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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
10
Visuals
10
Audio
10
Gameplay
10
Features
9.5
Replay
9.5
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Konami
DEVELOPER:
Konami Japan
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 13, 2001
ESRB RATING:
Mature
IN THE SERIES
Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Metal Gear Solid

More in this Series
 Written by Chris Reiter  on November 24, 2001

Second View: The reason people skip their daily and active lives...


I've been playing video games for roughly the entire existence I've lived on this here green Earth. And never before have I seen anything as good as what Metal Gear Solid 2 has revealed to my eyes. Konami's been hard at work on the sequel to one of the PlayStation's best, and almost perfect title, Metal Gear Solid. Thus, the greater advancements in the sequel from the further gameplay benefits, to the true to life graphics, and even the new touch of sound methods let the sequel not only surpass the original, but also perfect the action genre itself. While Metal Gear Solid 2 isn't perfect, it's certainly the best possible title anyone can own on the PlayStation 2.

First thing's first. Snake's life is yet again thrust into immediate danger. After the Shadow Moses incident, trouble built up when the blueprints for the defeated robot, Metal Gear REX, wormed its way onto the Internet. With them out in the open, countless duplicates were built thereafter with cruel intentions. To wipeout these massive robot destroyers, a brand new Metal Gear was built. It's name, Metal Gear RAY; a new prototype mech that is capable of mobilizing itself over land and water. Snake's mission is to infiltrate a tanker carrying RAY, to search for the mech within the cargo's hold, and to get proof that its existence is actually real. In addition to our hero's troubles, Snake is also up against new foes; again, members of the FOXHOUND organization, with each one having a skill that defies the laws of physics. Snake just may have met his most grueling battle yet.

The story of Metal Gear Solid 2, while top notch to the highest tier, may be found confusing for some players... Watching the game in action, the dialogue is so intricate and thoroughly mastered that at times you may be itching your head to what's going on in the game. Seriously, the plot isn't simplistic at all, and it takes someone with a brain to analyze it. It's also recommended that anyone who has not played the previous title, Metal Gear Solid, that you should before even beginning the game. For one thing, much of the brand new storyline has to do with the original PlayStation One game. Starting a new game of Metal Gear Solid 2 without starting the first one just makes further confusion in the already outlined plot.

As for the game's graphics, well, what can I say? I haven't seen visuals as good as these in a PlayStation 2 title before, or for a matter of fact, anywhere. Snake in his new (or maybe I should say old and revamped sneaking outfit) is so perfect. When pressed up against a wall, Snake's body armor reveals every muscle structure, from arm to abdomen. His bandana sways in the air when in motion. The hair on his face and head are so perfectly structured to resemble life's own strands. Hell, this time around, Snake's even got eyeballs placed on his face to see with. The character animations are outstanding! Guards appear as if they're actually on the lookout for you. From realistically moving hands, arms, legs, faces, and everything else, each of the individual characters on screen all have their own motion to play a specific rhythm in the game's flowing direction.

With the PlayStation 2's engine, in-game movies are found to show off potential with the highest regard of any of the game console's cinema qualities. And while these cinemas move the story's depth further along, it's sometimes noticeable that not every one of these is used deliberately in true in-game movie style. Sometimes FMVs are used to enhance the game's movies even greater than what's visually possible. Certainly Hideo Kojima and his team have had a lot of time to express their work to the fullest. And, it shows off superbly in each and every area of the game.

Anywhere else, the sequel's scenery is an impact on the world that should be warned to all viewers that if you're too close to the TV screen, you may want to jump inside. It's easily noticeable that the last game's characters all had shadows hovering underneath their bodies. However, this time the game's light patterns can and will react to you and your darkened portrait against the wall. For instance, while walking down a hallway, the light reflects your shadow up against a wall. Upon entering a dimly lit room with a single flashlight placed on the floor projects an even larger image of your character all in real time! Walking through any source of water is visually masterful. The liquid is transparent all the way through, and should make anyone want to dive right in. Reflections of Snake and every other character in the game are cast on the floor tiles. And of course, the gigantic environments are astounding. From outside to where rain clashes down, drizzling on every area it's able to reach, to the lounge locales full of everything a lounge could have (couches, magazines, and even a soda machine), there's plenty big, small, medium sized, and beyond heights for the sake of graphical impulse in the game.

With marvelous graphics in place, I can tell you that the actual control of the game is equally smooth. In short, Metal Gear Solid 2 is an action game. But, this is not just any action game. As the character Solid Snake, you're a professional soldier, sent in to combat a million guards (or so it feels like) and of course find out the truth behind the enemy's reasons for wanting to take the sanity away from the world. Since Snake is only human, the best option isn't always to fight, but rather, to hide. Using each room's risen stacks of crates, shelves, boxes, lockers, etc., Snake is able to sneak his way through the game. This method is very useful for keeping your guy alive, as suggested that this is not actually one of those "gun blazing" titles. Running into any section of a level, a guard sees you, and they'll call backup to hunt you down. Once you're spotted, an alert message on the screen appears, and counts down between the times span you have to hide. If you're spotted between the clock's count, then the process will start all over again. And because of this intrusion, it's best to always sneak and survive than it is to barge through a room every chance you get.

In addition to stealth mode, Snake's got the right stuff for knowing how to fight. This time, an evolution has occurred, giving Snake more than what he used to be able to do. For instance, in the previous Metal Gear Solid, Snake could snap a guard's neck, flip them over a railing, and even take them out with a gun. Konami's new and improved ways of unwrapping Snake's skin include forward rolls; knocks a group of enemies out on to the ground, hanging off of ledges and dropping down onto a guard below, and even stuffing a guard's body in a locker so that another trooper doesn't find the evidence, and become interested in your "behind the curtains" tactics. One very stylish feature in addition to those is the tranquilizer gun. In the game, you are able to knock a guard out from any distance, and they won't even know it...soon enough. Taking a shot at either the head or the heart, a guard will immediately drop to the ground asleep for a long, long time. But if you target any other place in their body, the dart won't work for a matter of seconds. Even if you are successful with the dart, there's still the fact that if another guard sees their comrade dozing off, they're going to walk over, wake them up with a kick, and they're going to further check the surroundings around them for intruders. Sometimes situations even get as crazy as if you shot a guard who uses his radio to call in to the base often, trouble occurs. Once that individual is asleep or dead, the base sends in backup to check out the room to find out what's the matter if he is not to respond at the proper moment. Figuring out each room's method of operation is the key to proceed.

Guns too are yet another form of the fight for survival. Let me tell you, there are so many more cool tools to use in the greatest sequel ever! You'll get everything you once did, from the SOCOM; a fast firing pistol, Nikita; launches a missile you can guide by remote control, AKS-74u; powerful assault rifle used to eliminate the opposition quickly, and even a sword; slash, joust, slice: cool. Other interesting trinkets will come along the way. Very useful items like bullet clips and naughty pornography literature will come in handy for distracting guards from their post. For example, if you were to throw the magazine clip, a soldier will follow the path in which the noise was made, thus leaving a chance open to sneak on by. The same goes for those "other" magazines. Men will be men... Another form of distracting the guards is by knocking on a wall. Snake can press up against any flat surface, and rap his arm onto it to make a guard become attracted to the sound. It's even possible in drastic measures to knock a guard out by blasting a hole into a fire extinguisher and further releasing the coolant from within. Not only does the trick work by putting the enemy's vision out of commission temporarily, but also, for showing hidden beams that would later trigger an explosion if Snake were to touch them.

If you're wondering how it's possible to aim at anything with precision, well...the sequel's got a first person view to go along with its third person/overhead perspective. Switching from in between the third and first person views are often required, as much of playing the game has to do with specific goals. When the tranquilizer gun is equipped, Snake can aim better in first person than he can in third. The sniper rifle, used in the first person view, is yet another form of necessity for this mode. Whether you're searching for that right spot to hit, or looking for a hidden object, the first person view is most helpful. Controlling the character in third person becomes almost easy once practiced enough. Snake moves around well with the analog control. Decisive enough, the controls are all too similar, and even more precise than how Snake was in the first title. In short, you'll adapt to them quickly, and master them you will.

Each and every item has a purpose, and a use in the game. Collecting health and ammo items, for instance, helps Snake to survive the harshest of instances. Sometimes you may come across a field of invisible claymore mines that are only seen through either the use of thermal goggles; reveal heat sources, or with a mine detector; visibly on the map, you can see where the bombs are placed. You'll also come across new devices like a camera for taking pictures of anything you want, binoculars for peering into an area up ahead, and a microphone, that with it, you can listen to anyone's conversation from a good distance, just as well. Amongst other things, the boxes also return. Snake uses a variety of boxes to take cover under. While the box is placed on top of him, he can stay underneath it in any placement of any of the game's areas, so as long as a guard doesn't take notice of your strange behavior. Just think, a box with legs...

Last from the past, the puzzles in Metal Gear Solid 2 make a return. Except this time, there's a myriad of brand new types of problems to solve. For one thing, there'll be specific rooms in the game that don't use the radar (a small mapping on the screen lets you detect where a guard is, and how far his vision length is, by representation of a colored cone). That means that you can't really tell where a guard is unless you're walking, crawling, or running right past him. In order to diffuse the situation, you've got to locate a machine through several of the game's rooms, and download the map to know exactly where the enemy lies, letting you sneak past them more easily. Another form of new puzzle involves using the sniper rifle (PSG-1) to blow the power source for bombs from a distance that you can't reach otherwise. You'll find that it's a difficult task to learn the ways of sniping...reason being that your hand isn't as steady as your eyes. If you're to take a form of the game's medication (Snake recommends cigarette Brand X), you're able to balance your heart rate more easily. This method works for balancing your hand, but also decreases your health (what do you think cigarettes do...give you presents?). And one final example from the list of puzzles has to do with the elements of life itself. Realistically, if Snake were to catch a cold from being exposed to a source of water for too long, he'll sneeze. As lifelike as that is, guards can hear this, and yet again will try to figure out what the noise was. Trying to keep Snake in the shadows while he's sneezing is something you'll need to figure out how to do.

The game's sounds are to say the least enchanting and none other but the best in video games today. Venturing in any of the game's areas has a music touch that quietly follows the character along into new areas of exploration, danger, and drama. Later, it will build up making any moment edgy, if you're to come into contact with an enemy guard. Harry Gregson-Williams is famous for such huge film masterpieces as Enemy of The State, Armageddon, and The Rock. Surprising as it is, his talent was brought forth to create the moving and dramatic soundtrack that you'll hear in the game's musical score. The music: it's simply amazing.

Returning to the game is the cast of each of those favorite voice actors that were seen in the previous title. Including the screen writer from the movie X-Men, and a returning actor, David Hayter...those fantastic and believable voice actors are back, to go along with an entirely new cast of characters who all share as a whole one truly epic sound. Just as well, from the previous game that little doohickey, the Codec makes a return for some more dialogue fun. The Codec, a device used to contact any friend at any time, is used mostly throughout the game to not only push the story forward, but also to get help from your contacts. Instantly contacting Otacon, for example, may prove that if you're stuck in one part of the game, the advice he has to offer may hint at something you couldn't figure out before hand. The Codec even lets you save your game's progress anywhere in the game at any time.

And as for the in-game sound, there's still much to listen to, whether you like it or not. Some areas are rich with sounds of the soothing ocean roar from below, while seagulls flock simultaneously with the sea's never ending harmony. A gun's shot is heard rather crisply all the time. When guards faint, they moan. One area in particular has you swimming, and in the water, you can actually hear those swishes and depth of the undertone. There are many and truly great things to listen to in the greatest sequel. I can't comment enough to express about how good the game's cast of voices and music really are.

To say that the sequel to one of the PlayStation One's best titles is featureless, I'd be wrong. While there is no VR Training mode to practice your skills from the start menu, there is however, back stories and side stories that will leave anybody sitting around for hours reading on about the interesting and funny adventures some people have had after the incident on Shadow Moses Island. For example, one side story describes the journey of how a journalist snuck into Shadow Moses wearing the skin of a giant tuna fish. Another chapter focuses on what the public believes, after what happened to Snake. Each of these journals leads back to the previous adventures with Snake, and if you're interested, there are plenty of pages to drift on through.

If you were expecting Metal Gear Solid 2 to be as short or shorter than the first, you've got another thing coming. The sequel, while only about 15 hours in length, packs in much more replay value than the first did. There are difficulty modes from Easy, Normal, Hard, and new to the list, Very Easy. You even get an Extreme setting after completing the title once. Finishing the game the first time also unlocks items, like a digital camera for taking snapshots of whatever you want, and then saving them to your memory card for your own personal art gallery. More so, the Metal Gear Solid 2 contest held in the previous months should allow anyone to want to explore the game as much as they can. Remember? If you won the contest, you might actually find your name imprinted on one of the guard's dog tags within the game. Collection of each of the game's dog tags is tough, but fun (especially since it requires holding up a soldier in the game with a gun, and making them shake like a living blender).

Bottom Line
Let it be known that Metal Gear Solid 2 is a game that's not only good on the inside, but also on the outside, the right side, the left side, the top side, and even the X, Y, and Z axis's. It's the sequel of today, tomorrow, wherever and whenever. If you were a fan of the original title, or any of the others, and are looking for the best PlayStation 2 title yet: this is it! I can't stress this enough...and I absolutely have to say this...Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has proven itself to be the game of the year. No gamer should slip by the stealthy and wealthy greatness that is Hideo Kojima's finest composition.


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