Just as stealth games aren’t for everyone, the relatively sedate pace of cinematic gaming may seem unappealing to many. If you prefer fast-paced action games that keep you on your toes, chances are you’ve not liked the Metal Gear Solid series and probably never will. For those of you who crave a gripping storyline – delivered through equal portions of cinematic cutscenes and mind-numbingly good action – Metal Gear Solid 4 will blow your mind, stick it back together, and blow it all over again!
Following the path it set for itself two decades ago, MGS4 outdoes every other Metal Gear game by leaps and bounds, in almost every aspect. The production values of the cutscenes as well as the gameplay surpasses any other game before it, and the amount of pain taken to polish and iron out every little aspect really shines through in delivering a close to flawless experience. The game boasts of the most stunning visuals you’ll see on any platform, while keeping the framerate stable as a rock.
Perhaps my only complaint is that the gameplay becomes relatively less stealth-oriented as the storyline progresses. While the option to go all guns blazing has always been open to you in previous Metal Gear games, it was always easier and more rewarding if you played them tactfully and stealthily. This time around, you can actually blaze through by putting a bullet through every enemy you would normally sneak past. This is a huge disappointment – the game has one of the most evolved stealth mechanics, but since it doesn’t compel or reward you for using it, it fails to utilize the most powerful tool in its arsenal.
You could argue that you can be stealthy if you wish to, but since the game’s got such a huge arsenal of weapons, an abundant supply of ammunition, and so many enemies just waiting to be massacred without consequence, sneaking around becomes nothing more than a time-consuming way to get things done. Even if you wish to traverse that path, sneaking is only an option in the first few missions; the deeper into the game you go, the more of a mainstream action game it becomes.
While there’s no doubt that the action is quite possibly the best you could have hoped for, the fact that the emphasis is more on streamlined action rather than the series’ main area of focus (stealth, which appeals to a relatively niche audience) brings on the lingering feeling that the franchise has become a bit of a sell-out.
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