(Commentator's Warning: The following commentary centers entirely on Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and the end of a twenty year legacy. As a result there may be spoilers for those who have not played the game yet. Consider this your only warning.)
The June 12th launch of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots might not have had the overarching hype of something like Halo 3 or Grand Theft Auto IV, but including myself, the Metal Gear Solid fan base definitely loyal. And when it comes to Snake's final mission, and what many consider the first must have exclusive title for the PlayStation 3, it's no surprise we all came out in droves to pick it up.
After all this is a series we have been playing since the NES original back in 1988. At that time I was not aware of the MSX original, as emulation was not possible. Nor did I know of the name Hideo Kojima.
Even in 1990, I even thought that Snake's Revenge was a true Metal Gear sequel.
Darn I feel so naÃ¯ve now.
It took me seven years to discover the MSX original, but much to my surprise I didn't realize there was a true sequel to Metal Gear that came out on the MSX, and even further, it was developed by Kojima himself! Needless to say I played the game the moment it came out and was hooked, but wasn't ready for the first of what we know as the Metal Gear Solid series to come out on the PlayStation.
MGS1 wowed me over with amazing storyline, and a rarity for its time, its top notch voice acting. It helped make David Hayter synonymous with the voice of Snake. I was so impressed with the role that I was even granted the honor to interview him during GiN's infancy. That interview would end up leading to more interest in the series.
But nothing would surprise me as much as the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. When I saw the first trailer at E3 2000 I knew I was expecting a lot from it. But while MGS2 was a great game in its own right, some of the elements just didn't make sense. I admit I may be jumping on the bandwagon, but having to play as whiny pretty boy Raiden was a little disappointing, as well as trying to figure just who the heck the Patriots were without much info. And the less I could say about Otacon doing the nasty with his stepmother, the better!
While we were waiting for the inevitable Metal Gear Solid 3, I was hinted to expect a surprise from David Hayter, as well as fellow MGS cast member Debi Mae West (Meryl,) and that was talks about an upcoming Metal Gear Solid remake for the GameCube. Again my expectations were high, but in the end what became The Twin Snakes was a touch on the disappointing side, as I felt the voice acting was a little blow the quality of MGS1. And one scene in particular really turned me away, involving Snake surfing on a missile for crying out loud. That was overkill!
But when MGS3: Snake Eater came out the year after, it went back in two different ways: back in time to 1964 explaining Snake's origin, as well as the origins of a certain organization whose name shall be censored for the time being. But it also went back to the style of MGS storytelling that I knew and loved in the first game. Featuring some memorable characters, and an ending that will bring the hardest person to tears, it was worthy of the MGS name.
And now, seven years after hearing the name of "The Patriots" for the first time, I finally know who they are. Or should I say, were. That's right, I finished Guns of the Patriots. And after nearly 20 hours of playing, all I can say was the wait was definitely worth it. We were hinted about the settings being in the Middle East, South America, and in Eastern Europe, but that's only touching the surface. Where the game ends up will bring back feelings of nostalgia and even a touch of dÃ©jÃ