I just completed Acts 1 through 3 of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. There seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty on the Internet community as to whether or not the game lives up to its hype. For this reason I decided to write a review of my experience so far.
The first thing that shocked me was the amount of comic relief that takes place early in the game. Metal Gear has never been known for its humor, but I felt it was a refreshing addition to the game. Whether it’s a shaven-soda-drinking-monkey or the game’s butt of nearly every joke (no pun intended) Akiba. Akiba is a specialist when it comes to traps and computers, but when it comes to combat, he well… loses control of his bodily functions. Let’s leave it at that.
[On a side note, I was slightly disappointed that the game doesn't explain the significance of Akiba's nickname. Akiba is actually short for legendary nerd-capital-of-the-world Akihabara, Japan.]
The game-play is exactly what a veteran of the series would expect, but comes with 4 levels of difficulty if it’s your first time playing a Metal Gear title. The first Act takes place in the Middle East: Old Snake is thrown into a battlefield ravaged from constant strife between the local Militia and the PVCs. At times it can be difficult to tell who is friend or foe, creating a very real aspect of war–confusion. The militia is pretty much neutral towards Old Snake as long as you don’t attack one of them. Helping them in combat against the PVCs can even increase their favor of Old Snake.
When I don’t know who is friend or foe, I try and play it safe by just laying low and trying to go unnoticed. The first mission of the game is rather tough since you are only given un-silenced weaponry, a Stun-Knife, and Snake’s mitts. Once you meet up with Otacon’s robot buddy you acquire a silenced pistol as well as a tranq-gun. From there the battlefield becomes much more manageable. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy!
While the first Act doesn’t have a boss, we are introduced to the bosses via an especially grizzly video of them tearing through a small unit of Militia. I can’t say I’m looking forward to fighting them. For lack of a boss, there was an especially tough battle in which Old Snake teams up with a small group of allies against a special fighting force known as the FROGS. FROGS units appear to be armor-clad women who are insanely agile and deadly. I had 10 rations in my possession and admittedly scarfed them all down while firing clip after clip from my 2 automatic machine guns into as many FROGS as I could. My patented Octocamo was stained with blood by the time I finished… or maybe it changed colors because of the constant blood-splashing?
The game is loaded with items. I already have access to a ridiculous amount of guns and anti-tank weaponry. That’s right, anti-tank weaponry. To make all the items more manageable is a truly awesome customization system. Old Snake meets a mysterious arms dealer named Drebin who is able to remove the ID locks on weapons allowing Snake to use them as well as providing Snake ammo and accessories. Of course such a convenience isn’t free. Drebin grants Snake some points initially to unlock the necessities like grenades and etc. After that all points are earned by acquiring excess ammo and weapons which are instantly brought to Drebin for more points. The points rack up fast, but can be spent just as fast depending on how curious you are as well as where on Earth you are. The harder the fighting, the greater the cost.
The story doesn’t disappoint either. There has already been a handful of character making appearances from previous titles. I don’t want to spoil anything, but fans of the series won’t be let down.