So after delaying it for some time while I dedicated myself to getting other gaming tasks done for various reasons, I have now finally begun my playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and strangely enough, it felt like I was revisiting an old friend.
I have never played the game (only the other two) and yet as soon as Harry Gregson-Williams' score for the game started playing during the opening cutscene (which I might add, was awesome in typical Metal Gear fashion - Snake casually walking along the bridge before breaking into a run only to jump off and land on the Tanker? Epic) it felt extremely familiar. Instantly I felt like I was within the Metal Gear world and that I had never left, which I think says something about the power of Metal Gear Solid as a franchise and furthermore, just how damn immersive it can actually be.
I mean, I hadn't even started playing yet and already I was feeling a varied amount of emotions upon returning to what was familiar and yet completely new and exciting at the same time. It was a weird feeling actually but one that I was only too happy to be a part of and it in turn set the mood for the couple of hours that I spent with the game. I was excited about playing and ready to continue my adventures as the one and only Solid Snake.
So far, these adventures have been pretty awesome. While it did take me a little while to get the hang of the controls again (partly because I'm so used to the 360 controller, partly because of the length of time since I last played a MGS title), it didn't detract from the fun I was having. Granted, a lot of the opening moments of play are like a subtle tutorial, easing the player into the game by not having many enemies to sneak by, kill or tranquilise or even having Otacon point you in the direction of certain things. Even so, once the game got going it again felt like I had never left. The controls became second nature quite quickly and that in turn allowed me to approach the various situations (especially later on into the Tanker level) the way I normally would in a Metal Gear game rather than say, slow and cautiously because I don't want to do something stupid. I didn't panic if I alerted one of the guards and I dealt with any situation that arose without even hesitating about it.
For the third time, it felt like I never left. That, or I was returning to a world I once knew and loved from a wonderful past. It was strange to experience, but I actually think it made the experience all the more enjoyable.
While I'm still yet to grasp the game's main plot (I am still early into the game after all), the little story that I did see instantly reminded me of past Metal Gear events and I had no hassles understanding (for the most part) what was going on in the grand scheme of things. I think this contributed to the whole 'it felt like I never left' thing, but even if it didn't I'm glad I was able to understand the continuation of what can sometimes be a very confusing and dare I say it, convoluted plot.
I just started playing as Raiden so the immediate future is sure going to be interesting, especially given most people's opinions of the character. Even so, I look forward to more time with the game in the very near future.