Chris (imrield) wrote,
Chris
imrield

Half-hearted victory

I spent my Sunday watching the end of Metal Gear Solid 4(MGS4). Emphasis on watching, because in terms of actual game play I got in perhaps an hour and a half and spent the other four or so hours idling in front of cinematics. I don't often play console games, but with my roommate owning all three major systems and generally acquiring any major titles, these things do happen. I had an interest in MGS4 because I'd been hearing all sorts of things about the "great" storytelling and complex ideas and crazy integration of gameplay with cut scenes and what have you. It's a mixed bag, although everyone in the world seems to be raving about the game and giving it 10's and hugs and their first-born children. That's all well and good, and before I begin my belly-aching I will say that it is a good game, visually astounding, I found the game play enjoyable, and many of the cinematics were very cool.

MGS4 is also like a 1200 page novel that never saw an editor. Scenes stretch on for a ridiculously long time. The plot is convoluted rather than complex, like it was stitched together madly with all sorts of "but"s thrown in until everything (sort of) meshes. I get that Hideo Kojima wanted to tie up all his loose plot threads from the previous games, but still, it's a problem because you spend more time watching the story unfold than actually playing the game. The characters can be quite visually expressive at times, but are limited by repetitive dialogue(The game probably set a record for number of times the word "proxy" is said). I actually love narrative in video games. I was the kid who would make up a story if the game didn't provide one. I hope games in the future pick up on a lot of the techniques used in MGS4 to transition from game play to story and back again, but I also hope that in such a future more attention is paid toward building a narrative that doesn't leave the player longing to just get back to the business of sneaking around and shooting people.
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Well put, sir.

Anonymous

July 9 2008, 19:25:37 UTC 8 years ago

Yes, I think your observation that "MGS4 is also like a 1200 page novel that never saw an editor" is quite keen.

"I hope games in the future pick up on a lot of the techniques used in MGS4 to transition from game play to story and back again." What do you mean by that? Does MGS4 do something particularly clever when shifting from long non-interactive bits back to the game proper, or is it like all other MGS games (which I've played) and just drop you in/out of these sequences? If the latter, I hope that the MGS method becomes as rare as the dodo--because it's already as awkward and ugly as one.