Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Suck At Metal Gear

Every time I sit down to play a Metal Gear Solid game, I initially attempt to play the game the way I envisioned I should play it. Using every article of stealth you have at your disposal. Hiding amongst the shadows, sneaking up on soldiers and performing ninja-like take downs. It works out alright during the first few encounters, but I inevitably get caught. The music becomes heightened, a rather imposing timer appears at the top of the screen and suddenly I've got two left thumbs and can't perform even the most basic movements of evasion because I'm knee-deep in guards who are shooting my ass full of lead. The screen fades to static as Snake's life flashes before his eyes and I start again, careful to note where my last attempt went all to hell. This time, I knowingly avoid the guard I couldn't see coming around the corner, I crawl past him while he's not looking, only to come face to face with a buddy of his and the whole affair begins again. I manage to hide in a dark area of the next room, and I'm forced to wait in silence for, no joke, a matter of minutes before the guards return to their more casual search patterns.

Eventually this gets old, real fast, and I decide "screw this," I'm gonna play this how I damn well feel. For better or worse, that basically amounts to gameplay straight out of the "Call of Duty" series. Soon, I'm running and gunning just like all the other infinitely respawning cloned soldiers I'm fighting alongside. We take cover when necessary, charge forward, guns blazing like the canon fodder that we are.. but it's a bit unsatisfying, given the game that I'm playing. I'm Solid-fucking-Snake, for crying out loud, not just another PMC soldier out there on the battlefield for his next paycheck. I'm a damn hero. The local militia I'm helping out should lift up their guns and cheer my name every time I make an appearance like I'm Master Chief or Gordon Freeman or something. But no, not if I keep dying over and over again like I do. Those nanomachines can really only do so much, you know.

I suppose I could start all over on a lower difficulty (I stubbornly choose the default North American difficulty, Solid Normal, which happens to be the third of 5). But seriously, I'd sooner play this game wearing a pink leotard than chew up my pride and do that. No, I'll get through somehow, even if I have to rocket launch every last bad guy into orbit. Cuz even though I've never really finished any of the previous games, I'm still enjoying the interactive manga aspect of it. The distopian, yet unique perspective of the war of the future. The little bits of comedy and fourth-wall breakage that really surprise you. Obviously, this is an extremely polished title that the Kojima dev team has produced.

This whole experience has got me wondering though.. Does a reviewer have to be "good" at a game in order to objectively rate it properly? And what's the point in having a wide spectrum of difficulty settings if I'm so reluctant to acknowledge them. Something to think about I guess.


Derek said...

What the heck? The wait time for the alarms to disappear back in 2001 (whichever Metal Gear game that was) was only a minute. If gamers wanted realistic behavior from the guards, they would join the marines.

Stefanie said...

Interesting to know.