Metal Gear Solid 4: Hands on

Sept 26, 2007

Solid Snake’s always been a badass, but as recent outings for oldies like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone have showed, all that muscle can get a little… droopy. Snake’s back, but he’s ‘back’ from the retirement home, trading in his bus pass for a few new guns, a camo suit and that bloody irritating codec once more. Can he still cut it with the young bucks, or isthis one fight too many for the old ticker?

First, the history. From Metal Gear 2 on the MSX, the series has relied on stealth as its central mechanic. While it was certainly possible to go in with all guns blazing and a cigarette clamped in the lower lip, it would more often than not see you smoking from a few new bullet holes in your attractive bodysuit, and wishing you’d been a bit craftier.

As well as the emphasis on stealth, the games (at least since Metal Gear Solid on the venerable PSone) have all been full of director Hideo Kojima’s own brand of pseudophilosophy, something that's occasionally quite funny but, more often than not, justirritating. Especially when he indulges himself for half an hour about the ethics of using monkey DNA for human research or somesuch.

So MGS has always been a mix of sublime, tense gaming, punctuated by mad bosses, great set pieces, and tedious, long-winded exposition of themes that no one really cares about. Very, very long exposition. The hope for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is that it can cut down the boring parts while giving us a lot more action, married to a graphical splendour only the PS3 can muster. At the Tokyo Game Show, we got our first opportunity for a hands on. Is is a success? Read on, soldier.