>MGS4 v. GTA4

>Still listening to Giant Bomb’s 2008 Game of the year podcast – hey, it’s 2 hours long – and the second half of the podcast basically finds the Bombers torn between choosing GTA4 and MGS4 as their game of the year.

I made my choice a few weeks ago, and I found it pretty easy to make. But listening to them discuss MGS4 makes me want to re-play MGS4 again. I forget how much fun I had playing that game, and even though it drove me absolutely goddamned crazy at times (my rant about Act 3 still holds*), it was still an incredibly absorbing experience.

But it’s interesting to hear them talk about it because they are long-time MGS fans – or, at least, they are all quite familiar with the fiction that spans the entire series. I am not familiar with the fiction, at all, and I even looked at the downloadable MGS encyclopedia and it meant absolutely nothing to me. And I think that the whole insider-access aspect about MGS is what kept me from being more excited about it. I can forgive the ridiculousness of the storytelling, I guess, if only because it is so incredibly unique in its dedication to being totally ridiculous; the hard-core MGS fans would never accept anything less, and I have to admit that my memories of the insanity of the cutscenes are somewhat more forgiving, now that I’m not actually sitting through them and their excruciating craziness.

If you have a pro-MGS4 stance, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

* I’ve read (and listened to) a lot of discussion about MGS4 this year, and I must say – I’m still somewhat stunned that NOBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD talked about the awfulness of the Big Mama scenes in Act 3. Nobody even talks about Big Mama at all. Am I just an asshole?

3 responses

  1. >A lot of people claim that one of the great things about MGS4 is that it’s accessible to both newcomers and longtime fans of the series alike. I suppose the fact that you enjoyed the game at all is a testament to this, but I still am of the opinion that it’s far more impressive if you’ve played the earlier games and can appreciate just how well it ties up loose ends and makes meaningful references to the earlier games throughout. The X-button flashbacks that are constantly popping up during cutscenes, for instance, evoked not only Snake’s memories of his experiences, but my own experiences of the earlier games too, and while I absolutely loved the echoes of the earlier games throughout this one as a longtime fan of the series, and it added a good deal to the experience, this all would have been completely lost on me if I’d not played the earlier games. Certainly one of its greatest strengths is in just how successful a piece of fan service it is.

  2. >Caro – I was thinking about this after I posted, that I should’ve been clearer about that. I think the biggest problem with the MGS series is that it’s incredibly insular and inaccessible, in terms of story; I never played the other games (except a big chunk of 2) and so pretty much everything I was seeing sounded like nonsense, and I was (clearly) ill-equipped to deal with Kojima’s method of storytelling. MGS4 is absolutely a love-letter to its fans – and that’s great – but it renders it that much harder for outsiders. Listening to the Bombcast, I kept waiting for one of the guys to talk about that (in terms of debating MGS4 and GTA4 for GOTY), but since they’re all pretty familiar with the series, it never came up. It’s indeed a testament to the rock-solid awesomeness of MGS4’s gameplay that it made my Top 10 list, considering how much of it I outright hated. If you’re talking about GOTY, though, you absolutely have to take accessibility into account, and that’s why it came up short with me.

  3. >I do like that Brad Shoemaker lad. “You can always get more wives, but there’s only one dog.” The rest of those GiantBomb guys kinda rub me though.

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