Metal Gear Solid 4 First Impress…er, Digressions

It has a top-notch presentaiton and the audio and visuals are outstanding. I’m not too deep into the story, but I hear it gets convoluted really fast.

I’ve put about 45 minutes into this game.

I’ve pressed a controller button about ten times.

If this is the future of next generation gaming, count me out. I’m sure that this may change the deeper I get into the game, but for cryin’ out loud, let me play! I don’t know what the (seemingly) recent trend is to put 20-30 minute intros into a game before there is even any real gameplay, but it’s driving me nuts. Here are some recent games I’ve played: Okami, 20 minutes; about every Mario game since the Gamecube, 20 minutes, Eternal Sonata, 15 minutes; Final Fantasy Crisis Core, 10 minutes; and Metal Gear Solid 4, a whopping 40+ minutes.

Yes, some of the fluff can be skipped, but some of it cannot be. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to games such as Space Invaders Extreme and Galaga (a remake coming soon…another trendóbut one I like). Give me the pew pews.

In looking back on the games I’ve enjoyed the most in the last year, they have been those that are either short on story or they use the gaming experience to tell the story. Bioshock is an excellent example of a game that uses itself to advance the storyline and Half-Life 2 is another example (somewhat). Assassin’s Creed with it’s forced cutscenes is not.

There were a lot of moments in the opening scenes of Metal Gear Solid 4 that I could have played, but I guess it was not to be. Apparently, this is the style of play that gamers wantóat least in this instance for PS3 owners, who are coming close to pushing this title to over 1 million sold in the U.S.

Yes, the game is epic. I’ll give it that. The whole “press one button to play” mentality just reminds me of the people in the movie Wall-E. Of course, this trend might be going the other way if a game like Mega Man 9 (possible old-school difficult) proves to sell well.

Hopefully, we’ll have both. Some can pay $60+ for their glorified movie viewer, and some can pay $10+ for their buttonmashing pew pews.


  1. “at least in this instance for PS3 owners, who are coming close to pushing this title to over 1 million sold in the U.S.”

    Don’t discount the power of brand. Plenty of people are playing this and thinking it’s great because it’s Metal Gear. If you did this to any other game without the same kind of recognition then the reviewing press and gamers alike would be crying foul.

  2. Are the “button presses” part of quick time events? Not that that would make it any better, but I guess it would make you feel more involved.

  3. @Jason O – Yeah, I guess every major game has fanboys. The MGS creators could have crapped in a box and it would have sold a million copies.

    @Tony – about half of those button presses were for pressing “Start” to advance to the next video. I did get to move snake around a bit, but it was for no more than 30 seconds at a time.

  4. Bah.

    A Metal Gear game is always very heavy on the cinematics. If you don’t like that, I wouldn’t recommend playing the games, period.

    I will say that the parts near the beginning of the first act are pretty heavy on the cutscenes and light on gameplay. That gets remedied by the second act.

    At least MGS4 has very few CODEC sequences, esp. compared to older games in the series. Most of the time, if there needs to be a lot of exposition, it’s done in a cinematic instead of forcing the player to sit and watch two talking heads on a gray/green background yammer for 15 minutes.

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