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TGS hands-on: Metal Gear Solid 4

Imagine yourself, surrounded by hundreds, nay thousands of people, bustling about. A constant murmur rings in the background, as the sounds of endless explosions, gunfire, and bouncy anime music intertwine in a cacophony of disarray. Finally, come to the grasp that you must navigate a complex game in a language which you are completely unfamiliar with. It was under these extraneous circumstances that we've come to play Metal Gear Solid 4 on the Tokyo Game Show floor, having survived the hours-long wait for a brief time with Hideo Kojima's latest.

Simply thrown into the game was a daunting challenge, one that borders on insurmountable. Once again, Snake has an incredible variety of moves at his disposal -- and he must use them in order to survive the challenges at hand. Metal Gear Solid 4 is far from the most intuitive game we've played, and unguided play didn't lead to much success in the battlefield. It's clear that, in spite of its warlike setting, the game remains true to its "tactical espionage" roots. Stealth is highly rewarded, and bravado will usually lead to some trialling battles that undoubtedly end in death. For example, a tank will be able to gun down Old Snake in all but a few seconds: sneaking past the tank, and the troops that support it, is essential for mere survival. Navigating through the environments felt natural, and the context-sensitive icons that appear at the bottom of the screen are certainly a refreshing addition. Snake will be able to walk, crouch and crawl with relative ease, and with the improved camera, navigating the environment has become far easier. The box and barrel, in which Snake can hide, both appear in the TGS demo, and give Snake a few options in remaining hidden in the environment.

But, it's not like Snake will be helpless in the face of combat. Old Snake still has access to his CQC moves, and when faced with enemies one on one, they'll likely face a quick death. The gunplay has been improved, though. The game's over the shoulder mode feels natural, allowing Snake to move and shoot at the same time. The targeting reticule is surprisingly intelligent, indicating when objects and walls get in the course of your shot. Although some may be able to play MGS4 as a quasi-FPS game, the number of enemies will make that a daunting challenge.

While we need a lot more time and familiarization with the game before making any judgment, we can say that the game pays a lot of attention to detail. For what purpose is unclear. For example, in the map, not only will Snake be able to see his location and his goal, but he'll also get temperature and wind information. Extraneous? Or is it a vital part of the gameplay? In addition, we noticed a stress meter at the top left corner, under Snake's energy bar. It rises fairly slowly, but steadily. Once again: what are the consequences of high stress. Certainly, something we're intrigued by.

The feeling of being part of a battlefield is certainly one of Metal Gear Solid 4's greatest strengths. It may look very different from previous titles in the franchise, but it stays true to the overall feel of the series. Enemies will react in a very animated manner, as in previous titles, and humorous modes of play remind the player that this isn't an overly stern discussion on war -- it's a video game, and it's meant to be fun. The presentation seems vastly improved in this new iteration: the menus are clean and sleek, and subtle effects, such as the static that appears in your screen when hit, give the game a nice visual edge.

There's a lot more to be seen of Metal Gear Solid 4. Hopefully, it won't be too long until Kojima Productions provides English language native speakers a chance to play, and maybe even fully understand, the new ideas found in such an ambitious project.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. =) lol gonna be the best game of 08 no doubt

Posted at 9:51AM on Sep 21st 2007 by NastyN8

2. thats it im freezing myself until MGS4. i luv the MGS series if anyone has not played any of yet start off with MGS2 to get the best experience because i personaly think MGS3 had the worst boss battles in the entire series(still had a good story). The story for the MGS series can trump almost any other game out out there, the gameplay was almost perfect from day one. This time around snake gets a couple of new tricks and a redesign in a few game mechanics that will truly improve gameplay. Anything with a good story ill play, the gameplay is just a plus to me.

Posted at 10:09AM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

3. halo aint got nothing on metal gear, master chief or watever his name is and sam fisher or any other video game caracter dont got nothing and i tell you nothing on solid snake.

Posted at 10:16AM on Sep 21st 2007 by Jay

4. Is it that different form MGS3? I mean, do you walk with left stick, bring up your invetories with the L2/R2 shoot with square etc?

Posted at 10:17AM on Sep 21st 2007 by Akamaru

5. wow i was just watching the HD trailer. OMGZ i didnt think they would do it but i think that bastard on the FOX team is Raidens clone. It appears that raiden died too hmmm? where is young snake i've seen him in a trailer before now i cant find him

Posted at 10:27AM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

6. @4

over shoulder shooting, moving while in FP, being able to role on your back then shoot towards your enemy behind you, lobbing grenades while your on your back, making friends on the battle field, looking like statue to fool th AI(although i dont think this will be used that much), being able to blend in anyware from the start, a knife that shocks the crap out of people, hiding in garbage cans, a barrel instead of a box that helps deflect bullets and also be able to use as a weapon, theres probably others i didnt mention or i cant explain as good as watching the ingame trailer. The AI most likely will be improved but you can just as easily put it on hard if you think your such a bad ass.

Posted at 10:37AM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

7. Let me take a few stabs at the questions posed here.

1. Wind and temperature data. What for? Well, we know that if you hide in a dumpster too long, you will stink. If you're upwind from enemies, they will probably smell you and eventually find you. If you're downwind you'll be safe until you don't stink anymore. Nice mechanic.

2. Stress meter. If Old Snake gets too stressed, I imagine he'll fatigue more easily and get shaky when aiming. Smoking a cigarette will probably fix this. However cigarette smoke will probably also follow #1 above, where enemies downwind from you will smell it. Also there's probably a good chance of being spotted smoking in the dark.

Posted at 10:57AM on Sep 21st 2007 by Popfrogs

8. halo MGS all the top tier games are all different. you just cant compare them. impossible. end of fanboy discussion. lol.

with that said, i'm highly looking forward to buying a PS3 next year for playing this game. i'd have bought one this year due to the early MGS4 trailers saying "2007" not "2008". but they needed the extra time i guess...or maybe too many awesome games coming out this fall like Halo 3 and COD 4.

anyway, yeah. MGS4. a definite justification for a PS3 purchase.

Posted at 11:10AM on Sep 21st 2007 by ryano

9. @4

So... what games do you play? Seeing as how you're attempting to knock MGS... must be some pretty good games you play... that or only reason you're knocking Kojima is because haven't played MGS2. If you can, think about the games that were out when MGS came out... then play that game... enjoy

@ The News:

Suhweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.. lucky joystiq bastards playing ma games!.. and I take it you only got to play with snake! I want the fucking demo! I swear that looks like a $70 worthwile purchase right there... if it lasts more than 12 hours that is...

As for the MGS4 the game?... time to restart my PS3 fund.

The Personal Computer has "World of Warcraft" and alternate market forced exclusives: Counter Strike and Command & Conquer.

The Xbox 360 has Gears Of War. It also has Dead Rising for current exclusive top sellers. (Halo 3 earns honourable mention for its release next week).

The Wii currently has "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" and of Course "Wii Sports". Honourable mention games: "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" turning into a top seller and "Super Smash Brothers: Brawl", the most anticipated game on the top selling next gen Console.

The PlayStation 3 has "Resistance: Fall Of Man" and "MotorStorm". Theres an Honourable mention for "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" as its the most anticipated game for the PS3. "Final Fantasy XIII" is also mentioned due to its lasting (secondary) anticipation.

Is there any room in that cryo-pod of yours #2(MyPS3KilledMy360)?

Posted at 1:22PM on Sep 21st 2007 by Ty

10. I'm excited for MGS. Anyone who has anything bad to say about this game I question their taste in games and objectivity. If you dont get excited over this then what excites you.
On a lighter note, my game store just called me and told me I can come pick up my Halo 3 today after 3pm. BEST NEWS I HEARD ALL WEEK!!! Unfortunately my Heavenly Sword should be delivered from amazon today or tomorrow... Gee I wonder which game i'll be playing this weekend?(sarcasm) Fortunately I hear Heavenly Sword is pretty short so maybe I can knock that out of the way at some point. My dumb ass already took the 25th and 26 off from work, oh well at least now I hae 2 good games to keep me busy till the 9th when Orange Box and Folklore come out. This is gonna be a fun few months...


Posted at 1:46PM on Sep 21st 2007 by TheSh0wstopper

11. @9 sadly no...ROFL :P i dont think that guy was trying to diss the MGS series i think he honestly doesnt know. MGS4 covers everything when it comes to games Story/graphics/gameplay/art style/theme. If you dont like this game its ok i dont expect everyone to, but its pretty damn hard not to pick something out of the series you like. Not to mention the BOSS fights are usually EPIC and have you wanting for more(accept for MGS3 all i wanted to do was kill the bastards and move on as special that one guy sorrow. who had you walk through that river of death, sorry but the first time i play a game i ran through and killed everything in sight, i was getting bored and the first part of the game took forever so i started killing everyone instead of being all spy like.i even took the time to knock the soldiers out and put them in the water to see if they drowned, horrible i know.

@7 i didnt think of that thanks for the help.

wow i typed "anyware" hahahah i really have to calm my self down and spell. "anywhere"

Posted at 2:04PM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

12. "ly" you know where it goes. :(

Posted at 2:09PM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

13. 2008 can't come fast enough.

Posted at 2:10PM on Sep 21st 2007 by ruibing

14. I can't wait till this comes out on the 360!

Posted at 2:43PM on Sep 21st 2007 by Rasta4Eye

15. @14- Rasta4Eve

"I can't wait till this comes out on the 360!"

yea thats gonna be sick. I hear it comes out the same day as Halo for the PS3.

"Its good to own both"

Posted at 2:54PM on Sep 21st 2007 by TheSh0wstopper

16. @5 I keep thinking they'll have to include young Snake, they even specifically call him "Old Snake" on screen which would suggest there is a non-old Snake. I don't think the guy in your screen shot looks like Snake though.

Posted at 4:25PM on Sep 21st 2007 by Deaddy

17. @16 heres i guess a picture from snake eater to compare with.

@14 I guess 360 games are garbage if you just can't wait, right Rasta cause MGS4 is teh coolest game everrrrrrrrr :P

sarcasim" im 18 and even im too old for that crap.

Posted at 8:13PM on Sep 21st 2007 by MYPS3KilledMy360

18. @17 The 'snake' in Snake Eater was Big Boss, not Solid Snake, as seen in MGS1/2, but unless my memory fails, Solid Snake was a clone of Big Boss (like Liquid and Solidus), so it could be quite plausible they call him Old Snake as there are other clones of Snake in the game, you know, ones that aren't so old. It also explains why Solidus is so damn old in MGS2, 'cause the clones age quicker, thus why Solid Snake is so damn old in MGS4. Looks to be awesome though.

Posted at 12:47AM on Sep 22nd 2007 by leighmail

19. that clumsy guy from meryls team is not a raiden clone. it's probably jhonny. sasaki?. Heyyyy.

Posted at 5:59AM on Sep 24th 2007 by bloqmayus

20. @16

In Snake Eater he was called "Naked Snake", but that doesn't mean there has to be a "Clothed Snake". There are always different code names in these games. I don't think there will be a younger snake. Like the trailer says, "The end of the MGS saga." They have to get into our heads that after this, it's over folks. Snake will only be a legend.

Save the MGS movie, that better have Christian Bale star as the one and only Solid Snake. If not I'll be shitty.

Posted at 2:16PM on Sep 24th 2007 by Stephen

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