Ive been playing the HD version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PS3 & Ive been pondering why this game hasnít caught me as deeply as the other Metal Gears, such as 1 through 3. Initially I was blown away by the opening sequence, featuring Big Boss and his team of manmen training on a rainy beach in Colombia, chock-a-block filled with testosterone and musk. This got me rilled up, stamping me foot upon the ground like a jack rabbit in heat. soon after, however, my feelings of epicness and erectile potency for the unfolding events quickly deteriorated. Only spiking every time a certain ex-alive blonde super soldier was mentioned. Why this sudden drop in feels I wondered.
( "I know Kung Fu" "...show me" )
The gameplay is good fun, im a big CQC fan which is featured with a wide range of methods to abuse derpy soldiers. I loved what was done in MGS3 and MGO if you had the sack to tackle the momentous task of becoming a beast in mano a mano. So the CQC alone already scores some points, overall the gameplay is solid and I donít think thats where this feeling of loss lies.
( Ashley Wood is the prolific artist behind the majority of Metal Gears Artwork )
I donít like the cutscenes even though they are beautiful slices of living comic book. Let me explain why. They take you away from where/how you are playing; Breaking the vital immersion in order to offer the player a lesser format to display, what could be said is, the most important aspect of the Kojima experience: the cinematic set up, le atmosphere. In the previous central titles, these fantastical displays play out via the models that we interact with during gameplay. I feel this brings the player in, closer to the whole experience. Without this I feel at a loss because im being deprived of that awesome spectacle.
The spectacle I speak of is known! It is snake laying down some vicious CQC on multiple attackers far before it was a possibility; gameplay-wise. Its Grey fox giving a soothing massage to Revolver Ocelot using a sword. Even seeing the body language of Snake as he stiffly stands about had a sense of homelyness that takes me back to fog lights, helipads and the falling snow.
( Snake was eager to protect the strange derp head that had started growing on his leg after spending too much time with Roy Cambell. )
Those above and beyond displays really added to a sense of suaveness, that Metal Gear shine. The feeling of a partially supernatural philosophical James Bondish stealth game. Those cutscenes offered a complete disruption to the pacing of the experience, you never knew what snake was going to do, or what kind of crazy ass shit someone would pull. The stylish physical design coupled with the unpredictability really gave life to the Metal Gear projection. Peace Walkers cutscenes break away from that norm and as a consequence, I donít feel it stands up to what was previously offered as a totally awesome package. Its at a loss automatically in terms of its delivery to the audience. Despite these cinematics being beautiful in there own right. That is why I believe Peace Walkers cutscene style to be a detriment.
I think its essential for a grandiose feel to be nurtured by maintaining the in game graphics for cutscenes. Mirrors edge did the same thing and I had the same sense of this just not really working, especially when you have such great graphical potential for story telling. its more than skin deep, its about holding things together. sequentially unifying the story and project, the flow of how you proceed is really important. in particular for such a movie like experience as MGS.†
these moments aren't soley limited to cutscenes, they are often integrated into the gameplay experience. here are some solid examples. the opening of MGS2 offered the player the choice to sit and soak up the information being expounded or pursue the direct objective of sneaking past those pesky soldiers. The ladder climb in MGS3, god damn there was something fresh about this scene. The windy, seemingly endless climb and suddenly, the main sonata joins us on our epic ascent. Shit gets me riled up son, makes me knees quiver ya know what im saying?!
( Behold! the irony of a snake transversing a long tunnel )
Finally a certain ending to the formerly mentioned title. All im going to say is If you havenít played it; go and do so. its necessary for your human experience, quickly! You could die in a random duck-related accident! Theres no time to waste. Go eat some snakes motherfucker!
These events show the effectiveness of cinematic displays involving the careful timing of merging passivity and activity. this process I feel can yield small moments of beauty & tragedy to appear. the peaks in the mountainous journey of our weathered protagonist. When the fog of battle has cleared, the fresh air meets you and holds you as you stand, in wonder. The rare opportunity where the player can reach through and become part of something quite special.
Returning to Peace walkers cut-scenes. Not to say that the art isnít sublime, highly enjoyable and a few scenes do really stand out as superb. Of course this game was prepared initially for the PSP with its hardware restrictions but I donít think its a worthy sacrifice. I feel its somewhere they could have invested more as developers to build that experience. Such as taking away from building Outer Heaven and offering some of that space to creating strong cinematics or set pieces that really carry the Metal Gear feel, bringing the gameplay and cutscenes closer together. Taking steps up towards a higher level of presentation, whilst staying consistent with the central graphics in order to offer a whole experience.
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