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Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #30: The River Battle

Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #30: The River Battle

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!

My main thought from my most recent session, and something I never thought I’d feel: these cutscenes are getting too long and too numerous. For the most part, I love them, but when my sessions are largely occupied by cutscenes as opposed to actual gameplay it can become a little frustrating. Not because I don’t enjoy the scenes, but because I enjoy the action just as much - I’m often left longing to get back into the thick of things. Up to this point, I feel as though the series has maintained a good balance between these two primary elements. Slowly but surely, however, MGS4 is beginning to lose that balance as it becomes increasingly slowed down by lengthy and overly descriptive cutscenes.

MGS4 BikeReally though, my own thoughts are contradicting each other. A couple of the scenes in today’s session were outstanding, and the gameplay sections were equally great - certainly some of the best stuff in MGS4 so far. So while I’m getting rather annoyed with the lack of interactivity, I’m also largely enjoying the sections in which I’m not actually playing. At times, those moments do indeed surpass the gameplay segments - especially the god-awful motorbike section in which I had to shoot stuff (although not really) while on the back of Eva’s bike. The on-rails sections of MGS4, of which there have been a couple so far, are pretty bad and don’t really play to the series’ strengths.

Thankfully, I did get to play one of those strengths in today’s session - another boss battle, this time against Raging Raven. I’ve come to notice that the majority of MGS boss battles are relatively simple, although as someone who doesn’t really play games that typically feature boss fights, I’ve not been especially great at working them out. A lot of the Metal Gear fights are like simple puzzles, although the bosses in Guns of the Patriots have proven to be fairly easy so far. Raging Raven was easy to kill, although the setting (a high, destructible, tower) really added to the feel of the fight and made it more than just a shooting gallery. Plus, her death scene was fantastic in a similar fashion to Laughing Octopus’ - all crazy and depressing.

MGS4 Raging RavenAll of that gameplay (a whole 30 or so minutes straight!) was basically just a build-up to the key segment of chapter three - the final cutscene. It was pretty simple in narrative terms, but was by far one of the most wonderfully cinematic scenes in the entire series. Snake and an injured Eva come face to face with Liquid who, in the confusion of the bike chase, has gotten hold of Big Boss - what’s left of him at least. Snake then squares off with Liquid, and in horrific fashion the evil bro completely owns Solid at CQC. That made me rather unhappy, but I suppose Liquid is supposed to be the closer match to Big Boss (if I remember correctly...).

So with Snake an old broken mess, Liquid tries to make his escape only for Meryl and the Fox Hound unit (along with a rather large collection of US army troops) to block his exit over water. Liquid then hastily becomes badass #1 by hacking into the nanomachine system once again, this time preventing every soldier surrounding him and his team from firing their weapons. Oh, quick interjection - Naomi was a traitor... Least surprising betrayal ever. Liquid then proceeds to make all of the soldiers go crazy again, then shoots the absolute crap out of them while they’re down. He does this whole ‘shooting with my fingers’ routine throughout this mayhem, thereby earning himself my official ‘awesome award’ which I just made up.

MGS4 Liquid WinningThe scene culminates with Liquid’s team shooting Eva and the rotten remains of Big Boss, as well as attempting to take out Fox Hound. Eva dies in a rather disappointingly mediocre scene, Akiba saves Meryl’s life (I’m starting to like him now, I must admit) and Drebin shows up to help Snake out. I think Big Boss is properly dead now as well, although I’m not certain. If the previous games have taught me anything, it’s that uncertainty usually leads to surprises. Although I fear that my wishes for a properly reanimated Big Boss are dead for good. So that brilliant scene tailed off chapter three, certainly the weakest chapter yet although very good relative to... well, videogames in general.

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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