Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #26: Addicted to MGS
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!
I can’t get enough of MGS4 right now, so I’m struggling to pull myself away from the game to actually write these entries. Sorry, it’s not that I don’t care - it’s just proving to be a really, really good game. From both a gameplay and story standpoint, it’s delivering everything I hoped it would. Today’s session leaned towards the story more than the gameplay, so I’ve got some cool narrative twists and turns to get into. I’ll stop blubbering and get on with it!
So today kicked off with the introduction of the ‘Rat Patrol’, the group who discovered Liquid in the Middle East. Turns out they’re the modern version of the Fox unit, Fox Hound, and are made up of a few interesting characters. In a neat callback Meryl Silverburgh makes a return to the series as the unit’s commander. She hasn’t featured much in these diaries because she was only really relevant in the first Metal Gear. Basically, she was the girl that teamed up with Snake during the Shadow Moses incident, and the daughter of Roy Campbell (who I’ll get to later...). She’s got plenty of issues surrounding her father and her allegiance to Snake (as well as Snake’s sudden aging), so should be a great character moving on in the story.
Another key member of the unit is Akiba (or Johnny), who is essentially the game’s comic relief. Now, so far, the series has proven to be pretty funny but generally not in an especially overt way. Akiba is somewhat painfully overt in his silliness. The first time you come across the guy he’s having a dump in a barrel only for an enemy soldier to discover him and chase him down the street with his trousers round his legs. It certainly is the perfect introduction to the character who is essentially a moron in a very serious situation. His idiocy is comical at times, but it does feel a tad forced. Not something I’d expect from an MGS game - weird I expect, but awkward comedy feels like Kojima is trying too hard to appeal to western fans that he perhaps doesn’t quite understand.
Anyway, Meryl introduces Snake to the gang and gives a bit more detail on the whole nanomachine situation. They’re strongly intertwined with the whole war economy stuff, essentially allowing governments to control PMC groups. They can shut down their ability to use weapons and function properly if they take a step out of line. Nanomachines have also made soldiers more capable as a team, linking together senses and combining their thoughts. The Fox Hound unit puts this into action in a cool little segment in which they take out a few guards in one fell swoop.
With the Fox Hound unit on side, it was time to bust out of the area while under the assault of some elite troops. It was by far the most action-oriented moment in all of the Metal Gear games I’ve played, using the vastly improved modern shooting mechanics to provide a brilliant little section that didn’t really feel like MGS... in a good way. The cool enemy units helped: the Frogs are a strange bunch of women who leap around the level dressed in futuristic suits, dissolving into ash when they’re killed. Supernatural enemies have been a consistent theme in these games, so it’s good to see that trend continue.
With the Frogs defeated it was off into the streets of the nameless town once again, providing more of that fun ‘hidden among the crowd’ stuff in which I can slowly make my way through the battlefield without being spotted. Makes for a great break from the normal ‘one guard after the other’ deal. It didn’t take long to break out another cutscene though - although this one was a doozy. It essentially introduced the host of baddies that I guess I’ll be fighting over the course of the game - it’s all very MGS3, but that’s certainly not a bad thing. Even if you’re not familiar with the game you’re probably familiar with the Beauties (and the Beast), a group of high-tech murderers each bringing their own unique style of horror.
You’ve got the Beast itself, Crying Wolf, a giant dog-like creature that manages to trash a giant tractor all on its own. Raging Raven, a Beauty who flies around screaming “Raaaaaage” wherever she goes. Laughing Octopus who laughs a lot and has octopus tentacles... she also uses an improved version of the octocamo suit that Snake wears, even allowing her to mimic faces. Finally, the unit commander, Screaming Mantis who bears a strong resemblance to Psycho Mantis from the first game. They’re a real motley crew who should make for some awesome boss battles - so I’ve got those to look forward to.
I’m liking the game a bit too much, which means I’m playing in sizable chunks. So chopping up the entries is definitely the best way to go. Can’t have an essay every time I play.