Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Cameron Nutter - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: PlayStation 2 (Sony)
Produced by: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Mature Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Reviewed By: Cameron (Evileye)

Genre: Third Person Shooter
Christian Rating: 3 of 5 (average)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 2 of 5 (heavy)


Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Illustration copyrighted.

*Light Spoilers Possible Ahead

*May or may not apply to Metal Gear Solid on the Xbox or the PC

*Thanks to Luinnar for lots more facts

Metal Gear Solid is a series that really grows on you. Not all people can sit back and enjoy the movie-like cut-scenes, which are almost always what half the game is made out of. Not everyone can enjoy playing a game with weird fixed cameras. And not everyone enjoys the games over emphasized voice-overs. But those who do like them get a series of extremely well made ‘sneaking’ games. What’s a sneaking game, you ask? It’s a game where killing isn’t always the only option, where its better to not be seen at all rather than to run through guns blazing. And that’s why so many people flock to Metal Gear Solid games, because they offer you a different way to play.

The series started out with two classic games, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. Then, as gaming went 3D with the Playstation, the series also went 3D with Metal Gear Solid. And soon, on the Playstation 2, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty would be born, and the game would greatly anger some and greatly please others.

In the previous games, the game has been based around a main character, code-named Solid Snake, or just Snake. But in Metal Gear Solid 2, the developers decided to leave Snake out of the main character slot, and hand it over to a new character, Jack, code-named Raiden. Fans who loved Snake hated seeing him in the back seat of a new Metal Gear Solid. They also hated the new character, Raiden, because he almost seemed too girly for the job, and often annoyed people with his high voice and his girly action. But, once the fans got over those small problems, then would uncover a benchmark in the Metal Gear Solid series, which shed a lot of light on the very shady story.

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If you are totally lost in the Metal Gear world, let me see if I can help you out a little bit. A Metal Gear is sort of like a Mech, and they are bred with nuclear weapons standard. The character named Big Boss, the original ‘Snake’ was cloned thrice, spawning Liquid Snake, Solid Snake, and Solidus. In MGS 2, Solid Snake is in a group that is determined to get rid of all of the Metal Gears in the world, which are being made constantly due to a leak of the layout. At the beginning of MGS 2, Snake is sent to a large tanker, where a new type of Metal Gear was supposed to have been stored. Liquid Snake, who is now dead, and controlling another character, Revolver Ocelot, through his arm, gets his hands on the Metal Gear, named RAY. He then takes off under the sea, destroying the tanker as he goes. It would then be blamed on Solid Snake. Snake goes down with the Tanker. Or so we think. Then along comes Raiden, three years later. He is infiltrating a water cleaning plant because the president of the United States, along with others, have been kidnapped and are being held as hostages. There is also rumor of a Metal Gear somewhere on the plant. At that point, you are given control of our new hero.

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The game plays out with a over-the-top camera. You are always looking strait down at Raiden, unless you press a certain button and go into a temporary first-person view, mostly used for shooting your weapon. Each shoulder button controls a different set of items. When you hold R2 down, all of your weapons are listed. You then select the one you want to use, and release R2, which equips your weapon. When L2 is pressed, all of your other items, such as your rations, bandages, key items and so on, are shown. You then select the item you wish to use, and release L2, and it equips it, just like before.

Throughout the game, you almost always have a radar in the top-right-hand side of your screen. In each room you will have to activate the radar by finding a ‘console’. This radar shows your current location, the layout of the room you are in and the location of all of the enemies in the area with you, along with their line of sight. You will be relying very heavily on your radar to help you figure out where an enemy is in the room you are in. Below is a chart that tells you what modes your radar goes into:

Guards will attack on sight, and you cannot use your radar. There will be many guards coming out of nowhere. If hidden, Alert will go down within a few seconds.
Guards are now searching for you, and will find you if you are not hidden very well. You cannot use your radar. If you stay hidden, Evasive will go down as soon as the enemies are sure that you are gone, which could range from a minute to about three minutes.
The guards that are left will continue to patrol the area, along with the guards that were previously stationed in that area. Your radar can be used at this time, though it would be best to stay in cover until it dies down. Caution will go down within about a minute, give or take about 15 seconds.

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Throughout the game, you will use many different kinds of weapons. That includes a pistol loaded with sleeping dart, a normal pistol, many different types of machine guns, rocket launchers, guided missiles and even a ‘dirty magazine’ that you can lay down to distract your enemies. You can also choose to sneak up behind an enemy and put him into a chokehold. At that point you can choose to kill him by breaking his neck, or knock him out and lay him on the floor.

The games environments take place in two settings. One is the tanker. When you are outside the boat, it’s raining, and the rain looks very sleek as it hits the boat. They have created very nice, differed environments in each room. But when you get into the Water Treatment Plant, the environments start to get incredible repetitive. The first room is tan. Go up an elevator, more tan. Run into the next room, tan. Tan is the color of choice in this Plant, and it gets very annoying after you have to run around in it for hours at a time. It gets even worse when you have to backtrack over a room you have gone into about five previous times. Although the tan does look quite nice, it is just way too repetitive. The character models do look nice as well, with a lot more detail added in the jump from the PS1 to the PS2.

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The voice-overs are actually quite well done for a video game. Sure they won’t win an award in Hollywood for best actor, but they get the job done. David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake does a great job, even though he over emphasizes way too much on everything he says. The rest of the characters all sound at least decent. The only real problem I have is with the other main character, Raiden. His voice actor sounds like a twelve-year-old kid, fresh out of grade school. You can’t even take him seriously sometimes, because he is trying to say something important, and all the while you are laughing your head off. It gets even worse when you sneak up behind someone and point your gun to his or her head. Raiden then squeals out the most pathetic “freeze” I have ever heard someone say. If someone came up to me and said that, I would fall on the floor laughing. It’s almost unbearable.

As previously mentioned, you can lay down ‘dirty magazines’ to distract your enemies. This is just one of the very many sexual related things that you find in MGS2, along with most all of the Metal Gear Solid games. Throughout the game, you will find pictures of real models in very skimpy outfits in different places, but mostly in the doors of lockers. None of them go as far as to show any nudity, but some of them do wear very skimpy cloths. Towards the end of the game, one of the male characters you use gets stripped down to nothing, and you have to run around in sub-zero whether looking for your cloths. He always has his hand covering his front, but his butt is in plain sight all the time. One of the characters wears a bathing suit, and when she takes her coat off you can see her behind, as its not nearly covered up enough. One of the characters had a affair with his stepmother, and there is a instance of suicide over the situation. Towards the end of the game, you are walking on a platform, and a guard from above is urinating down from. You have to walk through it, and if you run you will slip in the urine.

There are absolutely tons of dialogs in this game, but the language isn’t as terrible as it could have been. There are over a dozen or so uses of Da**, and a little less of hell. A few Bas****s made their way into the script as well. “Crap” and “Oh My God” were used once in a while.

The violence in this game is ranged quite high. In one corridor you walk down, the walls and floors are covered in blood smears where you can tell that a bunch of people had been brutally killed. One of the characters is a vampire, and drinks people’s blood. When you shoot someone, blood squirts out and gets all over the floor in a puddle. Your blood, when you get shot, also flies onto the floor and walls. One of the characters is shot strait in the head. Many should be aware that there is an option to turn off the blood, and most of the blood does go away. But the preset blood stay.

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Metal Gear Solid 2 is a love/hate relationship. Solid Snake is not the main character, and that is a fact that is very hard for some people to get over. The environments are very repetitive towards the middle/end of the game. But despite these odds, Metal Gear Solid 2 has proven to be worthy of the Metal Gear name. Its fun, addicting, pulse pounding and just gives you a good sense of really ‘sneaking’. Be prepared to sink in about 15 or 16 hours on your first play through, but almost every minute is a minute well spent.

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Year of Release — 2001

[tags] 4 stars, Third Person Shooter, PlayStation 2 (Sony), M (Mature), Konami [/tags]


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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