Metal Gear Solid 4 Updated Impressions

Director Kojima shows off 40 minutes of new gameplay and more at MGS4's press conference.

by

TOKYO--With Metal Gear Solid 4's launch just a month away, Konami held a press conference in Japan to celebrate the game's completion. Half of the conference was about speeches and launch promotions, but with the event taking place in a cineplex, we also got to see a lot of game action on the big screen.

To make the cinema experience as real as possible, the press conference started off with a "No Smoking" MGS ad, followed by a few CGI-rendered commercials that were actually fake ads based on the Metal Gear Solid 4 world. It was an interesting way to start off the event because the ads were all supposed to be from the in-game Private Military Companies (PMCs), which subtly hints that they're a major power in the MGS4 world, even outside of the war zone.

Following the ads, the conference started off with MGS4's opening scene in the Middle East, which can be seen at MGS4's new official site together with the aforementioned ads. In the opening, Snake is seen riding on the back of a truck that's heading toward a war zone, and he's disguised in a robe to look just like the other civilian soldiers riding with him. He goes on a monologue about how the war is no longer about nations, ideologies, or ethnicities. It's become an endless series of proxy battles by hired mercenaries and machines, and the consumption of life has become a practical business in the world.

As Snake continues to talk about how the soldiers are completely controlled with nanomachines and ID-tagged weapons, he reaches the war zone and gets off the truck. He finds himself in crossfire as soon as he gets off, as the other soldiers around him are quickly picked off by well-equipped PMC mercenaries. Much to his misfortune, he finds that his gun is totally jammed before he even gets to make a shot, leaving him completely empty-handed. The game switched from the opening scene to gameplay at this point, which was impressively seamless and almost unnoticeable, had it not been for the life bar and other interfaces appearing on the screen.

This time around, Snake actually starts off with a weapon. Unfortunately for him, it totally jams up.
Thereafter, the game seemed to function as a tutorial. As the unarmed Snake sneaks around the war zone to avoid confrontation, he finds a gun on the ground used by one of the civilian soldiers. As Snake picks up the gun, we heard the familiar voice of Otakon, telling Snake how to press the start button to open the game's menu and equip the weapon. Unlike weapons carried by the PMCs, the civilians' primitive arsenals aren't ID-tagged, so Snake can just pick them up and use them without problems.

As Snake moved forward, an elephant-like cry echoed through the sky, silencing the soldiers as they stopped shooting to figure out what was going on. After a few moments of dead silence, a hoard of Gekko units jumped from a far distance and suddenly landed in front of the soldiers, quickly killing them one by one. With Otakon telling Snake not to confront the killing machines, Snake evacuates into one of the buildings shown numerous times in previous game demos and trailers. There, he finds a cardboard box on the second floor, placed too obviously on the middle of the floor (the box ironically says "No place to hide" on one side, and "No place for Hideo" on the other). As Snake goes into hiding, two Gekkos reach the floor, search around, and decide to smash the box, causing red liquid to splatter all over the place. Fortunately, it turns out to be a bunch of watermelons rather than a mashed Snake. After the Gekkos go away, Snake powers off his camouflage and appears from the side of the room. The camera zooms in on Snake's face, Metal Gear Solid 4's logo appears onscreen, and the opening sequence ends there.

After a few words from Konami Digital Entertainment's president and director, Hideo Kojima, a fresh movie-like trailer was shown off, done completely in Hollywood style and narrated by a Don LaFontaine-like voice. The trailer featured new scenes such as Snake confronting Liquid Ocelot (and getting beaten up), a Metal Gear Ray jumping out of the water, and Snake mysteriously turning young. The trailer is viewable at MGS4's official site.

After the trailer, Kojima showed some live MGS4 gameplay and unveiled new information. The demonstration ran for about 40 minutes with an experienced staff playing the game, and Kojima mentioned that they're showing off only about one-fifteenth of the whole game.

Metal Gear?!

First and foremost, Kojima revealed that, unlike any of the previous installments in the series, MGS4 will be chapter-based. Each chapter starts off with a scene in which the small, young heroine Sunny is frying eggs in her room. According to Kojima, the eggs allude to what will happen in each of the chapters, in the way that they're cracked or the way that they're fried.

Kojima showed off the first chapter, Act 1: Liquid Sun. The game started off in the same familiar area from the previous demos. Kojima explained the new changes to the game, such as the threat ring, which replaces the enemy location on the map from previous installments.

In MGS4, the area map can be displayed by pausing the game, though it doesn't show enemies. The map is rendered in 3D so it can be zoomed and rotated, giving you a more accurate judgment on the best course to take to reach a destination. Height seems to be a vital factor in MGS4, given that you can make use of building structures to evade enemy encounters.

As the game progressed, we saw the war zone changing; a vehicle sent in more PMC mercenaries, making situations worse for the civilian soldiers. It's up to you to decide whether to help the soldiers or stay neutral. For the sake of showing off to the press, Kojima decided to help them out and took out a few PMC mercenaries. He took one out by close-quarters combat and showed that your enemies can be hidden in lockers, just like in previous MGS games. He also showed that Snake could give items to the civilian soldiers and get stuff back in return. The game was played in hard mode, in which the enemies patrol in a team of two and wake up faster after they're stunned. Consequently, Kojima and his staff played carefully so as not to make any major mistakes while playing in front of the press. Kojima also took the opportunity to once again show that Snake can blend into the environment using his suit's Octo-cam capabilities. Once he blends, the pattern can be recorded for future use, which is great for gamers who like to keep a collection.

It's also worth mentioning that Kojima's team put in quite an effort to give details and a realistic feel to MGS4's world. A microphone speaker rang out in the middle of the war zone, broadcasting a PMC propaganda announcement. We were also shown the area with the statues where Snake can blend in by use of his Octo-cam. As a small Easter egg, Kojima showed that parts of the statue would eventually fall off if Snake keeps camouflaging and touching them.

As Snake went into a building, we once again saw the demo scene in which he meets up with Otakon's Metal Gear MKII for the first time. There, a small mech supplies him with some additional hardware to survive in the fierce battlefront: the Solid Eye, a gun called the Operator, and a tranquilizer gun. The Solid Eye has multiple functions and modes. It can be used to detect human emotion, detect enemy type, find items on the screen, uncover footsteps, as a telescope, and as a night goggle.

From here on, the Metal Gear MKII can also be controlled by the player. MKII is equipped with stealth camouflage, making it perfect for use in surveillance. It doesn't have any weapons, but it can stun enemies with electrocution wire.

During the dialogue scene, the screen suddenly buzzed like a broken TV when "Metal Gear" was mentioned by Otakon. Although we didn't get to see what it does, Kojima revealed that there's a flashback button that appears when something or someone from the past is mentioned during dialogue scenes. When the button is pressed, you get to see a glimpse of the past that's related to the subject.

After the scene ended, Kojima opened up the menu screen, which has a set of menus on the left side (Code, Weapons, Items, Camouflage, Drebin's Shop, Save), and the area map on the right. In particular, Kojima mentioned the new feature called the Sunny Camera. There's something that looks like a live webcam at the left bottom of the menu screen, and it shows what Sunny is doing in her room, 24 hours of the day.

Going back into the battlefield, Kojima showed that the civilian soldiers have a hideout in one of the houses, which looked pretty vacant and badly funded, with some wounded soldiers lying on the ground. We could hear dialogues between some of the soldiers, and they didn't attack Snake because he's an ally. According to Kojima, Snake can also move around in the hideout wearing the civilian-soldier robe that he starts off the game with, in which case the soldiers won't notice him even if he's made enemies with them.

Walking around a bit more in the hideout, Kojima picked up a Regain energy drink, which is a real-life product in Japan. It looks pretty yellow and gives a nice energy boost to Snake, kind of similar to the Calorie Mate snacks that were in MGS3.

Konami has collaborated with a number of companies, including Apple, to feature their products in MGS4.

What was more surprising was when Snake picked up an iPod music item in the hideout. In MGS4, Snake carries around an iPod player, and he can listen to music whenever he finds a new track in the game. The tracks can be run as background music while playing the game, and what's more, when the game is paused to the menu screen, you can see Sunny dancing to the tune on the Sunny Camera.

It turns out that Konami is doing a bunch of collaborations with multiple companies in MGS4, including Triumph Motorcycles, Sony Ericsson, and Ubisoft. Triumph already collaborated with Konami on MGS3 (Eva rode one of their bikes), and it's going to happen once again. Sony Ericsson's phone is used by Vamp and Naomi during the game. Later during the conference, we were shown an impressive scene in which Vamp just wouldn't let go and stop talking on his phone, even though Snake shoots him in the middle of his forehead. Considering Ubisoft, the Assassin's Creed Altair-style robe that Snake wore in an April Fools MGS4 video on YouTube will actually be an unlockable feature.

Taking the stairs and walking up the hideout, we saw the scene in which Snake meets up with a hairless, gray monkey and the mysterious arms dealer named Drebin, who sells PMC weapons that have been ID-tag unlocked. We were shown an extended dialogue scene in which Drebin reveals that there are weapon launderers all over the world. "Drebin" is a generic name used by all of them, with him being the 893rd Drebin.

The scene continues as Drebin gives a complimentary gun to Snake in token of his new acquaintanceship. After checking to see that there's nothing suspicious with it, Snake pulls the trigger and finds out that it doesn't work. Puzzled, Drebin realizes the possibility that Snake might have an old-generation nanomachine inside his body, which can sometimes clash with even unlocked ID-tagged weapon systems. Snake, suspicious of how Drebin could have such knowledge, questions who he really is. Instead of keeping himself secret, Drebin reveals that his main job is as an employee for Arms Tech Security, which gives him access to ID-tag chips before they get registered. He also mentions that Arms Tech has two faces, just like how Snake isn't officially a soldier in the battlefield, though he's not a civilian either.

After the scene, Kojima went back to the battlefront and used his newly acquired weapon to shoot down a few PMC mercenaries. He also showed how weapons could be customized or newly purchased through the Drebin Shop option from the menu screen. For instance, you can add on a laser sight or a suppressor to a gun, or purchase a sniper rifle if an enemy's too far away. Customization and purchases are all done with Drebin Points, which can be acquired by picking up equipment and weapons in battle. On some days, the Drebin Shop has discounts.

You can purchase new weapons or modify existing ones through the Drebin Shop.

Kojima showed off a few weapons that can be purchased from Drebin's Shop, including a M60E4 machine gun. There was also an XM25 airburst grenade launcher, which lets you adjust the distance of travel before the explosion for an accurate hit to the target.

In the closing of his presentation, Kojima showed off what he called the "ultimate weapon" that is available in Drebin's Shop. For a whopping one million Drebin Points, which should take about three to four loops through the game to accumulate, you can buy a classic Japanese Tanegashima muzzle-loaded firearm. The weapon seemed to be the most impractical firearm in this day and age, with Snake having to painstakingly push a ramrod into the gun's barrel for each reload. However, Kojima showed that, every once in a while, the gun would cause a massive typhoon, annihilating everyone in sight and making items drop all over the screen like rainfall.

After the end of the live gameplay demonstration, Kojima talked briefly about plans for a "Metal Gear Solid 4 World Tour," during which he and his staff will travel around the world to meet up with fans of the series. The tour locations include London; Madrid, Spain; Milan, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris; New York; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

One of the surprises at the press conference came at the very end. As the lights dimmed out for the event to end, a one-way dialogue very similar to the endings in the MGS games took place, hinting at some sort of worldwide live event and a sequel, though it was too vague to make any assumptions.

"Yes, the presentation event has ended. Everything is according to plan."

"We will proceed to the final steps of the mission. The surprise that's planned on launch date, should it be executed?

"Yes. Akihabara, New York, LA...worldwide live broadcast. Yes, there are no problems. The VIP has agreed to come. Yes, that's correct. That person. Understood. June 12."

"And what should we do about that project? Yes, that's right. That man has shattered, but...about the sequel. Yes. Yes... I see. That's understood, Mr. Company President."

Discussion

543 comments
GM-Lucra
GM-Lucra

This game is one of the main reasons I got a PS3. MGS 3 was the one that got me hooked and I just had to play the others to know the whole story and now MGS 4 is just so close its driving me crazy. This is hands down one of the greatest game series ever made.

InqVaga
InqVaga

well I love how you talk about Price and the bring up high end PC lol, because clearly if i cant spend 499 of PS3 ill sure to spend 1000 on a PC box, and thats not even high end. Also yea Im with on that there are not too many games on the PS3 but making it 499 with MG4 is stupid good, if anyone was even thinking of getting a PS3 this is the time to do it. Also Sony always takes a while to get the programmers used to there system. Me personally hate MS or I dont like the 360. Mainly beacuse when u are putting soo much money into ads and media where you can make a game like halo seem good ( yea i know im gona get attacked !!) yea there is something wrong. MG4 is gona put PS3 back into the game. And i think really strong because really this game alonly is worth 500 dollars. Just like i can say Halo does have some very good things about it, the MG series shows how you can make someones vision and put it into a video game and do things that people will not expect. I dont think ill eat these words when i say PS3 is back in the game, after this prise drop i think it will be worth it for Sony. Bbut really Time will tell.

ACES_of_CRIME
ACES_of_CRIME

I played the first MGS a looong time ago. Since MGS4 is japanese they obviously made it a ps3 only cuz of business reasons (you people with a sense of how the world works know what Im talking about so I aint gonna explain anything). I not so sure about the ps3's success though cuz it contains really expensive components like blu-ray, 8 processors etc... I dont think they will lower the price much more in the future, just a bit. And I dont really get why you ps3 owners are getting all coc*y cuz you only just having MGS4, killzone and a few more exclusives whilst the biggest next-gen titles have been on the 360 so far. You guys are right that the ps3 is a better console but the differences are minimal and the price is not, besides, if you want the best quality available you should aim for a high end PC.

miasma_ollie
miasma_ollie

Possibly the only reason to buy a ps3 which is a shame the console has so much potential but lacks a brilliant libary of games however im hopefull and look forward to the future .please fan boys give it a rest your absoloutley pathetic lets just all get along and enjoy the games because at the end of the day thats what its all about.

kos1085
kos1085

Just a few more days to wait!!!!

Imagine09
Imagine09

athis game will be the first of many great exclusives coming to the PS3 in the next year. Another reason to buy a PS3

simdx
simdx

YAY! my ps3 just got bricked. it will take a long time for sony (asia) to fix it considering how long they took to fix my lens the last time ( 2 months). now all i can enjoy is the box art, which is cool btw

Dan2002sk8er
Dan2002sk8er

I preparing for this I just beat MGS again and now working on 2. Hopefully I can beat 2 and 3 before 4 comes out.

go-cizmek
go-cizmek

for this game I might even buy a PS3.

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

I am really wandering why xbox fans want mgs 4 on the xbox (by making it not exclusive for ps 3...)- sony fans don't, for example halo 3 ... on the ps 3 ...- this reaction from the xboxers ses that they "like" mgs 4... The sony fans don't want to play halo on the ps 3 ... - why ? you all know it ...(it ****) - my first impression of halo 3 was that i thaught that it was 3+ bekos of the colors in the game ... ( pink ,orange ... evin jellow (for a marine this is very deadly ...)),so i thaught a litle bit more and had an idea that bungie coloborated with the makers of the telletubbys ... This is defently not in mgs ... so xbox fan boys and girls - dont say that mgs suck - kos it doesn't - you have proved it and serenderd! - dont make an xbox fan assault on this coments!! like you did before ...and don't evin think about playing mgs with that derty white stick of yours >( "Don't all xbox games s*ck : doa is very fun and ninja gaiden is just incredible ,and i think evin that halo 1 is much bether then the 3th sequel....So i am radical at some points by comparing ps 3 and the xbox PS:Evin the wii colors are weaker then halo resolutions i realy don't know how they made it like that Mabe someone can tell me

usmanthegreat
usmanthegreat

i have to buy a ps3 to play this game. i m not ready to buy such an expensive console with a tiny game library. no exclusive has got 9.5 on gs. f*** kojima for not bringing it to 360 and for wasting my money to play this ultimate game of the century

Solid-Eye
Solid-Eye

best series! &*%^&*(%^& i wanna play! i still havent got a ps3 yet! ^&^@#*$)@^

jhang
jhang

Legendary series. Can't wait ... ... !! Tribute to the team's insistence in delivering goodies.

ps3freako
ps3freako

the series of metal gear was awesome since the start in ps1. so this game would include everything and have a variety of view modes in actual gameplay and i dont know how we can compare this game to gta4, itsjust not comparable

wumpscutnut
wumpscutnut

Lol, how could you compare this game to GTA 4? They are completely different, and this one will be 10 times better.

akiwak
akiwak

To The_Bully16 I guess evryone is intitled to their own OPINION. Yours just happens to suck! They are 2 different types of games! Go back to the 360 forums with your fanboyism....

dysonlu
dysonlu

Looks like this game is a production masterpiece. It's just unfortunate that nowadays the masses won't care to understand and appreciate such games with depth, much like the masses go for the Big Mac instead of fine cuisine. Like Kojima said, casual gaming seems to be the norm now. People play easy to pick up and easy to let go shoot shoot shoot, bang bang bang with little story and zero character development games; they don't want to play hard and lengthy games, like most MGS games are. But for us, die-hard gamers, MGS4 is heaven sent.

vivendidoom
vivendidoom

I really do not think many people can comprehend just how much information will be put on to the blu ray discs for the ps3 mgs4. this just may be the first game to have this much information and may just boost playstation 3's sales and emotion a little higher to where they want to be at. for now the ps3 is doing so so. but this may just be a famous system for about 3 months and sales may sky rocket for sony in that time period compared to all the other crap that the console has right now.

The_Bully16
The_Bully16

This game will be good but, not better than Gta 4

howardorr
howardorr

Oh yes. Roll on 12th June...

gamerkiduri
gamerkiduri

i hve a 360 but im sellin it and getting a ps3 for this games

Ryan22sp
Ryan22sp

Every couple of years theres a product that comes out and changes the way we think about Electronic Media forever. Mario, Sega Genisis, DvD, Final Fantasy, iPod, Side Kick. FaceBook. June 12, Its Happening again. There is no more Console War.

marco245
marco245

I know of 2 magazines that reviewed this game: 9.6/10 10/10 Guys, this is equal with those of GTAIV, the main contender (right now) for GOTY... Giggity.

JPaulC
JPaulC

woow metal gear l can`t with o man fak xbox l am going to trowt out of my wondow fak you xbox l always now that ps3 is better

henry4th
henry4th

This game's SP mode is 30 hours long! Wow!

DeadlyOnez
DeadlyOnez

I can't wait to see Big Boss that all iI know

MeckaLecka
MeckaLecka

This game will be worth saving vacation time for. :)

akiwak
akiwak

I can't believe that there are people already playing this game. The people that do the Reviews are so lucky I wish i had such a job.

xzx
xzx

un fourtunatley this is the last MGS mgs 3 was ment to be the last one but hideo was thretend and forced (and payd dont forget) but he was forced to make MGS4 but still I CANT WAIT

ADJ209
ADJ209

Anyone else notice that Raiden might be using Solidus' swords and he is using the same muscle technology as solidus' suit in MGS2

banana5
banana5

I hope that they would more snake and less raiden. Mabe some raiden in the middle of the game then switch back to snake. There really shouldn't be any raiden at all. This is more like snakes game. Any way looks like a perfect 10 video game banna3 add me

cell_100
cell_100

i reli cnt wait for this game once i sell my 360 parts i should be able to get it ===== BEST GAME SERIES EVER !!!!! :P

siknog
siknog

finally the best game of all time is coming out. can you imagine i have gta4 and dont even play it, i beat it already but never touched it since, im just waiting for mgs4 i have played every single one of them, from acid to portable ops, from mgs to mgs3. i am really hoping this is not the last metal gear cause thats really sad.

ADJ209
ADJ209

No-one said hes taking the role of gray fox He taking the role of the cyborg ninja >>

ValtielSuccubus
ValtielSuccubus

Raiden taking the role of Gray Fox will no doubt be an offense to some, I was a little bit disappointed hearing of this a year back...Yet having Raiden in MGS4 seems necessary. He did stand by Solid Snake in SOL, and MGS4 is set only seven years later, I believe. I think it will be rather swell, The cinematic twists can only be even more wicked with a blade. Is it confirmed that Raiden will be a playable character...? I recall hearing that a year ago...sounds good to me., an interesting blend. I only hope Raiden has toughened up a bit...the little fruit XD

scorpiontilters
scorpiontilters

This game is going to win game of the year and MGO is awsome i can't wait to play the finished product cause the beta was also awsome. I also can't wait to see how they answer all the questions that people have and see how they end the game is snake going to kill himself or is foxdie going to do it.

Meko_Gear_Solid
Meko_Gear_Solid

hmm omfg huh about the sequel Mr. Company President!?!?!? holly crap lol what could be going on here :O

JMAN320
JMAN320

One more reason why EVERYONE should buy a PS3!

360nly
360nly

This Game Kicks HALO3 Tree Times Not 20 Times my Brother got ps3 but not have money to the game I go to buy it because the last mgs online was amazing 8vs8 this one is 16vs16?? idk but i don't want to miss this one anyway

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

the time has finally arrived. Bow all unbelievers of the playstation 3. the release of the greatest finale to 1 of the greatest sagas in gaming history is at hand. let it be known that MGS 4 can beat the stuffing out of watever competition is thrown its way. be it the juggernaut known as GTA IV or be it the mind blowing limb shredding undisputed best action game of all time NINJA GAIDEN 2. (note: me is huge fans of all 3 games mentioned . i just think that MGS is this years greatest high light especially since its snakes end. just like halo 3 cant believe its finally coming to an end)

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

MGS4 is shaping up to be one awesome game. It may well be the Game of the Year. What a going away party for Snake and the Solid Gear series.

Craigy--IRE
Craigy--IRE

Im finding it difficult not to read this article, or watch the video.. I want it to be a suprise..

Death-X-
Death-X-

I love Metal Gear Solid series, and I can't wait until I put my hands on this game.