Metal Gear Solid 4: First Impressions

memgs4.jpgBackground information: I hate Metal Gear. Too much sneaking, too much fuss, too much tension for my liking. Which is why it's so amazing that I just played Metal Gear Solid 4, and found it... amazing.

For starters, it's busy. This isn't a secret base or a jungle, this is a warzone. So if you think more along the lines of SOCOM or Full Spectrum Warrior, you'll get an idea of the setting. Basically it's more bad guys, more things going on. Which means the game plays differently. This isn't a shooter (deep breaths kids, it's all going to be OK), but there's definitely gunplay to be had, and I was getting a real (bear with me) Hidden & Dangerous vibe from it, especially from the very-functional first-person viewpoint. A lot less sneaking, a lot more shooting was how I went about things, and it worked. So it's nice to have that option. There's more than enough alleyways and alternate paths if you'd rather stick with the sneaking, though. Highlight, surprisingly, was not the visuals. They're fantastic, yeah, but you have to hear this thing. I didn't get to play enough to rate the entire sound design of the thing, but you have never heard gunshots like this. It's fun just to stand in an alley emptying clips into some poor old lady's pot/jar collection. Just because it sounds so great. They sound like real guns. Loud, real guns.

Controls were tight—no rumble though. FPS shooting works as well as a decent FPS. Snake's got a suitably "heavy" presence, so there's no problems manoeuvring him into the right spot or out of someone's line of sight. Which also effects the stealth aspects of the game; the engine and tight controls mean you get pinpoint accuracy at close quarters. Which is handy, because the knife takedowns are hot.

Enemy AI was a little jarring, if only because I got the impression that they may not quite be up to the task of matching the increased level of action. Example: A group of four enemies were clustered together at a distant doorway; I took one down and the other three just stood there. Didn't flinch, didn't hide, didn't react, even though I was picking them off one by one.

Still. Small beef. Like I said, I hate Metal Gear Solid. Just not this one. It's looking pretty damn great.


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