The 25 biggest surprises in Metal Gear Solid 4 (page 2 of 3)
The Solid Eye: Part radar, part vision enhancer, the Solid Eye is a hugely helpful addition to Snake's inventory. When you equip it, you'll gain a radar view to help spot nearby enemies. Perhaps more important is that nearby items and humans will be highlighted for easy identification. You can also switch to optional night vision and binocular modes, though these will quickly drain your batteries. When I played, I found myself sticking to the default "radar" view most of the time.
Aiming down the sight: Though both MGS2 and MGS3 featured a first-person aiming mode, these were fairly clunky and inaccurate. MGS4, however, adopts a more traditional "aim down the sight" mechanic popularized by games like Call of Duty 4. If you tap Triangle while aiming, you'll switch to a fully mobile first-person perspective where you can move and shoot as in Halo or Call of Duty. If you crouch or lie down while aiming down the sight, your shots will be almost perfectly precise. This gameplay element felt particularly polished during my play session, and I found myself frequently dropping into "FPS mode." Of course, it's purely optional.
Returning characters from MGS1: It's well known that a whole host of classic MGS1 characters return for an encore in MGS4: Colonel Campbell, Otacon, Naomi Hunter, and Meryl Silverburgh were unveiled in various trailers and have fans drooling already. Then there's Liquid Ocelot, a fusion of Liquid Snake's and Revolver Ocelot's personalities. MGS1 is widely regarded as having the best cast in the entire Metal Gear series, and with so many alumni returning for MGS4, you could almost call MGS4 the first "true" sequel to MGS1.
Real online multiplayer: Well, sort of. The Metal Gear series is going online with Metal Gear Online, a new standalone online game that will emphasize team-based battles. From what I saw, I expect that Metal Gear Solid 4 will include a trial version of Metal Gear Online. How many levels and modes will be included in the trial? I have no idea, but some is definitely better than none.
The Metal Gear Mk. II: Meet the newest Metal Gear...an adorable, puppy dog-like bot! An early gift from Otacon, the Mk. II is a handy tool in the initial sections of MGS4. When activated, you switch to controlling the Mk. II as it wheels through corridors. With its integrated invisibility cloak, you can send it out ahead of you as a recon bot. It also packs an electric whip that's handy for stunning nearby guards on the sly. The Mk. II also serves as the courier between you and Drebin when you buy or sell guns.
Octo-camo: Metal Gear Solid 3 was a great game, but its clunky camouflage system made you delve into menu screens every time the landscape changed. Not so in MGS4: your color-changing armor will automatically shift to match your surroundings, aiding your stealth efforts. You can also restore the armor's default hues at any time by gently shaking the controller....it's a bit like an Etch-a-Sketch. I found the octo-camo to be one of the best features in MGS4 -- it makes the stealth scenarios faster and easier.
Old Snake: Snake's weathered appearance gave me some doubts at first. Who wants to take the role of a mustached fuddy-duddy, anyway? But as I played the game, I found that Old Snake is an extremely interesting character. He's no longer an invincible, larger-than-life superhero. Instead, he shows vulnerability, uncertainty, and mortality, rare qualities for any action game star. By focusing on the human element, Kojima Productions has made one of the boldest choices in game design I've seen in years. It's very, very refreshing.
Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection: Okay, technically this isn't "part" of Metal Gear Solid 4, but it's still completely relevant. Many of the themes, characters, and plot threads outlined in the first three games re-appear in Metal Gear Solid 4, but with new depth and meaning. If you're jonesing to play MGS4, I'd recommend that you re-visit these classics in the precious time remaining before June 12th. These games will gain new relevance when you finally play MGS4.
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