Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #24: Outer Heaven
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!
Right. This time it’s done. I’ve now completed the core story of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and I’m sure glad I continued to play after the initial end credits scene. Turns out there were quite a few more juicy story elements to discover and play through - even if the gameplay never really took any further steps. Peace Walker has proven to be an odd game for me. The broken up style and (understandable) lack of technical gusto never sat well with me, so I failed to really connect with the game. The story was, once again, the best part of the experience, but unlike 2 and 3, the gameplay didn’t support that story well enough. It was too easy for one thing, and lacked a decent sense of pace.
As I mentioned, a lot of my final session with the game was spent retreading old ground. Specifically, playing extra-ops missions that I’d not played before and hunting down the annoyingly slippery Zadornov. He managed to escape from the MSF prisons about six or seven times! I’m not sure who the gaoler is, but I sure hope he doesn’t stick around for MGSV. So every time Zadornov escaped I had to undertake another familiar mission in an effort to bring him back. Bit boring, but thankfully I also had to slowly develop Metal Gear ZEKE at the same time by taking on upgraded versions of the AI bosses.
Those boss battles were definitely more difficult, and more fun because of it, but none of them came close to the tougher battles of Snake Eater or even Sons of Liberty. Plus, I relied on essentially the same tactics as with the previous battles. I’d also developed my technology (and MSF) far enough that certain bosses were actually a little easier - especially the fight with Peace Walker II. To be fair, there were some slightly more interesting extra-ops missions to try out. Some with strong arcade influences (pop the balloons!) and some slightly odd ones. Most notably, the ‘Date with Paz’ mission in which I had to tux Snake up and sweet talk Paz while she stands on a sun soaked beach. Rather awkwardly, she ends up standing in nothing but her lingerie as Snake continues to charm her. There’s even an option to CQC her - only doing so will make Snake take a lunge for her breasts.
Ah, Japan. Will your view on sex ever catch up with the rest of the first world? I mean, I’m pretty sure Paz is supposed to be a fairly young girl. I’m going to assume she’s over 16 for now, but it did catch me a little off guard to begin with.
Anywhooo. Most of the repetitive gameplay and recycled story elements were a gradual build up to the closing segment of the game - which I’m happy to report easily came close to the high standards set by MGS2 and 3. So with Metal Gear ZEKE finally complete, and Zadornov (rather randomly) biting the dust, Snake gets a message through from Kaz telling him that someone has activated the nuclear-armed ZEKE. Considering this person probably has malintent on his/her mind, I’ll let you make a guess...
Amanda, rebel leader...?
Chico, young rebel gone wild?
Nope. But I love the thought.
Strangelove going rogue once again?
How could you even think it!
It was, as I totally predicted a few entries back (smirk), Paz! Ol’ bra and panties Paz - I can’t help but feel as though my image of her was truly ruined long before the big reveal by the date level, but it was still a cool, unexpected surprise. So she takes control of Metal Gear ZEKE and reveals that she has been working for an organisation/individual called Cipher all along. She’s not the innocent little girl she’s been playing all along either (you can tell because her voice is lower - and evil-er...). Which, considering the date level once again, is quite a relief.
In a bit of a homage (or is it foreshadowing?) to the end of Sons of Liberty, Paz reveals that Cipher wants to create a world without borders, free from state control. They want MSF, with the help of ZEKE, to be their safeguard. It’s one of those ‘offer that’s more of a demand’ kind of things, but Snake rejects it anyway because the threat of nuclear attack on America just doesn’t cut it any more. It’s also because he’s obviously pretty confident that I/he can defeat Paz (or Pacifica Ocean to use her real name). Which I do, in convincing fashion might I add. Another easy boss fight, unfortunately, to cap off the entire game.
Paz is launched into the ocean following her defeat. I’m not sure if she’s gone for good - but it sure would be sad to see her go just as she started to get properly interesting. Although it’s worth mentioning that her entire ‘evil monologue’ in ZEKE was delivered while she wore her underwear again! No idea why. So stupid. With Paz dealt with, Kaz Miller has a little surprise of his own: again in a reference to Sons of Liberty, he laid the groundwork for the whole Peace Walker incident! He got Cipher and Paz involved as well as the CIA and KGB and brought the whole thing into effect as one big test and growth tool for MSF. The crazy bastard. Big Boss, as he slowly becomes accustomed to being named, seems to appreciate the idea - despite it causing several near-apocalypses.
Oh! Cipher roughly translates to zero, according to Kaz. He didn’t say Major Zero, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that there’s a link. Squee!
The game ended with a fantastic animated (as opposed to comic-style) cutscene where Big Boss and Kaz begin to outline the role of MSF in the changing world of the mid-’70s. It’s all very over the top and classic Kojima, but it’s cool to think that the good values by which they live slowly become corrupted. A small post-credits monologue from Snake to his MSF troops closes the game in style, and I’ll close off this part of my diaries with that very speech. I’ll be back soon with the beginning of my time with Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots.
“We will forsake our countries. We will leave our motherlands behind us and become one with this earth. We have no nation, no philosophy, no ideology. We go where we’re needed fighting not for country, not for government, but for ourselves. We need no reason to fight. We fight because we are needed. We will be the deterrent for those with no other recourse. We are soldiers without borders, our purpose defined by the era we live in. We will sometimes have to sell ourselves and services. If the times demand it, we’ll be revolutionaries, criminals, terrorists. And yes, we may all be headed straight to hell. But what better place for us than this? It is our only home. Our heaven and our hell. This is Outer Heaven.”