Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #3: Enter Raiden
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 I’m now a few hours into the main plant mission of MGS2, with a new protagonist called Raiden in tow. I think I’m actually starting to improve. I’m slowly but surely picking up the controls and while the camera is still giving me a massive headache, I find myself becoming a lot more stealthy. Guards are dropping without even a slight hint that I’m around, my movement and ability to predict guard movement has greatly improved and I’m starting to feel like a proper spy.
The formulaic, compartmentalised level is a really neat idea, so too is basing the whole game on the ‘Big Cell’ plant. The globe-trotting nature of many modern games makes something like this rather unusual, but it’s an irregularity that I’m enjoying. I’m becoming increasingly familiar with the location, which in turn makes it easier to perform more unusual and daring tasks of sleuth-ary. Saying that, I’m still not the most able spy in history, certainly not. I can’t even count the number of times I managed to alert the guards and fall victim to the bastard assault team. I’m tempted to blame the weird camera, but my own impatience is probably the primary suspect.
Still, the camera is really getting on my nerves. Most of the time it’s perfectly fine, but in tight spaces it can be very difficult to plan out a proper course of action, especially when the radar is deactivated. The first-person view is helpful, but it doesn’t quite provide the assist that I often need. Too many times I’ve been caught by a guard simply because it was almost impossible to know of his existence. That, or because I press the wrong button and start crawling in front of him - yeah, it’s still happening.
On the whole though, I’m warming to the gameplay. The hunt for the bombs was an excellent little sequence all culminating in a fun boss fight with Fatman. I would love to know why he was given rollerskates to glide about on, because I sure as hell wasn’t expecting him to be so mobile. I mean, who thought of that? A fat crazy demolitions expert who gets about on rollerskates - that’s actually a bit messed up.
For all the stupidity, I find myself really loving both the individual characters and the overarching story. That contained level space really aids the fiction being told, and the colourful cast makes it all the more improved. The core story is pretty simple, but it sure got complicated in a hurry. Raiden (not Snake of course, because he’s deadbutlet’sbehonestnotreally) has been dropped onto a giant sea platform called Big Shell, where a bunch of terrorists have the President of the US hostage and are demanding a ransom.
As mentioned, that simple set up becomes increasingly elaborate as more characters and concepts are introduced. After just an hour or so of play it becomes obvious that there’s more to this than a mere terrorist ransom. There’s a Metal Gear involved, a group called the Sons of Liberty and Solid Snake makes a return (although Raiden has no clue who he is). Vamp and Fortune, two new characters, are awesome to behold, both separately and when they appear together. A really awesome scene sees Raiden get the best of Vamp, and Fortune wishes that Raiden had knocked her off instead - there’s a strong sense that her bullet-deflecting powers (or whatever it is) are something of a curse.
Then there’s Peter Stillman, the bomb disposal expert who pretends to lose a leg after failing to save a church from a bomb. It’s classic MGS pantomime but delivered so well that you begin to really feel for the guy. His weird relationship with Fatman makes the bomb disposal missions all the more interesting, and I was actually pretty sad to see him go. I mean, if my current playtime has taught me anything, it’s that he’ll probably be back, but hey ho.
Finally for now, I just want to devote a little section to Solid Snake’s catastrophic ability to create a false name. Iroquois Pliskin!? He’s a super-spy capable of taking out terrorist groups single handedly and the best false name he could think of was Iroquois Pliskin! What the hell is that? Even worse, when him and Raiden first meet he almost reveals himself as Snake right from the off - like he’d forgotten that he was supposed to be dead! I suppose this is the classic Kojima kookiness that I’m going to have to get used to, but that one made me chuckle. Oh, and “nodes not nerds” was good too.