With Metal Gear Solid 4 turning four years old last month, I decided to take a look back at one of my favorite games in my favorite game series of all time. This was the game that made many changes in my gaming and online life including buying a Play Station 3 just for this game. I also know that MGS4 meant a lot to many other fans of the series too, so expect to hear from other fans as we share what this games means to us.
I started my journey to getting MGS4 back in 8th grade when I was 15 years old. This was back when getting a PS3 was still going to cost you a lot of money. I had set out to save up enough money to buy the MGS4 80 gigabyte PS3 bundle which was $499. In middle school you might image I didn't have anywhere near that amount and would have to save up for a while. I was big into collecting games and going into GameStop to trade in old games, so I figured if I sold enough games that would cover the cost.
I ended up selling most of my PS2 and Wii collection, but tried to keep as many of my favorites as I could. While I do wish I didn't sell those games I don't regret it that much since getting a PS3 to play MGS4 was so important to me. After I sold as many games that I was willing, and sometimes not so willing, to give up I ended up with about $460 and only had a month left. Thankfully my awesome dad knew how bad I wanted this game and how hard I had been working to save up my money and do random odd jobs, so he got me a $100 gift card so I could pay for the bundle.
The day finally came and I had camped outside my mall all night so I could be the 1st in line and guarantee myself the only bundle my GameStop was getting, since I couldn't pre-order it before hand and had to hope I got lucky. Thankfully after 15 hours of waiting and talking to other fans the store opened up and I was able to get the bundle and I couldn't be happier. After all this work and excitement for one game, I had never been so emotionally tied to a game's release before. I rushed home and hooked everything up for what I could only have imagined was the most amazing ride of my life.
After three years of anticipation after MGS4 got announced at TGS 2005 I could barely contain myself as I spent all day playing all the way from beginning to end. I was totally enthralled from Act 1 all the way until the movie-like Epilogue and as soon as I finished I wanted to go through again. The Story hit every note I was hoping for the game to cover. The epic conclusion to old snake's story was filled with traveling all over the world and even revisiting Shadow Moses where the original Metal Gear Solid took place.
Along with the absolutely crazy story, MGS4 had more crazy moments that were impossible to forget. My favorite moment in the game is a tie between Raiden vs Vamp as snake battles hordes of gekkos storming Metal Gear Rex's hanger and the ending fight between Old Snake vs Liquid Ocelot, which covered each generation of Metal Gear up until the end. In a game like this it is hard to pick just one moment that stands out over the rest, but that is never a bad thing.
There is one section of the game that is the perfect example of doing fan service and that is going back to Shadow Moses. Starting with the original pixilated Snake head, you knew this was going to be a crazy trip back. I can't even begin to describe how excited and freaked out I was to get there as I had to sneak past gekkos in a blizzard. Finally I made it to the heliport and I am rewarded with the song "The best is yet to come" playing as I check everything out. This included changing the camera so it looked like MGS1 in HD and going under the truck to see if anyone left any extra SOCOMs. From beginning to end I was hit by a storm of nostalgia unlike anything I had ever felt. The only thing I wanted to do after playing that game was to go back and play MGS1 all over again. You can really tell that this is a level by a fan for the fans. Thanks to Sean Eyestone for designing a level so memorable and great.
Another very important feature in MGS4 along with the story is the online element Metal Gear Online or better known as MGO. MGO was a big part of my life all the way up until it got taken offline June 13, 2012. MGO was sort of a split game when it game to MGS4 fans, you either wrote it off for being a complicated and unnecessary multiplayer or you saw past its flaws and got to experience a truly unique multiplayer. I was defiantly in the camp of people who loved MGO and wouldn't have most of my friends I met through PSN without it.
Thankfully I was there for playing MGO all they until they shut the server's offline. It was a truly sad day for all of us fans who were playing that day as we all shared memories we made while playing and talking about what we will miss most about MGO. I will never forget as my last match of Team Death Match. As it was ending we all stopped fighting and filled someone's request to pose for a final photo before the server was shut down. The whistling of Sunny's song as we took that group photo was one of my proudest gaming moments I've ever had with 15 strangers I met when I started playing that day.
MGS4 will forever be one of those games that helped define the type of gamer I would become by sucking me into MGO for hundreds of hours and giving me a reason to get a next generation system. Along with everything I've said today about MGS4 I wanted to share some other fans feelings on Metal Gear Solid 4 and what it means to them.
"I've always said that I don't really are for boss fights. They're silly and repetitive and make super genius enemies look like idiots because they leave themselves open at one point or another. An example of a boss fight done right would be Snake vs. Liquid Ocelot at the end of MGS4. When I did it, I couldn't sit down! Not only because of how nostalgic and tear jerking it was, but because of how flawless it was. It was absolutely perfect. Every fan of Metal Gear Solid is engrossed in its story and we can all admit (or at least I can) that a boss fight distracts from that story, But MGS4 had the best line of bosses in the series and the fights all contributed to the story. They kept you engaged in the plot better than any of its precursors. I guess you could say MGS4 is the "Big Boss"."
"Here's why I think this is a game all gamers, MGS fans and general enthusiasts alike, ought to play. Consider this, it has the makings of what makes quality entertainment: an engaging, and comprehensive narrative that pulls you into an epic adventure that makes you feel for every character, and each of them more or less have a reason to exist; it has solid gameplay mechanics that are functional, and very polished, adding to the level of immersion; and it features an epic soundtrack. Much like the original Star Wars, you simply don't get entertainment that features all of these key aspects at such a high level anymore."
"Metal Gear Solid 4 was also my impetus to get a PlayStation 3. Up until the announcement of the game, I was on the fence, but slowly Kojima won me over. I wouldn't say Metal Gear Solid 4 is the best in the Solid series, but you'll be hard-pushed to find another game that has as much dedication to its fans, while still being one of the best games of its generation. It paved the way for so much and it made people look past superficial elements. When they announced Old Snake, there were lots of sniggers. After the game, there was just admiration - Kojima had pulled it off yet again."
I hope you all enjoyed my look back at Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots on its 4th anniversary. If you have a story or even a memory about MGS4 or even something on MGS in general since it is the 25th anniversary please feel free to share them in the comments below.