Conspiracies ……Conspiracies everywhere!
I finished Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of liberty in two days of hard core relaxing while on holiday and I’m here to tell you whether I enjoyed it after its port over to the vita as a HD remake as part of the MGS HD collection. What did I think after trying the controls on something other than a duel shock? How does the smaller screen fill the role and allow often huge set pieces to come across to the player? How does it feel to have to wait seemingly forever for a cut scene to finish while on a plane soon coming in to land at your destination?
I thought it was brilliant fun but it is not perfect and the manner in which I played the game may be something to do with it. The Vita is a brilliant piece of kit, but mobile gaming is a delicate balance between engrossing story and small bursts of game play. Some games just go for small bursts of game play, Wipeout and Urban Trials for instance. You cant go some games use both, Gravity rush so far seems to be a great middle ground. The MGS series is dense with story and complex ideas explained in very long cut scenes that you really have to watch and pay attention to. It also has challenging and varied game play as well but these are not short bursts that you can pick up and be done with in three minutes. They need a lot of time and if you’re using a Vita you don’t always have that. The best example of that was when I completed the game with about an hour left of my flight. I thought I would have plenty of time to watch the final cut scenes before I was forced to turn all of my electronics off. I didn’t want to skip any of it as I really enjoyed the story however as the attendants were making their way through the plane obviously getting ready to land. Then the credits start to roll…..and roll……and roll. I can’t just turn off the game unless I don’t get the achievement. Thankfully it finished just as the announcement comes over the plane to turn everything off and I was ale to breath a sigh of relief as my gold trophy popped.
The controls don’t feel quite right on sons of liberty either. Pushing yourself up against a wall should feel natural but a lot of times I would run off of the wall into the eye sight of an enemy which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen in Metal gear. Other than that issue which you can get used to everything works. The touch screen controls are well thought out and actually work better than the old system.
The presentation as I’ve mentioned before is excellent. The graphics are smooth and the Vita handles them well. Certain scenes with more explosions bring some slow down but that happens once in a blue moon.
The story is really the interesting part of MGS2. The theory of governments being run by a small group of unelected men is not an original one. It isn’t far fetched at all and on a second play through it actually makes a lot of sense. There are a couple of plot holes but high concept stories like this will always have that.
The best part of the game in my opinion is when it all starts to unravel. The 4th wall is completely torn down at this stage and you are put in some positions where you really don’t know how to proceed. This part of the game is a joy and will be the bit I remember for a very long time.
The influence of this game and other MGS games are still being seen in how the play and how they present. I think the Scarecrow portion of Arkham Asylum would look very differently has MGS not come along before it. If you are a fan of the Batman games then you should give the MGS HD collection a try, just to see where ideas may have come from when it was being put together.
All in all I couldn’t put the game down for two days. I loved it 10 years ago when I played it and I love it now. Plus this time it looks and sounds much prettier. The boss fights are interesting, fun and are among the best examples of boss fights in modern games. The game also adds the option to subdue your enemy with tranquilizers instead of use deadly force although this does up the difficulty but gives you something different to go for should you want to play through multiple times. I say this a lot with PS+ games, but you should just download it and try it anyway as it’s free on the Vita. If you don’t have PS+ and don’t have an hour at a time to play your games then the extended cut scenes will annoy you and you may end up missing a huge amount of detail. Really, that’s the only time when you shouldn’t play this game. Everyone else should pick it up and see just how good video game stories can and should be. Be prepared for conspiracies and then be prepared to see your main character run around naked for 15 minutes.
On to the Bioshocks next. I’m so very excited and considering I’ve 100% the first game you’ll guess how much I’ve played it. XBL, PSN and Twitter @Urbundave