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The Metal Gear Solid series, an epic of almost perfect game design stretched over 4 absolutely fantastic games on 3 systems, is undoubtably (and rightly) one of the most heralded chronicles in gaming history. From graphics to sound, tactics to weapons, characters to level design and pacing – it’s unlikely that many other titles come close to demonstrating the power of the Playstation.

Each title pushed the system to its limits, promising and delivering on almost every promise. In each title, Kojima took what made the previous game difficult, and made it harder. Took what made the previous game look amazing, and smashed our expectations. From how the game played, to the journey it took you one, and all of the almost OCD type details that must have taken months to think of and perfect. It was no wonder that each title sold gangbusters and became critically acclaimed before it was even released.

But at the same time, the sheer depth of each title, and the unwavering dedication to build and complete what can only be described as a “write as you go” storyline, provided gamers with a conundrum. Where does a game stop and a movie begin?

Metal Gear Solid (1) was clear. It told the story of how one man, part of a special unit, was manipulated by the same people he had dedicated his life to, and yet put everything aside for the sake of the mission. There were love interests, plot twist after plot twist, and most importantly, an amazing balance of gameplay-to-story telling. Finishing the game was a complete experience, you felt satisfied.

The success of the original sparked what can only be described as a complete and total mess of “over telling”. That is, creating the base for such a massive, over-arching plot line that it requires almost 10-20 hours of flat based descriptions, monologues and diagrams to tell. Over the next 3 games, you were plunged deep into a smattering of various love triangles, sub-plots to sub-plots, plot twists of plot twists. In some cases, it even felt like the game had forgotten half of what it had already explained to you.

In fact, MGS 3 and 4 were basically designed to not only answer the multitude of questions and background development setup in 2, and subsequently, 1. It was like you were no longer playing a game, but basically pushing Snake from one cutscene to another, putting him in just another spot so Hideo Kojima could read you another part of his novel.

It’s ludicrous in some cases – some of these scenes take place in the middle of battles, blackops, revolutions, where, in reality, it’s likely the limestone building you are patiently waiting in while being told about “how the patriots control the battle synaptic networks of the PMC’s” would be leveled by the sheer amount of shelling and crazy machines bouncing around the place.

In fact, some parts are so indepth it’s almost irrelevant. Characters in the game explain to Snake about parts of his own history he experienced himself. Other characters will drone on about completely pointless shite while you are attempting to skulk your way past an army of snipers and minefields. While the detail is one of Kojima’s charms, it feels like after MGS1 he decided that rather then writing poignant summaries, he would just tell you absolutely everything about everything, whether it was contextually imperitive or not.

The problem with these situations is that any sort of game flow is shattered. You don’t know when an hour long cutscene will arrive, it just does. You don’t know if its important or not, because skipping one part may lose you the important information at the end. By the end of the scene you probably don’t remember the crapton of information you have been told, with the exception of where to go, who to save or who to kill.

I have a friend who has finished every single MGS title, including the addon editions, multiple times over and he still can’t explain the story to me. The issue is that when you fill the game with so MUCH information, you lose the focus you meant to create initially. It’s easy to see themes – the military-industrial complex, relationships, trust, loyalty, nuclear proliferation. But trying to tie everything together is impossible – once you think you might have it figured out, some crazy shit happens and you’re back to square one again.

Storytelling is an art. Many have said that Kojima is a genius in the way he has been able to develop such a confident, mature and intelligent overarching story for the games. I disagree. I think that Kojima had the ability to tell a story, but instead he flooded the player with everything they did, didn’t and really didn’t need to know.

It feels like the television show Lost – where that show may drag you along and tell you very little, MGS drags you along telling you not only why “Liquid Snake did what he did”, but what he had for breakfast in 1969 and what President Nixon was planning to do with nuclear weapons in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Not only that, but I won’t even begin to elaborate on how obtusely strange and erractic the series becomes by the end. A monkey addicted to caffiene, special ops elites with the runs, boss characters so completely batshit insane its unbelievable they are able to execute the overcomplicated plots Kojima sets out for them.

A good story lets the player think for themselves. You don’t need to be told everything to figure things out, and in some cases, witholding information is a very valid form of communication. Also, asking too many questions, especially unnecessary ones, or explaining entire world orders, makes you forget why you started playing in the first place. Was this part about the creation of the Metal Gear? Or was it about the Patriots? Or FoxDie? Or the PMCs? Why do I need to know this information if it does nothing but create another batch of questions?

My point is, that while the series is a marvel, I feel that I never enjoyed 2,3 or 4 like I did the original. Kojima didn’t know if he was going to get a sequel. So he ran a self-imposed tight ship, and forced himself to tell a story, a fantastic story, in the way he did. It seems that once he removed that restriction, he effectively killed what made MGS the revolutionary game it was.

  1. Excellent, excellent points!

    I do have two questions for you, because I love a healthy debate.

    1) You say that MGS 1 was, for the most part, held in the realm of believable action, yet MGS 4 was way too far fetched.

    I would contend that Psycho Mantis himself was way too wacky for me to take the game entirely seriously, and MGS 4 had more of a realistic backdrop behind it, and showed the grittiness of war, albeit with the equally odd Beauty and the Beast team.

    If anything, Metal Gear Solid 3 should take the cake for throwing realism out the door: BEE GUN. I rest my case.

    2) You think that Kojima made up a lot of the story as he went along. Of course, unless we asked him (in which case he would probably deny it), we’ll never know.

    But, I’d like to think that he HAD a lot of these ideas years in advance, particularly the story between The Boss and Naked Snake. In the recent podcast (which will be up tomorrow, listeners!), I compared him to Quentin Tarantino due to many similarities, and the fact that they’re both “visionary directors”.

    For instance, Tarantino came up with the idea for Kill Bill in his head on the set of Pulp Fiction; a full decade before the movie was finally realized. He also inter-relates many of his characters throughout all of his movies (The Vega Brothers, etc).

    I believe Kojima is the same way in regards to his “Metal Gear Solid-verse”: when he thought up Snake’s character for Metal Gear Solid 1, he was also dreaming up the backstory behind Snake’s father.

    All in all, interesting piece! I love the tone of it, because it feels like it’s written by a fan of the series who is just not happy with where it went, which is a valid argument. Stay tuned for the podcast, where I attempt to explain the entire story of Metal Gear Solid in a minute or two.

  2. One of the main things about the MGS series that makes it stand out from the competition is the ocean deep maze of back story and characters. I’ve spent many an hour with the MGS interactive encyclopaedia on my PS3.

    The crux of all this for me is, if you take away Kojima’s eccentricities and sometimes self indulgence, what are you left with? Splinter Cell?

    I wouldn’t change anything about the MGS series simply because I do not think there is another storyline like it anywhere in videogames. Chris’ comparison to Tarantino is very apt, the man foresees characters and stories years in advance. To try and reign in that creativity would be a crime.

  3. @Grahame
    I will add for fairness’ sake, that a lot of people don’t like Tarantino for valid reasons: he often gets ahead of himself, and makes references to sources only he really “gets”, which alienates a lot of his fans.

    Kojima is guilty of this same action.

  4. Wait, sorry, Naked Snake? Did I read that right?

  5. @Chris

    Very true! It is a pretty perfect comparison given their detractors often state the same reasons.

  6. It’s not the problem with the story I have so much, its how he tells it.

    The choreography of the cutscenes is phenomenal, and I throughfully enjoy the conversations in some of the more crucial moments. But there is really so much redundant junk in some of the more random cutscenes and codec moments that could easily have been cut and it would have made the games tighter and flow better.

  7. @James Pinnell
    “But there is really so much redundant junk in some of the more random cutscenes and codec moments”

    We talk about this in great length in the podcast. There’s definitely merit to that.

  8. I couldn’t even be bothered to finish Metal Gear Solid 4 because of most of this. Of course, I think the big de-emphasizing of stealth didn’t really help, but yeah. MGS1 was brilliant, and actually, I liked MGS3, too. 2 and 4 went bonkers.

  9. @Jamie

    Actually stealth is very much prevalent in 4. You can still finish the game with no alerts. It’s just the stealth now takes place in a warzone for the most part. The only “de-emphasis” in 4 is that the game doesn’t really coerce you into stealthing it up, the option is still there to do so however.

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  10. avatar Sean

    I just finished MGS4 for my third time like 15 minutes ago.lol The story is pretty intense and confusing but I think i have a good grip on it. You can download the MGS encyclopedia at PSN, it will help you understand the story a bit more. While some say that some characters are ridiculous, I think it all comes from Kojima’s sense of humor. Fat Man on rollerskates? haha

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  11. avatar czerro

    Absolutely agreed. I think it’s fairly obvious Kojima attempts to create the illusion of an overarching and cleverly constructed plot…and fails. This is not so much a deal breaker for me, as I really just enjoy the gameplay. The issue comes when 30 minutes of gameplay is interrupted by several 15 minute cutscenes which establish nothing other than some angst and ambiguous moral turmoil over equally ambiguous motives for even more nebulously ambiguous and convoluted plot/conspiracy. The cutscenes are clearly gibberish and padding, as no one ANYWHERE can tell you what the heck is going on.

  12. avatar Ferahtsu

    I find it ironic that this article is so long (longest one I’ve read on this site) given that the topic is about the longevity-and complexity- of the MGS plot. Was this deliberate or simply a coincidence? “I don’t believe in coincidence” -Solid Snake

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  13. @Ferahtsu

    God Dammit. You caught me.

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  14. avatar Johnny

    Kojima just went way to far in MGS2. He created an incredible twist at the final hours of the game that I am pretty sure that people (not fans but just people who enjoyed playing the series) till this day don’t know wtf happened even after playing its sequels. Thanks to this twist was that many people either hated the series because of its complexity, or loved how Kojima just shocked and awed what the thought about video game storytelling.

    I was one of those people that was shocked, awed and made me love the series even more.

    • avatar Esteban

      saken la pelicula tengo trece af1os y pase con faidiclad todos los metal gear solid en tiempo recor soy fan de metal gear solid que decearia que snake no ubiera muerto

  15. avatar WWII

    The Story, what is a Story? Normally a story has different angles of view, for example:

    - Story in movies is not the same as on books. A lot of people got disappointed with the last Harry Potter because it was very different from the story that was told in the book. But why it was so different? Because a book doesn’t has a restriction of 3 hour max for a pop movie to be told while you’re sitting on a chair in the theater. Nobody will watch a 5 hour movie in the theater but they could read a book that could take them like 1 month. And then read it again because they didn’t understand it.

    Well, the same could be said about Video Games. With video games you can go beyond any movie have gone just like a book or a series of books. You can create an entire world with as much background information as you want. Just like history itself. You can read about World War history but you’ll never know every detail, it is just impossible but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any books that talk about them…

    But I just don’t want to waste more time with a comment that probably nobody will read nor think about even for a moment so I will just end this by saying this: Kojima have done what no movie can do or or ever will do. He have created history within a game. A story as complex as life itself. It includes everything from nano-machines controlled/enhanced humans to ideals that are just as incomprehensible as our politics, terrorism, the twisted mind of goverment, slavery, human emotion, murder… You really need to give some serious thoughts to comprehend the MGS saga and that’s why we like it, because it goes beyond just gameplay, it tells history within a game, plots theories, etc. So many things to discuss and argue about… And of course fantastic gameplay.

    If what you want is a story straight to the point then the MGS series is not for you, just keep playing your Splinter Cell with the usual pop movie plot or Gears of Wars were you shoot and think about it later(later if you care). These two are examples of the usual story telling on video games, give some reasons to do what they are doing and build upon gameplay. I don’t blame them because at the end that’s how game are supposed to be but MGS is more than just gameplay, it more than just a game, it is a religion(not literally of course…).

  16. The Story, what is a Story? Normally a story has different angles of view, for example:

    - Story in movies is not the same as on books. A lot of people got disappointed with the last Harry Potter because it was very different from the story that was told in the book. But why it was so different? Because a book doesn't has a restriction of 3 hour max for a pop movie to be told while you're sitting on a chair in the theater. Nobody will watch a 5 hour movie in the theater but they could read a book that could take them like 1 month. And then read it again because they didn't understand it.

    Well, the same could be said about Video Games. With video games you can go beyond any movie have gone just like a book or a series of books. You can create an entire world with as much background information as you want. Just like history itself. You can read about World War history but you'll never know every detail, it is just impossible but that doesn't mean that there aren't any books that talk about them…

    But I just don't want to waste more time with a comment that probably nobody will read nor think about even for a moment so I will just end this by saying this: Kojima have done what no movie can do or or ever will do. He have created history within a game. A story as complex as life itself. It includes everything from nano-machines controlled/enhanced humans to ideals that are just as incomprehensible as our politics, terrorism, the twisted mind of goverment, slavery, human emotion, murder… You really need to give some serious thoughts to comprehend the MGS saga and that's why we like it, because it goes beyond just gameplay, it tells history within a game, plots theories, etc. So many things to discuss and argue about… And of course fantastic gameplay.

    If what you want is a story straight to the point then the MGS series is not for you, just keep playing your Splinter Cell with the usual pop movie plot or Gears of Wars were you shoot and think about it later(later if you care). These two are examples of the usual story telling on video games, give some reasons to do what they are doing and build upon gameplay. I don't blame them because at the end that's how game are supposed to be but MGS is more than just gameplay, it more than just a game, it is a religion(not literally of course…)….

  17. avatar WWII

    Chris Carter:
    “You think that Kojima made up a lot of the story as he went along. Of course, unless we asked him (in which case he would probably deny it), we’ll never know.”

    Kojima said in an interview that when he makes a new MGS game he thinks that it’ll be the last but because fans want more then he needs to continue creating the story and the plots don’t always fit exactly from one game to the other.

    He said that on some interview, try to find yourself because I’m not in the mood to start looking for links now…

  18. avatar Josh

    I personally am a huge fan of both Tarentino and Kojima. I love there way of telling a story. I also like that they base there games/movies around a story and not around making some action packed big hoopla. I like the fact that I have played through MGS 1-4 each at least 2 times and still have no clue what the actual story. I much more enjoy a story that you have to keep going over and over to get cause then its harder to forget if you still haven’t figured it out.

  19. avatar Mark

    MGS is one of the most overrated franchises in gaming.

    1 and 3 were great, 2 and 4 were trash.

  20. @WWII
    I’d like to think that when he came up with Solid Snake, he already had an IDEA of a backstory for Big Boss, and the Les Efants Terrible project. This is just one example.

    Now, whether or not he has ALL the details is subject to debate. However, the seed is there. He’s simply too ingenious not to think about his character’s backstories/where they’re going. I would agree with you in that he didn’t exactly think of “Vamp” per se, but I’d be willing to bet he wanted a vampire special ops involved some how in the story, and he had an idea of the character when he released Metal Gear Solid 1.

    Like Tarantino, Kojima is flooded with multiple ideas at one time: so many so, that he can’t put it all into one title/movie/game.

    The context behind the quote never specifically states “he has no idea where the series is going”. It simply says he needs to bridge the ideas he always had together in a new way to justify a sequel.

  21. @Grahame:

    That is kind of the problem i have with it, actually. How a game “feels” is very important to me, and MGS4 feels like you don’t have to worry about being sneaky. Actually, MGS4 feels kind of more like a third person shooter to me…except for Act 3. I liked that part a lot.

  22. avatar Limulder

    I’d agree that the complex web of characters, double crosses, triple crosses, Cold war mythos can be a bit much.

    But, maybe it’s just me, but I truly don’t care when I don’t grasp every single minutiae of Kojima’s tangled web: because what he does right, and what I come away from the game with is the characters.

    I can hardly remember how Zero fit into the LaLeLuLeLo or whether or not Revolver Ocelot was on big boss’s side or not. What I do remember is a fragile, forgotten Snake trekking through the hollow, decrepit remains of Shadow Moses, a place that evokes the images of a young virile Snake we met 10 years ago. I remember how Meryl pointed at her former lover and with such stinging disdain in her voice, she says, “Stay out of my way, Old Snake.” Or how the once mighty Snake gazes at his withered, dying frame in the mirror.

    MGS can be a convoluted mess. I would not disagree. But when it comes to what matters to me, few, if any games, have strove for and succeeded at portraying such mature emotions and complicated characters. It’s for that reason, that Kojima is the best storyteller in videogames today.

  23. avatar doa766

    I wrote something very similar on a forum sometime ago and a lot of people shouted at me for just saying something bad about metal gear

    my point was that creating a story and telling it are two very different things, Kojima has great imagination but he doesn’t know how to tell the story, his unfamiliar with concepts like character arc, exposition, three act structure, etc

    game designers don’t need to know all that stuff but if your game is 50% cutscenes then you DO need to know about it

    just remember the scene when Naomi dies on MGS4, it was so disgusting that I had to turn the volume down and look away and I couldn’t skip it because I might miss something important after Otacon’s crying

    also he has a problem with exposition, he over explains everything (and the story still isn’t clear)

  24. @doa766

    That’s exactly my point. Many people have been thinking I’m trashing *the story*, when I’m not. I’m just upset with the way he tells it.

    Your points on exposition and implementation are spot on, he has an amazing imagination but you shouldn’t need an encyclopedia to walk away with a basic awareness of what’s just happened.

  25. avatar Magic Carpet

    James, your points are quite subjective. I have finished every MGS game too — every single release of the game (English versions only).

    I can tell you the entire story, unlike your friend. I enjoyed every single word spoken in those games. This is Metal Gear, we love it because of this. You can always play Gears of War and listen to “Let’s go kick some ass” and stuff like that.

    Maybe you are not into the details, but I know I am and I know that six of my friends who are MGS fans are like me.

    You don’t like long cutscenes? Don’t play MGS. Simple, no?

    I criticize the game for many flawed plots and twists (especially in 2 and 4), but you are criticizing the games’ concept.

    I am sure you haven’t read most of Kojima’s interviews, especially the older ones. That’s why you can’t quite grasp the way MGS and its storyline works.

    But then again, you compare Metal Gear Solid’s plot to that of Lost, so…

    @Chris Carter

    You compare Kojima to Tarantino? For God’s sake man!

    I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that you don’t like Michael Bay and yet you praise Tarantino.

    Well, to each his own….

    I know few people had experienced the joy and pleasure of playing the MGS franchise like I had. That’s all matters: the subjective experience of you, the gamer.

  26. avatar Magic Carpet

    @Limulder

    Somehow, I didn’t see your post earlier. Two thumbs up friend. The same thoughts were passing through my mind when I was playing 4.

    Not everyone is capable of perceiving these subliminal messages conveyed by the creator(s) in the game.

    Respect…

  27. avatar Rik

    MGS – Epic story average gameplay.
    Splinter Cell – Epic gameplay, average story.

  28. All I have to say is that MGS is still, to this day, my favourite franchise to ever grace any console. It’s memorable, it’s full of larger-than-life theatrics, it has a vision, it looks the part damn near perfectly, masterful voice acting and breathtaking cutscenes.

    Kojima doesn’t ‘over-explain’ anything to me, he invokes a sense of emotion everytime Snake twitches, looks away, or even when he’s puffing his cigarette. You can tell it’s depressing.

    You can’t convince me otherwise. The Microwave Hall, the fight with Liquid at the end, Act 3 as a whole and the scene with Big Boss — brilliant stuff.

    The plot might get convoluted at times, but for 90% of the time, Kojima’s done it right.

  29. avatar Wes

    All of these are valid points. But one has to think what makes MGS… Well MGS? I for one dont approve of this “Rising” sequel thats in the making.. Just to satisfy a larger audience, I for one own a Xbox 360 and desperately wanted a MGS game on it for years. But What is a MGS game without Snake?

    Who knows what weird story this one will have as well. MGS2 ruined the franchise so badly i refused to play it again. Thank God 3 came a long and changed my mind in minutes. But Still , dont go like 20 years ago then next skip 15 years in the future then back to the present… When the game is done most games will probably end up like this in order

    MGS7
    MGS1
    MGS2
    MGS6
    MGS5

    ect.. get my drift?

  30. avatar Dave

    You obviously had a much different experience playing the MGS series than I (and many others) did, because it definitely did not feel like pushing the character from cutscene to cutscene. Instead, it always felt like the gameplay and cutscenes had merged together, more fluid and awesome than any games I have ever played. And for the record, Metal Gear solid 2 was amazing, sure the ending was weird, but everything was kick ass and unexpected. Don’t change, Kojima.

    • avatar Camila

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  31. @Magic Carpet

    I didn’t compare the plot to Lost, I compared the mechanisms how the stories are told. Lost dripfeeds the answers to its questions, setting up new ones as it answers old ones. MGS floods the player with information, introducing new questions while tweaking old ones.

    Again, I think people are misinterpreting my point. I’m not criticizing THE story or THE plot. I’m criticizing how Kojima chooses to roll it out to the player. Obviously, if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t play it. But, like I wrote, MGS1 is one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of my life.

  32. The podcast is up – check out some good Kojima discussions here:
    http://gamerlimit.com/2009/09/limitcast-episode-16-moral-guidelines/

    @Magic Carpet
    Are you suggesting that Michael Bay is a “good” director?

  33. avatar HUH?

    I Love all of them if your not a MGS fan you have no business playing it and if you pay attetion stories are told and facts are solved and explained. To me the cut scenes are the Icing on the cake.

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  34. avatar MGS4

    I think MGS4 is the most overrated game on PS3. I can’t finish it. At the time, I didn’t think it was the PS3′s flagship title … Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is still the best PS3 game for me.

  35. avatar Dan

    Great article, but I’d have to dissagree with you because of one fact.

    In MGS1 the story was simple, however, it was complex if you’d like to dwell deeper. It cators to those who would like a more casual experience and those who would like a deeper one.

    On its most basic level MGS4 is like that too. You know a man is trying to control the world through a powerful system and you know snake is trying to stop it. But there is always the deeper stuff if you dwell into it.

    There is a reason MGS4 got game of the year in most websites. And if it’s story was as you say, “over complicated”, then it would of lost a ton of merit points. The reason is that Kojima creates a lot of levels for understanding in his story. You don’t need to pay attention to the small details to still get a great story (Though I don’t know why you wouldn’t, in my opinion the story was fantastic!).

  36. avatar DAGREATEST

    I too had several issues with MGS4 that just really turned me off from the series (fyi MGS1 & 3 are still 2 of my favorite videogames of all time). I’d love to hear your thoughts on the following:

    The character of Raiden: I’m sure you would agree that he was pretty much a wimp in MGS2. I applaud the fact that Kojima tried to bring him back for MGS4 and try to have him redeem himself but there was absolutely no need to keep him alive at the end. I think the whole Raiden plot would have been much more powerful if he sacrificed his life to save snake. He would have died as a hero for something that he deeply believed in. But instead, for some odd reason, Kojima chose to keep him alive (after being crushed by a 10000 ton battleship which is completely ridiculous) and have a sappy 10 minute cut-scene with him and his ‘family’

    Snake’s fate at the end of MGS4: I think it would have been far more powerful and emotional to have snake just kill himself at the graveyard scene. He kept going on about how this is his final mission and that some memes need to be erased from history so why the hell did he change his mind at the very end? If he had died right there, he would have been remembered as a hero who sacrificed everything he had to save the world. I mean the microwave scene was probably one of the most emotionally charged scenes I have yet witnessed in a videogame because he’s re-living his memories in his last moments….But no….Kojima had to keep him alive to live as a lonely old man who has nothing more to do in life. What kind of fate is that for such a legendary soldier?

    Nanomachines: It seems like Kojima used nanomachines as an easy way out of all the sub-plots that he couldn’t explain. From Vamp’s immortality to Naomi’s cancer…I mean come on…I’m sure he could have found a better way to explain things than to just blame everything on nanomachines.

    Meryl and Johnny: What the hell was Kojima thinking with that god-awful Mr.&Mrs Smith scene with Meryl and Johnny? I mean why would Meryl, a hardened soldier, all of a sudden fall in love with an idiot goof ball like Johnny? And then have a bunch of people she barely knows (Drebin?) come over for her wedding? And what about the love connection that she one had with Snake? I think Kojima could have explored their relationship a lot more (e.g. what would Meryl think/do when she knows her love interest is dying and aging at an accelerated pace). Instead she completely forgets about snake and gets married to a nobody who sh**s himself in the middle of a battlefield.

    Ridiculous/un-intentionally funny moments: Let’s face it, MGS has never been about being 100% realistic. But that’s part of the appeal of MGS (From psycho Mantis’ ability to read minds to Pain shooting bee projectiles at people) but never has the series been more ridiculous than MGS4. How the hell can Raiden, a dude who was cornered by the FROG unit (right after the lightning scene), stop a giant battleship with his bare hands? And that scene where he shows up with both his hands missing while holding a sword with his teeth? I wasn’t sure if that was serious or a joke because it looked completely absurd.

    All in all, I still love the MGS series but MGS4 was just so mishandled that it really turned me off from the series. And I’m certain that MGS5 is going to get worse. It’s completely unnecessary and is only being developed so that Konami can make more money.

  37. @DA
    Raiden: Raiden is a product of Kojima’s mind. Is the inclusion of Raiden similar to Walt Disney putting “himself” in his first motion picture, Snow White, in the form of the prince? It’s certainly possible that Kojima created Raiden as sort of his true personality. Either way, Kojima LOVES Raiden, possibly more than any other character outside of Snake. While I did like him in MGS2, I do agree with you that going from a hardened bad ass like Snake to a rookie/softie like Raiden was a very odd and dis-jarring choice.

    End of MGS4: I actually quite liked that the ending was open ended, and we have to assume that he dies shortly after. I think it’s possible that Kojima’s take on his lonely survival is that: “in the end, we’re all alone, despite how heroic we may be” (That’s just an interpretation I have, of course).

    Nanomachines were used as a dues-ex-machina cop out, very true.

    Meryl and Johnnny: I actually quite liked it, despite the absurdity. Johnny was a goofball, yea, but he showed that he cared about Meryl in an obvious manner; and I’m fairly sure they allude that he always had these feelings.

    Nice points! I’m really glad you decided to discuss it with us, and I’m sorry if my responses are a bit short, as I’m pressed for time, and have a lot more I can say on the matter: make sure you register!

  38. avatar czerro

    OK. In the final mix of things. Does the story work? I vote no, and because I vote no, I can also say that the “story telling” prowess of Kojima is overrated. Either agree or disagree. I don’t care if you think double crosses are “cool” or cold war “mythos” is awesome. The motivations of any of the characters makes zero sense, and their ultimate goals are yet ambiguous and what we do know of their motivations is absolute chaotic nonsense devised as nothing more than mere plot contrivance so that the player can skulk around with Solid Snake in yet another MGS. This is reality! Kojima wants to make money. I appreciate that. I just wish he would quit trying to make plotless machima out of the thin veil of a plot he began with!

    • avatar Wuelant

      no importa si lleve tanto timepo y dinero para programar mgs 4 para ps2 lo que importa es que todo el mundo lo conosca y bean lo bueno que es este videojuego es sierto que puedan aver otros videojuegos sorprendentes pero este es el mejor por ahora asi que todos los tienen que jugar

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  39. avatar czerro

    @WWII

    Oh geez, the “just because you don’t get it arguement”. Look, I can see MGS for what it is. Just as what I can see “Lost” for what it is. The writers fly by the seat of their pants. The horizon is not even in sight, as they know that once that horizon is indelible lined they are strapped in and have no more twists to give us. The “Lost” writers have worked it right though. They give us the illusion that there is infact a horizon, only to cleverly sweep it out from under our feet. Granted, we the viewer, knowing we are watching “Lost”, knew this would happen, but we just had to see HOW they did it. That is what makes it clever. MGS on the other hand, makes absolutely no sense, so the twists are pointless, and the “journey” is pointless. You know you are defending a poor work when your only arguement is “what is story telling?”. Please. Maybe your college english/philosophy professor used this to pass off his hack ideas on you, but I believe if you analyze it, you will recognize it as the last resort of a bankrupt idiot. Or to use your language, “If you don’t agree with what I’m saying, you must not be smart enough to understand what I’m saying.” Believe me, we all know what you are saying, and we all know you have no concept of story-telling, pacing, plot-construction, proper usage of “establishing scenes” to render context and meaning, and ad nauseaum. The theatrical elements of MGS fail in every single concept and reveals Kojima to be a bigger fool than simply not knowing how to write a cohesive plot.

  40. avatar czerro

    @Chris Carter

    If everything is so artfully designed, why does the conclusion hinge so clumsily on an out-of-left-field “nano-machine” plot contrivance? Please. This “tale” is lame. I approve of the gameplay, but the story is the worst anime tripe ever contrived. Hey, how about Kojima recycles Dallas/Newhart in his next sequel, so we can see it’s all a dream so that it’s “ok” that none of it makes sense! That would be SO clever.

  41. avatar eddie

    Firstly i just wanted to say i’m an avid mgs fan (i mean avid! aren’t we all)
    and secondly this is the first time i’ve ever written on a video game forum.
    I felt compelled to right about this series and how much i have appreciated and how i find it and it’s creator fascinating. I have never played a game that moves through so many genre’s like mgs whether it’s stealth scene’s, vehicle scene’s, fighting scene’s or story line as rich as an rpg. The series also has a storyline i can on only think of comparing to final fantasy in terms of size and emotional depth it’s not for everyones taste and if you aren’t immersed in the story or characters or the vision of the creator then things tend to drag, as someone mentioned earlier games can go so much further than movies like books in terms of story development but games do not not need to be locked up in a vault of iron clad logic and conservative realism it’s why i play them so much. When you are immersed in a game like ff or mgs it doesn’t matter to me whether the cut scenes are 10 mins or 100 mins because once that console is turned on and i am playing for the first time i am soaking everything in, and anyway when games have storyline’s of that magnitude they will never tick every box for everyone (well maybe me and others who love the series)

    I’ve found the mgs series (yes in it’s entirety) to be probably the most visceral and indelible gaming experience i’ve ever had i feel like hideo has put all his thoughts of humanity and military into the game. I also want to remind peeps that mgs1 also had hefty story content we just lapped it up because it was the first time anyone had seen that in a game you wouldn’t expect. There were loads of dialouge and codec scene’s remember mei ling and master miller’s deception being liquid but no one complained about the length (well i had a few friends complained but never anyone who played it for the first time) length tends to become an issue in movies or games if you don’t care about that the characters then you don’t tend care or believe what they have to say (you do tend to listen to the boss though she was awesome)

    I think where some of the failings in the series was hideo could never create characters or villians better than mgs1 raven, sniper wolf, psycho mantis, ocelot ( what a line-up!) mgs 2 had vamp and solidus were really good but the rest weren’t too great and the struts were horrendous they all looked the same hours and hours of it i found it was a poor choice of a level to design … the gameplay was awesome though. I think mgs3 tried to bring some new characters but very few left an indelible impression like mgs1. What really impressed me about mgs4 was how hideo managed to tie up the whole storyline and still make it coherent and transparent for first time gamers…wow.

    This series effected more than any other game can or will in the future you’ll never see a game made with such devotion from start to finish in a series regardless of which one you like it’s been an amazing ride (and for the record i thought hideo could easily have added more storyline he’s a closet novelist for pete’s sake) remember the books he left in previous mgs series?

    I for one though am eager to see his next games he decide’s to do whether casltevania or maybe a new zoe and remeber just made the first as a “side project” while making mgs.

    thanks for listening peeps my list of my favourite mgs titles iis as follows…

    mgs1 (duh)
    mgs4 (gotta go for solid snake sorry big boss)
    mgs3 (finding out your playing with big boss himself, priceless)
    mgs2 (raiden + struts + characters = last, sorry raiden)

  42. The level of responses to my article has been fantastic, I’ve loved reading every single one. I truly appreciate everyone’s viewpoint.

  43. avatar Magic Carpet

    @James Pinnell

    “The level of responses to my article has been fantastic, I’ve loved reading every single one. I truly appreciate everyone’s viewpoint.”

    1. MGS is very popular with lots of diehard fans.
    2. Your article is somewhat “controversial” and is very well-written.

    “I’m criticizing how Kojima chooses to roll it out to the player. Obviously, if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t play it. But, like I wrote, MGS1 is one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of my life.”

    I don’t claim that you don’t like the game, but I would guess that you aren’t too fond of the concept that Kojima relies upon to convey his thoughts while many of us love this concept and the way he chooses to tell the story.

    Your points aren’t baseless, but I choose to disagree. ;)

    @Chris Carter

    Yes, I argue that Michael Bay is not just a good director, but an excellent one. Are you trying to invalidate my point using reviews and Rotten Tomatoes scores?

    He takes on action packed films that few even dare to venture. He beats his ass off making his movies. Yet, someone like Clint Eastwood, with probably some of the most boring and pointless movies is praised and collects trophies.

  44. avatar Chris

    I do have just one thing to say- Metal Gear Solid 4, all it’s parts included), still succeeded the end result of being one of the only games that I’ve played where when you reach the end, it actually feels RIGHT!!

  45. @Magic
    I used to love Bay as a child. His unbridled love for action was nearly unrivaled.

    But once he shat on a national tragedy (Pearl Harbor) by making it mostly a chick flick (and a bad movie to boot), completely ruined Transformers 2, and threw up on The Island’s source material, I really lost faith in his directorial prowess.

    I think he’s a guy who can blow stuff up really well, and when he’s behind the right people, he can be a success, but as a sole movie making entity, he’s not that great, unlike Tarantino.

  46. avatar thom

    hate to say it but you didnt state why he got carried away but stated why his getting carried away had detremental effects on the series. it is hard to explain and i know a good amount of people who are/were turned off by it.
    personally i thought the plot twist in 2 was incredible. it made the player actually think about what the character they controlled did, if you were actually the villian or not, about all sorts of things. this has never happened to me before or after in a game and really displayed kojimas ability with the video game genre and what its capable of. 3 & 4 im afraid were hurt by the end of 2 in that they had to be set up to explain what happened in 2. people wanted answers the something that should have stayed unsolvable but could be defeated.
    but the story line is finished (or should be, we will see how the sequels play out) and mgs can now go into a new direction which can be more intune with the original than the sequels if it perfers.

  47. avatar Asator_MK

    I liked MGS2, I don’t know why Raiden gets so much grief.. Truly I personally find MGS3 to be the weakest link and most distanced game of the series.

    MGS3 was based more on a outdoor mission, rather then the typical MGS1 & 2 so gameplay wise it is very different. You can eat animals? lol I don’t know about you but on normal difficulty + he is a very hungry man.. I guess he doesn’t need to drink yet eating food is super realistic! ..

    I found it great playing as a new character in MGS2 then meeting up with snake, an experience you can’t do with any other MGS to date. What more can you ask for? being allies with snake, sure Raiden is a typical japanese character but he owns shit with a sword using his teeth!

    Yes I do realise that scene was ridiculous as with the scene where he stopped the battleship, died, then magically came back with no arms. It must have been hard to climb back ashore!

    I agree with “Magic Carpet” with the ending of MGS4. The wedding was a giant dissapointment for me, a giant wtf moment. Snake should have died to eliminate the foxdie, he can kill thousands of men without a second thought to complete his mission but hessitates when it comes to his own life.. I thought that was out of character.

    The epilogue was HORRIBLE, I mean.. hi i’m big boss, here is this old man (remember him from MGS3??? if not buy it!!) *talking ensues for 10 mins* now I will kill him *pulls plug* oh no foxdie *dies* …

  48. avatar patrick

    Ok here I come…

    First of all I been playing mgs since the first one… yes that’s right 1987 I believe. So after beating part 4 I was crying like a little school girl.

    I don’t look at them as 1 game but I take them all and put them together as an amazing story / characters.
    No other series could do what Kojima did, not me and not anyone in this blog.

    Why Snake didn’t kill himself? BECAUSE IT’S KOJIMA!!! Hello people, he loves pulling this kind of stuff. Want to bet Snake will be back one day?
    Raiden is in the cover of mgs Rising, but who says Snake won’t be back near the mid point or end? This is why he did this, cuz if he killed him then it would be 0 ways to bring him back just in case Rising flops.

    Why you think Ocelot went with him? For him to write stories? come on people aren’t more smart then that? Who knows maybe he will turn young again from what Naomi put in him, or maybe Ocelot will do something… No one will ever know till the day Rising comes out.
    I don’t care if Kojima says he won’t make another game with Snake, you all know how he is, he loves to mess with his fans and make them talk about his next game for years and years. And that’s what the beauty of Metal Gear is. No other game can or will ever do this to people.

    Remember part 3? People were so lost when they saw the teaser. They were saying stuff like.. Well maybe he went in the past with virtuality, or maybe it’s a dream?.. Stuff like this. Also look at mgs2… We all thought we would play as snake througout the game, and then the next thing we know is we are controlling a lousy ass character with no soul.

    Snake is metal gear, there really isn’t a point to make any other game, just call the next game Super Ninja Man, cuz it will not work. Sure he’s cooler in part 4, and I actually liked him, not cuz he’s a bad ass, but because Snake and his scenes are awesome. Snake makes those scenes shine, without Snake this game would be terrible. Ocelot crying like a fool is terrible, and so is Johnny… Simply terrible acting and directing. But I don’t think that’s kojimas fault, that’s mostly the actors in english fault.

    Anyways if you’ve played 1,2,3,4… from the start 1998 to 2008, then you feel something while playing this game, something no other game / book/ movie can do. Amazing franchise yes, but without Snake … no
    Just end it and do another louzy zone of the enders game :)

    • avatar Sandy

      This has to be one of the best MGS figures ever! It is txeremly detailed and it does one thing that most of these toys cant do, and that is stand up on it’s own lol. Keep it standing on a smooth flat surface and it will stay standing up. The toy it self isn’t very poseble, Actually u can’t move him at all. But this is a character trohpy any way, to show off in a shelf, not play with. Overall this is one of the best lookin figures of MGS in my collection and recomend it to die hard fans and collecters!

  49. avatar patrick

    Ocelot = I meant Otacon :)

  50. avatar Asator_MK

    Kojima actually really likes the character Raiden.. as do I..

    Kojima has been compared to Quentin Tarintino in some ways, they both tend to get carried away sometimes..

    Anyway good points.

  51. avatar eddie

    it wouldn’t be mgs if it didn’t have ott scenes and i loved zoe thought it was too short but some really good points were made the mgs series has been going for a really longtime before playstation how someone could produce massive story arcs and actually sum it up in digestable dialouge (in mgs4) is amazing. I’ve never played mgs just for the gameplay i played for the story snakes story but big boss is also a bad ass individual but snake is way more hardcore he has killed him and liquid a number times i think he could beet the boss ass well. (they should put her character in mgo that would be awesome with some crazy cqc sheezy for reezy)

  52. avatar someone

    Limulder: “It’s for that reason, that Kojima is the best storyteller in videogames today.”

    And he isn’t very good, so what does that say about the industry? The writing quality in games is absolutely laughable and pitiful compared to movies.

  53. avatar Saine

    It’S VIDEO GAMES!… it’s not meant to be a movie. Even Kojima always said.. don’t take the games too seriously. I’m sure we could all make great stories like top movies… But what he created = no one else can come up with. Is it silly at times? sure, but that’s Metal Gear, if you want a more realistic story play Splintercell… guess what? No one talks about Splintercel stories cuz it’s bland and boring.

    • avatar Sanjay

      pues esta dificil ke salga para ps2 y mas para 360 , y es ke ocupa mucho esacpio de disco duro por eso salio en blu-ray , y caramba como se veria en 360 jajaja no es por ofender pero en mgs 4 sale a relucir mucho el play3 , el psp y casi siempre las compus que salen en los videos son de la marca sony y aple , te imaginas eso en un 360 .bueno sale consiganlo para ps3 ya que vale la pena ver el juego alta definicion y en la play 3 , yo ya lo acabe 1000% recomendado mejor ke halo y otros mas .y eso que cuento con 360 y ps3 .y salen muchos personajes de las demas mgs .METAL GEAR SOLID 4 EL MEJOR QUE HE JUGADO .

  54. avatar someone

    Whether or not a story is bland and boring is not related to how realistic or unrealistic it is.

  55. avatar eddie

    your being overly critical i feel when u talk about story lines in games, it can kind of be like comic books at times but mgs has undertones about humanity and war that run very deep, sure some comic book storylines are ludicrous and don’t tranlsate well to movies sometimes same with games but most have undertones of heroism and personal sacrifice. Remember jericho and stranglehold two games made by film directors their stories were beyond crap because they (probably like you) thought stories in games aren’t as deep as movies. When i’m emmersed in a game i soak up everything i can which is why i luv playing mgs and ff there’s so much story and character development that they make look easy.

  56. avatar Anonymous

    For people complaining about realism or lack of go read up on magical realism and similar devices.

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