Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots (June 12, 2008)
I never swore at a game as often I as did with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. All the swearing was positive, though; every time there was a callback to a previous Metal Gear game, I couldn't help but react with an ear-to-ear grin, an expletive, a fist pump, or some combination of the three. My eyes grew when I saw the Hind-D wreckage, a callback to the first Metal Gear Solid that was all the more poignant since you never saw the ship crash in the original game.
The worst and best thing about MGS4 is how it cannot be appreciated on its own. Its variety of finely tuned combat mechanics and its dark theme on the proliferation of paramilitary companies are overshadowed by the abundance of exposition to serve and please its long-term fans. To a newcomer who has no context, hearing Big Mama utter, "That's my boy!" to Old Snake sounds like simple encouragement. To a fan, that line is loaded with 50 years' worth of lore, suddenly connecting two characters who never appeared in a game together prior to MGS4. I get a lump in my throat every time I hear it.
MGS4 also exists to tie every major loose end Hideo Kojima unleashed since the original Metal Gear. Resolutions ranged from forced to graceful to inexplicable and many of us fans ate it up, even if we blamed plot issues on nanomachines. In a market where franchises like Halo and Gears of War can potentially outlive its fanfare and leave unresolved narrative threads, it was unreal how many storylines MGS4 resolved. Metal Gear Solid 4 is fan service in its purest form, the likes of which we might never see again. -- Miguel Concepcion