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Old Snakes Die Hard!: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 

Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else!Generally, this time of year when kids are out of school, people are taking trips and enjoying

click to enlarge Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else: Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else!
  • Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else: Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else!
Don't mess with Snake's eye patch - or else!Generally, this time of year when kids are out of school, people are taking trips and enjoying the summer weather while video games take a back seat. But with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, those same kids may become firmly planted back in front of the TV. Metal Gear makes a gamer's heart jump and is synonymous with stealth action and cinematic storytelling. But with this latest installment, can the game support the weight of a reputation as one of the greatest narratives in gaming history? MGS4 is perhaps the first PlayStation 3 exclusive title to really get gamers fired up.

While titles like Uncharted Waters and GT Prologue got some attention, they didn't have nearly the impact of this baby. MGS4 takes place in 2014, half a decade after the "big shell incident" of Metal Gear Solid 2. It starts off in the Middle East with relatively lengthy cinematics mixed with brief moments of game play. These set the scene and give you an idea of the basic controls for crawling and moving to objectives. You will spend the next 20-odd hours chasing down Liquid Snake and dispensing of several bosses. Apart from the character-related plot, the story in MGS4 focuses on the proliferation of Private Military Companies and the rapid adoption (and control through) nanotechnology. Snake looks older than the last time you saw him, which seems to mainly play into the storyline and have little effect on game play. Apart from the occasional sore-back animation, Snake is as agile as he's ever been.

As you follow the story - which will answer most of the questions raised in the previous games - MGS4 will throw quite a few plot twists at you in addition to bringing back a number of key figures from the past. For fans of the series, MGS4 represents almost a love letter from the series to its admirers. While the previous MGS games were fragmented and seldom mentioned the supporting cast (or gave them an appearance) MGS4 sees the return of many, many characters and includes several audio flashbacks when you come across certain areas. During cut scenes, pressing X when prompted will usually cause a brief flash of an image from a previous game, all of them related to what's happening.

Game play wise, MGS4 plays like a streamlined MGS3, the major and most gracious difference between the two being that you don't have to browse a menu to find the best camouflage. Also included in MGS4 is an online feature (which was used in part on MSG3 and PlayStation Portable) called Metal Gear Online. It allows for as many as 16 players to play in different combat scenarios and now uses a new team system called SOKKU that helps players communicate better with each other. This game is well made and for many Metal Gear fans, this is the best way to send Snake off into the sunset.

Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots★★★★✩
Rated- M for Mature. Publisher- Konami. Platform- PlayStation 3
Retail- $59.99


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