Tuesday, February 25, 2014

War Has Changed Indeed

It's curious that the best game on the ps3, was released on the console nearly a decade ago. The level of craftsmanship shown in Metal Gear Solid 4, rivals that of another early title, Heavenly Sword, in that they both show traces of admirable craft and many years of development. This Konami title then, was a proud addition to the company's tentpole releases, for we are talking about one of the most-accomplished sci-fi worlds to date, in gaming at least.

As a tv-series addict, I found the various cut-scenes to be captivating and engrossing. This melodrama and exposition may be superior to say, SC: Blacklist, in that this world is a full-on dystopia. In fact, MGS4 is more of an experience, like a theme park ride, if you will, than videogame. A title in which Pixar's Luxo Jr, or perhaps Wall-e, get a homage in the form of the tiny mechanical Mk.II, is truly gaming at its finest. Moreover, the game obtained trophy-support, a couple of years ago.


To say that the games in the series have an aesthetic of its own is an understatement, as even the voice acting is recognizable. Likewise, both the hero himself, with his advanced ever-changing camouflage, and the enemies, are a wonder of design, such as the powerful Gekko, a towering Mech. All of this taking place in a para-military, nano-machine governed world. Likewise, few war games are self-reflective and retrospective, as is the case here.

And why does it work? The game can get away with some violence due to being sci-fi, yet even then, it takes the time to parody and question the ethics of war; there is even a trophy for losing your belly after a killing spree. The opening even puts infomercials into question. The property, which reportedly borrowed elements from film, is such a self-contained world, that not for a single minute does the player questions it. The game is like delicious cuisine, in which all the right ingredients are present, for you certainly believe the character as a super-soldier, because that is just what Snake is. Likewise, the cigarette portrayal veers between coolness and parody.

Kojima both glorifies and condemns war, and this approach seems quite sensible given Snake's adventures, and this glamorization and demonization, allows for a true auteur's voice to express itself in a large canvas. These hardened soldiers take pills, like they do in real life, for this war game is about both brain and brawn, and most other offerings in the genre should take note. It's about how you do it, right down to our hero's psych treatment. As well, the game is full of easter eggs and secrets. The update allows for a seemingly full install, instead of in parts, of this large game.