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Doakes
MGSF Philosopher
MGSF Philosopher
Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 8:17 pm

July 29th, 2018, 7:23 pm #161

Realistically, MOST Metal Gear protagonists spend the majority of the games getting talked at. Peace Walker is perhaps the one MGS game to have a better balance where Big Boss is actually contributing more to scenes than merely getting talked at. But even then, he still spends a lot of time getting talked about before contributing.

MGS2 itself is a game I HATED when MGS2 first came out. I noted it earlier but MGS2 is for me what a lot of people claim MGSV was for them. I was extremely excited after playing the Tanker demo about as many times as people claimed to play GZ *only back then, demos didn't cost FORTY dollars*, and when I finally beat MGS2, I was so livid and confused that I just never wanted to touch a Metal Gear game again. So much so that I didn't even bother with MGS3 until almost a year after its' release.

I've come to appreciate MGS2 seventeen years later, but I appreciate it as a video game. There are some very strong mechanics at play that help the game hold up, often times, better than even MGS4. I enjoyed most of the boss fights, even if there were only seven fights, and one of them was Fortune. And on the PS3, MGS2 has tons of bonus content wish does for Big Shell and the Tanker what the Side Ops do for MGSV's outposts and sandboxes; basically giving the player more to do with the same space. And the entirely new corridors designed for VR, Variety Missions and the like were really well realized. Some were surprisingly addictive!

But the part that made me HATE MGS2 seventeen years ago is the part I will always resent, and that's the story. I'm sorry but as of now, I can NOT regard Hideo Kojima as a competent writer. He's a man who tries to have a season of anime told in a feature films' length. The results just don't work. For the emotional depth he's aiming for, more time needs to actually be spent getting to know these characters and all too often, what time they DO have is completely squandered by them being subjected to asinine amounts of exposition, instead of genuine back and forth scenes of character growth and development.

And frankly, the story of MGS2 itself is a complete mess, where the plot twists SHOULD have stopped right after Ocelot explained what the S3 was. There was no need for anything else to keep going. But it goes on to undo what actually worked, and the end result is so tangled up that I just stopped caring.

The part I actively RESENTED though was the parts when it almost feels like Kojima has utter contempt for his audience. "You liked MGS1 so much? You liked Solid Snake because he was an interesting character and wanted to see more of his journey? BAHAHAHA! What a simple fool you are!" That's the vibe I got from MGS2, the way it constantly mocks the player, and the way MGS2 often feels like I'm just replaying MGS1 in a shinier coat of paint. And MGS2's story is WAY too much of an absolute mess to warrant it being THAT pretentious.

There's acting smart, and then there's being smart. In my personal opinion, and I'm sure MANY don't see it this way, but MGS2 feels like the former. It's a game that acts hyper intelligent, like everything it has to say is so profound and meaningful, and that everyone who plays it is a bumbling fool that the game can point and laugh at the way the Patriots AI all but point and laugh at Raiden, the way the game makes a mockery of him at every turn. But for all its' talk, all MGS2 does is TALK. It doesn't put its' themes to practice in a way that holds up under scrutiny because MGS2, and most of MGS as a series, is often about telling with very little showing.

The theme of misinformation is a relevant and poignant theme. But subversion is not a hard thing to do, nor should it immediately be praised just for being different. You want to subvert our expectations and do something we, the audience, weren't expecting? Great. But then, what you replace the thing we were expecting with, should at least still be compelling and gripping itself, shouldn't it? Raiden was kind of bland compared to Snake because of the way he's written and presented in MGS2. The Tanker showed shades of something original and different, like a proper sequel, it built off the foundation of the successful predecessor and used that foundation to create a wholly new experience. In contrast, Big Shell is a step backwards, retreading back into the skin of its' predecessor, often times feeling like we're just playing MGS AGAIN.

MGS2 is a game that mocks the nature of bad sequels and how they're just retreads of the originals, but falls into the exact same traps so much that it can't pretend it's even satire, because we paid for a sequel, and we got a lot of retreading instead. And the reasons for that retreading don't hold up. They did when Ocelot explained what the S3 was, but even then, it's still coming at the expense of the potential that a wholly new game could've delivered on. But the Colonel explaining S3 away as something else entirely completely kills that, because Shadow Moses is not the most extreme of circumstances someone could be put in, and Raiden being someone who chooses to see the fantasy doesn't hold up because the situation he's in doesn't allow for him to see the truth when his life and the lives of those around him are very much in REAL danger, as Emma, Johnson, Ames, Stillman and Olga all proved by dying brutal, horrible, and REAL deaths.

Being bold and different is noble, but it's easy, especially if you KNOW with certainty what everyone is expecting and what everyone wants, because then, all you have to do is the opposite of that. But simply being different isn't enough. You have to be different in a way that actually makes the experience better. And for me, MGS2 completely failed in that regard. Its' story had a promising start, and the instant Liquid game back to life as an arm, it went downhill, occasionally rising when things started to make sense, then nosedived at the very end because it all became just too nonsensical, even by MGS' already nonsensical standards.

And here's the thing, because I've heard people say this so many times. "It's silly, but it's fun because of how silly it is." The 1960's Batman show with Adam West and Burt Ward was silly but fun because of how silly it was, and it was silly in a good way because it was straight faced but at no point did it ever take itself seriously. MGS as a series is straightfaced, but its' biggest detriment is that it DOES take itself seriously. If it didn't, then there'd be no need for all these massive, insufferable exposition dumps. And if I'm supposed to take MGS a series seriously, then it just doesn't work.

The reason MGS1 worked for me the way MGS2 didn't was because, for as many expository moments as there were, there at least felt like there was SOME kind of balance. Not all that great a balance, but a balance nonetheless. But with MGS2, almost every single scene is either expository or pseudo-philosophical in nature. There's no goofy silliness to appreciate and what silly moments do exist are too few in between.

If MGS2 did away with all that nonsense and just allowed the experience of the game to play out organically, complete with such goofiness as Snake's dorky handshake and hug with Otacon, his ridiculous one-liners like, "You want your eternal rest? I got RIGHT HERE!" Or Raiden getting punked by Snake and complaining about him behind his back with Otacon, THAT would work. But when you have just so MANY scenes that are like the Johnson codec call or any scenes with Emma, where the subject matter is interesting and thought provoking, but the way it's being explored and presented is dull as dirt water, then all the charming moments just get lost in a haze of exposition.

It's like MGSV being a complete tonal mess. The gameplay is as fun and goofy as Metal Gear has ever been, but the story is all dour and depressing and EVERYONE is miserable except Skull Face, who's having the time of his life until his arrogance crushes him quite literally. As a result, moments like Miller's Burger scenes, Venom Snake getting assaulted by his puppy, and the sillier moments with Huey just feel out of place and jarring compared to how utterly miserable and depressing everything else feels.

There needs to be a balance. Peace Walker, for all the crap everyone on this site in particular seems to give it, is perhaps the one and only MGS game to have that balance, where not everything is serious and or expository. It's still a mess in its' own right, but far as presentation and tone are concerned, Peace Walker, in terms of story and cutscenes if nothing else, is exactly the kind of story MGS should have been.

So all of that is why MGS2 got the ire it did from me when it came out. I don't remember if I already posted this. I'm sure I did to some capacity, but whatever. If MGS2 can get away with repeating history, so can I. :P

The point is, MGS2 is still fundamentally a good GAME, and because I skip every cutscene when I replay MGS games and stick exclusively to the gameplay, I have a much better time with each game, especially MGS2, which has strong gameplay mechanics and the VR Missions are so addictive and accessible that I don't even mind the forced stealth elements. It's a good game, at points, it's even a great game, and I have more fun and incentive to replay it than I ever will a game like Uncharted 4, which was perfectly fine from start to finish, but had absolutely nothing of substance that I felt was worth revisiting once I beat it.

And for all the complaining I just did about MGS2, as a game, I've replayed it quite frequently on my HD Edition for the PS3. In fact, it's one of the few games I've EVER bothered replaying. So, I will admit that my utter LOATHING of its' story over overshadowed my appreciation for its' mechanics at the time. And that could be part of an 'unnecessary hatred.' But even if I don't hate MGS2's story anymore, I will always resent it, and it will always be a reminder for me that THIS is what people consider Kojima at his best, when for me, it's Kojima at his absolute worst. Because even if MGS4 is a story all about fan service and explaining everything in boring, uninteresting fashion, I was always just indifferent towards MGS4's lackluster plot and terrible plot twists. I never RESENTED it the way I did MGS2.
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Psajdak
Light Infantry
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Psajdak
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Joined: February 23rd, 2013, 7:21 pm

July 30th, 2018, 10:34 pm #162

I always felt that what Kojima primarily wanted with MGS2 was to make it Metal Gear game of newer, modern age.

It was kind of obvious, in many instances - Main Theme became more orchestral and epic, Solid Snake was replace with younger Raiden, whose movements also seemed more fluid, and graceful, so to speak, not to mention Skull Suit, which was kind of an update to the Sneaking Suit, before we had Hind, then came Harrier, Rex, no matter how recognizable and iconic, was replaced with sleeker, and futuristic Ray, biological virus Foxdie with Emma's computer virus, etc...

As for Peace Walker, it is just a perfect MG game, MSF truly felt like an Outer Heaven, and I loved its characters, as well as story having both lighter and darker moments.

Too bad MGSV fucked it all up.
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Weedle_McHairybug
Hi-Tech Soldier
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Weedle_McHairybug
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 9:55 pm

July 30th, 2018, 11:30 pm #163

Psajdak wrote:I always felt that what Kojima primarily wanted with MGS2 was to make it Metal Gear game of newer, modern age.

It was kind of obvious, in many instances - Main Theme became more orchestral and epic, Solid Snake was replace with younger Raiden, whose movements also seemed more fluid, and graceful, so to speak, not to mention Skull Suit, which was kind of an update to the Sneaking Suit, before we had Hind, then came Harrier, Rex, no matter how recognizable and iconic, was replaced with sleeker, and futuristic Ray, biological virus Foxdie with Emma's computer virus, etc...

As for Peace Walker, it is just a perfect MG game, MSF truly felt like an Outer Heaven, and I loved its characters, as well as story having both lighter and darker moments.

Too bad MGSV fucked it all up.
Eh, to be fair, most of the stuff you cited for MGS2, barring the bit about Snake being replaced, was replicated with MG2 to MGS1, or heck, MG1 to MG2 even.

As far as Peace Walker, I really can't say it felt too much like Outer Heaven. Heck, it's not even set in South Africa despite that being the location of MG1, it's in the middle of the Caribbean. Although the ending did imply that they were going to evacuate and relocate. But yeah, MGSV definitely threw a wrench into those plans.
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Psajdak
Light Infantry
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Psajdak
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Joined: February 23rd, 2013, 7:21 pm

July 31st, 2018, 2:53 am #164

I know that MGS1 is basically reimagined MG2, but I was simply talking about MGS2 as an intent to old Metal Gear with Solid Snake, replace with sleeker and more aerodynamic Metal Gear with Raiden.

And about Peace Walker, Outer Heaven I mentioned wasn't one from the first game, rather the idea about there being a place for soldiers, or at least that's the feeling I got.
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