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Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #2: Sons of Liberty

Welcome to the Metal Gear Noob Diaries. This is the recounting of my experience through the MGS series from MGS2: Sons of Liberty all the way to MGSV: Ground Zeroes. I’ll be updating every so often with new thoughts on sections of the games and taking a look back at memorable and enjoyable moments. I’ve never played the series before, so for the fans out there it could be an amusing tale of one noob’s journey, while those as green as myself could well learn a little about the mad world of MGS. Enjoy!

So here we are at the real beginning of this little adventure. The Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection arrived in my post yesterday morning (a day late, despite having Amazon Prime, may I add!). I instantly dusted off my PS3, hooked it up and got the game running pretty quickly; not too much fussing around with installs, which was nice. The HD Collection contains MGS 2, 3 and the once PSP-exclusive Peace Walker, all of which I’ll be playing for this diary. Weirdly, the game’s menu suggests that you play the games in chronological order as opposed to release order. I read somewhere that it’s best to just play the games how they were released (isn’t that always true?) so went with Sons of Liberty first.

A neat and shiny introduction sets up the story: the marines have in their possession an anti-Metal Gear... Metal Gear, which has become pivotal following the release of Metal Gear plans to just about every global power. Snake, now working alongside Otacon for a private organisation brilliantly titled Philanthropy, has been sent to investigate this Metal Gear RAY. It’s pretty clear from the off, however, that something’s not quite right - there’s a whiff of trap in the air. That, or the pong from Snake’s skin-tight suit. On the topic of Snake’s suit, does Kojima have some weird thing for butts? Because Snake’s toned rear end is impossible to miss.

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*Andrew Duncan: Having not played MGS, you missed the "See Meryl work out in her vest and panties" and "Chase Meryl into the ladies room to catcher her with her pants literally down" sections... The amount of man-butt in 2 is probably in response to that.”* - Thanks Ace.

With the lengthy, but enjoyable, intro concluded, it’s on to the actual gameplay. My first impression: “holy hell, how am I ever going to get used to this mess!?” Safe to say, I was initially rather shocked by the infamously unusual MGS control scheme. The lack of a proper tutorial didn’t help matters and I spent the first 30 minutes of play running away from guards who more often than not spotted me lying on the floor pointing in the complete opposite direction. Either that, or running from the enemies who shot at me even after I pulled my weapon on them - it took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realise they only “FREEZE” when you approach from behind.

So yes, I struggled with the camera and controls. As gamers, we’ve become rather accustomed to all 3rd person games having a somewhat formulaic and familiar control scheme. While MGS isn’t a far cry from that traditional scheme, it’s certainly different enough to cause me issues. Saying that, I’ve now played the prologue Tanker chapter of Sons of Liberty following about two and a half hours of play, and I’m starting to get used to it.


I should point out at this time that I’m not a very stealthy person; not in real life, and certainly not in games. It’s not that I don’t enjoy sleuthing around in games, I’m just bad at it. Picture the anti-Roman Jews hiding from the soldiers in Monty Python’s Life of Brian and you’re close. Actually, scratch that, they were masters of disguise. Anyway, I’m bad. As stealthy as a German tourist. I think I lack the patience most of the time, and at others I’m just a bit careless. Turns out that’s a trait I’m going to have to work on to get through MGS without losing my sanity.

The combination of tricky controls and my natural crappiness meant that I was alerting guards all over the shop (or ship, I suppose). That wasn’t my only issue though; take my very first death as an example. I was rather merrily moving through the boat trying to be sneaky, taking out guards silently and just kicking the shit out of them if that failed, when I stumbled (well, just walked) into a trip bomb. The screen filled with explosions, I jumped out of my seat in surprise and Otacon screamed “Snaaaaaaake” in a manner that I’m already starting to get sick of. Turns out I was moving more than a little too quickly and I’d walked through the trap before Otacon even got a chance to warn me about it.

This kind of impatience was an issue throughout my first playthrough. Although I’d just like to point out that I’m not the only one screwing up. Just after safely navigating that very same trip bomb that caught be out before, Snake literally sneezed as I approached the nearest guard! I appreciate that fans of the series are probably more than aware of this little occurance, but I was certainly not prepared for a mistake that felt so incredibly out of my control. The guard turned around instantly and shot at me a few times, in response to which I, with my thinking cap lying on the floor, ran back into the trip bomb. Explosions, me jumping out of my seat, “Snaaaaaake!”


With all this moaning, it’s starting to sound as though I didn’t enjoy my first session with MGS2. That’s far from the case, I’m happy to say. The thoughtful design and enjoyable characters make playing a joy and while I’m still learning the ropes, there are elements of the gameplay that are great fun. My swoop through the engine room of the tanker was a particular highlight as I stealthily took guards down without alerting a single one. Plus, I managed to kill (or stun) the ridiculously hairy Olga in good time. I figured my first boss fight would be a long affair, but the sense of development and progression in this game is certainly on point.

I did find myself stuck at a couple of points, the first during a seemingly small section in which I had to shoot little boxes to deactivate yet more trip bombs. Two of the three boxes were really quite difficult to spot; I had to watch a walkthrough video to sort it out. Turns out I had to stand on tippy toes to find the first box, something I didn’t even know could be done - thanks crappy tutorial. I had to google an answer later in the mission as well, which is always a little frustrating but I’m hoping my detective abilities improve as I play the game more. If anything though, it makes me wonder how people got through those bits before YouTube existed--must’ve been a real pain in the finely toned ass.

mgs2hdpic2 091611

On a different note, it was cool to see Revolver Ocelot back in action during the prologue chapter, and Liquid’s mind controlling antics were amusing. I’m already getting a sense of that epic rivalry heating up yet again. I’m also real glad I did my story research before playing the game, I’d of been confused already otherwise.

Oh, also, I’m not totally sure why the Marines on the ship didn’t just shoot Ocelot (you know, the bad guy who was totally vulnerable), but that’s a whole different angle. I’m sure someone could write a novel just picking out the silly inconsistencies in this series, so I’ll leave that for someone who cares.

So it was a pretty neat first session, good enough at least that I’m looking forward to loading up the game again. I’ll have another update with you shortly.

Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries
Ryan Davies

Ryan Davies

Junior Editor

Budding, growing and morphing games journalist from the South. Known nowhere around the world as infamous wrestler Ryan "The Lion" Davies.

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