MGS4 First Impressions - (full review later)

Discussion in 'Consoles & console games' started by Stukov, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    I've had a computer for ages and a 360 couple years ago. When it looked as though Blu-Ray had it locked in I got a PS3 60GB so I could have Blu-Ray, have hardware PS2 support, and so I could play Metal Gear Solid 4.

    I bought my copy at my local Walmart and played it from about 9am until about 1:15pm when I had to go to sleep for work tonite. I am going to try to give as good as an overview of what I played without too many critical spoilers.

    Installation:
    When you first put the game in, you have to install a portion of the game to your hard disk. It says it takes about 8 mins and you can see a progress bar in the lower left with % complete thus far.

    While it is installing you have an upclose profile of Old Snake cycling through smoking a cigarette. Having a 1080p 40" LCD I can tell you that he looks fantastic, but I will get to the graphics later. Also during the install process there is also some text that comes on the screen to the left of Old Snake that has some slightly humorous warnings and bits of information.

    Since I was able to complete the first Act, which takes between 3-5 hours depending on how many times you die trying to figure out controls, between the first and second act there was another installation. This time it it only took 3 mins and there a few new little bits of text. I don't know if there is an installation between each act or not.

    Load times
    I felt the load times were not too long and most importantly didnt break up any action or scenes. They usually occured between action levels and would after an action scene you would be greeted with an opening cut scene that would move right into the action and is quite seemless and well done.

    Graphics

    One word to describe them.

    WOW

    Amazing graphics and honestly quite possibly the best and most well done graphics for any game to date. I am not saying that other titles like Crysis or other 'flashy' games don't have good effects and the OOOs and AWWs, but nothing is as well polished was MGS4.

    The models were very well done, the textures all looked crisp and clear, there were plenty of nice camera effects, and the FSAA was done right (jaggies for da lay man). About the only complaint I could have with it and its not a complaint, its just something it could have done better, was use of bloom/HDR effects. But I believe it may just be a limitation of PS3 hardware (7800 GTX) that doesnt allow FSAA and HDR in the same.

    Comparing GTA4 and MSG4, GTA4 uses HDR and has bad 'jaggies' where as MSG4 has great FSAA (little or no jaggies) but limited to no HDR. Between the two I prefer having FSAA. While the HDR is nice for enviromental feel and colors, FSAA allow the game to feel more 'real' in the sense. At times in GTA4 I felt distracted by the jaggies as it was a constant reminder - game - where as in GTA4 this chrispness of the image as well as the quality of the characters makes it feel more natural and relaxing.

    When watching cut scenes you really get sucked in and forget 'this is a game' and almost have to jump out of your self a little bit and realize how well done the graphics are because there is nothing distracting at all.

    There are no pre-rendered cutscenes for actual game play like old school games like FFVII would use and the quality of the in game graphics finally make the promise of having the good graphics of pre-rendered scenes done within actual game play and engine.

    Beginning of the game
    The beginning of the game after the load is complete has some live footage of what best I can tell is supposed to be from like 'in game tv' or something. I think there are supposed to be some jokes and even though I have played MGS1/2 long time ago and didnt finish 3, I don't think I 'got' them all. (I did however did get all the in-game jokes as many MGS fans will).

    After that the game starts its opening scene which takes place in the middle east. Again, to make this spoiler free as possible I am not going to get into detail of the story of the funny moments. At the end of the cut scene you will be given a shirt bit of time (1-3 mins) to get used to some of the controls as you are in a safe place admist a battle.

    I personally spent this time trying to get used to the controls, setting up my invert joysticks, senstivity, and reading the CQC guide in the start menu.

    Menu
    The menu (which I can't see everything while I am at work) lets you put items/weapons in 'slots' in order to use the in normal MSG fashion (using L2 for items R2 for weapons). You can save and while the menu is loaded there is a layout of a map, which I didnt realize at first which would have made a few things easier.

    There is also an option to save the game. However, when I died you were given the option to continue, which went from a checkpoint rather than my save. Why it did this rather than loading my save I don't know, perhaps it only loads it from the main game screen (if you quit/reload).

    I will get into the weapons and the Drebin Points later.

    Continuing the game
    After you move from that 1-3 min spot you are greated with a mini cutscene then you must proceed with some game play and get used to trying to avoid the fighting thats going on. I don't think it's too much a spoiler but it appears much (of at least the first act) there are two sides fighting of which both will attack you thinking you are the enemy. So you want to stay away from them.

    Like I said above there is about 3-5 hours for the first chapter depending on how long you play in game, takes you to get used to controls, and how many times you die (if at all). I died right away when I was hitting the wrong button to attack (lol).

    There is a great deal of interesting cut scenes as well as good action sequences for the in game.

    Game Play Mechanics
    You have two main bars, health and psyche. There is also a meter in % for stress. Health and psyche recover over time (faster laying down) otherwise you can eat ramen noodles or rations to recover during battle.

    Stress goes up as you do more and more combat or get into stressful situations. I am not compeletly sure of all the thing that it effects but I believe it can affect Old Snakes ability to shoot accurately, stablily, and possibly cause him to move slower. You know, his ticker is getting old so he can only do so much.

    You can play stealthy or go all out, however enemies "respawn" in various locations (when they fighting each other reinforcements flow in) or you can go balls out. From my gameplay complete stealth its too damn hard and so is complete run and gun. A good balance of sneaking past certain spots, and taking out certain enemies (especially ones that don't respawn) is the best way to easily flow through the game.

    You may be able to sneak past those few guards, but if you get on past and another see's you you have just more coming after you. I prefer to buy a silencer, take out a few select guards, get in pass through. If I get detected at least I am not fighting 5-10 people, but rather 2-5, which is more managable. Also if you take out guards with ease you dont take stress or hits on your psyche (killing them 1 by 1) vs all at once Old Snake about has a heart attack I swear.

    Weapons
    Alot of them!! Which in my book scores this game higher just because of the variety of weapons. But hey, I'm a dude that played the mod Firearms, almost all because it had more weapons in it than other games.

    Anyways, through first act you will come upon a 'gun launderer' to explain it briefly as possible every weapon the PMC (private military corporations I think) is ID locked, which means its locked their units. The rebels weapons dont have this however. Anyways if you pick up a PMC weapon you cant use it. Like I said though you run into a 'gun launderer' who can remove the ID requirement on the weapon for a small fee.

    Each time you pick up a new weapon you get it, though if its PMC weapon its locked. Every time after that you pick up that weapon you get the ammo but the gun goes to the gun launderer for 'points' that you can use to unlock guns, buy upgrades for them, buy new guns, and buy ammo. It is a tit for tat relationship where you the merc gives him surplus guns from dead guys he gives you new guns and upgrades.

    It's obvious its a way to explain a system in which you can do this kind of stuff with guns, however for me it was adequate and believable - at least in principle.

    Gameplay vs Cut scenes
    There is gameplay, so you know. However, much of the game plays like an interative movie epic. I personally got MGS4 HOPING there would be lots of cut scenes as I enjoy watching the story evolve in a cinematic experience while being able to play through the action sequences. I think MSG4 does it right. I heard you can skip through the dialog and stuff but I think that ruins 3/4 of the game right there. While you may not like the story eventually and skip through it on multiple runs, skipping it on the first run is in my opinion stupid. If you dont want a story told through cut scenes combined with action sequences and game play, then don't buy it, save yourself the money, and please don't come on here complaining how you liked it. You were given warning (if you were cool enough to read this ;) that is).

    Forgot a few things, during cut scenes keep your hands on the controller, you can access first person view with L1 as it will show up in the upper left of the scene, which allows you to see whats Snake is seeing. You will see a X in the upper right which you will want to rapid tap in order to see flash backs. Doing both will give you Drebin Points at the end of the act, as well as doing well in other parts of the mission.

    There are also some complaints in the other thread about lots of cut scenes right away and yes there is a bit, but don't worry once you get past the first loading sequence the action gameplay scenes are more prominent.

    Story + Memorable moments
    The story is explained for you, however there will be referenced things that occassionally you wont understand unless you played previous games. There is a bit of fan fare and jokes that if you played MSG you will get better than others who didnt. My hope is that everything referenced will be explained again, cuz even though I played the first two games, I can't remember every detail. Also so that new players understand a bit better whats going on as they wont like it if its never explained, even if its a short few sentances.

    There were a few moments that were repeatibly funny, enough so that my girlfriend that was watching me play (who knows nothing about MSG nor was intersted in watching me play) was continually laughing at certain parts.

    Camo
    Something I forgot to add was the Camo feature. I was really annoyed with the camo in 3, so much so I quite playing it. It was done right this time around. If you stay near a surface or ground for enough time it will adopt that color scheme and make camo out of it. I think you can also 'save' camo schemes so you don't have to wait in game for a color adapt. Or you are in an area with lots of colors and you want something neutral that may not be awesome on every surface, but good enough to get by everything.

    If you get 95% camo, it means the people may walk right by you and not see you if they are not looking for you. However, there were a few times where hiding and staying still is not enough, especially if you are dumb enough (i did accidently) to lay down right infront of their path.

    Closing First Impression
    It's a really well done game, thus far. I may have used the word 'quality' too much, but the best word I can find for it, that or polished. It doesnt feel like the game has left anything on the table or is under achieving. Many times you play a game or watch a movie where you just feel "it could have been better". So far I don't get that feeling and it does in fact feel extremely polished. The only grip I really do have is I wish you could rebind some of the buttons. I would prefer L2/R2 for aim/fire rather than L1/R1 because I have rather large hands its hard to grip the PS controller to hit those buttons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  2. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    reserved for 2nd impressions :banana:
     
  3. Mr.Bigtime

    Mr.Bigtime Ancient Guru

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    hmmm. nicely done. thanx.
     
  4. Copey

    Copey Ancient Guru

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    just starting playing, will give an opinion soon enough.
     

  5. Delkam

    Delkam Member Guru

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    This games has much good review... but i don't know if the review was real (but actiontrip never lies for my part)
     
  6. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    So far its somewhere between 8 and 10.
     
  7. Cybermancer

    Cybermancer Don Quixote

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    Very nice review and read, Stukov! Thanks. :D
     
  8. xEnergie

    xEnergie Active Member

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    1) Naomi is a total game babe <3
    2) Raiden's moo cow fight was epic
    3) 9.5/10 (*fps dips, *autoaim is lackin, slight jaggies)

    Coming from someone who's last system was a n64/playstation this game was totally worth it to come back to consoles as a means of gaming entertainment. I'm currently playing it on Solid Normal difficulty and it's not that bad.

    The learning curve takes anywhere from 20-45 mins to get it down, then you're out rockin'. I'd like to also note that I haven't played any of the previous MGS games but still find this one to be enoyable from a new player's prespective.

    Stukov was pretty accurate with his estimate of act1 completion as it took me 5.5 hours to complete with only 1 death (stupid johhny got hs in the hallway haha). The whole "too much cut scenes" is totally up to you. I personally loved each and everyone of them as they added a lot to the story (especially for me since I'm new to the game).

    *The only things I can nit pick about this game is that during some scenes you can notice a drop in fps, but it's not a show stopper. The auto aim only works when you click [] but getting it to lock on target takes practice. Last but not least there's still some jaggies that can be noticed. But whatev's the game is still completely enjoyable and as said earlier, the women look like women.:banana:
    Oh yea, those gekko's should be called cows haha... reminds me of the robots from Evangelion lol. :nerd:
     
  9. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    I think the Auto-Aim (which you use square activate) is either on or off all the time. Once you turn it on (while holding L1) I don't think it turns off until you hit square again.
     
  10. Musouka

    Musouka Master Guru

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    Thanks!

    I finished the game yesterday (got it on the 10th). This game is not only epic, it destroys. Best MGS game ever! :)
     

  11. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    If I didnt have to do things like work, sleep, or eat I suppose it would be possible to complete a game like that in 4 days!

    Btw, I don't want any spoilers, but how many acts are in the game?
     
  12. Musouka

    Musouka Master Guru

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    I have to go to work and was only able to finish the game after playing it for 6+ hours daily.

    Well, knowing the number of acts is a spoiler itself, but if you insist, see below:

    S
    P
    O
    I
    L
    E
    R

    W
    A
    R
    N
    I
    N
    G

    5 acts (plus more)
     
  13. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    Well I don't personally consider the # of acts to be a spoiler, its like saying how many levels there are in a game. But its good enough you whited it in case someone else's opinion is different.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  14. Musouka

    Musouka Master Guru

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    You're welcome :)

    Konami considered it a spoiler and told the mags/site not to mention it through the NDA.
     
  15. masterchiefx2

    masterchiefx2 Banned

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    i watched the playr review this morning they gave it 10 out of 10, the problem i have is they said half the game are cut scenes seriously if i want that much cut scenes might aswell watch a movie i know alot of people like this sort of thing but i like 2-3 min cut scenes maximum, the intro can be long but i dont feel like getting interrupted by a cutscene every time i pick up the joypad also where are these amazing graphics they look good but nothing spectacular, and the new cammo suit makes the game a bit easy no? being able to blend into everything kinda takes the aspect of stealth away.
     

  16. Musouka

    Musouka Master Guru

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    ^^^
    There are degrees of camouflage. Not everything would blend beautifully. You need above 75% to go unnoticed.

    However, you can choose to play the game as action-based instead of hiding in the shadows.

    The cutscenes are seamless to me. Then again, I am biased (seeing that I am a long-time fan of the game ever since I first played the original Metal Gear on MSX2 back in 1988).
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  17. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    Its true there are a good amount of cut scenes, a) you can skip through them and b) take in consideration the game was designed to tell a story and it does that through cut scenes and dialog.

    There is still PLENTY to play and it seems to me different acts have different amount of cut scenes. Act 1 had alot (beginning of the game) but Act 2 had some, but had alot more game play as well.

    You have to also be on your toes during the cut scenes (see my review) as you can access hidden thigns by hitting buttons at certain times. You also don't get 'interrupted' by cut scenes every few minutes (with minor exception at the beginning of the game) its mainly cut scene long game play, cut scene, long game play, cut scene boss, new act, cut scene, long game play, etc...

    The new camo suit is way better than in 3 (which I hated the switching) and it doesnt make things to easy, but the slower you go the better chance your suit will 'adapt' to the enviroment and you wont be scene as easily. If you are laying still on the ground and the person isnt looking for you 9 times out of 10 they wont find you. but if they are looking for you unless you are in the high 90's they can still find you (especially if they saw where you went to).

    other times you can have lower camo % and if they are busy fighting each other (rebels vs pmc) they wont notice you (as they are shooting/getting shot at).
     
  18. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    I have a question for other players, whats the deal with saving/loading the game?

    I have tried saving the game then loading it later but every time it doesnt load where I save it, it starts back over at teh beginning of that level...is that normal? Is there no way to save/load from where you actually save it?
     
  19. Musouka

    Musouka Master Guru

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    It saves at the beginning of the checkpoint, I believe. Haven't paid much attention to that.

    It will also saves the weapons/items you have at the beginning of the checkpoint. I once bought lots of bullets from Drebin immediately after entering a new zone of an act, saved and then quit. When I loaded the game, it only gave me the amount of bullets (and money) I had upon entering the zone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  20. Stukov

    Stukov Ancient Guru

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    yah, thats minus .1 off the score for me not being to save in game...
     

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