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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots [PS3]

Metal Gear Solid 4 Updated Impressions

"Director Kojima shows off 40 minutes of new gameplay and more at MGS4's press conference. "

Official Trailer

Check out the US version of the new and improved cinematic trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots!

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TOKYO--With Metal Gear Solid 4's launch just a month away, Konami held a press conference in Japan to celebrate the game's completion. Half of the conference was about speeches and launch promotions, but with the event taking place in a cineplex, we also got to see a lot of game action on the big screen.

To make the cinema experience as real as possible, the press conference started off with a "No Smoking" MGS ad, followed by a few CGI-rendered commercials that were actually fake ads based on the Metal Gear Solid 4 world. It was an interesting way to start off the event because the ads were all supposed to be from the in-game Private Military Companies (PMCs), which subtly hints that they're a major power in the MGS4 world, even outside of the war zone.

Following the ads, the conference started off with MGS4's opening scene in the Middle East, which can be seen at MGS4's new official site together with the aforementioned ads. In the opening, Snake is seen riding on the back of a truck that's heading toward a war zone, and he's disguised in a robe to look just like the other civilian soldiers riding with him. He goes on a monologue about how the war is no longer about nations, ideologies, or ethnicities. It's become an endless series of proxy battles by hired mercenaries and machines, and the consumption of life has become a practical business in the world.

As Snake continues to talk about how the soldiers are completely controlled with nanomachines and ID-tagged weapons, he reaches the war zone and gets off the truck. He finds himself in crossfire as soon as he gets off, as the other soldiers around him are quickly picked off by well-equipped PMC mercenaries. Much to his misfortune, he finds that his gun is totally jammed before he even gets to make a shot, leaving him completely empty-handed. The game switched from the opening scene to gameplay at this point, which was impressively seamless and almost unnoticeable, had it not been for the life bar and other interfaces appearing on the screen.

This time around, Snake actually starts off with a weapon. Unfortunately for him, it totally jams up.

This time around, Snake actually starts off with a weapon. Unfortunately for him, it totally jams up.

Thereafter, the game seemed to function as a tutorial. As the unarmed Snake sneaks around the war zone to avoid confrontation, he finds a gun on the ground used by one of the civilian soldiers. As Snake picks up the gun, we heard the familiar voice of Otakon, telling Snake how to press the start button to open the game's menu and equip the weapon. Unlike weapons carried by the PMCs, the civilians' primitive arsenals aren't ID-tagged, so Snake can just pick them up and use them without problems.

As Snake moved forward, an elephant-like cry echoed through the sky, silencing the soldiers as they stopped shooting to figure out what was going on. After a few moments of dead silence, a hoard of Gekko units jumped from a far distance and suddenly landed in front of the soldiers, quickly killing them one by one. With Otakon telling Snake not to confront the killing machines, Snake evacuates into one of the buildings shown numerous times in previous game demos and trailers. There, he finds a cardboard box on the second floor, placed too obviously on the middle of the floor (the box ironically says "No place to hide" on one side, and "No place for Hideo" on the other). As Snake goes into hiding, two Gekkos reach the floor, search around, and decide to smash the box, causing red liquid to splatter all over the place. Fortunately, it turns out to be a bunch of watermelons rather than a mashed Snake. After the Gekkos go away, Snake powers off his camouflage and appears from the side of the room. The camera zooms in on Snake's face, Metal Gear Solid 4's logo appears onscreen, and the opening sequence ends there.

After a few words from Konami Digital Entertainment's president and director, Hideo Kojima, a fresh movie-like trailer was shown off, done completely in Hollywood style and narrated by a Don LaFontaine-like voice. The trailer featured new scenes such as Snake confronting Liquid Ocelot (and getting beaten up), a Metal Gear Ray jumping out of the water, and Snake mysteriously turning young. The trailer is viewable at MGS4's official site.

After the trailer, Kojima showed some live MGS4 gameplay and unveiled new information. The demonstration ran for about 40 minutes with an experienced staff playing the game, and Kojima mentioned that they're showing off only about one-fifteenth of the whole game.

Metal Gear?!

Metal Gear?!

First and foremost, Kojima revealed that, unlike any of the previous installments in the series, MGS4 will be chapter-based. Each chapter starts off with a scene in which the small, young heroine Sunny is frying eggs in her room. According to Kojima, the eggs allude to what will happen in each of the chapters, in the way that they're cracked or the way that they're fried.

Kojima showed off the first chapter, Act 1: Liquid Sun. The game started off in the same familiar area from the previous demos. Kojima explained the new changes to the game, such as the threat ring, which replaces the enemy location on the map from previous installments.

In MGS4, the area map can be displayed by pausing the game, though it doesn't show enemies. The map is rendered in 3D so it can be zoomed and rotated, giving you a more accurate judgment on the best course to take to reach a destination. Height seems to be a vital factor in MGS4, given that you can make use of building structures to evade enemy encounters.

As the game progressed, we saw the war zone changing; a vehicle sent in more PMC mercenaries, making situations worse for the civilian soldiers. It's up to you to decide whether to help the soldiers or stay neutral. For the sake of showing off to the press, Kojima decided to help them out and took out a few PMC mercenaries. He took one out by close-quarters combat and showed that your enemies can be hidden in lockers, just like in previous MGS games. He also showed that Snake could give items to the civilian soldiers and get stuff back in return. The game was played in hard mode, in which the enemies patrol in a team of two and wake up faster after they're stunned. Consequently, Kojima and his staff played carefully so as not to make any major mistakes while playing in front of the press. Kojima also took the opportunity to once again show that Snake can blend into the environment using his suit's Octo-cam capabilities. Once he blends, the pattern can be recorded for future use, which is great for gamers who like to keep a collection.

It's also worth mentioning that Kojima's team put in quite an effort to give details and a realistic feel to MGS4's world. A microphone speaker rang out in the middle of the war zone, broadcasting a PMC propaganda announcement. We were also shown the area with the statues where Snake can blend in by use of his Octo-cam. As a small Easter egg, Kojima showed that parts of the statue would eventually fall off if Snake keeps camouflaging and touching them.

As Snake went into a building, we once again saw the demo scene in which he meets up with Otakon's Metal Gear MKII for the first time. There, a small mech supplies him with some additional hardware to survive in the fierce battlefront: the Solid Eye, a gun called the Operator, and a tranquilizer gun. The Solid Eye has multiple functions and modes. It can be used to detect human emotion, detect enemy type, find items on the screen, uncover footsteps, as a telescope, and as a night goggle.

From here on, the Metal Gear MKII can also be controlled by the player. MKII is equipped with stealth camouflage, making it perfect for use in surveillance. It doesn't have any weapons, but it can stun enemies with electrocution wire.

Posted on May 14, 2008



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