Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The release of Metal Gear Solid 4 has been highly anticipated since its initial announcement in 2005. The excitement surrounding the game has only grown since then, with PS3 owners considering it a must-have title for the system. There were even rumors that it would be released on the Xbox 360, but now that the game is finally available to play, all speculation can be put to rest.
Throughout three Metal Gear Solid games, we have been captivated by the tales of Solid, Liquid, Big Boss, and many other characters, weaving a complex tapestry of plot points and storylines that have yet to be resolved. As I embarked on my journey through Metal Gear Solid 4, I was anticipating an unparalleled gaming experience unlike anything I had encountered before.
This review was a collaborative effort between Anthony Burch, Chad Concelmo, and myself, as we sought to determine whether love can truly blossom on the battlefield. Keep reading to find out.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PlayStation 3)
Developed by Kojima Productions
Published by Konami
Released on June 12, 2008

Brad “Liquid” Rice

To begin, Metal Gear Solid 4 offered a unique storytelling experience that surpassed any other game I had played before. As I progressed through the game, I felt as though I was immersed in a narrative that exceeded even the quality of cinema.
In contrast to Metal Gear Solid and its two follow-ups, MGS4 operates on a significantly larger scale in terms of its settings, occurrences, and concepts. The game doesn’t confine you to the Shadow Moses Island base or a tanker for the majority of the gameplay. Instead, Snake ventures to various locations, including the streets of Eastern Europe, the war-torn streets of the Middle East, and the jungles of South America. This has a significant impact on the game’s mechanics.
In contrast to his previous stealthy tactics, Snake assumes a more dynamic role in this game by actively supporting local militia and rebels in attacking PMC strongholds or providing cover fire during chase scenes. While there are still chances to crawl and use tranquilizer guns to incapacitate enemy troops, the gameplay experience is distinct from that of MGS2.

Frequently, the disorderly environment of the battlefield posed a significant challenge in incapacitating sentries and looting their possessions without attracting attention. The game lacked a consistent gameplay approach, oscillating between different styles without blending them together. As a result, the gameplay felt compartmentalized into distinct sections.
I found enjoyment in the gameplay that was available, but unfortunately, it wasn’t always readily available. Lengthy cutscenes could leave me waiting for up to thirty minutes before I could play again. However, there was some level of interaction during these scenes. I could trigger flashbacks or view the scene from the protagonist’s perspective, which added an extra layer of impact. The transition from cutscene to gameplay was seamless and executed flawlessly.
Navigating through the dense jungles and aboard ships, the enemy’s artificial intelligence displays a level of intelligence in coordinating attacks against you. However, once you take cover, their tactics become predictable, allowing you to wait and take them out while your health gradually regenerates. To ensure my survival, I often had to resort to this strategy or hide for extended periods to recover my health, as finding rations was a challenging task.

The combat in the game has significantly improved with the adoption of an over-the-shoulder camera, which replaces the previously difficult-to-use top-down view. This change is particularly beneficial as Snake now faces multiple enemy squads at once. Additionally, players can purchase weapons and ammunition from Drebin, a weapons launderer, through the menu. However, these items come at a high price, which varies depending on the situation. Players can earn points for Drebin by killing enemies and picking up their weapons. Despite Drebin’s assistance, players cannot take on multiple squads at once without consequences. In fact, attempting to do so will result in being gunned down within a minute.
Even after all these years, I still find myself revisiting Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve played through them, but it’s safe to say that I’ve spent countless hours immersed in their worlds. However, when it comes to Metal Gear Solid 4, I can already tell that I won’t be playing it nearly as much. While I appreciate the game for its role in bringing the series to a close after two decades, the amount of time and emotional investment required to fully experience it is simply too much for me to handle repeatedly. As a result, while I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Metal Gear Solid 4, it won’t be getting nearly as much playtime as its predecessors.

Score: 9.0 

Anthony “Snake” Burch

Metal Gear Solid 4 is so good that I might actually buy a PlayStation 3 just so I can replay it a third time.

MGS4’s strength lies in its ability to seamlessly connect all the characters, plot points, and unresolved mysteries from the previous MGS games, resulting in a gratifying and grand finale. It manages to provide answers to all the lingering questions and delivers on all the promises made. It’s akin to the feeling of watching Serenity after finishing all the episodes of Firefly. However, I won’t give away too much to avoid spoiling the experience.

The initial three games of the MGS series serve as a foundation for MGS4, allowing players to develop a connection with specific characters. MGS4 brings these characters together in unexpected situations, creating a plot that carries significant emotional weight due to the player’s investment in the characters. Even without considering the complexity of Old Snake, who is arguably the most intricate character in video game history, even minor characters like Johnny Sasaki become intriguing. MGS4 marks the culmination of twenty years of series mythology and history, and while it was intended to be Snake’s final game, it would not have been disappointing if it were the last MGS game altogether.
Despite my emotional reaction to the game’s playable climax and my enjoyment of it, leading me to replay it twice in a 24-hour period (excluding cutscenes the second time), I cannot ignore the flaws present in the game. While it remains one of the most impactful video game experiences I have had, especially in terms of concluding a story I have followed since childhood, it still has notable issues.
The gameplay in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain varies greatly as the story takes place across multiple locations, unlike previous games in the series. Each act offers a unique gameplay experience, with the “hiding in plain sight” gameplay showcased in the trailers only making up a portion of the overall gameplay. Acts One and Two feature exciting and innovative gameplay that could stand alone as its own game. However, Act Three sees a departure from this style of gameplay, and it is not revisited for the remainder of the game. While the game still offers enjoyable set pieces, there is a sense of untapped potential in the Act One gameplay that is not fully realized by the end of the game.
Furthermore, the amount of actual gameplay provided in this game falls short of my expectations. Although Brad mentioned that the gameplay and cut scenes blend seamlessly, the game only offers approximately six to eight hours of player-controlled gameplay out of the total sixteen-hour duration.

MGS4 feels like coming home.

Score: 9.5

Chad “Otacon” Concelmo 

I concur with Brad and Anthony’s assessment of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, particularly with regards to its two most significant elements. The storyline is immensely gratifying, evoking emotions that are beyond words, while the gameplay, though not as extensive as its predecessors, is captivating and offers boundless possibilities for exploration.
My main point of interest, and what truly left an impression on me about MSG4, is its exceptional storytelling and the countless unforgettable moments it presents.

Without any exaggeration, Metal Gear Solid 4 is undoubtedly the most advanced and impressive storytelling method I have ever experienced in my entire life. Although it may seem like a bold claim, I can confidently say that it surpasses any book or movie I have ever encountered. The game’s sophisticated and captivating approach, coupled with its visually stunning graphics, left me in awe from start to finish.
Similar to how Super Mario 64 transformed the gaming industry, Metal Gear Solid 4 transforms the way games are showcased. The shift between cutscenes and gameplay is smooth and consistently unexpected. To fully grasp its ingenuity, one must experience it firsthand. With MSG4, the era of setting down your controller and passively watching cutscenes is a thing of the past.
Above all else, the game’s ability to provide an infinite amount of unforgettable experiences is the most significant aspect.
As I approached Metal Gear Solid 4, my expectations were high. I craved grandiose set pieces, mind-bending plot twists, and distinctive gameplay experiences – the very essence of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. I hoped that MGS4 would deliver on these fronts and not leave me wanting.

Are the boss battles in the game as creatively brilliant as Psycho Mantis and The End? Can any scene in the game match the intricate and awe-inspiring Shagohod pursuit towards the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid 3?
It brings me great joy to announce that MGS4 not only features astonishing sequences, but also surpasses all previous games in the series with its abundance of unforgettable moments.
Without giving away any spoilers, Metal Gear Solid 4 features five distinct acts, each with several jaw-dropping moments that will leave you breathless or jumping for joy. From an adrenaline-pumping motorcycle chase that rivals any Hollywood action scene to what can only be described as the greatest final boss battle in gaming history, this game is packed with unforgettable experiences that will stay with you forever. You’ll be amazed by what you see and play, and these moments will undoubtedly be etched in your memory for years to come.
Guns of the Patriots takes Solid Snake on an emotional and impressive journey that evolves the beloved series. However, it still manages to provide a nostalgic experience for Metal Gear fans. While playing the previous games is recommended for a full appreciation of the game, MSG4 is still worth playing for any gamer. It is a significant achievement in the world of interactive entertainment.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a timeless masterpiece that brings the series to a perfect close.

Score: 10.0

Final Verdict: 9.5