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5 reasons to hate Metal Gear Solid

Week of Hate 2011 officially begins today, giving us yet another opportunity to spew venom and whine like babies about the industry that we love the remaining 51 weeks of the year. And in keeping with past tradition, we’re trotting out some of gaming’s most beloved, venerable franchises this week for the sole purpose of picking apart their flaws and upsetting their fans. We’ll start with Metal Gear, a series that has spent roughly the past 10 years turning itself into one of the weirdest, most divisive, love-it-or-hate-it propositions in modern gaming.


1. Fantastically long-winded cutscenes

This is an admittedly easy target, but it’s still one of the most valid – and most-repeated – complaints that can be leveled against Metal Gear as a franchise. A poster child for the idea that Japanese developers are more interested in making movies than games, Metal Gear is notorious for making players spend as much time sitting through long, exposition-heavy cutscenes and codec conversations as they do actually playing the game. Those cutscenes don’t always have much to do with the plot, either, frequently digressing into historical background or musings on the military-industrial complex.


Art by Alex Barrett 

This approach reached a fever pitch in Metal Gear Solid 4, which tried to make up for its lengthier, more dialogue-heavy cutscenes by actually letting you drive the little Metal Gear Mk. II robot around inside of them, hunting for items (and being totally unable to affect the cutscene in any real way). More recently, the series appears to have finally gotten its shit together, as the cutscenes in Portable Ops and Peace Walker never felt overly long – but let’s wait and see what happens when the series returns to a non-handheld platform before we declare this one fixed.


2. The Raiden bait-and-switch

It’s hard to think of a game that was as strongly anticipated pre-release, and then almost as strongly reviled post-release, as Metal Gear Solid 2. And it was all over one little flaw: it didn’t star Solid Snake. Instead, MGS2 forced us to play through its story as whiny, self-absorbed pretty-boy Raiden. Making matters worse, creator Hideo Kojima had deliberately misled fans about the switch, never indicating that there would be a new protagonist just so he could surprise players with it.


Above: One of these things is not like the others… 

The surprise was pulled off beautifully, but it turned out that a lot of Metal Gear fans don’t like surprises – especially not when they involve a beloved main character being absent for much of the game. Eventually, people got over it, but Raiden remains the only Metal Gear hero who had to be completely redesigned as an impossibly badass cyborg ninja before anyone would even consider liking him as a character.


Above: MUCH better. Now make it so he never talks 


3. Your enemies are colossal morons

Call this one a concession to fun gameplay, but if we were guarding a top-secret facility, and we spotted some old guy who wasn’t supposed to be there, we wouldn’t give the all-clear after a sweep of the immediate area turned up nothing but a suspiciously open vent and a cardboard box that wasn’t there a minute ago.


Above: Guess it wasn’t that clear after all, huh? 


4. The story’s more needlessly convoluted than Lost

Metal Gear’s story, rife as it is with betrayals and secret conspiracies, has never exactly been straightforward. Beginning with MGS2, however, its complexity became preposterously hard to follow, continually delving into weird aspects of the characters’ backstories and tossing up red herrings and confusing new developments. There were multiple conspiracies to keep track of (The Patriots? The Philosophers? The Sons of Liberty? La lu li le lo?), each with several hidden puppet-masters. Certain major plot points actually made less sense when they were explained. (Ocelot tricked himself into believing he was being taken over by Liquid Snake’s arm, just to mislead the Patriots? That’s… creative.)


Above: And where does this fit in, exactly? 

Then there’s all the weird supernatural stuff, like the ghostly Sorrow, the surreal Psycho Mantis encounter and the bee-filled The Pain. That’s not to mention all the characters who can’t seem to stay dead no matter how many times we see them “die.” As the series continues to break its own rules, muddle its own continuity and become increasingly silly and hard to keep track of, we can’t shake the feeling that Kojima’s doing it just to mess with us.


5. Don’t like PSP? Too bad

For the past 13 years, Metal Gear Solid has become closely associated with the PlayStation brand, so it isn’t exactly surprising that there would be Metal Gear games on the PSP. What is surprising is that two of those games would be must-play, canonical chapters in the franchise, meaning that if you’re not a fan of the ever-less-appealing PSP, or of the idea of playing huge adventure games on a handheld, you’re left out in the cold.


Above: METAL GEAR!?!?

Honestly, though, we’d probably find the idea a lot more appealing if it weren’t for the fact that Peace Walker ditched Metal Gear’s tradition of solo sneakery in exchange for a four-player approach that’s much closer to the Monster Hunter games. And, like in Monster Hunter, you’re going to have an awfully hard time bringing down Peace Walker’s huge bosses without ad-hoc help. Is it still possible to fight them on your own? Sure, but bringing friends along means a serious advantage – as well as a fundamental betrayal of everything Metal Gear has previously stood for.

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47 comments

  • seabassuk - April 28, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    FVDub - 2 days 14 hours ago "*cough*gameplay stuck in 1998*cough* Sorry MGS fans." Why mess with perfection. Sorry MGS haters.
  • Fiirestorm21 - April 28, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    Agreed. And while it's not as bad as Resident Evil, the controls can be really annoying as well. That said, the imagination and creativity shown off with each installment wins me back every time.
  • moan4stalone - April 27, 2011 6:39 p.m.

    Metal gear acid 2 was great because it came with 3d glasses way before any one else was doing 3d(mk9 crysis 2.)
  • Zanthis - April 26, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Perfect criticisms of the series. Not much more to say than that.
  • RedOutlive10 - April 26, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    Any Raiden sucks. Couldn't care less about some Final Fantasy reject with spunk blood.
  • batmanboy11 - April 26, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    I'm a huge Metal Gear fan, and I don't disagree with any of these entries. #5 is especially bad for me, since I don't know anyone with Peace Walker and I gave up trying to beat it by myself...
  • ollie-russell - August 22, 2012 4:34 a.m.

    hey dude peace walker is now on ps3 :D
  • ObliqueZombie - April 26, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    You guys can always dish on the Hate. Hate Week is a great week for anyone who has any complaints, however minor or major, about any major franchise in history and just needs to... well, have their ideas portrayed through a professional journlist. More Week of Hate, please? I need to vent. And bash something REALLY good next time!
  • Kethmach - April 26, 2011 7:28 p.m.

    Yeah... 1-4 are the reasons I hated and left MGS behind. I really, really , REALLY loved MGS and 2 just pissed me off... and it was stupid. Then 3 and 4 just bored me to tears and REALLY pushed the 1-4 complaints to new levels. (Yes, I tried them even after 2 which I hated... and 3 which I hated more... and I STILL tried 4 and... hated that one too). I heard about the PSP versions being 'better', but as I pretty much hate the series now (for reasons 1-4 AND the fact that I spent money on 2,3,4) I wasn't about to buy a PSP for MGS. It's great to hear someone say "wow- this shit annoyed us too".
  • Kipper - April 26, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    Well, I've only played some of MGS1, but just 2 of the reasons I disliked it are: being able to see someone at the top of some stairs, but only being able to shoot horizontally >_<. Ans secondly, all the stupid names. A boss called Revolver Ocelot? Ooh, look, I'm an ocelot, a small cute furry cat - how menacing....
  • rob619 - April 26, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    same as point 3. 5: I would agree, but hey its MGS on the move, and that cant be all bad.
  • jackthemenace - April 26, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    No matter what anyone says, I have always and WILL always Love Raiden, even BEFORE he was the badass Cyborg-ninja. Of course, him being a badass Cyborg-ninja does HELP, but I still love him even without his gigantic robo-fringe.
  • FauxFurry - April 26, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Not that I'm surprised in the slightest by any of these entry items, I am nonetheless pleased that they were neither completely baseless nor repetition of "It's too perfect". Number 3 wasn't nearly as problematic in MGS4 as it was in earlier games as I learned first hand trying the exact same tactics only to have the enemies flush Snake out of hiding on multiple occassions or kicking over his cardboard box even though noone saw him hide under it. The Metal Gear Solid series' generic guard has finally reached the loftly goal of becoming semi-adequate for the job for which they were hired but not so difficult that the player is made to realize what a bad idea it is to send a single geriatric sleath operative into enemy territory with little else but a knife and a Mood Suit.
  • JasonStatham - April 26, 2011 1:22 p.m.

    Haha nice article Raparaz, but... FUCK YOU MGS IS TEH BEST SERIES EVAR. Seriously though, long cutscenes and baffling plotlines have been accepted parts of the series since MGS1 - it's the reason the series has such a fanbase. And peace walker is FUCKING AWESOME, I hate the psp and only picket PW up a few weeks ago, but it really is an excellent game. Also, both psp games are prequels, and are not neccessarily essential to the understanding of the series' main plotlines.
  • philipshaw - April 26, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    I love MGS, MGS3 is still my favourite game of all time but I completely agree with this whole list
  • yonderTheGreat - April 26, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Best article ever. And... I haven't even read it yet. I love you guys!
  • Gahmah - April 26, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    This article wasn't a really fun read, it was like going to 4chan and reading a angry troll thread on Metal Gear. Doesn't really have the usual specificity of GamesRadar articles. Just feels like filler, going for broad accepted slams against the title, but didn't really feel like someone who went in depth into the series to pull out strong hatred of things in the series that show a greater level of understanding. This felt like a casual passing glance at Metal Gear Solid as a series.
  • Imgema - April 26, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    This series never appealed to me. Maybe because i prefer games from movies.
  • CAPST3R - April 26, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    Why is the fact that you can skip cutscenes so overlooked? I mean, come on! Also, MGS4 is my favourite PS3 game. And MGS1 my favourite PS1 game. And MGS2 my 5th favourite PS2 game. I never played MGS3. I like the MGS games. Probably why my CVG ID is Gaseous Snake (it's what Solidus should have been called).
  • FirLocke - April 26, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    Peace Walker controls are fiiiiiine. Just take some getting used to , that's all. Hey at least you have an X and a Y axis, right?

Showing 1-20 of 47 comments

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