At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
PlayStation 2 Konami KCEJ 1 Here
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
At the time of writing, we did not have a requirements section. Click here to buy Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty review

Okay, the question on everyone's lips is: Does MGS2 live up to the hype or not? The answer is yes, yes, yes.....and no! It's gonna be tough to explain myself without spoiling the game's many twists and surprises, but I'll try my best.

First, the obvious: this game is drop dead gorgeous. It's a shame that titles like this weren't available at the PS2's launch, because it really shows what the hardware can do. Superbly detailed environments, amazing special effects, true reflections and shadows, and a really smooth frame rate (60FPS), albeit in 50Hz, this is what next-gen gaming is all about.

The game controls just like the 1st MGS, but with plenty of new moves for Snake to put to use. He can now hop over rails, hang by his hands and drop down on guards, peek round corners, perform diving rolls and more. The real depth, however, comes from the amazing level of interaction between Snake and his enemies. The guards are much smarter this time round, and it takes detailed strategies to confront them. You can put a guard to sleep, take him hostage, distract him, destroy his radio so he can't call for backup, scald him with hot steam, wound his legs to keep him from running, wound his arms to keep him from holding his gun... the list just goes on and on. Interacting with a guard has that rare gameplay magic that's hard to put into words-that amazing 'pick-up-and-play' quality that the classic games all seem to have.

It's disappointing, though, that Snake's weaponry hasn't grown much. It consists almost entirely of weapons and items from the last game, with only a few noticeable additions.

Any Metal Gear fan will know to expect an incredibly involved story, and MGS2 delivers the goods and more! There are loads of sub-plots, with so many unexpected twists that I lost count. Believe me, these shockers will go down as some of the best kept secrets in video game history-people will be talking for years.

As much as I love the surprises though, the story runs into some trouble later on. Eventually there are just so many sub-plots, double-crosses and double-double-crosses that the story becomes an unwieldy beast, like the developers tried to squeeze too much stuff in. The game's focus shifts from the strength of it's characters and gets bogged down with political and philosophical mumbo-jumbo that just isn't as compelling. I do like the fact that the story has mant deeper meanings, but sometimes it's just layed on far too thick it gets difficult to figure out what's supposed to be going on.

That's one of the reasons why I've had a hard time deciding how to score this game. The other is that the areas you explore early on are more interesting than the rest of the game. Don't get me wrong, the remainder of the game is still amazing-it just doesn't quite live up to the first rooms (from the MGS2 demo), which have been polished to perfection.

But if there are any disappointments to be found in MGS2, it's only because the game raises the 'anti' so high that parts which are 'very good' seem sub-par.

So, despite a couple of rough spots, MGS2 is still a no-brainer for PS2 fans. Buy it, you'll love it. You'll scratch your head at some parts, but you'll have wet yourself with excitement so many times that you won't really care. Most agmes would be lucky to have just 1 classic moment, a scene that makes such an impression that gamers talk about it for years. MGS2 has one of those nearly every hour.
The game takes about as long to beat as the 1st MGS, which is fine by me, and after you beat it, you'll immediately want to play through again for all the bonus secrets to make it even more worthwhile.

Ratings

Graphics Exquisite is a word made up in preparation for MGS2 I think!! Real time shadows, reflections, even hair movement is shown off to the full by MGS2 and the hardware pushed to its limits. 9/10
Gameplay While the storyline is very linear, the gameplay allows for such creative use of strategies and techniques that no scenario is quite the same twice. 9/10
Value At the time of writing, we did not have a value for money ranking. 0/10
Lifespan Hey, I squeezed nearly 20 hours out of the last demo version, so I should be playing the full game, for what....a year? 10/10
Audio Film-like quality of music score helps keep the game rolling along, and the spot effects and short musical bursts really set the scene and give you the feeling of controlling the lead in a major blockbuster. 10/10
Overall THE game of 2002 has lived up to its high expectations, and then some. This game is the reason you bought a Playstation2. 10/10

Click here to buy Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty from Amazon.co.uk.

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