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….Metal Gear?

posted on June 12th, 2008 by christian

Folks, it’s that time of the month. No not that; the monthly blockbuster is out. Hot off the heels of GTA IV, Metal Gear Solid 4 gives PS3 users a reason to rejoice. It also makes a hell of an excuse for me to finally pick up a PS3. I’m not going to get into the story, but suffice to say it was a bit of a trial to save for and obtain the console, culminating in a fairly easy pickup at the local Walmart early Thursday morning.

It feels good to welcome a new console into the house, and it will mean vl can get more PS3 reviews on the site. Perhaps I will write a bit about the console’s user experience, though I doubt anyone cares.

In any case, MGS4 is now out, reviews are coming in, and the results are actually unsurprising. In between all of the love is plenty of dissent, including two sub-90 reviews. Typically enough, the rage exists, but not to a grand magnitude. At this point, everyone will admit that Metal Gear Solid is one of the biggest and most influential series of the past decade, for better or for worse. At the same, everyone, including fans, realizes that such influence was coupled with a lot of problems, namely Hideo Kojima’s love of film and directing getting in the way in each game.

The same problem has sprung up in MGS4, and at this point everyone accepts that each MGS will have some great ideas, but each entry also puts the series further into the “fans only” camp. Of course, when your fans are as ravenous as the MGS loyal, this isn’t a bad thing, but it also means that Solid Snake is no longer at the same level of notoriety as Master Chief and Niko Bellic.

MGS4 will sell some 80gig Playstations, and we will have much to talk about for the rest of the summer, but it wasn’t strong enough to trigger chain wide midnight launches in every major retail outlet, or coverage on the news. I suppose that means Sony needs a new “killer app”, and considering how we have been graced with MGS games for ten years, that may not be a bad thing. I’d love to see more, but we’ve had a great run from Snake and pals, more than I could ask for.

Its 8:00 now, and I’ve been working for over 12 hours with a PS3 under my desk. Time to go home and hook the sucker up. In the meantime, enjoy the mostly hype-inflation free launch of the game, and expect some sort of review in the near future.


  1. James said on June 13, 2008:

    to be fair, those new 80gig bundles are also being sold by virtue of backwards compatability/Dual Shock 3/Bluray turning out to not be some retarded techno-boondoggle; it’s just a happy coincidence (for Sony, anyway) that all their hardware seems to be making strides towards differentiating itself from the 360 right when one of their biggest games happens to be dropping.

  2. jay said on June 13, 2008:

    Wait, the MGS4 bundle PS3 has backwards compatibility?

  3. Christian said on June 13, 2008:

    Jay, the 80gig has limited, software enabled BC. It isn’t the old 60 gig with the Emotion Engine in it, but so far it seems most of my library is supported.

    James makes a good point about the hardware sales, that MGS4 alone is not the sole (and maybe not even the most important) reason for the bundle’s popularity. The fact that it comes with one the console’s biggest games to date does tip some people towards a purchase, but the hardware was certainly as important in my decision as the game.

  4. TrueTallus said on June 18, 2008:

    My knowledge of what the ps3 has to offer is very lacking at this point, so I’m genuinely interested in any general input you feel inclined to provide. To think that only 2 generations ago I was a card carrying member of the cult of Sony, and now I don’t even know what the startup sound is on their latest system. For shame:)

    Please do tell us what you think of MGS4, Christian. I can see what you mean about this being an appropriate time for the series to wave its last goodbye. The games industry’s momentum doesn’t exactly match up our Kojima’s crazy hijinks anymore, though I’ll be glad to see Snake and friends go out with a bang, and if the snippets of coverage I allow myself to see before I avert my eyes (spoilers are pretty damaging when you like MGS for the surprises it throws at you) I won’t be disappointed.

  5. Christian said on June 18, 2008:

    TT – I’ll fill you in with some basic info in this comment.

    The PS3 boots up like the PSP – the boot up sound when you see “Sony Computer Entertainment” sounds like an orchestra tuning, and when you see the Playstation 3 logo it is a simple little charm. The XMB has more options than the PSP of course, and the backround image is much nicer looking. The whole setup is easy to navigate and classy as hell, and outshines the entire 360 interface from top to bottom, especially with the new Playstation Store. I have yet to try the stability of PSN, but at the very least the friends/chat/message capabilities are solid.

  6. TrueTallus said on June 19, 2008:

    Thanks for the rundown, it sounds sleek (an orchestra warmup is an inspired idea for a startup noise). I’ve got a couple more random questions for you, if you’re willing. First, is there a fast forward option on the music playback software? I’m still mystified that the 360 lets me set up play lists but can’t be bothered to include such a fundamentally necessary feature. Also, what is it about the Playstation Store that you find better designed than Xbox marketplace? Can you find things without having to sift through hundreds of entries in the same bland 8 point black font? Does it look like someone spent better than 10 minutes on each potential purchase (background images, descriptive text that’s more than marketing and doesn’t scroll slower than the FFT introductory narration, maybe even an information to disclaimer ratio that’s higher than 50%)?

  7. Christian said on June 19, 2008:

    TT – more answers for you. You can fast forward music, and set up playlists. I haven’t experimented too much, but if its like the PSP there are several speeds of fast forward (I’ve only seen one). You answered your question about the Playstation store – it isn’t one giant list of product to sort through, though I will admit that I didn’t see the store before Sony redesigned it, and I am willing to admit it was prob. shit. At the very least they revamped it, something MS seems to have no interest in. Now it looks like a normal online shop of sorts.

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