Before GTA4 dropped, my gaming time was being pretty heavily occupied by the Metal Gear Online beta test for a few days. It turned out to be a pretty enjoyable online mode, and I think it will be a great (and much needed) addition to the PS3.
The biggest hurdle I found with the game was the controls, in that the control scheme is chock full of context-sensitive and modifying button combinations. And without a proper tutorial, and most of the instruction manuals (that I could find) in Japanese, you’re left mostly up to trial and error and discovering moves as you go along. Every so often I would see an opponent do something I’d never seen
before, and then you have to try and figure out how it was done. I hope that once MGS4 is out, which I assume will come with an in-game tutorial, that will make shifting over to multiplayer a bit easier.
The modes available in the beta were pretty straightforward, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Base Defense. Then they added Sneaking, which was pretty cool, because one person was chosen at random to play as Solid Snake. For all other purposes, it’s Team Deathmatch, with two teams fighting eachother. But they also want to kill Snake.
Snake on the other hand wants to collect dog tags from fallen soldier, and he’s got his whole bag of tricks, including the optic camouflage. It makes for a pretty fun game.
Some of the controls can be a bit clumsy… you can’t just shoot, you have to hold down a button to semi-aim, which zooms in the camera and slows your movement. It’s pretty inaccurate, and boils down to spray and pray. Or, while holding the original button, you can press yet another button to go into first person mode for better accuracy, narrower field of vision and even slower movement. I found that often by the time you got first-person to aim, your target was already somewhere completely different.
The game does have a lot of fun and unique elements going for it though. I found that in place of a grenade you can take a porn magazine, which you can plant, open, on the ground like a claymore. When an enemy (or friendly, so you have to watch out) walks by the magazine, they are helpless to turn away from the siren call of the boobies. They lose control of their character as he squats down to ogle the women, leaving him vulnerable and unable to respond. I had quite a bit of fun planting magazines, and then hiding under my cardboard box nearby. As soon as the enemy was distracted, I would pop out from under the box, walk over, give him a little salute and then shoot him in the back of the head. It’s little things like this that give the game an overall MGS feel.
The graphics and animation are pretty outstanding, but any screenshot/video will tell you that, and you should expect no less from a PS3 game. I’d still be playing it if not for the incredible work of art that is Grand Theft Auto 4.
Speaking of which, I’ve put over twenty hours into the game, and I’m 36% through. Good thing I’m on vacation for another week.
Oh, and before I go, Iron Man was absolutely outstanding. There can be no other Tony Stark but Robert Downey Jr. I have never seen such a perfect casting in a super hero flick. Go see it.