In Love of Metal Gear Solid, Part 2. MGS2, Sons Of Liberty.

Easily the weakest game of the series in my opinion, but still by no means bad. The biggest problem in this title is the fact that your enemies have improved dramatically, but you’ve not really been given much to counteract their newfound skills. It’s irritating to say the least, and while I wouldn’t dream of calling it false difficulty, getting spotted at long range when you have nothing to hide behind by an enemy you couldn’t have known was there, can get tedious. It’s confounded by the fact you need to get to a certain point in each section before you can use your radar. I love the way guards are now a real threat, but it’s annoying that you don’t have anything to counteract them with.

I suppose the best way to explain it is that I think good difficulty comes from having a wide range of challenges to overcome, and a wide range of tools and methods to overcome them. The challenge comes from using the right tools for the job, in the right way. I just feel that first person attack isn’t enough to deal with the threats now placed against you. Still, as I said it just makes the game more brutal, and it certainly isn’t false difficulty.

The other complaint about this game of course is Raiden. A character created solely for the purpose of appealing to the Kawai-Bishi crowd, he’s one of the most irritating characters in gaming history. People hate this guy, or at least seriously dislike him. He’s a whiney, white bred pansy who complains about everything and has a temper tantrum at the drop of the hat. I hate this character. I hate his baby smooth PS2 graphics face, his girly white blonde mullet that flutters so carelessly in the breeze. I hate his deep, piercing eyes, I hate his ultra skin tight suit and I hate his huge throbbing man bulge. Yes, we get it; your package occupies a space roughly equivalent to a small grapefruit. Put it away. Well at least it makes up for the gratuitous cleavage shots in MGS3 and 4...

Raiden’s woes though are nothing compared to his fiancĂ© Rose. She will call you up, in the middle of an operation to save the president, and stop a nuclear launch- to talk about the first time the two of you met. Seriously. This happens. I mean I know some people can be neurotic but honestly, do you call up your loved one in the middle of a fire fight to remind them about your anniversary? And use their real name no less?

These problems aside, once you manage to get inside the way Metal Gear Solid 2 works, it’s a very rewarding game. Playing stealthy is now actually challenging, and response teams called in when you’re spotted are now a serious threat, as opposed to a minor irritation. Standing your ground and just gunning down the response team is still an option- but it’s not a wise one. Add to that that enemies will now also use their radios to spread the alert, as well as checking in with command, and suddenly even deciding to knock someone out becomes a tough decision.

Technically, Metal Gear Solid 2 still holds up well. The graphics give a fine demonstration of the PS2’s (still frankly impressive) power, the gameplay, while much harder is solid and provides you with more options and the sound is as good as ever.

The supporting cast are also excellent, Dead Cell in particular make for some interesting villains, especially Vamp, voiced by Phil LaMarr (better known as Hermes Conrad) doing his best ‘fuck me’ voice. Still turns my knees to jelly.

Metal Gear Solid 2 is where the plot really starts to get weird. Penny Arcade said it best back in the day. In all seriousness though, it does start to fall into place if you ponder it for a while, and if you play through the game again, it does start to make a lot more sense, especially once you adapt to the way that Kojima tells his stories (I.E badly- hey the man has great ideas, but isn’t exactly great at articulating them).

All in all, it’s still well worth playing. The plot doesn’t leave as much of an impact as Metal Gear Solid One, and the increased difficulty takes some getting used to, but once you grok it, it’s still a fun game and a classic well worth every penny.

1 Response to "In Love of Metal Gear Solid, Part 2. MGS2, Sons Of Liberty."

  1. Personally, I preferred this one to the original. I found the gameplay more emergent and the plot more engaging, and - crucially, I suppose - the emergency of the play and linearity of the plot felt more fluidly intertwined. Both are great, of course.

    As for Raiden... you already know what I think there :p

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