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PS3 Game Review

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots


Format: PS3
RRP: £49.95
4 012927 050118
Age Restrictions: 15+
Available 12 June 2008

Concluding Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid saga, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is set in a battle-scarred future where huge conglomerates fight for supremacy using armies of hand-picked mercenaries. This devastated world is seen through the battle-weary eyes of an older Solid Snake who has been charged with infiltrating a number of key locations across the globe, including the Middle East and South America...

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots features an aging and exhausted Solid Snake in the middle of a futuristic battlefield. In spite of his failing body, Snake is equipped with a crucial new device tentatively known as "OctoCamo," a high-tech suit that can transform its texture based on Snake's surroundings. This allows Snake to seamlessly blend into the environment, providing him with the means to stalk his enemies like never before.

This latest chapter in Hideo Kojima's legendary tactical espionage action series marks the return of several characters from previous Metal Gear Solid games including Revolver Ocelot, Meryl Silverburgh, Naomi Hunter and Raiden, and features a story that depicts the desperate state of the future as seen through the eyes of an older Solid Snake.

For Metal Gear Solid fans, this latest instalment has been long awaited, and the end result is well worth it. It's probably not surprising, but those that will get the most out of this will be those that have played the previous games. There's much here to applauded. The characters have grown with the player over the years, so it really is like visiting an old friend.

The weapons and items are more diverse than in previous installments and using different weapons for different situations is essential to move through the levels without too much of a headache.

There are plenty of neat little touches including an ipod which allows you to play from a list of music tracks and albums, as well as a radio pod cast that is centred around the game; the ability to buy and sell weapons while in the field; the previously mentioned OctoCamoa camouflage suit that changes colour in order to blend in with your surroundings; and the ability to use weapons that are part of the landscape (for example you can grab hold of a mortar and launch projectiles at anything that moves).

Okay so what about the problems? Well, to be honest we couldn't find any serious ones, but for those that are coming to this fresh, with no knowledge of the history, then there are a few aspects to bear in mind.

Firstly, if you're not used to the game play it can be frustrating in places. If you don't like games where you have to sneak around avoiding the enemy, then you'll probably have a hard time with this. The control system, to begin with, is pretty hard to navigate, and for some sections of the game (like the introduction of a robot you can control) you're not really told what to do, therefore it's trial and error... and then you discover that it only has a limited battery life. Well, if that had been clear from the start... maybe you shouldn't have spent the last few minutes sending it off annoying other soldiers... Then there's the fact that until you get the hang of everything you will tend to spend a hell of a lot of time dying and restarting. Oh, and the storyline, on the whole, will make absolutely no sense to you.

Personally, I got a blast out of revisiting characters that have grown with me over the years, but I don't know how newbies will view it. The long cut segments I lapped up, but again, newbies will probably be bored to tears. And the constant feeling of not actually achieving anything (just sneaking around all over the place) might be too annoying for some.

The game features both Metal Gear Solid 4 and Kojima Productions's Metal Gear Online - a dedicated online title that uses locations and game play elements from the main game. The online play is great fun and this is one of those rare games where whether you playing on or off line there's much to keep you coming back for more.

There's plenty of amusing little touches to make you chuckle and amuse yourself for hours. Highlights include being able to hide inside a metal drum which you can also tip over and roll around in (you'd be surprised at how much fun this is); and adult magazines, which you can pick up and place in the path of an enemy so that they stop and have a read allowing you to sneak up behind them.

There are a few segments where it feels like the developers are holding your hand and guiding you through a very straight forward section. But on the whole, on most levels, you pretty much have free reign to find the best route to get to your target area.

Those that have eagerly been anticipating this release will not be disappointed. An essential purchase for PS3 owners.


Nick Smithson

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