Welcome one and all to the newest feature on OHO; two nerds one game. From the team that brought you GHoF, Matt and Ian (the two nerds) will set out to review a classic game that you will have all played and made your mind up about. What makes this feature different? Well nothing really, you just get to read the ramblings of two gamers. What else did you think when you read the title? For the inaugural review Matt and Ian will take a look at PS1 classic Metal Gear Solid.
Ian: When people reminisce about Metal Gear Solid it’s usually about the story, the cinematic experience, the impression the game left on the industry when it launched or how it was a revelation for the stealth genre. The actual gameplay is rarely mentioned, and this is a shame as the game is incredibly well made. I remember my 7 year old self being absolutely blown away the first time I saw Snake put his back to the wall and the camera automatically positioning itself so you can easily see round the corner. Things that we take for granted today in the stealth genre, like knocking on walls, throwing empty ammo magazines and using footprints to distract enemies were all present in MGS. The controls nowadays do feel pretty dated, for example you can only run the PS1 version, you can’t sneak (which for a stealth game is pretty ridiculous when you think about it), but you can do things like crawl to avoid making noise and there’s always hiding in a cardboard box. The gunplay is also great. Selecting weapons with the R2 menu is a snap and firing is easy. What isn’t however is aiming as there is no first person aiming mode. If you’re going to play Metal Gear Solid for the first time can I recommend to you the GameCube remake ‘The Twin Snakes’ as it features all the gameplay enhancements found in MGS2.
Matt: When I first played the demo of MGS, back in the day, my mind was blown. I’d never really played a stealth game before and I’d certainly never played a game like MGS. The controls always seemed intuitive and simple to understand. You could hide and sneak easily. Sure the controls of the series have moved on nowadays, but they don’t feel as dated as say Tomb Raider or even Metal Gear Solid 2 (which in my opinion hasn’t aged well). As Ian said you can only run or crawl, which is a minus, but as Ian also said Twin Snakes fixed all these problems and improved on a classic. Weapons are easy to use and can be snapped in and off with R2 and items can be snapped off with L2. In closing the controls were great for its time, they’ve been surpassed nowadays, but they hold enough retro charm to still make it fun to play.
Ian: Right, how the hell am I going to explain this? I think it’s probably best if I don’t actually. Let me just say that if you haven’t played it, that it’s the best sort of over the top, complex anime, absolutely ridiculous yet completely amazing mess of a story. The story arc spans all of the Metal Gear games and hasn’t actually had all of the detail filled in yet. If you can get a grasp on the story then it will absolutely suck you in, if you can’t however then it will look utterly ridiculous. The story is brought to life by some absolutely amazing voice acting from the likes of David Hayter and Jennifer Hale. The voice acting is some of the best in the industry; especially considering the game was released in 1998.
Matt: What can I say here? Metal Gear Solid has one if the all time great stories. Simple on the surface, yet complex underneath. From the moment you start out, trying to defuse a simple terrorist ploy, you know something is off. From here inwards you are thrown into a world of double crosses and conspiracy. To steal from American beauty; “look closer”. People seem to die when you come into contact with them, but why? As the story progresses, you are lead to discover that the people who you trusted are using you as a biological weapon to eliminate the enemies of a shady organisation above the government themselves. The story is deep and meaningful and moves at the correct pace.
Ian: If you skip all of the story and cutscenes the game can be finished in only around 2-3 hours. Once you complete the game you will unlock either the stealth camo or unlimited ammo bandanna, meaning that you can play through another time to collect the other. The game also features a good selection of VR (virtual reality) missions for you to complete, which are incredible fun as they remove all the convoluted story items and focus entirely on the core gameplay. The best example of longevity is that the game came out in 1998 and it is still infinitely playable in 2013.
Matt: I still play this game all the time. In fact to properly finish you have to play it through three times, once for stealth cammo, once for the bandanna and once more for the tuxedo. The final one is a bit pointless, but it’s fun to take down a tank in a tux. You feel a bit like bond. Also due to the fact that you can skip fmv’s the game becomes much more playable, as you can jump straight into the action. All and all MGS is a rather replayable game.
Ian: I recently mentioned that Metal Gear Solid was my second favourite PS1 game of all time, so it’s no real surprise that I’m going to highly rate this game. Everything about it takes me back to the late ‘90s and the story absolutely gripes me. It gets a slightly generous, yet ultimately deserving 10/10.
Matt: MGS set the scene for future stealth games, whilst at the same time being great in its own right. MGS is one of the all time greats; it even made it into the GHoF. If you have never played this gem, I implore you to try and track down a copy and play it. Better still get a copy of the GameCube remake. Final score 9/10