Saturday, November 25, 2000

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence | 10

When the prologue to the game took me almost 2 hours to get through, I knew I had something special. After the explosive opening to the game, the beginning credits roll with a song entitled Snake Eater. I was surprised, thinking I had already started the game proper. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I think Kojima did an excellent job of creating a 60s style Metal Gear game. He mirrored the game off of James Bond, taking the beginning area, then a cool segue into the main action, including a song that has meaning to the game. The opening theme also carries into the mission and is played at several key points. Very effective.

Also in keeping with a James Bond type influence, there's the female love interest, who has a habit of exposing her bra. I found myself chuckling and thinking fondly of James Bond movies at many points in the game. I think what Kojima has done so well is construct a game that truly has a cinematic flair. Yes there are cut scenes that are long but, in comparison to MGS2, they are short and have a TON of gameplay in between. I never once found myself sitting through a boring codec call or boring cutscene wanting the action. There was enough spliced through.

In fact, toward the end, the game raises the bar on cinematic excellence, incorporating you directly into the action while at the same time making you feel like you're watching a truly awesome scene. I don't want to spoil it for those who play, but the last 1/3 of the game races to a truly exciting climax.

I am completely amazed at how well all of the new gameplay works into the game, from the camo to the food to the healing system. All of it naturally fits and the game does a good job in teaching you the basics with it. I never once felt like it was a gimick.

As far as negatives, sometimes the color scheme was so drab it was hard to see some people who weren't trying to hide. In particular toward the end, almost at the climax. Also, unlike previous MGSs who have bosses nicely spread out, I felt that they all came at once. I didn't feel like I got a chance to really know them like in the first MGS. But, these bosses (the Fear, Fury, Sorrow, Pain, End) are some of the weirdest and cool bosses in MGS games to date.

Some people have commented on the lack of radar. I never found this lack to be a hinderance to the game. In fact it makes perfect sense in the context of the game world. And, the truth is, there is a radar that you can use. You have a motion detector, and a sonic detector that shoots sonic waves and shows you where things are. I say things because you are in a jungle and it's possible that what shows up is an animal not a human. Also, getting caught does result in either killing everybody and hiding, or just hiding forever. In fact, at one point in the game, I hid in a place I couldn't be found and went to the restroom and got something to drink just to wait it out.

However, this minor things aside, this game does what Metal Gear Solid 2 semi-failed in doing. It brings together the cinematic experience with wonderful espionage. The characters are excellent, the story far surpasses the previous two (which is a difficult thing to do since I consider the story in MGS1 to be one of the best I've experienced). And it is just plain exciting. Kojima and his wonderful team know pacing and the pacing of this third masterpiece is wonderful.

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