|Metal Gear Solid 2|
Release Date: Out Now
Everyone has heard of Solid Snake, since the original MGS was released on the PSOne almost everyone has wanted to be him, and the sequel was one of the most anticipated games of all time.
The opening sequence is like a movie, a dark figure walking along the G.W Bridge, suddenly he starts to run, throwing off his anorak and activating his stealth suit before bungee jumping from the bridge to a ship below. You're thinking - this is Metal Gear Solid 2, this is cool.
You gain control in the pouring rain, water drips down the camera lense when you look around, the soldiers torchlight reflects off the slippery floor as you sneak up behind him, your finger hovers over the button as you go to snap his neck, press the wrong button and crawl through his legs.
The control system in MGS2 is identical to its predecessor, only with a few more options. It still takes a while to get used to and it stills feels clunky and mixed up when you're in combat, but put in enough practice and you'll be building stacks of bodies in no time. The only problem is the lack of a jump button, it puts my preferred method of attack out of the question, darn.
As for the graphics, they are very dark and dingy, a lot of greys, blacks and blues, but despite that the effects are very impressive, rain, lights, wet footprints, its all there and better than ever, I just prefer pastel colours, hear that Hideo?
The animation on Snake and the soldiers is very fluent and smooth, and the attention to detail on things like their radios and guns is staggering, textures like the tread on the bottom of peoples boots simply don't appear in other games, Konami get a gold star for effort.
Now, I've tried to avoid this, but I have to mention Raiden, not only is he one of the most annoying and melodramatic heroes ever to appear in a game, he's there in place of Solid Snake! - one of the coolest heroes ever. Including him was a big mistake on Konami's part, and although his place in the story is very intricate and clever, its far too drawn out and his personality isn't interesting enough for you to really care what happens to him.
The plot is like a good movie, well thought out and full of emotion and betrayal, but the only reason most people put up with movie plotlines is because they know it'll lead to action, MGS2 is sadly lacking in this department. The Codec is a neat invention, but it is so over-used in MGS2 that you'll end up skipping whole chunks of dialogue to get on with the game, there is far too much conversation and not enough gameplay - Kojima wanted movie-like visuals, he got movie-like interaction, very little.
That said, the bits of the game that don't involve Raiden whining or surreal conversations are excellent, the innovation of the original is back in full force and there are some moments of genius in the gameplay, its such a shame the plot was so intrusive, because MGS2 could've been a classic.