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July 14, 2008
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - PS3 Review Page 1
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
12/6/2008AtariKonamiKojima Productions12-16
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
DiscTBAMB720pDD5.1YesMA15+

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MGS4 is one visually stunning game.
Announced almost four years ago now in November 2004 it has been an exhaustive wait for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Year after year we were treated to increasingly impressive trailers at the E3 show and with confirmation that this would be the final mission for Solid Snake, and the 2006 trailer ending with Snake putting a gun in his mouth there was no doubt this would be special. The game is here now. We've played it through more then once, and spend hours online, and are ready to give you our verdict. A fitting end to the series, or a fizzer? Read on...

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Yes, this is in-game.
In a world overrun by private military companies (PMC's) wars are no longer fought over nations of ideologies. Rather, they are micro-managed by overarching PMC's right down to the bullet. The five largest PMC's are actually controlled by one mother company called Outer Heaven.

These companies have enough firepower to rival the American military and Liquid has returned with a massive army ready to start an armed insurrection to create the perfect world once envisioned by Big Boss. Joined by a familiar cast of characters, Snake must once again return to the battlefield to confront a life-long rival who is manipulating the worlds wars from the one world in which soldiers will always have a place...

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Raiden plays a large role in MGS4.
From the very opening moments this third person action title can't fail to impress. In the first few minutes you will watch your convoy get ambushed, escape through the streets in a Middle Eastern city while remaining under cover, be confronted by some massive mechanical beasts, and activate your camouflage to avoid detection. You then move onto a lengthy sequence to escape the battlefield. The game takes place in various locations around the world including the aforementioned Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe.

Now we did say this was a third person game, but it is possible to switch to a first person view to target the enemies on the battlefield. The game allows Snake to lie down, roll over, and take cover although the cover system isn't the most effective we've seen in games. Still it is functional.

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These mechs are damn cool - and deadly!
Of course a Metal Gear Solid 4 title wouldn't be one without a range of weapons and there are literally dozens on offer here. Most of these weapons remain locked until arms dealer Drebin manages to take out the security measures, for a small fee. In fact Drebin will come in quite useful through the game as you can order weapons, explosives or bullets in the middle of a battle and have them delivered. These weapons range from assault rifles, to pistols, shotguns to rocket launchers. Basically any weapon available on the market today, and quite a few that are not, are available in this game with each having a different firing rage, damage amount and effect on enemies.

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Looking down onto the soldiers.
Certainly one of the biggest changes to this game over previous titles, and something which the passing of time and improvements in technology has allowed, is the use of an "active camouflage system" or "Octo-cam". Basically when snake presses up against a wall, or lies on the ground the suit will change its look to blend in with the surroundings thereby increasing how hard it is for enemies to spot Snake.

While Metal Gear Solid 4 makes use of the Dual Shock's 3 rumble capabilities, and to good effect we might add, we were a bit surprised to discover that the tilt sensing abilities of the controller have been largely ignored. In fact, I can't recall using tilt mechanism at all throughout the game, although they are there for things such as guiding the little Mark II robot. Did I miss something or did Hideo Kojima decide that this much touted feature of Sony's controller wasn't actually good enough to use in much of the game.

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Otacon's facial detail is impressive.
With a single player game time of around 16 hours this isn't the longest game on the market, and much of that time is used up watching cut-scenes (more on that soon). There are so many jaw-dropping moments in this game it is hard to recall them all, but (trying to be spoiler free) some of the highlights include a battle on the river with Liquid Ocelot, a microwave sequence with Solid Snake, a glorious Mr & Mrs Smith sequence, the first time you use the camouflage suit, and the final epilogue sequence.

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Looking down onto the soldiers.
So, issues. There are a few in this game which we need to point out. The biggest, is also the one which is certain to divide people and probably determine if you love, or hate, this game is that surrounding the amount of cut scenes. It took around 15 hours for us to complete this game and around half of that time was made up of cut-scenes, including a 60 minute long epilogue. Most of these cut-scenes had small moments of interactivity such as hitting the L1 button to look at the action from a different angle, or tapping X to see a flashback of moments or characters from previous games in the series. One thing is certain though, this games cut-scenes are among the best ever seen in a video game - both in terms of scripting, and production.

Having said that you may hate this game due to the number of cut scenes, may seem a little harsh, and it probably is. Even if you are against the numerous cut-scenes in the game there is still quite an enjoyable game here. If you really must, it is possible to skip the cut-scenes to continue with the action, although you would be missing out on many of the jaw dropping moments in the game including those detailed earlier.

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Try to spot Solid Snake with camo active.
Another slight disappointment, and this comes after playing Battlefield: Bad Company, is that there really was a lack of destruction in the levels. I would have loved to see the series push forward a bit further with more interactivity and destruction of environments, and objects within them. I would have also loved to see arms dealer Drebin pack in a few medikits or bandages, even if they were priced extraordinarily high just to give you another option to source them rather then finding them throughout the levels.

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