Friday, July 25, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 2: The End

No I haven't gotten my Metal Gear bosses mixed up as I am not here to talk about the awesome Metal Gear Solid 3 boss The End, instead, I am here to announce that I have FINALLY finished Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.

Yes, it's true. Don't worry, I found it hard to believe as well. I mean, the amount of unintentional breaks I had between my MGS 2 sessions was, well I lost count after a while and it was pretty obvious that I wasn't playing it as much as I should have been through my lack of posts about the game on here. So to have it finally finished is somewhat of a surprise but at the same time, a totally welcome one because I have to say, I ended up enjoying the game.

Despite the inconsistent sessions I had with the game, I somehow managed to continue following the plot without too much hassle. From what I can gather, most people seem to criticise the game's story for being hard to follow and perhaps slightly convoluted. I can understand this criticism but for me I understood what was going on throughout the entire game and even managed to remember the events of the games that I had played (MGS 1 and MGS 3) and connect it all together. Considering I haven't played those other games for quite a few years, being able to make those connections surprised me but at the same time I am really thankful for it as it meant I enjoyed MGS 2's story a little more. I won't go into my thoughts on the events of the game or indeed overall series to save for spoilers, but I will say that what I found out about in MGS 2 really piqued my interest in MGS 4. I always wanted MGS 4 of course but because it is on the PS3 and I am still yet to own one, I sort of passed the game off as being irrelevant to me at this point in time. Which in turn meant that it was a lot easier to ignore the pre-release hype, spoilers as everyone else played it and so forth.

One thing I realised while playing through Substance though is that, well, I don't think I am a fan of Metal Gear's gameplay. I can't really describe it but going through some of the rooms in MGS 2 actually felt like a chore and as you can imagine it meant that I didn't have as much motivation to continue playing. I tried thinking about why I got this feeling to see if I could work out where it comes from but honestly, I couldn't. I asked myself questions like "is it the whole stealth thing the games do so well?" or "is it the controls and how complicated they can be at times?" and other questions like that. For the record, my answer to both of those was no and I now think that it doesn't really boil down to anything in particular. What I do know is that it is ironic that I found some of Metal Gear Solid's gameplay mechanics to be a chore when I absolutely love the boss fights in the games; the very boss fights that use the gameplay mechanics that you learn and use beforehand. As I said before, I honestly can't describe how I feel and perhaps it has nothing to do with gameplay and is in fact something else entirely. Overall though, it doesn't detract from my experience of the game (or series) and I still absolutely love it. The aforementioned bosses come to mind as they are some of the most creative and intense fights I have been in. When they aren't creative, they are still quite cool and MGS 2's bosses were no exception. Perhaps a little less creative than other games, but the fight against Vamp and others was awesome.

The other thing that I really like about the Metal Gear games is the story and on this front, MGS 2 was very satisfying. I still maintain that MGS 3: Snake Eater is my favourite MGS game (for both playing and story) but the elements of the overall plot that get focused on in this game are great. Raiden's introduction, for example was done well I think and as you progress the stuff that gets revealed about him and the other characters is very interesting. As a viewer, it's great to watch and as I mentioned before when you tie it into the overall plot spanning across all the games it poses some interesting questions. Questions that are no doubt answered in MGS 4.

And yes, I did say "viewer" before. Many people have complained about the long cutscenes in MGS games before. I'm not here to do that, instead I honestly think that Metal Gear would be better served as a game that could be watched rather than played. But of course if it became that, it wouldn't be a game would it? I don't know how to approach that but what I do know is that to me Metal Gear games have always been about story first, everything else second. Maybe the games should have been created as ones where you watch everything to do with story (as you do now) and only play the boss fights or something? I don't know.

Anyway much like the game's story I am chopping and changing between subjects and rambling perhaps a bit more than I should be. So in summary I will say that despite the setbacks I had with the game, I ended up enjoying it a lot and it made me crave for more Metal Gear. That will come in time as I get my PS3 and of course MGS 4, but in the meantime I can leave the game feeling satisfied in a decent experience and content in the idea that I have finally succeeded in finishing a game that I had always intended to.


On a related note, I'm not sure what game will be replacing MGS 2 for my Road To Completion commitment. I have a few in mind so I will think about it in the next few days, decide and then post about it here. As is evident by the lack of posts about MGS 2 here on this very blog, I broke the rules I outlined when I created this idea of finishing games and as such I am now wondering if I should change any or not. Again, I will give it some thought over the next few days and once a decision has been made you will know about it.

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