As echoed by countless fans and media circulations alike, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is unquestionably one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year. Shortly after the release of its critically acclaimed predecessor - Metal Gear Solid, reports surfaced regarding a sequel in the works. The response was met with an enormous wave of excitement and expectations. And rightfully so, due to the immense level of hype and momentum that's followed Metal Gear Solid 2 up to its domestic release, fans and skeptics alike have eagerly awaited the opportunity to experience the game first hand.
Naturally, an immediate concern that's lingered in the minds of gamers, notably in fans of the series, revolves around the latest installment's execution and production values. Quite understandable, since Metal Gear Solid was acknowledged for its excellence by taking the original 8-bit formula and raising it to a new level; complemented by an epic storyline, memorable characters, 3D cinematic sequences, and intuitive gameplay mechanics. Does Metal Gear Solid 2 deliver? Yes, most definitely…in a number of ways. Players can be assured that Metal Gear Solid 2 remains true to its roots, featuring a myriad of plots twists and intrigue. Like the original, the story is driven by cinematic sequences and extensive dialogue. Thus you should expect to watch the game almost equally as much as you'll be playing. A significant increase in comparison to the original has been met with mixed criticism. As highlighted in my Ico review, players are not impressed with non-interactive games, especially when it's filled with more cinemas than the gameplay itself. In my opinion, MGS2 is an exception. It should be obvious to anyone that this is much more than a game; it's really an experience…one that can only be fully appreciated by paying close attention to the story. I found some of the criticism expressed to be pretty trivial. Granted the fact that the non-interactive aspects are substantially greater than the original, but overall the story is so well executed, that it deserves your full attention.
For obvious reasons, this review won't divulge into any plot highlights which should be personally experienced. It would be in your best interest to avoid any contact from subjects based on the game, as they may contain spoiler material. In fact, don't read the manual either. Trust me, it reveals more information than you'd probably care to know. Not to worry, any/all core gameplay functions are unveiled during the context of the game. Once you've played the game yourself, you'll understand the importance of not wanting to disclose information with anyone who has yet to play the game. At that point, you'll then search out others in order to discuss and acquire opinions based on various points of the game. And you'll no doubt compare the sequel to the original, judging upon areas such as the story, gameplay, and so forth. This is likely to occur with players who have already played the first edition (Metal Gear Solid), as the sequel makes several references in this regard. Whereas newcomers, who have a vague or lack of comprehension as to what's expressed, surely will find themselves being somewhat puzzled. Thus, it's highly recommended that you take the steps to play through the original before engaging the sequel. It's like sitting down and watching Return of the Jedi for the first time, and wondering how Luke suddenly has honed the skills of the Force, among other significant details that can only be understood by viewing the previous installments. Not to say that the game can't be appreciated, but as you'll discover - the host of surprises and highlights unveiled will have greater significance.