Games these days seem to lack the kind of soul games just ten years ago had, and a lot of this soul came from the minor details found throughout the game’s design. These minor details usually do not effect the game itself very much, but shows just how dedicated the creators were when they decided to go the full nine yards. Among the best examples of a series that takes the minor details very seriously is the Metal Gear Solid series. Throughout the series’ history, it has implemented a variety of tiny details that may not be found the first time you play through, but reveal themselves steadily as you play the games again. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was really the genesis of the detail heavy revolution in the series, and is an amazing game overall. Besides the fact that it is laden with small details, it also has a very good control scheme, amazing graphics for its day, an interesting (if not a little confusing) story, and many charactersthat are as memorable now as they were in 2001.
The graphics in this game stand up against modern graphics really well, considering it is almost ten years old. Many games from this age had terrible graphics, made much more obvious when you make the mistake of playing them on a high definition television. This game, however, defies logic as it actually looks better on a high definition television, with a distinct lack of all the jaggies and aliasing found in many games from the time. The textures are amazingly smooth, with a lack of that shine that so many games seem to implement, and the animations are executed without any of the texture overlap that is also quite common. Having recently played it, I am amazed at simply how well the game has aged in the graphics department, and offers an experience that is truly easy on the eyes. A few hiccups aside, it may have aged better than any game I have ever played as far as the looks of itgo.
The story is pretty good, and kept me interested with all its twists and turns. The story starts of a little slow, and throws you into the role of a new character (much to my dismay), but things quickly pick up and they never slow down. The characters in this story are what drive it, and show more character than most games have ever shown. The people in the game are so varied and interesting that it does not pain you to watch all the cutscenes and story pieces. Actually, they make you want to watch them over and over. At some points in the story, though, it gets a bit confusing and overcomplicated. It is nice to see they were trying pretty hard, but not being able to follow a story at all at some points takes away from the experience.
This game is absolutely full of tiny details that most games never strive to implement. There are so many that come to mind that it would be impossible to list them all, but there are a few that stand out for me. One is that you can stand on your tip toes when you go to aim something. by pressing both shoulder buttons, you stand up onto your tip toes, and this allows you to get an ever so slightly better view. Another thing is that enemies respond differently to having a gun pointed at different parts of their bodies. Point it at their head, and they’ll get afraid, and might run if you point it at their crotches. There are so many things like these in the game that you could play through five and six times and fins new things every time.
Despite being confusing at some points, this game really is one of the best of the last generation. With so many details to find and exploit, there is so much replay value. Probably one of the better games in the department of aging well, Metal Gear Solid 2 stands out as a game that could be played today with absolutely no problem.