvement over its predecessor, and I’m really starting to see why so many people love this series. Playing MGS2 was one of the finest gaming experiences I have had in a long time, and I simply could not put it down. Even when I forced myself to stop playing, I always wanted to go back and keep going. And when I’m playing that game nearly 14 years after its original release, it definitely did something right. It's a game that puts many modern AAA epics to shame even though it is also an overstuffed mess with too much to say and too many ways it tries to say it. I can’t say I’ve really played anything like it.

PlayStation 3 · by krisko6 (813) · 2015

The game that has IT ALL.

The Good
INTRODUCTION: It all started with another save the world mission...
As you swim towards your target, you receive a briefing from the Colonel:
"You heard about the Big Shell. The massive cleanup facility in the shore of Manhattan. A landmark, a symbol of environmental protection...
Approximately six hours ago, it has been was seized by an armed group, former members of the Navy SEAL's special anti-terrorist training squad, "Dead Cell". Russian private army members may also be involved.
There was a government-sponsored tour going on at the Big Shell, a VIP from one of the major conservation groups, and one from our own government —the Most Important Person in a sense: the president.
The terrorists demand thirty billion dollars. Otherwise, they intend to blow the Big Shell out of the water. The crude will ignite, turning the Manhattan Harbor into an inferno, and the chlorides being used to decontaminate the seawater will generate catastrophic levels of dioxins: the bay's ecosystem will be wiped out, and the sea will turn into a toxic soup for centuries, becoming the worst environmental disaster in history.
You have two missions objectives.
One: infiltrate the offshore decontamination facility "Big Shell" and safeguard the President and other hostages.
Two: disarm the terrorists by any means necessary.

Your codename for this mission is Raiden."

So far, your typical anti-terrorist plot. Only, there are a few details the Colonel forgot to mention.
The plant is not processing any crude. There are no toxins to be released. Someone else infiltrated the plant before you. The president has not been kidnapped. No one asked for any ransom...
And somehow, a new variant of the bipedal, nuclear-capable, vehicle from Shadow Moses —the Metal Gear— is related to this mission.
And there's more.
You are not Solid Snake. Solid Snake is dead... or is he? It's also been said that Solid Snake is the head of the terrorist group.

No one is telling the truth.

Not even you.

From the moment you take control of Raiden, up until the ending —and then some more— brace yourself, as you're gonna face the most shocking amount of plot twists a story can probably have.

THE STORY (THUMBS UP): The liar's den.
When I first readed about MGS2, I thought it was gonna be yet another "God-Bless-America" crap a la SPLINTER CELL. For that reason I neglected the game for about a year. Finally, thanks to a couple of (annoyingly persisting) friends, I decided to give it a try.
Instead of anything I might have expected, I found an enormous and smartly-conceived story, full of intrigues, and mixing up topics as varied and interesting as politics, philosophy, psychology, drama, and even a corny love story. MGS2's plot has just about everything. It might not excel in every aspect, but for every down in the story there's always a high to compensate.

The greatness of the story relies so much in its twists and turns, that it's nearly impossible to describe it without starting to give out deadly spoilers.
Let's try this: imagine you take bits of the game DEUS EX, bits of the novel "1984" by George Orwell, bits of the movie "The Matrix", and bits of a number of cheap soap-operas; and you put it all in a blender.
You get that? Now you might be starting to get the point.

In MGS2, nothing is what it seems to be. And paraphrasing Snatch's Brick Top "I DO MEAN IT" (OK, it's not any kind of great quote, only I like that character a lot. Feel free to sue me).
In MGS2, everything changes by the minute. Your mission brief was a half-brief, and the few things you've been told are lies. At best, one or two of them are half-truths.
As you proceed in the game, you'll meet a number of characters. Most of them are on different sides. Each one of them has a different story to tell. Each new character will turn the story in a new direction... Until the revelation moment comes, when the story takes so many twists and turns in so little time, that you'll learn new meanings for the word confusion.
As if this wasn't enough, reaching the final moments you'll be faced with a virtual storm of confronted philosophical points of view; material enough as to keep you thinking for a while.

If you sit calmed and analyze the story in depth, you might realize there's nothing actually new in it, but you have to agree at least it's all told in a smart way, and it's way too profound for an action game.

GAMEPLAY: All the games in one.
MGS2 is sub-labeled Tactical Espionage Action. This sub-label might be the best explanation of its gameplay.
This is one of those games fitting the somewhat confusing style called stealth (along with the likes of SPLINTER CELL or HITMAN). Your hero is a hero, a phenomenal man, the kind of guy that can be trusted enough as to send him in an impossible solo mission —but he's no superman. Throw him in against 10 enemies, and he won't be telling the tale to his grandson. He CAN put up some serious fight, but he's as vulnerable as any other human being.
With this in mind, the game makes great emphasis in using the stealthy approach. To this end, you have a truckload of movements to make your presence unnoticeable: you can crawl inside vent ducts, peek around corners, shimmy flat across walls, hang from railings, hide inside lockers, disguise as an enemy guard, lock cameras and sentry robots, use stun guns and silenced weapons to take down guards...

What's even more, you can investigate into these movements and come up with several interesting combinations.
For example: The radar shows an enemy guard patrolling nearby. You press yourself against the wall and peek around the corner. When he's not facing your direction, you can take the chance and avoid him silently, shoot him from the distance, or approach him. If you approach him you can grab him and knock him down (or downright snap his neck), roll him and throw him on the floor, knock him out him with a punch-punch-kick combo, or hold him up with your gun at the voice of "Freeze!". Once the guy is either knocked down or dead, the body could raise suspicions about your presence, so you can choose: take that risk, move the body to a dark corner, or hide it inside some nearby locker.
The possibilities are nearly endless.

Even more, it's not all stealth either. Every now and again you'll be faced against a boss character. Here, all the stealthy thing goes down the drain, and it's pure adrenaline for about 5 minutes. AND —again— I DO MEAN IT. Not only the boss fights help as a steam-blower after all the tension of the sneaking, like being able to shout after a painfully-long silence; but every single one of these fights deserve being the highlight in the most ambitious Holywood action movie.
There is a particular boss fight in which you use a bazooka to, single-handedly, take down a Sea Harrier. You have to see it. I'm not much into action movies or anything, but I loved this.

For those familiar with METAL GEAR SOLID, the control interface is pretty much the same, but slightly enhanced in several aspects, which makes it MUCH smoother. If you enjoyed the gameplay back then, you're gonna love this one.
For newbies to the series (like myself), I'll be expanding this in a moment, but you should know that even though I managed to finish the game with a keyboard in "normal" difficulty setting, it's almost mandatory to have a dual-thumbstick gamepad in order to play the game properly.

THE VISUALS: Action anime in full 3D.
The graphics are a mixed bag. As you can see in the SCREENSHOTS here, they don't exactly shine when it comes to straight-out design. Neither the poly-count nor the textures are anything to write home about.
However, the overall feeling doesn't exactly justify talking about bad graphics. In fact, the game somehow breathes a sense of beautiful simplicity. To my eye, it's like watching an anime movie, but in full 3D power... which takes me to the animation: here, the game grows up to unsuspected heights.

You can't understand the visual greatness of this game until you see it in action. The bodies behave in a believable way, among the most lifelike I've ever seen, facial animation is realistic and expressive, and there are LOTS of amazing-looking cutscenes (the game takes about 12 hours to be completed, and you'll easily spend 6 of them watching cutscenes), some of which can put most action movies out there to shame. The direction of the cutscenes is only that amazing.
If you're into anime (and even manga) you know how good are japanese guys representing action sequences. Hideo Kojima (the Big Boss behind the Metal Gear series) is already known by his fans for his impressive talent in the direction of action scenes, and MGS2 is the living proof of how well-deserved this fame is. It's hard to explain this in words, but suffice to say, action-directing-wise, I dare to compare this game with the movie The Matrix. And I'm not sure which one comes out the winner.

Finally, I want to mention the details. The gameworld is very interactive and full of classy details: When you are in a brightly-lit environment and enter a darker one, you will see the colors fading slowly while your character's eyes get used to the change of light. There are seagulls everywhere, and you can shoot them or stun them. When you're wounded, you bleed and leave a trace than can give you out. When you get wet, you see your character dripping for a while and leave watery footsteps. If you're exposed in outer environments for too long, you can catch a cold, and you'll sneeze every now and then, from which the enemy could discover you. There's a stage which takes place in the middle of a rainstorm, and the effect of the rain is simply the most realistic I've EVER seen —you can FEEL the drops hitting your face, in fact every now and then you see marks as if the PC monitor was hit by the raindrops.

REPLAYABILITY: A game to keep.
When I started this review I said "up until the ending —and then some more". Here's the thing: once you finish the main "Plant" episode (starring Raiden), you get to play Solid Snake in the "Tanker" sub-story, which takes place 2 years before and uncovers some plot details.
Then, you have 5 standalone "Snake Tales", some of them with various possible endings. Then, you have about 300 VR missions, to test/train your abilities...
The first playthrough is virtually endless. Provided you enjoyed the gameplay, you have plenty of Metal Gear Solid in you future, before you start to properly replay the main game. And when you decide to do so, you have a new difficulty level to tryout, with an enticing "game over if discovered" option.
If you're up for a challenge, this game is a good bet.

Besides this, there are lots of more fancy options to unlock, among which my favourite is the Cast Theatre, in which you get to change the model characters in 8 of the game's cutscenes. It's just for kicks, but it's pretty funny to watch Snake on a tuxedo take down 3 Metal Gears.



The Bad
TECHNICAL ISSUES: And here we are again.
If you readed any of my recent reviews, you saw me bitching about how console games ported to PC have unexcusable issues with video cards other than nVidia's —specially with ATi's Radeon line, the actual leader of the market.
Well guess what: here we are again. Can you believe it?
Before anything else, owners of a Radeon-powered video card need to download a 12MB patch to get the game to even work.
I know PC games are not as profitable as console games, hence it's probably not worth spending lots of money in different video cards only to see if the game will work fine with each one of them... but ONE RADEON-BASED CARD IS MANDATORY, PEOPLE! For the love of God, this can not happen ONCE again!

Moving on.
Konami games tend to use some propietary means of Anti-Aliasing, hence they strongly advice in their readme files to deactivate your card's AA.
The thing is, Radeon's own Smoothvision looks WAY better than Konami's AA. This could be clearly seen in SILENT HILL 2... but not here, because MGS2's AA mode simply overrides Radeon's. If you turn Smoothvision on, you suffer the performance drop, but you don't get the visual enhancement. Wha—?
So, you have to play the game with the jaggies, whether you like it or not. Like I said, they ARE smoothed by the game itself, enough to make it look pretty good in a TV screen, but certainly not enough for a PC monitor.
So once again, if you spent a good chunk of money in a powerful video card, Konami says: "Ah well, pity. Play it on a TV, it will look kinda nice there... What? The colors? Ah, well, guess you can have it all, dont'cha?" snickers

Then there come the textures. I certainly doubt they have been re-worked from the PS2 version AT ALL. And if they have, there is LOT of work to do yet.
The textures are simply TOO BLURRY for a PC game. Again, they might look good in a TV screen, but PC gamers tend to use monitors, you know.

THE STORY (THUMBS DOWN): The soap should remain in the bathroom.
I'm not familiar with other works from Hideo Kojima, but from what I've seen in MGS2, he looks like a guy who has A LOT to say, and he wants to say it all NOW. This actually results in a mixed bag.
In two or three opportunities I found the game turning too corny for my taste. Kojima tried to throw in some psychological depth for his characters, some dramatic backgrounds, and even a love story; but for the most part all those moments feel like a lame cheap-ass soap opera (wait, is there another kind of soap opera?).
This is specially bad when you find it mixed with some political and philosophical questions which look way more serious and profound —not to mention, interesting.

On the other hand, I found some people who actually got bored with all the philosophical rambling I enjoyed so much, but loved the game for the action scenes and the soap operas... so maybe Kojima-san did the right thing after all. Like I said before, there's a little of everything, for all kinds of publics.
With this in mind, I'm not sure the soaps should be totally removed, but at least they could be trimmed a little. Some of them get REALLY annoying with their length.

CONTROL INTERFACE: We are not in a console anymore!
Gameplay in a console-ported-game is usually a problem, and this game follows the trend.
This game was originally conceived to be played with a dual-thumbstick console gamepad, and you can totally tell. Most of the game can be played fine with the keyboard, but there are two things that are terrible, to say the least:

—First, you can't use the mouse. In fact, you CAN use it, to move the camera when pressed against a wall, which is nearly useless. On the other hand, there are a few first-person perspective scenes in which you have to do a lot of aiming and guess what —you can't use the mouse here!!
What? First-Person perspective without a mouse? In a PC??!?

—Second, there's a sword you get in a given part of the game, which is the only weapon you can use in a particular boss fight. You are instructed to use it with the right thumbstick, which automatically translates in 5 KEYS TO OPERATE A SWORD. Add to that the 4 keys to move the character, one key to roll and avoid attacks, and eventually one more key to use a health item... What? You don't have enough fingers? Ah, and what if I tell you this is a boss fight, so it's not like you have lots of time to think before acting...
Even worse, you CAN use the mouse as a replacement of the right thumbstick, which should make the whole sword operating a little easier —only the mouse obviously doesn't behave as a thumbstick, so you will prefer struggling with the 5 keys thing!
Words can't even begin.

Now, as bad as all that might sound, it's not the worst part. The worst part is the perspective used.
You see, the game is shown from a third person perspective, but the camera doesn't follow the character. Instead, it scrolls slightly until you reach a given point, in which the whole perspective changes.
This is much more terrible than it sounds.
For example, you come running leftwards, pressing the left key. You reach a wall and press against it. Pressing up or down, you can shimmy across the wall. But then, while at it, the camera changes! Suddenly, pressing up / down doesn't work as "shimmy" but as to "press against wall", and left / right are the "shimmy" keys. Needles to say, this brings up confusion, which is the last thing you want in a game where the slightest mistake can mean mission failed.
Even worse, you have a radar which shows your position, the enemies nearby, and their field of vision. The thing is, every now and then the radar turns itself off, and you need to re-activate it using certain "nodes". While you don't have a radar, you might run in one direction and bump against a guard, because he was standing in front of you, only two steps after the point where the camera changes —hence, your character obviously saw him, but you —the player— DID NOT.
Annoying? You betcha!

Finally, the gameplay time is too short. I know, a game's length doesn't necessarily make it a good or bad game, but in this case I felt it's so short I couldn't get a chance of enjoying half the options I had.
The game is too short for the amount of gameplay candy it offers.

Oh! One more thing: the ESCAPE key minimizes the game to Windows' task bar, putting you back at your desktop. This is weird, to say the least.
The ESCAPE is a key which usually means "pause", or "options menu", or "abort game", or something like that, but "bounce back to Windows desktop" is definitely NOT in the list. In this regard, even the previous game was much better done, popping up a proper PC options menu.
In fact, when you want to change any option in METAL GEAR SOLID 2, you need to exit the game and start a standalone "setup" program.
Yep, that's what I said too.

The Bottom Line
METAL GEAR SOLID 2 is a PS2 port, and it totally tells. In fact, it feels just like if you were playing the PS2 game with an emulator. The game hasn't been ANY customized for the PC.
This sentence is for those hardcore mouse-fans out there. If you're like the guy who complained about SILENT HILL 2 not taking proper advantage of the PC as a gaming platform, forget about this one.

Now, what do I think? I think METAL GEAR SOLID 2 is a GREAT game.
It has everything a game can possibly offer, and the proofs are self-explanatory: it's been equally enjoyed by book-worms and by action-movie fans who never readed a book in their life. This alone is a huge achievement.
METAL GEAR SOLID 2 has a little of everything, for every tastes —AND (guess) I DO MEAN IT.
Beautiful-looking fast-paced action scenes, corny soap opera, controversial political points of view, enticing philosophical discussion, charismatic characters, plenty of replayability freebies, and lots —lots, LOTS— of plot twists.

Like a friend said to me, I DEFINITELY recommend METAL GEAR SOLID 2, if only for the huge amount of work put into it.

Windows · by Slug Camargo (583) · 2004

An Amazing (Cinematic?) Experience

The Good
True to the previous titles in the series, Substance continues the tactical espionage experience and does it well. Gameplay is quite similar to the first Solid, as is the gameplay overhead gameplay perspective. The ability to switch to a first-person perspective was a welcome addition, perfect for peeking around a corner or discovering a hidden item. Graphically, the game is stunning, even compared to most PS2 games of the early 2000s. The terrain is beautifully and masterfully rendered, as are the characters in the games myriad of cutscenes. Sounds are crisp and clear; from the buffeting of a torrential downpour to the calling of seagulls, they all add to the ambiance and depth of the environment. The musical score is phenomenal as it is in all of Kojima's titles; each track meshes with your current in-game situation perfectly. In addition to the main campaign, there are many challenges, alternative missions (Snake Tales), and unlockables that undoubtedly increase replay value.

The Bad
Honestly, Konami got almost everything right with Substance. The only two complaints I can muster are these:

  1. The number of cut scenes and radio conversations in the game makes it feel like you're viewing a film. While it isn't annoying (rather, they are essential to the understanding of the message behind the game and are the setting for several humorous encounters), I believe the story could still have been conveyed well with fewer cut scenes.

  2. There were times when I would stand right behind an enemy guard and be astonished that this unsuspecting adversary would not hear me. However this occurred rarely, and for the most part A.I. is well-responsive and intelligent.

    The Bottom Line
    It doesn't take long for games both casual and hardcore to be hooked on Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and be satisfied (as well as puzzled sometimes) by its gameplay, immersed in the depth of its plot, and connected to the emotions of its characters. If you are looking for a game that will give you hours of enjoyment and tons of replay value, buy MGS 2: Substance.

PlayStation 2 · by Nick Slavin (9) · 2009

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Title

Hideo Kojima was partially inspired to call this version of Metal Gear Solid 2 "Substance" by 70's British band Joy Division's greatest hits compilation CD entitled Substance 1977-1980.

Windows version

  • As of 2003, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance had the biggest installation size for a PC game. It takes up a whopping 7.17GB.
  • The PC version is direct port of the Xbox version with no modifications. Even the tutorial refers to the Xbox controllers.

Information also contributed by Stillman.

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Related Sites +

  • JUNKER HQ
    This fansite is dedicated to the games produced and/or designed by <moby developer="Hideo Kojima">Hideo Kojima</moby> and contains all kinds of trivia, artwork, plot summaries, discussion forums and more.
  • Konami: Substance
    The official website.
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Unofficial Site
    A fansite that contains information about the whole Metal Gear franchise, including galleries, interviews, downloadable content and discussion boards.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

PlayStation 2, Windows added by Corn Popper. Android added by GTramp. PS Vita, PlayStation 3 added by MAT.

Additional contributors: MAT, Apogee IV, John Chaser, —-, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, li zhen.

Game added November 9th, 2002. Last modified September 18th, 2023.