There are two types of franchises in video games: the ones like Final Fantasy, where each game is a completely separate world with new characters and new experiences and the ones like Mass Effect where there is a continuing narrative that flows from game to game. These two aren’t the only franchises that are like this of course, but they are two of my favorite and I think they best represent the example I am trying to make. So I wanted to ask the GamerSushi Universe which type you prefer.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. With Final Fantasy’s template, you know every time that you are getting something radically different from the previous game. Sure, certain themes and elements will be the same, but it’s kind of exciting to get immersed (or annoyed) by a whole new world with new characters to fall in love (or hate) with. Not to mention new gameplay ideas and mechanics that seem revolutionary compared to the previous entry. Far Cry 3 is a great example of this. There is a downside to this, though: as we saw with Final Fantasy VII, sometimes the game is so popular that deviating from that story will only irritate its legion of fans. Final Fantasy VIII is all but forgotten by Square Enix these days. It was only years later that they thought to capitalize of FF VII’s success, but by then it was too late.
In the last year, I have played all the numbered Metal Gear Solid games (MGS, MGS2, MGS3), ostensibly to see what the big deal was. After finishing Metal Gear Solid 4, my feelings on the game itself are largely ambivalent, but my feelings on the entire franchise are generally positive. (spoilers follow)
What’s this twenty-five year anniversary post doing here? Yes, this past Saturday, July 7, one of the longest-running franchises in gaming, Metal Gear Solid, turned the big two-five, celebrating a quarter-century of extended monologues and exclamation marks.
Debuting way back in 1987, Hideo Kojima’s tale of a cloned super-spy spans multiple console generations and has a legacy that has left an impact on a generation of gamers world-wide. Every Metal Gear game redefines the series and adds new gameplay conventions that make for some of the most unique gaming experiences available.
My first brush with Metal Gear Solid came back when the Snake Eater rerelease Subsistence dropped, allowing me to use a 3D camera, a la Splinter Cell. While this isn’t the way MGS had been played traditionally, it gave me a way to try out the series and that game quickly found a solid place in my top-ten games of all time.
While the MGS games can sometimes border on goofy and outright ridiculous, I still love them all the same and wouldn’t change a thing. What about you guys? How has Metal Gear affected you gaming history? What was your favorite title or moment from the series?
A startling admission, I know. Especially coming from someone who is a fan of Sony consoles in general and Japanese games in particular. But I missed the boat on Metal Gear Solid for the PS1, having only played Metal Gear Solid 2 when it was a Greatest Hit on the PS2 and then wondering, “This is what all the fuss was about? Gamers have terrible taste!” Seriously. I looked down on MGS fans after that.
All I had ever heard about was how amazing the story of Metal Gear Solid is, how it is just like watching a movie. All the hype before the release of MGS 2 focused on the story, rather than gameplay, something I had not previously seen before. So I played it, liked it, but didn’t see all the fuss. Then MGS 3 came out and finally MGS 4. I skipped those as well, but something was nagging at the back of my mind. Despite my experience with MGS 2, I still felt like there was something I was missing out on. With the release of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, I saw my opening and I struck. I would download and play the original MGS on the PSN and then play all the rest on the HD Collection.
So that’s what I did. I recently finished the MGS and had a blast with it. Even so many years after its release, the game still holds up well and its design and story had me pondering video games and the state of the medium to a degree that I haven’t in quite some time. So here are my thoughts on Metal Gear Solid.
Sometimes you think you’ve got your fall completely planned out, with money and pre-orders organized in neat little rows and squared away just so. You tell yourself you know the games that are worth skipping, the ones that you’ll get after a price drop, and the ones that you’re getting on day one.
But then reviews change everything.
As many of you know, I’ve had my qualms about Deus Ex: Human Revolution for quite some time. In fact, I labeled it as a “Shun” in a recent feature. But today, a pile of glowing reviews dropped for the game in advance of its release tomorrow.
Apparently, Deus Ex is a contender for Game of the Year. It’s being hailed as the best action/stealth game to come out since Metal Gear Solid. It’s also being called a cool blend of Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect. People are raving about the world, the story and the phenomenal gameplay. As such, all of the GamerSushi staff decided to purchase it today, including myself. And I can’t wait to play it tomorrow. I’m happy to have been proved wrong, but we’ll see if I agree with all the reviews.
So – who else is pumped about these great reviews? When have reviews changed your mind about a purchase before? Go!
One of the things that’s become a bigger part of game design over the last generation or so has been the idea of replay value. With game prices getting higher and used sales taking over more of the market, developers are faced with the problem of giving gamers more game for their money. This takes the form of multiplayer modes, branching narratives and any other number of things.
Over on Gamasutra, Adam Bishop recently posted a blog about The Myth of Replay Value, saying that this is an issue where the video game industry is missing the point. He goes on to cite how these added bits to games don’t really enhance replay value at all, but what really does is just making a good, rich experience. His main citation is Metal Gear Solid, a game that is completely linear with no variation, but still compels gamers to play through more than once.
Honestly, I only partially agree with this point of view. While I think it’s true that people aren’t going to replay through games that they didn’t love, there’s something to be said for offering extra incentives for players to jump back in time and time again. I think there’s got to be a mix of something there, because a great experience that’s only 10 hours long still isn’t my cup of tea, especially when the price tag is $60.
So what do you guys think of the question of replay value? How important is it to you? When buying a game do you care more about the experience or the replay value? Go!
This news could possibly be the death knell of Metal Gear Solid: Rising for me, even though I’ve seen nothing of the game since last E3. According to rumors, the game, subtitled “Tactical Lightning Action”, will be out sometime next year, and no one has phoned David Hayter yet! For those of you who don’t know who this man is, he’s the guy who’s been providing the gravelly-voiced delivery for Solid Snake for the last twelve years. He’s also a Hollywood screen writer with credits for X-Men and X-Men 2 in addition to the Watchmen draft that stodgy Alan Moore gave his approval to.
One might say that Hayter is the linchpin of Metal Gear Solid in North America, so what will a Metal Gear game without Solid Snake be like? Granted, the game is assumed to be about Raiden, but even Metal Gear Solid 2 (which had Raiden as the main protagonist), featured a lot of Snake. What do you guys think? Could Rising be completely Snake free? What are your thoughts on this game, now that a full year has gone by? Keep in mind that this is just a rumor, but it’s puzzling none the less.
You’re feeling restless. You want to play some video games, but you’re not really in the mood for anything that you’ve been playing recently. Try as you might to entertain yourself, nothing seems to get the job done. Suddenly, you get the idea to put in an old favorite, something you haven’t been back to in quite some time and haven’t had the heart to sell. You put it in, get excited as the old familiar screens pop up. Within a few minutes, though, you notice something. The magic is gone. This game doesn’t feel nearly as great as it did all those years ago. Wtf?
I don’t know if that’s happened to you, but it’s happened to me on more than one occasion. As sad as it is to admit, there are plenty of games that don’t withstand the most inscrutable of all tests: time. Whether it’s because they were overhyped pieces of junk to begin with, or our tastes have matured, or other games have done it better, there are any number of reasons that certain old school titles don’t tickle our fancies they way they used to.
As a lifetime gamer, I’ve come to accept certain facts about our pastime. The most difficult one to swallow, though, is the undeniable truth that gaming is very, very strange. Sure, we may not see it that way, but have you ever been playing a game and had your parents or a sibling walk into your room, pull a disgusted face and walk out? It may be because you were covered in Cheetos dust and Mountain Dew stains, but the greater probability is that they saw something on the TV screen that they just couldn’t comprehend. Well, to help you along with your family, I’ve assembled a handy list of games you should never play around non-gamers:
Oh, Hideo Kojima and your crazy gameplay conventions. More than any other gaming franchise in the history of our hobby, Metal Gear Solid has been equal parts awesome and puzzling. Where else can you be sneaking through an enemy base like a bad-ass at one moment and the then staring at a Playboy to regain your…ahem…”Stamina” the next? Besides being completley out to lunch, Metal Gear games are also famous for their propensity to drag on and on, and this new trailer for the upcoming PSP game Peace Walker is no exception. Clocking in at eight minutes, it shows three Snakes on a mission to take out a helicopter and tie some dudes to balloons. Go ahead and watch:
As easy as it is to make fun of Metal Gear, there’s no denying that this game looks solid. Heck, it even makes me want to buy a PSP even though all my handheld love is currently going into Pokemon Gold. What do you guys think about this trailer? I’m still trying to work out why this game isn’t a full fledged PS3 title, but it looks like it might just work. Sound off!
We’re really getting into the holiday spirit here at GamerSushi, but there’s always been one thing that we’ve found to be deficient in this most favorite of seasons: uber-leet carols! Sure, we all know the classics, like Frosty the Snowman or Silent Night, but are they really relevant anymore?
Well, fear not, as we’ve taking the liberty of updating some old dusty songs into something new and modern! The only things they’re missing are motion controls and HD graphics!
These days, I just don’t get a lot of time to replay games all that often. I’m so busy that as soon as I finish a game, I go right past it and move on to the next. I very rarely take the time, even when I’m in the midst of playing it, to stop and enjoy what’s going on with the experience.
Back when I was younger, this was of course very different. I would play through games again and again like my life depended on it. It didn’t matter if I had beaten it a million times, I would load it up repeatedly just to see how quick I could beat it, or to explore every last nook and cranny. This was definitely the case with Starfox, Mario 64 and Metal Gear Solid. While I haven’t done this in years, Dragon Age: Origins has reversed this trend.
I keep finding myself wanting to go back and replay big parts of the story with a new character to see how things might be different. I’ve already gone through nearly every origin story, and I’m tempted to take a new city elf female character to some pretty major plot points. In my mind, it takes a special kind of game to have that effect on me in a time when I’m kind of swamped personally.
So what about you guys? What games do you play over and over again? What game has made you do this the most?
Video games are supposed to hold your attention for hours on end, whether that is with engaging characters, superior game-play elements or what have you. Sometimes, though, you have to puzzle at the sheer stupidity of making a sidekick who is the most annoying person (or thing) that has ever grated your patience. Here’s a list of the top five sidekicks that make me want to beat the game designer to death with a rusty spoon:
5. Kreia: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Nothing is more irritating than a character that finds fault with everything that you do, which is why Kreia comes in at number five. Whether you’re a goody two-shoes Jedi or a completely evil baby-stealing innocent-killing Sith, Kreia always has a few words to say about your choices during the game. Despite the fact that she herself is a Sith, any dark side choices you make are wrong from her point of view. Talk about nagging.
In case you hadn’t heard, the new Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game is being made by Kojima Productions. I think it’s definitely good to let them tackle something that is not Metal Gear for a change, and so far the results are looking pretty cool. The Lords of Shadow trailer definitely has some cool style to it, and count me pumped for Patrick Stewart’s voice, which instantly makes everything exponentially more awesome. What do you guys think?
Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about an upcoming Uncharted movie, which is apparently in the works. Personally, after playing this game, it’s one of the few games that could easily make a silver screen transition, mainly due to its completely cinematic presentation.
In response to all this rumor-mongering, MTV has posted its wishlist for an Uncharted movie, filling out the cast with talents such as Nathan Fillion, Emily Rose, Powers Boothe and then some. I think they all seem to be a pretty decent fit, but it got me thinking about what other game movies need an actor wishlist.
I would for real pee myself over a Metal Gear Solid movie with Josh Holloway from Lost or Hugh Jackman as Snake. Or maybe a Super Mario Bros movie with Dennis Hopper as Koopa. Oh wait… All joking aside, what would be your dream cast for some of your favorite video game movies?
Ok, considering that I’ve been wanting to play these games for the last few months, this news is just awesome. For you PS3 and PSP owners, a recent ESRB ratings search shows that Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil are coming to the PSN Store for download! Yes, the original honest-to-goodness PlayStation titles.
I’ve been on a bit of a classic gaming kick recently and since I learned the other month that I misplaced my MGS disc, this is definitely a welcome surprise. The original Metal Gear Solid is still to this day one of my top five favorite games of all time, and playing it on my PSP while I travel over the summer is definitely going to be a bonus.
Is anybody else excited about this? Have you ever lost or misplaced an old game that you really wanted to play again?
A while back, I asked what video games you fell in love with in terms of story. Not surprisingly, most of your responses centered on games in the more recent era. This is an obvious trend because in the old days, games did not need a story to exist. But now, we need motivation, cut-scenes, back-story and lots and lots of twists. Too many, some would say. Like me. I think that people’s love for game stories depends on when they started playing.
See, when I was younger, stories in games were very basic. Some games didn’t even try to have one! Endings were short, usually text based. Hell, people were stunned by Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’s FIVE minute ending. Minds were blown, heads exploded, etc…Since I have been playing games since about 1986 or so, I have a different perspective than someone who started in 1996. I play the game for the GAMEPLAY. If a game has a great story, awesome, but it’s only a bonus. If a game has poor gameplay, I don’t care how good the story might be, I am not playing it.
Games are an interactive medium and therefore it can be very easy for games to play tricks on us. Lead us in one direction, only to change the whole game around on us a few minutes later. Some twists have to do with the plot, others with gameplay. These can leave us cheering, reeling, or just plain dumbfounded in the wake of their awesomeness.
For instance, Metal Gear Solid 2 pulled a fast one on gamers worldwide when it turned out that Solid Snake wasn’t actually the protagonist. Likewise, Chrono Cross flips everything on you by suddenly swapping the identities of the game’s bad guy and good guy.
So sit back as GamerSushi unveils its first “Top Six” feature, as we look at gaming’s best plot twists.
I’m in the middle of trying to finish way too many games right now. Currently, I’m doing a massive battle royale with Dead Rising, Valkyria Chronicles (still), Killzone 2, Resident Evil 5, Fallout 3 and Halo Wars. This was a bad move on my part, as now I’m nowhere near finishing all of these games. Actually, it’s been awhile since I’ve beat a game at all.
This got me thinking- when I was a kid, I used to beat games like nobody’s business, and then go back and beat it again immediately. Those days are kind of long gone, but it’s fun to think about the ones that I used to play over and over again, to the point where I knew them like the back of my hand.
The main games for me were Shadows of the Empire (loved the final space battle), Metal Gear Solid (skipping cut scenes, I could beat this game in 2 hours) and Super Mario 64, where I once got 40 stars in an hour and a half one day.
So what about you guys? What are the games that you’ve beaten the most in your lifetime? Go!
I am not a typical hardcore gamer nerd. I have long since accepted that while I am a huge nerd, the demands for a robust sex life call me away from my nerdly pleasures more often than not. I do not replay games on harder levels, instead preferring to move on to a new game entirely. I do not collect Achievements or Trophies, I find it as enjoyable as homework. And I do not see the big deal about a number of giant game franchises.