This is my second time playing Metal Gear Solid 4. This entry is the first time since Metal Gear Solid that Solid Snake is the protagonist. Due to some illness, or result of the cloning process, Solid Snake has aged considerably and prematurely.
This game offers much in subtle gameplay to bring a variety of possible gameplay experiences. Rather than give the player multiple outcomes or meaningful choice results (the game came before the player choice aspect of gaming really took hold), the game allows the player to play based on his or her own sense of morality. Hideo Kojima specifically designed the game around the philosophy that killing the in game enemies is entirely optional. Along with the to kill or not to kill gaming philosophy in game currency and collectible items allow the player to customize a variety of weapons.
Kojima has spun a story over the span of 20 years that includes conspiracy and espionage, fraught with often confusing and surprising twists. In an attempt to tie up most of the loose ends that the series left open, the game largely relies on cinematic storytelling. Frequently during gameplay, control is forced from the player for lengthy cutscenes. For gamers not into watching the scenes (which can last an excess of a half hour) many are skippable by pressing start and selecting the skip option.
Part of the game's design element was to take advantage of the PS3's power and the ability of blu-ray to store massive amounts of data. This was achieved by including a vast array of textures, extremely detailed character models, and cinema quality sound. The game still stands visually against nearly any game released since. The biggest drawback to the philosophy is that the game is data hungry, with multiple install points leading up to a data file taking up over 5GB. That may not be much by today's standards, but in 2008 the game system had a max storage of 80GB.
The score was well rendered and fitting for the title. It relies heavily on industrial techno and rock music for battle sequences, while using more traditional music for story moments. While fast paced and heavy at times, the music always seems appropriate and never intrusive.
Thus far I have been satisfied with my second play through and would recommend the title to anyone interested in story heavy war games.
Rating (out of 5):