Welcome to another installment of two nerds one game. This week our two Nerds (Ian and Matt) are going to talk about Metal Gear Solid 2 in all the nerdy detail that they see fit. I don’t mean nerdy in that postmodern hipster way, with glass-less glasses and the assumption that Batman is written by Marvel. I mean Nerdy in the nose bleeding, thick glasses, D&D playing, dateless wonder kind of way. Any way, without further ado, bring on the nerds.
Ian: If you read last weeks blog then you’ll know that compared to modern games the original Metal Gear Solid is, to put it mildly, showing its age. I did note that if you are new to Metal Gear Solid and wanted to play it for the first time that the one to go for is the GameCube remake as it features the controls from Metal Gear Solid 2. See, MGS 2 was a pretty substantial improvement over the original in the controls department. You can now use the analog stick to decide how fast (and noisily) you want to move Snake, you can aim in first person and you can hope over railings to avoid detection. You can do other things like shooting out security cameras, hiding bodies and rolling to quickly hide. These improvements, whilst amazing in their day, still only help the game along rather than totally transforming it. It feels like an updated MGS1 which is nice, don’t get me wrong, but feels amazingly dated when compared to MGS4 and the silky-smooth Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Matt: Metal Gear Solid 2 improves a lot of the things that were missing from its predecessor. Firstly a first person view is added, allowing for greater accuracy and more control over your shots. With this addition you also get the ability to hold up your enemies in combat. This allows you to collect dog tags and unlock items with in the game. However MGS2 also lacks in many of the areas the original was strong in. The controls just don’t feel up to the standard of the console it was on. You just feel too loose. You often find yourself using a wall for cover only to accidentally slip off and get spotted. Whereas the limitations in MGS1 controls were caused by the console I’m mgs2 they are caused by the game itself. Don’t get me wrong; it still plays well enough it just hasn’t aged as well as others in the series.
Ian: Really? You want me to explain the story? Well tough, I’m not going to. Remember last week when I said that the entire MG franchise has a massively overblown and ridiculous, yet fantastic and bombastic storyline? Well MGS2 is where things get a bit over the top, even by Metal Gear standards. The story can at times be hard to follow but as with the series as a whole, once it gets you you’re gripped by the unfolding masterpiece of it all.
Matt: MGS2 has quite a fantastic story, and in my opinion one of the strongest in the series. As Ian said it is a bit over the top and difficult to follow. However I feel like the story really grips you into the overall MGS cannon. This is the game that opens up all the questions and makes you want more. It lays the groundwork for the excellent stories in 3 & 4. I also enjoyed the prologue element where you play as Snake, before you become Raiden. Furthermore I really enjoy Raiden’s story. I really enjoy how he is a puppet, and is controlled by the Patriots to become the new Snake. Watching him slowly break free and become the master of his own destiny is a true heroe’s tale. He banishes the demons of his past and moves on to blaze his own trail (until he gets captured and becomes the ninja in MGS4).
Ian: Like its predecessor MGS2 has a surprisingly long life-span. The main game can be replayed multiple times, especially if you’re after all of the dog-tags and want to see everything that is on offer. If you’re going to get it I recommend getting the rereleased ‘Substance’ edition or the Metal Gear Solid HD collection as they contain all the extras such as VR missions and Boss Arenas etc.
Matt: With the VR missions, and the skateboard mini game included in the substance package the game rates highly in longevity. Plus going back and collecting dog tags to get secret items also really helps extend the games life. It’s not a game that I personally go back to as much though. That’s not a reflection on the game, just a statement that I felt like mentioning.
Ian: Metal Gear Solid 2 isn’t quite as spectacular as its predecessor but it has character and appeal by the bucket load. Raiden is a ‘unique’ addition to the Metal Gear story but he just doesn’t have the same appeal as Snake.
Matt:Metal Gear Solid 2 was a game I enjoyed greatly on its release. However it’s also a game that’s controls have not aged well. In my opinion I feel like I should expect more from a PS2 game, in terms of controls. With MGS1 I can pass issues off with retro charm, this one not as much. Still a great little game though, just lacking in controls.
How would you rate Metal Gear Solid 2?