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July 14, 2008
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - PS3 Review Page 2
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
12/6/2008AtariKonamiKojima Productions12-16
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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City detail looks quite spectacular.
Many have mention of the loading in this game, and indeed there is loading prior to each of the five acts. I'm going to state quite categorically that while the initial loading takes around 8 minutes, subsequent loading is only two to three minutes, and typically after a boss battle and lengthy cut-scenes. The respite is actually welcomed. What we did find a bit more annoying though was that when we went back to show earlier parts of the game to friends after completion those acts, or at least some parts, needed to be re-installed. I would have preferred the data stayed on the Hard Drive, even it it took up an extra Gigabyte or two.

While not a part of this disc, we must remind all gamers that Metal Gear Solid Database is a free download from the Playstation Store. Weighing in a pretty paltry 77MB this is an invaluable resource with every (as far as we can remember anyway) character, location, company and events from the franchises history covered in this easy to navigate program. Impressively the program will keep any references from the fourth game blanked out until you have a save file from the finished game on your system.

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Taking the battle indoors.
Expanding beyond that downloadable extra Konami have been placing a series of extra content online including new camouflage, multi-player modes (more on that soon) and podcasts and music to play in the iPod in your game. As yet, there is no way to play your own music stored on the PS3's Hard Drive on the in-game iPod, but rumours continue that this may be added in future.

Multi-player is a component that seems to be compulsory in almost every video game these days. Sure, you can live without it but gamers now see it as a 'requirement' rather then a 'luxury'. To that end we are a little disappointed to say that this game isn't overly loaded with modes, maps or options. Still Metal Gear Online is present on this disc and you are certain to spend a few hours in here playing through the various modes, more of which are being added through patches with support to continue for many more months to come.

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The locations are battle-scarred.
In terms of criticisms about the multi-player my biggest is the stupid decision to base the logons and lobbies on not just one, but two different ID's for the game - a Konami ID and Game ID - rather then the PSN Sign-in. It's slow, sloppy, unnecessary and confusing. Why the hell couldn't Sony and Konami work on this together to get a better, and more seamless, solution?

So let's now move onto the graphics. I still recall the first time a trailer was shown for Metal Gear Solid 4 way back at E3 2005 and while it may have been pre-rendered no one really believed the final product would reach that quality. Well, it has. Metal Gear Solid 4 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most impressive video game we have ever seen visually. Sure, there are some moments where the backgrounds lack a little sharpness, and there is the odd texture here and there that could have been improved (look at the guard rails, and some of the walls) but when you look at the scope of this game it becomes mind blowing. As we have mentioned the game contains hours of cut-scenes, and all are rendered in real-time. It's not just the character models that will have your jaw hitting the floor, but the quality of the direction of these cut-scenes and the 'acting' from the characters.

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Using the binoculars on a camp ahead.
As expected the game doesn't disappoint in-game either. Running at 720p the game retains a very solid frame rate with only the odd stutter here or there, most often during cut-scenes while the movies are streaming off the Blu-Ray disc. Effects such as smoke, debris and explosions look wonderful as well. As you have probably seen through the surrounding screenshots, none of which are pre-rendered we might add, the character detail and their animation is absolutely stunning.

As you can probably guess the audio in Metal Gear Solid 4 isn't a disappointment either. Using Dolby Digital 5.1, the audio from the very first boot-up to the very last credit in the game is of such high quality you will think this is a Hollywood movie, and for all intents and purposes it could be. The music has been scored by Harry Gregson-Williams and Nobuko Toda and the score is at times rousing, at times beautiful, and often emotional.

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Check out the detail in Liquid Ocelot's face.
Voiceovers are also superb and while there is a tonne of dialogue to get though, primarily during the lengthy cut-scenes, it's all great quality. Indeed David Hayter has returned to voice Solid Snake, while the game also includes Christopher Randolph as Otacon, Khary Payton as Drebin and Patric Zimmerman as Liquid Ocelot. They're not the only voice actors of course with dozens of other people putting in equally compelling performances. The music and voiceovers are then enhanced with some brilliant effects such as gunfire, explosions and ambient effects.

While I have pointed out a couple of small issues throughout this review they are massively outweighed by the positives. This is video gaming in its finest form. It's intense. It's engrossing. It's a masterpiece. Indeed this is a fitting conclusion to one of the greatest video game series' of all time and a great finale to the missions of Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is an essential purchase for every PS3 owner if ever there was one. Metal Gear Solid 4 is stunning.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSSome tiny issues can't stop this being the best looking game ever.
SOUNDSuperb voiceovers and effects, a brilliant orchestral score to match.
GAMEPLAYThe game is such a joy to play, some minor quibbles such as the cover system don't detract from the experience.
VALUESingle player game is fairly long, multi-player not quite as good as we hoped, but is improving with updates.
OVERALLLove or loathe the amount of cut-scenes there is no denying that Metal Gear Solid 4 is a masterpiece and fitting end to Solid Snake's missions. An essential purchase on the PS3.

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