What Makes the Metal Gear Solid Series So Good
Rahil Bhagat / Oct 15th, 2012 6 Comments
There is no video game series quite like Metal Gear Solid. For the past quarter of a century we gamers have been privy to the lives of Naked Snake and his ilk as they save the world from all sorts of peril. My own story with the series begins in 2008 when my friend sold me his 40GB PlayStation 3. As I was leaving his house I noticed the unassuming plastic box lying on his table. Metal Gear Solid 4, the title read. Now, I knew about the Metal Gear Solid series beforehand but had never bothered to play it. However, he was giving it to me free of charge so I took it and popped it into my console that very same night.
Needless to say I was transfixed. Who was this old man? Why was he dying? Why does Johnny have constant diarrhea? The original Metal Gear Solid scene in Shadow Moses, the fights between Raiden and Vamp and the final battle atop Outer Heaven simply blew me away. A lot of it made no sense but it was just so cool that I did not care. This game was cinematic brilliance on a scale I had never seen before. Sure, many games claim to be cinematic experiences, but even Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s latest trailer has nothing on this.
The plan was simple: replay the whole series in chronological order, starting at Snake Eater and ending with a replay of Guns of the Patriots, coming full circle. Fortunately Konami had just released the HD collection which included all the games I would need to complete this journey. It took me nearly two months but in early 2012 I was finished, and I watched the credits roll on Guns of The Patriots, man-tear back with a vengeance. Sure, the series still had plot holes bigger than Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s budget but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.
I asked myself, what made the series so good? What made Metal Gear, well, Metal Gear and not any of the other stealth-action games it inspired? After lots of thought and generous helpings of developer commentary I think I have come to some sort of understanding. Now this is just one humble gamer’s reasoning so feel free to agree or disagree in any way.
The Metal Gear series, especially the games since Metal Gear Solid, have aspired to be more than video games. After all a game, by definition, is a deviation from real life, an experience that serves to distract us from reality. A good game draws us into its world with good gameplay and a solid narrative. A great game bleeds into real life; it becomes more than just a combination of ones and zeroes, it becomes an experience, and that’s what Metal Gear is. It’s a cinematic masterpiece with each scene gripping you by the edge of your seat and not letting go till the end. You could be hurtling through the streets of Europe on a bike or fighting a roller-blading bomber, there’s always something new. Sometimes this turns into melodrama but when the stakes include the fate of the human race, it’s understandable.
The Metal Gear series is more like an action movie, social commentary and sci-fi novel in video game form. The fact that the game elements are so good is what makes this combination work. It makes you question the very fundamentals of our civilized life. Do the patriots exist in some form? Is a war economy inevitable? Is human augmentation right? It’s these questions and more that guide your experience through the game and finding the answers becomes as important to you as it does to the Snake you are playing as, and at the end of the day, it’s this overall experience that makes this series just so good .
tags: konami , metal gear , metal gear solid , Metal Gear Solid 5 , opinion