We didn’t always hate Metal Gear, but at some point during the final cinema for MGS2 I got the impression that Hideo Kojima hated us. Since then, I think we’ve simply been happy to return the favor. The only games I’ve enjoyed since then were the two entries in the Ac!d series, and that’s because they were completely unlike Metal Gear.
Metal Gear Solid 4 is at least as much an event as it is a game, though: iterations of the series mark the passage of time in a console generation. They’re incredibly elaborate, even hardware defining experiences. There’s really nothing to compare them to in terms of their cinematography except for, well, movies. Once the disc begins to spin, a succession of interactive vignettes and entire films begin to spool off of it. Oh, and product placements. I can’t wait for somebody to pipe up on how postmodern that is, and not a mercenary act, but I’m sure that’s the angle: the developers themselves are mercenaries. This is why shit be so authentic.
We combed through a few gameplay videos yesterday morning, and the level of excitement felt was commensurate with peeling corn husks. There’s probably a listserv for people who do find that exciting, but I’m not a subscriber. It was slow, the action looked clunky as ever, and Otacon is in it. We were scourged by the experience. We really need to get with the program - I heard it got a “ten.” Perhaps psychology has the answer.
Most reviews I have read can be simmered down to “If you like Metal Gear, you’ll like it” which can also be stated “If you like Metal Gear, then you like Metal Gear,” a tautology I had well in hand prior to choking down these penetrating insights.
I sometimes wonder why I buy every MGS game that comes out when I profess to hate them, and also authentically do hate them, but I know the answer. It is because I actively want to be wrong. I want to see the game people keep talking about. I want to be forced by its exacting auteur to apologize for everything I’ve ever written. I’m ready to have my ego obliterated and to truly learn something about the nature of liberty. And, like most Playstation owners, I’m hungry to use the machine for something other than Planet Earth.