Monday, 18 June 2007
Game Review: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PlayStation 2: NTSC)
It's not very common for me to finish videogames.
I take a *very* long time usually to finish anything.
Before finishing Metal Gear Solid 3, the last game I finished was probably Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter on Xbox 360 - which proves it was quite a while ago as I haven't even owned an Xbox 360 in about 6 months..
It takes a game that is something special. Something unique. Something that demands me to drive onwards.
A lot of my friends (and perhaps stray readers of this blog) know that I am quite a Final Fantasy fan - but I have only finished one of the FF games, Final Fantasy VII - and have never managed to complete any of the main story arcs in Final Fantasy XI.
But let me be clear. I am a HUGE Metal Gear Solid fan. I have been since before the release of MGS1 in the UK almost 10 years ago and I have even met MGS director Hideo Kojima.
It pains me to admit though that it has taken me this long to finish MGS3.
Let's give a little back story though.
I didn't buy a PlayStation 2 on immediate release, none of it's games appealed to me. It was certainly very expensive and all it had going for it was Timesplitters (though it was excellent but not a 'killer-app' by any means), Fantavision and Tekken Tag Tournament. (I'm more a Virtua Fighter guy..)
When MGS2 was released though - I had to have one.
Fortunately for me, my Dad was kind enough to buy me one for a late birthday present - and I got to play it a lot when I got out of hospital from knee operations.. (I was kind of injured at the time..)
MGS2 wasn't good.
Graphically superb. Gameplay? Amazing. Story?? Incomprehensible.
The story aspect of the game that had made MGS1 so compelling had been ruined by MGS2's over-complex, over-dramatized, sub-character-who-you-never-wanted-to-play-as's-girlfriend's-rambling's.
MGS2 was an ambitious game, apparently, according to Kojima Production's Ryan Payton in a recent podcast, ruined by poor translation.
I can understand that that may have been a cause but this cost the fanbase dearly as it greatly put me off MGS3.
Don't get me wrong, I bought it as soon as I could. I loved it. At first. But quickly got disheartened in fear of it becoming like MGS2..
More fool me.
'Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater' is a tremendous mark of one team's vision of videogame excellence.
Graphically? Just what you would expect from Kojima-san's team, excellent. MGS3 pushes the PS2 *really* far whilst having a versatile engine capable of lots of simultaneous on-screen explosions and gun-fights.
The fact that MGS3 uses its in-game engine for it's very dramatic and cinematic cut-scenes is indicative of the quality of the rendering engine.
It may not be a very manly thing to admit, but I did actually shed a tear at the end of MGS3. The story was that good. That compelling. That involving and that emotional.
The soundtrack of the game is techno/classical throughout - apart from the emotional scenes towards the end of the game which opt for classical-heart-string-tugging anthems.
Harry Gregson-Williams' composer of the 'Armageddon', 'Chicken Run', Shrek trilogy, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' soundtracks, shows amazing talent at working with other composers - he reworks Noriko Hibino's MGS theme music with his own style and mastery of orchestral range to appeal to your sense of patriotism and loyalty, as does the game's story.
Needless to say, I bought the soundtrack CD.
I shall go this far with this game:
It is the finest example of videogames growing up.
A beautiful story, compelling action and gameplay.
Heart-wrenching plot that drives the player to complete the game and press onwards.
'Metal Gear Solid 3' is one of the finest games I've ever played - not all of it, such as the 'eating' gameplay mechanic or the requirement of player patience (well, the 'stealth' genre isn't for everyone..) may make it a little less liked by some - but MGS3 has guaranteed the safe arrival in the near future of a PlayStation 3 and 'Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots' in my gaming cabinet..
David / RagingAvatar