Kept you waiting, huh?

So…another Metal Gear teaser, huh? Well, that’s nice. Unfortunately, I pretty much completely agree with everything Parish said below. I had a lot of issues with Metal Gear Solid 4, and it’s probably best to let the series stay finished rather than trying to squeeze anymore out of it and make things worse.

Strangely enough, though, the announcement has made me realize that I miss playing MGS4. It’s no secret I was a die hard fan up until the last game, and I really feel like the overhauled control scheme finally nailed what tactical espionage action should be. Choking, stunning, stabbing, and shooting were all intuitive and satisfying. Furthermore, the “being a super spy while two factions duke it out” dynamic of the first two chapters was an interesting concept that could definitely be further explored – kids these days love moral choices, so why not make a compelling reason to side with either faction? The fact of the matter is, for all the vitriol I’ve spewed at the game, and in spite of the numerous ways it let me down, I realize now that MGS4 could still fun. If things had been (very) different, I would be more than happy to play it over and over. I know, I’m stunned, too.

[[image: ar_120408_mgs4_01.jpg:I can’t quit you baby:center:0]]
It’s a shame, then, that my choice will likely end up being either “more Metal Gear, when they shouldn’t” or “no other game like it”. The thing I like best about, say, Zelda is the environmental puzzle solving, and I can get a enjoyable (if not perfectly similar) substitute from games like Ico, Prince of Persia, and Braid. Every other attempt at stealth gameplay, though, has either been a mediocre failure, or lacked the nothing-is-sacred mantra of Metal Gear and attached a forgettable international spy plot (I’m looking at you, Splinter Cell). I don’t think it’s impossible for someone else to do it, but I have my doubts.

In a perfect world, Konami would wise up and use MGS4’s engine and gameplay to do something completely new. Really, this would solve their biggest dilemma, too: how to do a Metal Gear-caliber game without Kojima. Write a brand-spankin’ new plot, use the expensive assets you’ve already developed, and make me care again. I want to play with what MGS4 offers, but without — as mentioned before — 20 years of plot bogging it down. Of course, as also mentioned before, this will never, ever happen for a simple reason: money. Why try milking an unfamiliar new franchise when there’s still plenty left in MGS’ proverbial teats?

14 thoughts on “Kept you waiting, huh?

  1. There is a fundamental question within this argument: will Metal Gear fans follow the franchise if Kojima is not there for it? Likewise, will those fans follow a Metal Gear-like game made by Kojima?

  2. The first two chapters of MGS4 really are the only fun things in the game, and only if you’re abiding by the “stealth-action” rules. If you try to go in guns blazing you quickly see how limited the AI is (some of the situations in Chapter 2 with the infinitely spawning enemies can be just laughably bad). Not to mention these sections are incredibly short on further playthroughs. What a disappointment, because there really was the seed of a spectacular game there, but it’s not just cut-scenes holding it back.

    I’d like to see something along the lines of MGS:Ghost Babel again. That game is spectacular, I’ve been dying for a handheld followup ever since. It showed how you could use the Metal Gear conventions and vibe, but ditch the plot baggage.

  3. mrbuu82 – very good questions. I’m really interested to see what the broader audience’s opinion of MGS4 is a couple years down the road, and I think once that’s sunk in we’ll be able to me a better guess.

    MojoBox – yes, exactly. The seed was planted, but ultimately it didn’t grow into what it could have been. Or…something. I’m no botanist, never was. I’m just an old gardner, hired to do some hedgework.

  4. I disagree w/the above comment that the first two chapters “really are the only fun things in the game”. To be honest, I didn’t really get going until the 3rd act, and the 4th act entirely sold me on the game.

    Yes, it’s bogged down by Kojima’s psyche (I agree in general w/Parish and Anthony re: the game), and the cutscenes are split down the middle between drawn out & movie magic, but even with all that baggage it still is a cut above a lot of stuff out there.

    What I would most like to see, whether a new metal gear game or not: A spy game with shorter cutscenes (to get rid of all the fluff), longer gameplay sections, and that utilize the assets of the latest MGS. Whoever takes it, I think the game could be a winner.

  5. The first time you play Act 4, it’s cool to see the environments from the first game again (though a bit gratuitous), but the stealth really sucks against all the magic robots in that chapter. It just doesn’t feel as good as sneaking away from humans.

  6. If it were not for Kojima, the series wouldn’t have any fans in the first place. I enjoyed MGS4, and as with any piece of art, I disagreed with some aspects. But I wouldn’t change anything. He got us there and he finished it.

    That said, I want more Metal Gear. I don’t want to see the end of Snake, he’s like Mario to me. He’s a timeless icon. I don’t think Kojima does either, otherwise he would have stopped at 2 like he said he would.

    I say remake Metal Gear. It’s the logical next step, especially after Snake Eater.

  7. Star Wars wouldn’t have any fans if it weren’t for George Lucas. That doesn’t mean I want to see him direct any more Sar Wars movies.

  8. Kojima IS Metal Gear. Comparing something with the scope of Star Wars to MGS is kind of silly, considering how much Kojima is involved in the project.

    Also, I think these blog posts discredit how amazing MGS as a series is. Those that think MGS4 is silly have been saying that since MGS1, it’s no less ridiculous than any other entry in the series. Add in the culture barrier from Japan to America, and you have to expect some things that don’t appeal to our tastes. But the series is quality and has a truly engaging story.

  9. Ah, that’s right. I forgot that Kojima single-handedly created every moment of the Metal Gear games. He really is godlike, isn’t he?

  10. Moreso than George Lucas, and to a large degree, he did create the franchise. That’s just the nature of games vs films. From the goofy trailers to the cutscenes, everything is distinctly Kojima.

  11. Tomm – look at my comments about Splinter Cell, and apply them to MGO.

    Hero – I agree that MGS, as a series, is very good. There’s a reason I go by “Calorie Mate” when I’m not writing blog posts, after all. But even I can see that MGS4 had a lot of problems. It did not, in fact, have much of an “engaging” story”. I’ll agree al ot of it is “disctinctly Kojima” but that’s kind of the problem: I celebrated when MGS3 had someone else assisting Kojima with writing detail, and the pacing problems in MGS4 feel all too familiar.

  12. …Kojima had the same amount of assistance on MGS4 as MGS3 (if not more). What are you talking about?

  13. That’s just the thing, though…is part 4 any worse than the first five games? You know exactly what type of experience MGS is going to provide, but the ride is unique every time.

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