It’s 1998 and I am in High School. I hadn’t played video games since the Sega Genesis. My friend invited me over to his place to play this game that he had been raving about for the last few weeks. This game happened to be Metal Gear Solid for the PSOne. This is that game that got me back into gaming. It’s the first game that showed you could advance the medium in more ways than one. Sure games before MGS advanced in graphics and gameplay. But MGS was the first game to be a playable movie. Instead of being awarded with a score based on how well you played the game, you got rewarded with a cutscene that advanced that played out like a movie. For this MGS will always hold a special place in my heart. But the title of my favourite game goes to MGS’ sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Jump forward to 2001. The Playstation 2 has come out. I had just finished college and was working. So this is the first time I had money of my own to burn. I bought a PS2/Gran Tursimo A-Spec bundle and a copy of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. I don’t think I put the controller town for the first few days. If I wasn’t eating or sleeping, I was playing MGS2.
MGS2 took a huge graphical leap over MGS1. It added things like destructible environments and faces actually looked like faces. If you don’t know what I am talking about, go and look at screens from MGS1 and MGS2. You basically go from the polygonal faces of MGS1 to the more life like faces of MGS2. The difference is staggering.
MGS2 also like to mess with you. After the first act, you played as a new character Raiden and Snake is perceived dead. First and only time you play as someone other then Snake. A lot of fans hated this decision but for me it was ok. Yes MGS is Snake. But for me having an unsure, winey rookie helped add to the story. Plus (spoilers), Snake didn’t die.
MGS1 was over-the-top when it came to the story. Snake beat a guy in a huge tank, won an intense sniper battle, battled a cyborg ninja, bested a telepathic enemy (who read your memory card and told you about the games you have played) and defeated a huge metal robot, before having a fist fight against your twin bother. Oh yeah. And you found out you are the clone a super soldier called Big Boss. MGS2 went even further. You fought a lady that you couldn’t hit with bullets, battled a vampire that could heal himself, fought hundreds of metal robots that were controlled by an AI on a huge ship, found out that the AI was created by a group called the Patriots and that they were using this AI to control and evaluate the entire world and had an all out samurai sword battle with your old mentor (and another one of Snakes twin brothers (who was once the president) and clone of Big Boss). As the story got more ridiculous, the more engrossed in the game I got. I wanted to see what the next bit of story was that was going to flip the story on end.
So you only got to play as Snake for the first Act. That doesn’t matter. Snake was still in the story. It still controlled like a Metal Gear Solid game. The story was still a crazy Metal Gear story. Maybe I connected with Raiden as he is exactly as I would have been if I was in his situation. For me Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is my favourite game because the gameplay was excellent, the story was crazy and the boss battles were over-the-top. I have replayed this game each time it was re-released. I played the Substance version (with the Raiden skateboarding game) and I also played the HD version of the PS Vita. It simply is the best Metal Gear Solid game so far and thus (in my mind) the best game ever.
Note: Screenshots provided by GamesPress.com