About Us | Game Reviews | Feature Articles | Podcast | Best Work | Forums | Shop | Review Game

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review

David Stone's picture

Metal Gear Solid 4:  Guns of the Patriots Screenshot

After about thirty years of being a mass medium, videogames have a few auteurs—people whose individual mark can be seen on a final product in spite of being created by a multi-person team. Undoubtedly, the big daddy of them all is Shigeru Miyamoto, who practically single-handedly saved the modern gaming industry from its downward swirl in the E.T.-laden toilet of the early 1980s. Some game makers insist that their moniker be in the title of the game, most recently Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa. Others, like Castlevania's Koji Igarashi, can make one or two masterpieces, but then fall from grace, struggling to recapture their one spark of genius. Metal Gear's Hideo Kojima is definitely an auteur, one whose fame and notoriety continue to rise the longer he continues to work.

Metal Gear Solid (MGS) arrived in 1998, and truly changed the landscape of gaming as we now know it. Real-time cutscenes replaced fancy CGI (popular in titles like Final Fantasy VII and Soul Blade at the time). Every line of dialog was voice acted—well. Bosses were memorable and incredible—who doesn't remember the first time Psycho Mantis freaked the hell out of them? But best of all, for better or for worse, it tried to tell a real, honest-to-God story. Was it preachy at times? Yes, but this was the beginning of a man's attempt to convey a social message through a medium known for glorifying violence, no matter how ham-fisted the attempt.

Hideo Kojima's name was finally one that people paid attention to. With the arrival of the PS2 in 2000, all eyes were on Konami Japan to showcase what the new hardware could do. Sure enough, Metal Gear Solid 2 was released in 2001, and it did not disappoint…from a technical standpoint. In spite of being the most visually-stunning title seen on any console to date, and having a gorgeous musical score from famed composer Harry Gregson-Williams, the game created vast rifts in the gaming community with Solid Snake's replacement in Raiden. Add a convoluted, existential plot that is still under debate to this day, and you can begin to see the mind of Kojima at work. I'm certain that, had MGS1 not been as successful as it was, and Kojima not been at the helm, nobody would have green-lighted MGS2's plot. Still, MGS2 is the highest-selling title in the series to date. By MGS3, Kojima had become his own entity with Kojima Productions.

Make no mistake. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (MGS4) is Hideo Kojima's game. The question is: are you okay with that?

MGS4 is undoubtedly the culmination of everything Hideo Kojima ever dreamed his series could be. It is a technical triumph, finally realizing the longtime goal of "Toy Story In Real Time." Having been at the Sony E3 press conference in 2005 when the PS3 was first unveiled, I didn't believe that any developer could achieve the level of polish shown in the technical demonstration. MGS4 has it in spades. Even the initial installation has the most stunning model of Old Snake—our protagonist—looking very gruff, smoking and standing around in extreme close up. His gloves are webbed, his sneaking suit is composed of different materials, his skin is pale and spotted. Audio-wise, the score is probably the best that the series has ever produced, and the soundscapes are engrossing. Snake's enhanced moveset and controls are tight and precise. New gameplay mechanics like improved camouflage, radar and context-sensitive areas make the experience feel both familiar and fresh. The bosses in MGS4 are a blissful experience. Each one is a force to be reckoned with, and utterly unforgettable.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Screenshot

These are axioms for any MGS title.

The conundrum here is the rest of the game. Or rather, what isn't the game. It's hard to discuss any post-PS1 Metal Gear title without bringing up the issue of cut-scenes. Kojima is sometimes seen as a film-maker, roped into the wrong industry. Beyond their length (the ending clocks in at around 70-75 minutes), frequency and issues of non-interactivity, their content presents a major problem to anyone not incredibly well-versed in Metal Gear lore. Though I am a recovering Castlevania and Koji Igarashi addict, I am a full-borne Metal Gear fan. I love the story. I get it—even MGS2's messiness. For me, the cut-scenes in MGS4 were so utterly engrossing and explanatory that I never cared about how long or often they were. My wife, who has barely a passing knowledge of the Metal Gear story, continuously asked questions about what the heck was going on. People, events and past stories from every single canon Metal Gear title are referenced, or even reprised. Even within the game's own space, it continuously broke the fourth wall, explicitly showing a game's box art as a reference point.

Because of this, it often reaches the point of Kojima's self-indulgence. Kojima is keenly aware of the magnitude of his creation. His insistence of pointing this out to the player time and time again can get quite grating. What could have been a great game for the masses ends up being a very large inside story or joke. As someone who is "in" on it, I found myself smiling most of the time while watching these scenes. Erin was just befuddled.

Other times, the game just delves into places that Kojima wants us to go, but are truly unnecessary. Like previous MGS games, every boss has their sad, pathetic backstory, and like it or not, after you've pumped them full of lead, you'll have to hear it.

This being said, the cut-scenes are often staggering in scope, detail and choreography. Without spoiling anything major, one in particular is so well-crafted that it actually makes Raiden look cool. Seeing as the character was mocked in MGS3, this is quite an achievement.

The whole game feels like this. It is an undeniable achievement: Hideo Kojima's achievement. No other producer could have made this title, for better or for worse. The only determining factor about whether or not this is a "good" game is whether or not you want to hear what Kojima has to say. Sadly, for some, there's a good twenty years of listening that simply must be done to appreciate MGS4.

I've never played a game where playing the previous ones was a pre-requisite rather than an option. It is a big risk to take, one that only a true auteur with enormous confidence in himself, his product and his legacy could create. I've fulfilled Kojima's requirements, thus this game is for me. It's simply unfortunate that the degree to which this otherwise magnificent game succeeds will be dependant upon each individual. Rating: 8.0 out of 10, knowing that it is a personal 9.0, but cannot ignore the flaws that Kojima has set for himself.

According to ESRB, this game contains: blood, crude humor, strong language, suggestive themes and violence

Parents should not let their children play this game. Quite frankly, they won't understand it anyway. It is filled with beautifully-choreographed ballet-like violence, but it is still violence. There is a lot of spilling of blood, and, in a first for the series, someone drops the F-bomb.

Metal Gear fans will be right at home. Metal Gear newcomers may want to think twice before diving in. Fans of other stealth titles will enjoy the gameplay, but will have to contend with a story they may not understand or necessarily like.

Army aficionados will enjoy the fantastical array of gadgets and references to real-world entities like DARPA.

Film lovers will definitely enjoy the game's lavish, lengthy cut-scenes as well as dissecting the series's plots.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers have little to worry about in terms of the gameplay relying on audio cues. One gun beeps when it is fully-charged, but this can also be confirmed visually. There are options for subtitles in multiple languages.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Developer(s): Kojima Productions  
Key Creator(s): Hideo Kojima  
Publisher: Konami  
Series: Metal Gear  
Genre(s): Stealth  
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Kojima != Player Choice

This review only bolsters the decision I made after finishing MGS3: I will not be playing any more MGS games. This is not only because of what the review did say but because of what it did NOT say. What it did say can be summed up in one of the lines: "The only determining factor about whether or not this is a “good” game is whether or not you want to hear what Kojima has to say." What it did not say was much, if anything, about the gameplay - what choices does the user have?

I have played all of the previous MGS games, so surely I have met Kojima's requirements to play this game. And don't get me wrong, I respect Kojima's passion and attention to his craft. But the thing is: Kojima has run out of things to say. Now I could be totally wrong about this, since I haven't played the game, but someone give me reasons why should I believe that there is anything new or meaningful plot-wise or intellectually-wise.

Each of the MGS games had essentially the same structure and plot. Snake/Raiden gets sent on a sneaking mission with a relatively small objective, but that objective changes as soon as a terrorist group captures a nuclear weapon and threatens to use it. The terrorist group is always made up of former soldiers/government employees that are disgruntled by various government conspiracies, and each one of them always has some unexplained power that makes them cool and unique. After you kill each one, there will be a 10+ minute cutscene where he or she explains his backstory, says something utterly ridiculous like "Snake, you have defeated me. You are a true hero. I respect you so much now, take the Level 5 keycard. The passage onward is behind the secret bookshelf." The dialogue is often atrocious (e.g. "Snake, do you think love can bloom on the battlefield?") and for each objective the player will be forced to sit through a mission briefing, a flashback scene that retreads the same backstory you already heard in the mission briefing, and then further discussion between characters giving their take on the matter. It's not subtle and it's extremely poorly written.

Most importantly, it gives no interesting choices to the player! Interesting narratives give the player multiple possible interpretations. Interesting games give the player multiple way to configure the story himself or herself. The Metal Gear Solid series has grown stale on both counts. And Kojima only rubs salt in the wound by adding insane amounts of cutscenes, taking control away from the player as much as possible, and then incessantly lecturing on personal freedom.

So how much did Microsoft pay you for such a poor review

First off, this game is not meant to be played like HALO, GTA4, or Gears of War. Its a MGS game for goodness sake. The cut scene are meant to tell a story. This game is both a movie and a game that tells snakes final battle. I get the feeling the reason you wrote this review was to get negative feed back from hardcore fans to visit your site and comment on your poor review or the fact you might have been paid off by a Microsoft employee or xbox fanboy. I dare you to review this game again when the directors cut comes out within 6 months or so.

Raiden wasn't mocked for

Raiden wasn't mocked for MGS3, dumbass, it was MGS2. BTW he wasn't even mocked, losers like this reviewer mock him.

Re: Odofakyodo's comments

Thank you very much for your comments! You're absolutely right about the gameplay side-step for the purposes of this review. I feel that there is enough discussion of how the game plays out there. I wanted to address one of the more core issues of MGS4, and Kojima's work in particular. I am indeed a Metal Gear fan - I still replay the first one on my dusty ol' NES. Because I've actually enjoyed what Kojima has been attempting, I did very much enjoy the game. However, I believe that he has severely restricted his audience by being the auteur he is - hence this review. I cannot address the rest of your question without spoiling the plot, but there is a thread in the forums (I believe it's the MGS4 Spoilers thread) and I'd be happy to address it there.

By the way, for the person who cannot remember MGS3, try remembering a character called "Major Ivan Raidenovich Raikov" to see how Raiden was mocked in the previous installment. Raiden was never mocked in MGS2 except by some of the gaming population. Kojima was very explicit in his explanation behind that character.

7 IS NOT THE NEW 5!!!

I get frustrated every time I see a comment like, "How did this game get a bad rating?"

People, how is 8 out of 10 a bad rating!?

IT'S NOT!

If you're going to use a 10-point scale USE THE WHOLE SCALE.

Where 1 = worst game in the history of games--nonexistent or incoherent storyline, bad translation, graphics so bad you can't tell what things are, awful user interface and controls, annoying soundtrack, etc.

Where 5 = AVERAGE, which is where most games should be falling into: good but could be alot better.

Where 10 = Pretty much the best game in the history of video games and will be to future generations what the original Mario Brothers is to many of us.

If you USE THE WHOLE SCALE, you'll see that 8 is actually a really good score. When was the last time you complained about getting an 80% on a 10 question quiz at school?

Ok. I just assumed you meant

Ok. I just assumed you meant his character in MGS2. Cause that seems like the more obvious one. Not many people remember Raikov in MGS3. I do however remember putting on the disguise and getting crotch grabbed. Alot of people thought Raiden was kind of pussy in MGS2. Back to the review, you had ONE paragraph stating your biggest likes of the game, and a few others scattered around. But the entire thing sounds like you loathed this masterpeice. I get it you think the game would just be mediocre to a gamer who has never touched the metal gear saga. But my father who has never kept up with the series was stunned at how well this game was put together. I also have a few friends who bought the PS3 bundle thought it was amazing - they had only played one MGS before. What I am trying to say is that I think any casual/hardcore gamer who have never experienced MGS before could really get into this one. Being a huge MGS fan and have completed this game 2 times I thought that there may never be a better game this generation, and suggest anyone with a brain to go out and pick up a PS3 and play this game. As for you review David, I thought this was the worst review of all the average reviews that MGS4 has been given. And your line at the end with the score, my jaw hit the floor. How in God's name could you give a lower score than the one you wanted to give. That was probably the dumbest explanation I have ever seen.

David, is there a review in

David, is there a review in here somewhere?

Almost half this article discusses gaming history, your opinions on the first game, your reaction to a three-year-old press conference on MGS4, auteur theory and Toy Story. Most of this is padding and very little is related to your assessment of the game.

The second paragraph on MGS1 for example is redundant and could been replaced with something shorter like "MGS1 was good, MGS2 was better and both games established the Kojima style of long cutscenes, convoluted plots and high production values." I don't see the point of making the debatable claim that Miyamoto redeemed the industry's "E.T.-laden toilet of the early 1980s". The writing is full of these pointless sidetracks.

Your conclusion: "the game is good, but is mostly for fans" leaves many questions unanswered. Does MGS4 tie up loose ends? Which game in the series is it most similar to? Does it introduce anything new and if so, what is the best thing about it? Did you complete the game and what was the ending like? Considering MGS4 is reportedly the last in the series, how firm is its conclusion? You call Kojima an auteur - do you think people will remember him for MGS4 or does the game blemish his reputation?

The writing quality is just as lazy. You tell us the soundscapes are "engrossing", the cutscenes are "staggering" and the bosses are a "blissful experience". But what was your favourite piece of music? Your favourite cutscene? Your most memorable boss battle? And has it all been done before in previous games?

There is very little description here, much less critique. I understand Gamecritics seeks an unconventional style but this is bad writing any way you look at it.

The reason I had to drop the

The reason I had to drop the score is I'm offering a criticism, not a consumer review. As a consumer product, I can offer my own unbridled "fanboyism" - which, you'll notice, is something that a lot of people try to throw at anyone who offers a different opinion. But in criticising a work with an effort to bypass genuine bias, anyone who's really honest can't overlook those faults. As I stated explicitly, I *am* MGS4's audience, and if it were a blog-style posting, I'd be gushing. But I'm writing this on GameCritics, and that's just not how I do things here. I also had to give New Super Mario Bros. a lower score than I had originally wanted to, because in spite of my inherent "fanboyism" for Mario, it just wasn't that great, and I outlined my reasons.

MGS inspires a lot of emotions for a lot of gamers, particularly those who never gamed before the PS1 era. I'd like to think that the praise that I "scattered" throughout would be obvious that I genuinely like the game. And, as Anony Mouse pointed out, since when was 80% "bad"? The game is great, but other than some technical standpoints and a couple of truly excellent QTEs, I don't think this one will stand the test of time as MGS1 has. I'll gladly review any "director's cut" when it comes out to see what's different, and review it accordingly.

Re: Akazukin

To each his own, and I'm sorry to disappoint you.

My whole point was that the game's cinematic quality is not in dispute. To rehash those points is to defeat the purpose of my criticism. I'm not discussing how MGS relates to the other games in the series, other than sharing its high production values - which, again, do not require repeating. As I've stated repeatedly, there are enough other sites out there specifically describing the aesthetic pleasings of the game.

As far as MGS4's effect on Kojima's reputation, that is kind of irrelevant as well. If you're a Kojima fan, it will enhance it. If not, then MGS4 will do nothing to change it, as it is an exaggeration of everything Kojima stands for. I mean no disrespect when I say I think you missed the point.

N.B. I doubt anyone would argue Super Mario Bros.' impact on the global gaming scene, reviving an industry in its death throes.

Thanks David for taking

Thanks David for taking those comments in stride.

I'm not doubting there is a point in your review but it's just poorly developed.

You say fans would like it and non-fans would not but it's clearly not that simplistic. Odofakyodo, the first poster in this thread and a fan, did not like it. His/her point: "Kojima has run out of things to say" has potential. These are the kind of reflections that a critic should explore and I feel was missing from your article.

Descriptions of a critic's personal reactions to a game, including aesthetics and production values are always unique and fun to read and should always be part of a review, I think. But the feeling I get from you David is that "other sites" do this and therefore you should do something different...like quote large slabs of gaming history.

Akazukin, I can understand

Akazukin, I can understand your point. The reason for the "large slabs of history" is simply to bolster the premise (and eventual thesis) of the importance that MGS has had on the various iterations of the PlayStation's lifespan. PS + MGS are forever intertwined. The fact that the fanbase became quite splintered is of immense value. Is it fair for a title whose main strength is its plotting and EXTREME referential weight to receive my gushing praise when examined critically? I don't think so, and I stand by my words - and score.

I did, in fact, mention a number of my personal reactions to the game. In fact, they were quite positive. (From what I can tell, most of the people who've commented negatively here have glazed over that.) Ultimately, which thought is more important? That the game's aesthetics are incredible, or that the game seems to be the extension of one man's ideals and ego? I don't feel that Kojima has run out of things to say. I feel that what he's saying (or trying to say) is ultimately a detraction from what could have been a watershed title in the annals of gaming history.

David, I think you're onto

David, I think you're onto something interesting there which could probably be given a more thorough and proper treatment in a feature article or blog post.

Maybe that's something you and the writers could consider in future instead running these theses parallel to the review with one style compromising and diminishing the other.

Akazukin, what is your point?

Critiquing a writer's craft in order to undermine an argument you disagree with (an ad hominem attack, basically) is the rhetorical equivalent of a low blow. It's juvenile. The author formulated his thesis, supported his claim, and did so within the confines of the form -- a videogame review. Despite your insinuations, a review need only address the very general question "is the game successful at what it does?" The basis for that judgment ("what it does?") is left completely to the discretion of the critic.

In David's case, he chose to critique the game on the basis of whether or not the game appeals to a wider audience of gamers, not just MGS fans like himself. Why that is an unacceptable standard compared to the traditional "is it pretty, is it fun?" approach, I'll leave it up to you to explain.

Honestly, I just think you're mad at the score and are trying to get payback on the writer by 'sneaking in' (cuz you're so clever!) spiteful little jabs on his writing ability under the guise of a thoughtful critique. What exactly is your point, except to offer inane writing tips to someone who never asked for them in the first place?

Akazukin wrote: David, I

Akazukin wrote:

David, I think you're onto something interesting there which could probably be given a more thorough and proper treatment in a feature article or blog post.

Maybe that's something you and the writers could consider in future instead running these theses parallel to the review with one style compromising and diminishing the other.

I for one never understood why people think reviews aren't a place to explore ideas as if the review object gets in the way. I've always loved the review format because the object of review serves as the springboard for discussion and deeper exploration of ideas.

Great response by msanono.

msanono wrote: Honestly, I

msanono wrote:

Honestly, I just think you're mad at the score and are trying to get payback on the writer

...But...I...never even *mentioned* the score! At what point did I say anything about being unhappy with the score!

My issue isn't about David's conclusion, it's the lack of critical exploration used in how he goes about expressing it. He leaves many questions unanswered, arguments lack depth and there is a general lack of contemplation about it - especially with the first paragraphs on the history of the series. If David wants to call himself a critic, then this is what I, as a reader, would expect.

As the article stands, it doesn't pass as a critical piece, in my opinion and as a review there isn't much there as well.

I read the article again, very carefully. As I still see it, the points David makes are:

1. Kojima is an auteur
2. The success of MGS1 and MGS2 allowed Kojima to make subsequent games
3. MGS4 is the "culmination of everything Hideo Kojima ever dreamed his series could be"
4. The game is full of content only fans would understand, like the long cinematic scenes

Using point 4, David concludes the people who like MGS4 will be mostly fans of the previous games.

So what happens to the rest of it? Points 1 and 2 are mentioned in the first paragraphs on gaming history but do not develop into criticisms or insights into the game. David briefs us on notable auteurs of the 1990s, the arrival of CGI cutscenes, voice-acting, the success of MGS1, the reaction to MGS2, a 2005 MGS4 press conference and then the article literally stops dead.

So what is the point of retelling the history of the MGS series if it doesn't lead anywhere or create, as Chi said, a springboard for discussion? Chi, I'm not opposed to writers exploring ideas concurrent to the review object, but tell me what other ideas, apart from the point that MGS4 is mostly for fans, are explored here?

Am I reading the same review as everyone else? David said the "large slabs of history" is "simply to bolster the premise (and eventual thesis) of the importance that MGS has had on the various iterations of the PlayStation's lifespan" - I don't agree that it does. But regardless, where is this mentioned in the original article? He said "PS + MGS are forever intertwined" - I can't find this (interesting) idea either, where is this reference?

As for point 3, David states that MGS4 is the culmination of everything Kojima does but doesn't elaborate further. That's hardly a critical approach. It is no critical feat to quote the series' history and then say "well MGS4 is the next game after 1, 2 and 3 so it is the culmination" - the word culmination suggests something more than just the next chapter.

What's sad is that, as a fan, David is in a perfect position to offer a unique persepctive on this - whether MGS4 does provide fitting conclusion to the MGS universe or, in typical Kojima style, confuses the audience further. Perhaps he could have used point 1 to reflect on Kojima's auteur status in the context of the series. Does he think MGS defines Kojima in the way that Star Wars defines George Lucas? What does David think Kojima will do next? What would he like him to do? As an MGS fan, how will he view Kojima's post-MGS career and what does he expect from it? I see these as missed opportunities for...yes, critism!

But the feeling I get from people on this thread is - no, David is a game critic so he can't consider multiple points of view because it would defeat the purpose of his criticism (as if criticism cannot be multifaceted!)

Chi, I think my post has touched a nerve because the writers on this site call themselves game critics and expect the readers to simply go along with it, which is fair enough. But when readers such as myself call the bluff and question exactly how much critical thinking goes into the articles, there's a sense of defensiveness and denial, a "how dare someone question my critical approach" attitude. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I see it.

msanono wrote:

Critiquing a writer's craft in order to undermine an argument you disagree with (an ad hominem attack, basically) is the rhetorical equivalent of a low blow. It's juvenile...What exactly is your point, except to offer inane writing tips to someone who never asked for them in the first place?

When I see a comments box after an article, I assume the writer is inviting feedback, be it criticism or congratulations, negative or positive, in order to improve their writing. When writers bare their souls on the internet, someone in the world is bound to disagree.

As for ad hominem, msanono, the only one who has done that on this thread so far is you and in all my posts I have attacked the writing and not the writer.

LOW SCORES DON'T MEAN SMART REVIEWS

Wow. It's now FACT that gamecritics pays it's "journalists (lol)" to give shitty scores to great games and push cult fanboy games. I'll admit your low bullshit scores are what drive people to come to your site and bitch about it, hell I'm one of them, but at the same time it's far more depressing to think that knocking amazing achievements in games and plugging cult fanboy shit like Shadow of the Colossus makes you guys "smart" reviewers, and that you have to stoop so low just to get website traffic. Halo a 70%? It wasn't legendary, but it was a fuckload better than a 70%. GTA IV? Metal Gear 4? You guys are fucking pathetic. Just rot in a hole and die already.

You guys love the arrogant pretentious fags who think that going against the crowd and posting low scores means you're smart and you don't give in to the hype. That's the biggest fucking joke ever.

Without trying to be

Without trying to be offensive, I also found the review to be a bit unsatisfying. Although that's most likely because i haven't played a metal gear solid game beyond Twin Snakes.

But i think because I'm not experienced in the series, I would've loved to see some reflection on how the metal gear solid 4 gaming experience compares to the experiences provided by other, current-generation games. For example, does the abundance of cut-scenes in metal gear solid 4 provide a better means of story-telling than in other games, such as metroid prime or bioshock, which communicate their plots with little to no cut-scenes at all?

I guess I would've just liked a quick assessment on how MGS4 fares in the overall, current state of gaming.

Otherwise, it was a very insightful review.

RE: LOW SCORES DON'T MEAN SMART REVIEWS

You know what: You're right. Low scores don't necessarily mean smart reviews BUT in the case of Gamecritics, at least they know how to take their hype-goggles off for once. Giving out 100s to every highly anticipated game shows the world what a Lemming you are.

And if you even bothered to read my earlier post, how is even 70% for HALO bad? Using a 10 point scale a 50% would have been calling HALO Average, so as you can see, 70% is between Average and Almost Impossibly Great. It's not like HALO was the first FPS ever made.

ICO and SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS are not perfect either, but I can see higher scores for either of those two because they considerably pushed the envelope for their genre. I have yet to see a simplistic action/adventure game that offers as much fun as those two.

By the way, cursing does not make you sound intelligent.

Missed opportunities and calling the bluff

In my previous post I mentioned missed opportunities. In challenging the critical weight of the article, I expected the writers of this site to come out, guns blazing, in defence of their position.

So far, I've been told that the problem is with me, that I just don't "get" it and my points have gone unanswered. This was an opportunity for the site to defend its credibility and its claim to game criticism. Instead, the writers have almost reflexively declared ad hominem and ignored the arguments I submitted.

As far as I can see, this site is not used to valid disagreements with the review and it does not know how to respond. Writers are only used to fan letters or morons arguing about the score. Posts like mine, which are indifferent about the conclusion but question the approach, are rare and the writers don't know how to take it.

In this sense, the comments box is also a missed opportunity. The possibility of readers using it to challenge the self-proclaimed critics and stimulate discussion have been wasted.

I expect after this post the writers will return to reading fan letters and laughing at morons arguing about the score.

With all due respect, I

With all due respect, I answered your criticisms. I agreed with some of your points, and I countered with my own. I honestly believe that you made some valid points - absolutely. However, in the "review" space, I am only able to make one point. I agree; many volumes could be written on the implications. Perhaps you should wait for the Second Opinion being written by Brad and see if he elaborates.

Scoring

Honestly I think the whole score thing should just go away for good. Ideally, one should be able to deduce if a game is worth getting or not simply on the content of the written review, not the score at the end of it.

I forgot about that second

I forgot about that second opinion thing...let's see what Brad does.

Keep up the writing. Some people have interpreted my comments as personal attacks. I hope you can look past that and see that it is the quality of game criticism I am passionate about, regardless of who writes it. I think this is the best place to do it - face to face with the writer.

Akazukin wrote: Chi, I'm

Akazukin wrote:

Chi, I'm not opposed to writers exploring ideas concurrent to the review object, but tell me what other ideas, apart from the point that MGS4 is mostly for fans, are explored here?

Your previous post implied the opposite in exploring ideas were counter-intuitive to the purpose of a game review and that is what I disagreeing with.

Akazukin wrote:

But the feeling I get from people on this thread is - no, David is a game critic so he can't consider multiple points of view because it would defeat the purpose of his criticism (as if criticism cannot be multifaceted!)

If you look at our mission statement in our About Us page, we greatly value diverse perspectives and having open comments and forum areas serve that goal. People aren't always going to agree and we have no control over that, but doesn't mean that we don't value and respect your opinion.

Akazukin wrote:

Chi, I think my post has touched a nerve because the writers on this site call themselves game critics and expect the readers to simply go along with it, which is fair enough. But when readers such as myself call the bluff and question exactly how much critical thinking goes into the articles, there's a sense of defensiveness and denial, a "how dare someone question my critical approach" attitude. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I see it.

While David is an esteemed writer on our staff, his views are his own and do not represent the site as a whole. None of the reviews on this site do. I haven't defended David's review and no one else on the staff has posted here either. I was only responding to an issue that was raised that I feel strongly about.

Akazukin wrote:

So far, I've been told that the problem is with me, that I just don't "get" it and my points have gone unanswered. This was an opportunity for the site to defend its credibility and its claim to game criticism. Instead, the writers have almost reflexively declared ad hominem and ignored the arguments I submitted.

That was a reader and not one of our writers.

Akazukin wrote:

As far as I can see, this site is not used to valid disagreements with the review and it does not know how to respond. Writers are only used to fan letters or morons arguing about the score. Posts like mine, which are indifferent about the conclusion but question the approach, are rare and the writers don't know how to take it.

We don't get a lot of fan mail, so let's dispel that myth right off the bat. We get a lot of hate mail regarding ratings, but we also get a lot of valid criticism and disagreements. Some of our most active forum posters are our most harsest critics. Here's an example:
http://www.gamecritics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11119

As far as I can see, this

>>As far as I can see, this site is not used to valid disagreements with the review and it does not know how to respond. Writers are only used to fan letters or morons arguing about the score.

Akazukin,

To be fair (and was already pointed out by David himself) he’s already responded to your comments several times.

In addition, I’m not sure how often you come to this site, but I’d say we get more than the average amount of people who question our reviews and aren’t doing so from one extreme or the other. Honestly, we welcome it.

In reference to the actual review, no review will satisfy all readers and we aren’t the kind of site that thinks it’s all right to blather on for six or eight pages and call that coverage. As the reviews editor, I felt that David’s approach was quite appropriate given the subject and his own preferences, and I knew ahead of time that it would not be the standard write-up that some people would be searching for.

Also, and it may be a bit presumptuous on our part, we sometimes intuit that many of our readers will already have a basic knowledge of certain subjects under their belts, and we don’t require our writers to completely outline and support every concept that may be brought up of the course of their reviews. For example, with this game being the fourth in a series that is so well-known, David taking the time to outline and give specific details on why he thinks Kojima qualifies as an ‘auteur’ isn’t central to an appreciation of the points he brings up. For the sake of being concise, he’s asking the reader to just trust in that point and let him get to where he’s trying to go.

Is it a perfectly airtight piece, with every possible aspect covered in detail? No, of course not. No review is. However, although I can understand how you might feel dissatisfied, we encourage our reviewers to take risks and try things that are outside the norm. maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

it also helps if you have a knowledge of each writer’s previous reviews, in order to give a better frame of reference for where they’re coming from. (this is also why we like the two-person review system, because regardless of what one reviewer says, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees with their conclusion, or even how they got there.)

>>Posts like mine, which are indifferent about the conclusion but question the approach, are rare and the writers don't know how to take it.

It seems clear to me that David has heard your comments and taken them in stride. At this point, it seems as though the only way to completely address your points would be for him to re-write review, and that’s just not something we’re going to do. It may or may not matter to you, but the only outcome that’s possible at this time will be that you can rest assured David’s heard your feedback, and hopefully my second opinion will be more in line with what you’d like to see.

Thanks for your comments.

Chi, I'm not opposed to

Chi, I'm not opposed to exploring ideas in the review. That clearly is an essential part of the Gamecritics brand. The question is though - what sort of ideas and how far should they be explored? I would argue the ideas must be explored in a way that is relevant to the game. I'm sure you would concede that the springboard must have a height limit. David can't talk about auteur theory for five paragraphs - he has to return to MGS4 at some point. So he references Miyamoto, Richard Garriot and Castlevania, and then hurries along to the next point. Depth is compromised for breadth. The article is full of this and in the end, I think it diminishes what could have been a good review and perhaps an even better feature.

When David responded to my criticism he mentioned things like MGS and PS being intertwined, etc which sounded interesting and as far as I could see, were not in the original article. I encouraged him to break out these thoughts into a separate feature. Basically as a reader I wanted to hear more of it and was encouraging David to turn his mind loose in a full-blown feature article where he wouldn't be limited by having to come back to the game and give a score and fill in the consumer guide.

I guess what revved me up later was that, in response to what I thought was productive and encouraging advice, you commended msanono's post (which misrepresented what I said and basically slagged me off) in the forums while ignoring what I had said.

Azakun, you hit the nail on

Azakun, you hit the nail on the head with this one. You're right; I went for breadth in the review. NOTHING annoys me more than readying 4-6 page "reviews" that can be more precisely stated. Many of the big review sites seem to lack editors, allowing their writers to digitally vomit their entire ideas onto the intarwebz, regardless of whether or not it is needed.

I've read many dissections in features on MGS2 alone that spanned into the thousands of words. As it stands, the MGS4 review is around 1300 words. That's PLENTY. You, I assume, were able to understand my basic gist within the confines I had set for myself. I know that there is a TON of depth to which I can delve in elaborating on my point of view. If I had more time, I would definitely write a separate dissertation on it. Understand that, in the context of my medium here, I can only go so far, and especially with a bit of a time crunch to have it be a timely review. To go into better depth, I'd really need more time - at a minimum, two weeks.

If nothing else, I'm glad that this has sparked some key discussions on criticism and reviews as a whole. As your comments were constructive as opposed to banal (for the record, I'm not paid by Microsoft, but happy to provide an address for any cheques anyone would care to send my way - who doesn't say no to free money when they're first starting out? ) and was happy to address it as such. In fact, it's one of the things about GameCritics I've always enjoyed: being able to interact and respond to people directly. If you're not already a member of the forums, I would implore you to join them, as your voice would be a valuable addition to the site.

"The public is the only

"The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all."

No matter what anyone says, when dealing with a consumer product this saying will always reign supreme. People who go on sites and argue about why a game is a 9.5 and not an 8.5 or vice versa are simply outtnumberd by the millions who paid 60 bucks for that game. Simply put, money talks, video game makers are in the business of making money. The final say on games is the publics desire to purchase it.

That being said, this site provides a forum for a different sort of discussion on games and is quite awesome for it. Azakun, instead of posting about all the things that are wrong with David's review, simply post a counter review. You can highlight all the points you feel are necessary for a "good" review.

Afterwards, the rest of us can promptly shit on your writting and the irrelevant points made.

RE: RE: LOW SCORES DON'T MEAN SMART REVIEWS

And you're EXACTLY the type of person I described in my original post.

Hype goggles? So if a game is hyped, are you NOT allowed to give it a great score because that's being a lemming fanboy and giving into overrated hype? Sounds like gamecritics is full of insecure pricks who have to knock amazing achievements and promote bullshit ones in order to feel smart and good about themselves.

I almost ALWAYS see gamecritics.com at the bottom of all of the metacritic reviews. Coincidence, or flat-out arrogance?

Here's a tip: Not all hyped games are going to be legendary, and I'm IN NO WAY saying that a hyped game MUST have 100's across the board, but when it does deserve that 90+ rating, GIVE IT ONE.

Knocking amazing achievements in gaming is only going to attract insecure fags who think going against hype makes you a smart decision maker.

Sorry to do this, but enough

Sorry to do this, but enough is enough.

IS TIRED OF GAMECRITICS AND THEIR BULLSHIT wrote:

And you're EXACTLY the type of person I described in my original post.

Hype goggles? So if a game is hyped, are you NOT allowed to give it a great score because that's being a lemming fanboy and giving into overrated hype? Sounds like gamecritics is full of insecure pricks who have to knock amazing achievements and promote bullshit ones in order to feel smart and good about themselves.

Dude, did you even READ THE WORDS? Evidently not. You'd see I praise the game where I feel it ought, and give credit where credit is due. Rather than link here from Metacritic and spewing nonsense, try slowing down first. Akaz. is the kind of guy I'm happy to talk to, as he's offering construcive criticism. I don't know what to call what you're doing.

Quote:

I almost ALWAYS see gamecritics.com at the bottom of all of the metacritic reviews. Coincidence, or flat-out arrogance?

Co-incidence. Look up games like Zelda:OoT and you'll find a perfect 10 from this site. But those 10s are few and far between, as they ought to be. See the comments about using the whole scale, where 5 is meant to be an average, not a failure.

Quote:

Here's a tip: Not all hyped games are going to be legendary, and I'm IN NO WAY saying that a hyped game MUST have 100's across the board, but when it does deserve that 90+ rating, GIVE IT ONE.

Here's a tip: Not all hyped games are going to be legendary, and I'm IN NO WAY saying that a hyped game MUST have 100s across the board, but when it does deserve that 90+ rating, I'LL GIVE IT ONE.

Quote:

Knocking amazing achievements in gaming is only going to attract insecure fags who think going against hype makes you a smart decision maker.

Again, read the review. I'm knocking one particular aspect, which happens to be what the entire game is hinged on. I've beaten this game three times, including Insane. First time through was about 15 hours. I'm down to about 5.5 when skipping all cutscenes. The gameplay, while requisite Meta Gear, isn't that severely different. In fact, if you ever play Metal Gear 2 on Subsistence (which I finally did this week) you'd realize that it hasn't evolved much in 15 years. Had I played MG2 before this, I may have even dropped the score by half a point. Which, of course is completely arbitrary. The score doesn't matter. The words do, and I will continue to stand by them.

I'll end with some words to the unwise: calling people homosexuals as a derogatory/cigarettes really doesn't help your opinion any.

An apology

"As for ad hominem, msanono, the only one who has done that on this thread so far is you and in all my posts I have attacked the writing and not the writer."

While I stand by my comment--your critique of the review, particularly in your original post, seemed reactionary in tone; overly harsh to the point of being punitive. I assumed, wrongly it would seem, that there had to be some type of agenda driving that kind of aggression--I apologize for insinuating that you were a spiteful fanboy like "IS TIRED OF GAMECRITICS AND THEIR BULLSHIT".

I'm not entirely convinced you're not mind you, but for a person complaining about ad hominem attacks, that was kind of hypocritical of me. Again, sorry.

I don't want u to play it

so basically u're saying that think the game is crap and don't wanna play it bcoz u haven't played it ... and i am supposed to care and try to convince u to play it, i don't really care dude. u summed up the metal gear story by saying it's crap when they are some of the deepest stories in a game. so yea what u're saying is crap to the people who are playing the game and are loving and noone really gives a ... "crap" whether u're playing it or not ... i am playing it and loving it ... so dont convince me not to love it ... and for God's sake don't play it!!! i can some up the gladiator movie by saying it's about a dude who becomes a gladiator and wants to take revenge upon the king's son because he killed his family, and guess what ?! he does !!!.... that makes it sound like crap! but fact is it's one of the best movies ever ... but please don't watch either coz u'll probably thing the carachter saying his name is maximus is pretty ridiculous !! specially that he says it in english !! who spoke english in rome !!
now don't play the game and go play games u like i really don't want u playing it...

When you say another

When you say another commenter is right about your own review, to me that shows you didn't know exactly what you wanted to talk about in your review. You say nothing annoys you more than a 4-6 page review that isn't precisely stated. Well, yours is like a 1 page review that isn't precisely stated, which is worse.

Anyway, that's my opinion which is obviously just my own and doesn't matter. But if your reviews keep up like this, it's no wonder I never heard of GameCritics.com until now.

There are good reviewers and

There are good reviewers and there are bad reviewers.

Unfortunately for GameCritics.com, they have the bad ones. Explains a lot. :)

Keep at it guys, maybe you'll get noticed more one day!

My final word

Wow, way to misconstrue. Just because I concede someone made a valid point doesn't invalidate what I did, or will undo what I wrote. It spurned extra discussion, which criticism ought to do but rarely does. And isn't it nice when a writer concedes that someone makes a valid point rather than becomes a defensive jerk?

The ad hominem attack was unnecessary as well, but seeing as this is the internet, doesn't surprise.

***

To summarize all of the above:

The review stands.

Don't like it? Sorry. Keep reading Metacritic's upper tier if it comforts you.

Interesting discussion that could ensue? Wonderful. Forums have a purpose, and are most welcome.

Ad hominem slurs: look worse on the giver than the receiver.

MGS4 = not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I believe I've responded sufficiently to this review. Further discussion can either be done in the forums or via Private Message to me. Know that if the PM has any ad hominem, it will be promptly deleted and no reply will be given.

Ummm. Obviously the review

Ummm. Obviously the review stands. No reviewer would ever change their score unless it was a real mistake (i.e. typed the wrong number) because else it would make them look even worse.

What is the greatest thing since sliced bread?

The Review

Just read the review and the comments. Man, do I think some readers really, really need to get a life? You bet I do.

The reviewer said what he wanted to say, and I respect him for it. That's what reviewers are for. Reading a reviewer's reviews over time you either build up a trust of the reviewer (because you often agree with what he says), or you it won't. Maybe you use multiple sites to help form your opinion (to each his own). I for one pretty much never agree with Roger Ebert regarding movies, but often agree with Roper.

My point is arguing with a reviewer regarding his method of review is like arguing with a painter of over his use of colour. Of course you might not like the painting, but if you think you can do better then just go paint one yourself. Like a previous commenter mentioned, write the great review you imagined yourself. Show the world your incredible insight.

Here's mine (short and succinct, having played all of the MGS games, and regretting the last):

Hideo Kajima is guilty of some of the worst writing I have ever had the opportunity to witness. In a movie or book his stories and dialogue would be laughed of the page/screen. The funny thing is that everyone knows this and yet they want perfect 10 scores.

In short the games have gotten worse from the first release as a direct result of tecnology allowing Hideo to truly speak to us. He is not out of things to say, he has many, many idiotic things to say.

Do the graphics shine: of course they do. Is the gameplay fun, if not a rehash of all sneak games these days: yes. Is the game brilliant: Absolutely not.

Score 5/10.

You're welcome David, they'll be flaming me now.;-)

Some people...

...need to understand the definition of a review.

Review (a bit too late for a reply)

I've been looking up reviews for MGS4 in metacritic especially the ones that gives the lowest scores (I actually wanted to see the comments after since they're pretty entertaining and fun). However,this one caught my attention due to the comments and the responses from the author himself.

Somehow I can't help but believe that the intention of putting a score that clearly distinct itself from the masses is just vying for attention and traffic to their website. But that's just my opinion and after reading some of the comments here I can say this (site) is the exception.

How can I begin? It seems that when one loves or enjoys a certain game they are immediately labeled as "fanboys" and I don't really like the term. Can I just love it just like a normal everyday gamer? In regards to the comments, I do feel for the masses (so-called fanboys) that are against the score

but anyways....

Do I agree with this review that it deserved an 8/10? Yes. That's because it's this author's review NOT mine. His experiences in the game differs between others. As for me I would've given it a 15/10 for all I care.

Quote:

Hideo Kajima is guilty of some of the worst writing I have ever had the opportunity to witness. In a movie or book his stories and dialogue would be laughed of the page/screen. The funny thing is that everyone knows this and yet they want perfect 10 scores.

Worst writing, huh? He makes millions out of that "writing". No, he REVOLUTIONIZES gaming with that writing. I can't imagine what his "good" or "best" writing would produce..

And I agree with you on your latter comments. If he were to write it in a book it would be as big as the "websters encyclopidia and dictionary" and I would throw and burn it. If it was in a the big screen it would be like ALL VIDEO GAME TO MOVIE FRANCHISES..

IT-WILL-SUCK! And as a real gamers, we all know this! Aren't we all glad this is a VIDEO GAME? And no, there's no need to for you to get flamed. I couldn't distinguish your comments from spam anyways.

As for the others, deal with the score. There are more 100's and 90's in the list than the 80's. In fact almost every 80's rated score I read is all laughable. You should be proud that you got yourself a MGS game. I can review this game and give it a better score if you'd all like, hahahaha!

sorry you are wrong

sorry but you are wrong raiden was mocked in MGS3 when the Russian General second in command in the KGB had raiden's face and was hinted to being homosexual when volgen grab his privates in the game. You also have to disguise naked snake as this character to sneak into the base obviously hideo was directly mocking Raiden in this game for his unpopularity in MGS2. And that bring me back to you. You have mistaken the criticism of Raiden in MGS2 for the mocking of Raiden the article is referring to. I'm sorry if i pointed you out harshly but it is idiots like you that think MGS4 was a good game.

Let me just say that I think

Let me just say that I think Hideo Kojima is a wonderfully creative video game maker, and that he has told a fascinating story. The characters are colorful. The direction had a great sense of style and scope (in MGS4 especially), and I personally enjoy the many inside jokes. I enjoyed the many plot twists, even when they didn't quite hold up to scrutiny.
Yet I could never deny that Kojima needs an editor. MGS4's script had many problems. The dialogue had some golden lines, but it was frequently awkward and long-winded, sometimes even incoherent. I love the story itself, but it was not always well-told.

As for this review, I think more depth is always better, and I think it could have had more depth. I don't think more concise reviewing is better, but prefer to have a game's many aspects discussed in detail. However, I think most of the "criticism" the review has received stems more from not worshipping at MGS4's feet than for actual flaws in the review. It was pretty well written.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Code of Conduct

Comments are subject to approval/deletion based on the following criteria:
1) Treat all users with respect.
2) Post with an open-mind.
3) Do not insult and/or harass users.
4) Do not incite flame wars.
5) Do not troll and/or feed the trolls.
6) No excessive whining and/or complaining.

Please report any offensive posts here.

For more video game discussion with the our online community, become a member of our forum.

Our Game Review Philosophy and Ratings Explanations.

About Us | Privacy Policy | Review Game | Contact Us | Twitter | Facebook |  RSS
Copyright 1999–2010 GameCritics.com. All rights reserved.