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arcadias avatar 5:30 AM on 04.27.2008  (server time)
Metal Gear Online's identity crisis

First things first, I'm a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. I have been since I first popped the PSM demo disc in my Playstation back in 1999. Just so you know where my bias lies before going into Metal Gear Online.

There have always been several major flaws with the Metal Gear Solid games. The camera and the control scheme. Both of these have been addressed in MGO. Thats not to say that things are perfect, and in fact it seems to have acquired a few new issues as well. The camera is much improved with the over-the-shoulder view and being able to actually move in first person view instead of just being fixed on the spot. Rolling sideways is a new addition and handy for quickly getting behind cover. Moving around in the crouched posture is extremely handy for sneaking unseen and pressing a button to lock in and out of cover, much like in Gears of War, is great. All in all they're all improvements, some of which are long overdue.

The big problem with this game though, is that its not Metal Gear. It doesn't know what it is. MGS is Tactical Espionage Action, but every game of MGO that I played devolved to running and gunning. All of the tactical controls are there. The less-than-lethal weapons and the CQC, its all there in multiplayer. The problem is that they're just not required. The whole point of knocking enemies out MGS is that it give you the ability to pass through the area without killing anyway unless you actually want to. In MGO you're out to defeat your enemy, not sneak past them, so shooting the bastards with real bullets is the way to go. But first you actually have to fucking hit them...

And the problem there is that the netcode is wank. Its never clear if you're actually hitting someone and even if you are, it doesn't fell like it. The only surefire way to actually kill someone is to get to point blank range, turn on the auto-aim mode and fill them with bullets. If you do that then you have a guaranteed kill. The majority of players have found this and thats all they do. The Tactical Espionage Action is out the window and in its place, the run and gun game reigns supreme.

The main reason that the tactical game style doesn't work very well is because MGS runs at a slow pace, being patient until the right time to make your move, but multiplayer is anything but slow. The item and weapon menus that have been in every MGS are still there, but in the previous games when you use those menus the game pauses. In MGO, you just end up stood there like a fucking lemon and ultimately get shot in the face... or maybe the chest, because the fucker is using auto-aim!

I think Metal Gear only truly works as a singleplayer venture. Not that it isnt fun to run around with a fucking frog on your head, I just think COD4 provides the more solid multiplayer experience. I'm going to give it a little longer and try it again when the final version is released. It is just a beta, after all.

Also, the personnel launcher is fucking epic! ;)

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