snake diaries

tactical forum action

I’m playing through the metal gear series in whole, and I thought it’d be fun to have a dedicated blog-like space for it.

Progress

Currently playing: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

:white_check_mark: Metal Gear Solid 1 (Switch) - beat: June 14, ‘24
:white_check_mark: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Steam Deck) - beat: June 17, ‘24
:white_check_mark: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Switch) - beat: June 24, '24

The Plan

I’m going to play through the Solid series in release order.

Then I’ll circle back to the OG Metal Gears, the remakes, the non-cannon games, etc.

Maybe I’ll move onto other Kojima games after. But focus, focus!

History

I’m not entirely new to Metal Gear Solid. I played 4 when it came out on PS3, and I didn’t understand any of the references or story but very much enjoyed it. I also played a little bit of Peace Walker on PSP. And started The Phantom Pain on PS3 when it released and got about 6 missions in. I’m awful at finishing video games. This changes now!

I have read through the plot summary on a wiki before years ago. I don’t remember much!

The time for Metal Gear is now! (Well, actually, inspired by nothing other than getting the Master collection for Switch on sale for $20.)

:exclamation:spoilers unmarked! I’ll be talking openly about what happens but please don’t spoil games I haven’t played yet

Please feel free to engage, support, and respond as you see fit!

19 Likes

(these entries are ported from the what are you playing topic and shorter than I intend and is reprinted here for posterity’s sake)


entry 1 - finished MGS1 - June 15, 2024

I got Metal Gear Solid Master Collection on sale for $20 and started with Metal Gear but wasn’t feeling it, so I jumped into Metal Gear Solid and got hooked! I beat it over the course of a few days, which is pretty fast for me.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I really appreciate how the game progresses with weapons, access, etc. in what it ultimately a small map. It was never too tedious, the atmosphere is great, and I enjoyed the bonkers story. I will admit that I did look up guides for any boss fight I couldn’t figure out after three tries. My patience for that kind of stuff is pretty thin these days.

I totally see why MGS1 is beloved. It has aged well IMO.

Edit after the fact: some favorite screenshots from MGS1 (yes, I used the CRT filter, it was nice during gameplay!)


entry 2 - MGS2 frustrations - june 22, 2024

I have been playing MGS2, and I’m currently at the Fatman fight. I despised the bomb freezing on the struts segment, and to have a boss fight of doing that is quite offputting. I’m stuck where I can’t find the bombs in the boss fight in certain areas. Fatman has sick skates though.

MGS2 is weird… the Tanker part is great and impressive, especially coming off of MGS1. But Big Shell is a bland environment so far and there hasn’t been much anything interesting story or gameplay wise. Not enjoying MGS2 to be honest, but hoping to get past Fatman and maybe it’ll pick up?

(Moments later…)

I managed to get past Fatman with persistence. And I also got the sleepy pistol which has made the game a lot more fun. I was likely having a bad time since I didn’t have it and didn’t want to shoot people with the pistol without the silencer. I’m in action now!

11 Likes

entry 3 - thoughts on the master collection

I see lots of criticisms of the Master Collection, in particular the Switch version being capped to 30 frames per second. I haven’t noticed it and doesn’t seem like a problem to me.

Also, I read the PC version is a hot mess. That stinks. It’d be a nice collection for Steam Deck IMO. There are other problems too with the console resolution from what I read.

But overall it’s a pretty nice collection. All the different regional versions, the books that come with it, the visual presentation, it’s quite nice. Well worth the twenty American dollars I paid for it, and I’d reckon worth double that or even triple.

A few thoughts on the switch version:

  • I play half in the dock, half handheld. The games play well in handheld mode, it’s nice being cozy in a chair sneaking around.
  • sound design is great
  • game feels good with a pro controller
  • having a d-pad joy con makes a huge difference
  • I wish the switch had trophies/achievements
5 Likes

entry 4 - I bought a ps3

I got a used ps3 super slim at my local game store in anticipation of MGS4 since it’s locked to that platform. It turns out, from about a decade ago, I have all the digital MGS games on PS3! I forgot about this. I have:

  • Metal Gear 1 - PS1 Classic
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection with 2, 3, and Peacewalker, plus MG1&2
  • MGS4
  • MGSV: Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

While MGSV isn’t the best version compared to PS4/Xbox/PC, I still think it’s interesting and impressive to have a few decades of a series all playable on one console. It reminds me of how on Vita one could have every Final Fantasy from 1 to 10/10-2 on it.

12 Likes

I played through 1 and 2 again last summer, and am planning to start 3 again soon.

Like you, I was very impressed with the first game. The way it directs you around the map in a scripted fashion but with a certain freedom to make your own path felt very neat. The areas are just the perfect size to give you room to explore without getting too lost. The bosses are all kind of weird but it felt kinda fair enough considering that there’s no real way to have a cohesive boss fight inside a game that’s all about stealth.

Something I really like about the first two games is their length, and the amount of variety they pack into that time frame. The main stealth gameplay holds up for a certain amount of time, but there are elements added that aren’t necessarily “game designerly,” but more just variety for entertainment’s sake. The design is not clean or precise, but it’s paced well, where you never feel like the game has just left you to sneak around for too long without anything new happening. There’s a steady stream of new items and story reveals that slightly change what you’re doing as a player and also what your character thinks they are doing.

Haven’t played 3 in a long time so can’t say how well it fits into what I’m saying here, but my guess is it probably does. When you get to 4 I will maybe pop in to relish in my extreme antipathy toward that game, or maybe I will just hold my peace. Kojima lost me around Peace Walker when it came to the general stupidity, poor pacing, annoying dialogue, one-note characters that don’t make any sense, etc.

4 Likes

Super agree! Plus, something I didn’t expect with 1 but really enjoyed, was the progression. Getting the different level key cards, backtracking to explore, and getting more varied and powerful gear over time reminded me a lot of metroidvania games. People understandably talk about the stealth and bonkers story, but I quite like the sense of progression that happened in 1 and seems to be happening in 2.

entry 5 - the snakies - MGS1

The Snakies are a brand new deliberative award series for each entry and then the series as a whole. Categories are subject to change at any time. But let’s goooooo, Snakies MGS1 :snake:

Spoilers!!

Best plot twist

Miller being Liquid melted me!! I couldn’t believe it. Knowing a little miller from V and Peace Walker and generally liking his Sunglasses really hit me in the gut! Didn’t see it coming at all.

biggest Cringe

Meryl’s butt and then supposedly using that to find her undercover but just accidentally walking up to a solider and it being her

Favorite boss fight

Raven’s was fun, it was basically bomberman. And it didn’t deeply frustrate me. Felt a bit sneaky too. I liked using claymores and the stinger.

Most Hated Boss Fight

When you fight liquid in the metal gear and die and have to sit there and not be able to shoot fox with the stinger!!! Argh, that was annoying, just shoot him snake

Best track

Soundtrack works for the game, which has great sound design overall. My fav music track is:

Enclosure

Favorite moment

Loved the ketchup bottle to escape the prison cell

Dumbest moment

Liquid surviving every single boss fight section at the end and then dying by his hand during the car chase segment

Spark Joy Presented by Mari Kondo

MGS is full of little secrets and surprises and this award goes to the one that sparked the most joy…

Using cigarettes to reveal the lasers, that really got me and was nice to figure out

my guy

I like Mei Ling’s proverbs and encouragement but my guy is Ocelot, he’s really operating at an advanced level


Thanks for tuning into the inaugural Snakies. Would love to hear your picks!

8 Likes

reposting this from the whatcha playing thread

genuinely believe Kojima is an Actual Genius who has never made anything even remotely boring but I will never understand the heckin m9. who is the fool who put this gun here. there are so many interesting and entertaining ways to tactically bamboozle a man in any given metal gear but forget all that and just shoot a fat dose of Ambien directly into their skulls from across the map. i can understand and even celebrate it as an accessibility concession or a way to make the player conscious of the mor(t)ality of war but so much of the joy of actually playing these games is overshadowed by the presence of conventional non-lethal weaponry

anyway mgs2 is definitely worth seeing through to the end, possibly more than any other entry in the series

5 Likes

The tranq pistols really do undermine a lot of the amazing design in these games. This is most notable in MGSV where you want to collect dudes to staff your private army, so you don’t want to kill them. This invalidates 99.9% of the other weapons, gadgets and emergent tactics in the game. It is great how every enemy you encounter can feed into the meta based building game, but it blows being punished for using any other equipment.

That said, I’ve played 500 hours of it and once you get a good tranq pistols, the sleep grenade launcher, the trang sniper rifle for you and Quiet AND have the invisibility suit, you sure can hoover up an entire map of dudes in an afternoon and staff your base right up.

8 Likes

mgs4 is one of my favorite games of all time. it’s bad, it’s messy, it’s full of fan service, and it’s one of the greatest, most complicated pieces of art ever made.

5 Likes

entry 6 - a brief evening with Ground Zeroes

Earlier in the week when a little bit bored with early Plant sections of MGS2, I fired up Ground Zeros on the ole Steam Deck. I wanted to see how it felt to play in comparison to MGS1 and MGS2.

GZ plays so well! It feels great. The pattern of tagging soldiers, sneaking, exploring the map. The controls are tight, and sneaking was a bit challenging. There some tense moments throughout. The feeling of extracting the main rescue at the end had my heart racing even though I’ve beaten it twice before in the past. I managed to sneak out with the person on my back, avoiding contact, getting to the landing zone, and getting out undetected.

It’s not that MGS1 or 2 control bad, it’s just quite different and not your modern 3rd person action game controls and that’s totally okay.

The story very much seems like a
bridge between Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain, so it’s likely not the best entry point for someone new, but I could imagine handing someone Ground Zeroes and saying: if you love this, play the series.

I’d imagine GZ gets a bit of a weird reputation. It launching for $40 and it being able to be “beat” quickly probably made people feel ripped off. But the sandbox aspect of it, the other missions, the secrets, there’s plenty there IMO. But with the scope and grandeur of TPP, I wonder if it’s been a bit overshadowed and forgotten? To me, GZ is one of my favorite gaming experiences. It’s a perfect snack. As someone who prefers shorter, tighter experiences these days, like shmups, it’s right up my alley.

I’ll do a Snakies for GZ when I get to it after Peace Walker. It was a nice taste of what to look forward to in terms of gameplay and controls.

What are your thoughts on GZ?

4 Likes

I finished the main mission of Ground Zeroes once in 2014 and have hardly touched it since then, which to me seems a shame as it is a perfect way to get a contained taste of MGSV that The Phantom Pain doesn’t exactly encourage. On the other hand, on the few occasions when I have booted into GZ since playing TPP, the controls have felt stiffer—if memory serves, I think it’s impossible or at least more cumbersome to dive into a crawl in GZ, a maneuver which is indespensible in Phantom Pain. Even so I would still like to return to it and do the other missions.

When GZ came out I was coming directly from Peace Walker, which itself followed shortly after my playing the four numbered Solid games for the first time. Peace Walker is of course very different from MGS 1-3 (4 is its own weird in-between sort of game), and given the design territory charted in MGSV and Death Stranding, it’s fair to call Peace Walker the beginning of a new genre exploration for KojiPro (although you can trace PW’s recruitment mechanics to Portable Ops). At the time of its release I had hoped Ground Zeroes would give me more of the stuff I liked from the earlier Solid games, being another numbered entry developed for consoles (the change from Arabic to Roman numerals did not strike me then as indicative or symbolic of anything).

This is a roundabout way of saying I played it and brushed up against all the ways in which it was different from the games I had recently been obsessed with: the narrative texture was appreciably different, we were back in the Peace Walker mode of Miller being the voice in your head all the time, and instead of codec calls there were tape recordings (in both cases Snake wasn’t allowed to ask questions); the cutscenes demonstrated Kojima’s contemporaneous fixation on single-take sequences and lens flair, and the story’s focus on the gratuitous torture of children was more sensationalized/tasteless than anything I was used to from Metal Gear (and that’s saying something!). The mechanics were fluid and easy to adapt to but all the narrative and aesthetic packaging were to me indications that the Metal Gear I preferred might not go beyond 1998-2008. All that being said, I did play Phantom Pain and enjoyed it very much!

(All of this is to say Ground Zeroes is an artifact from my playing games as a maturing teenager.)

3 Likes

entry 7 - MGS2 is heating up

I’m about 8 hours into Metal Gear Solid 2.

I just finished the plane battle after going into the core of Shell 1. Shell 1 core under disguise was a lot of fun to just walk around.

Loved the Policenauts poster. Weird parrot. I can’t remember much at all about La-le-Lu-le-lo (won’t google it for fear of spoilers) from MGS4 if it was at all present.

I’m glad we don’t have to pretend solid snake isn’t snake anymore. That was all pretty silly. Yay otacon is here too.


Solidus bulking up reminds me of DBZ. Piccolo does something similar if I remember correctly. He could absolutely be a DBZ character.

When Otacon says he does the anti metal gear work out of a responsibility to the coming generations, it made me tear up a bit. While the threat of nukes still exists, especially given recent aggressions by both Israel and Russia, I do feel like the climate crisis also fits into the metaphor of Metal Gear development and threat it contains.

The game is getting more interesting post-Fatman…

How would you describe the music of 2, would it be trap or house? I don’t know the name, but it’s a bit fast paced electronic drums. I like it a lot for this game, it fits. I imagine this universe being similar to Gibson’s Bridge trilogy era.

I’ve got a new rule: no looking up guides or walkthroughs unless I die to a boss at least 10 times or I’m absolutely stumped after calling all codec people and explored the map. It’s too easy to spoil the fun of the surprise moments, which has happened a couple times.

4 Likes

entry 8 - bird shit

I keep slipping and falling off the pipe to get to Shell 2, having most recently slipped on bird shit. Kojima!!! Taking a break to compose myself.

4 Likes

It’s tough to nail down. I never know when to call something trip hop but I’d certainly describe MGS2 as “incorporating elements of jazz, soul, funk, reggae, dub, R&B, and other forms of electronic music, as well as sampling from movie soundtracks and other eclectic sources.” I’ve never known what this wind instrument is. Good use of the triangle in this game.

Please feel free to call the Insert Credit Helpline! It is suited to exactly this purpose

I have a video to post here when this is all over…

3 Likes

entry 9 - In the Darkness of Shadow Moses

There’s a short book included in Metal Gear Solid 2 about the Shadow Moses Incident written by Natasha Romanenko, the weapons expert who supports you via codec in MGS1. The text can be found online for free, but I wanted a nicely formatted ePub version that I could read on my Kindle. So I went ahead and made that and a cover.

Download/read the ePub version of the book.

Looking forward to reading In the Darkness of Shadow Moses this evening.

There’s another book included in MGS2, The Shocking Conspiracy
Behind Shadow Moses
by Gary McGolden, that I’ll likely give a similar treatment once I finish the first one.

8 Likes

I recently picked up thr PS5 Collection too actually. I replayed MGS1. Absolutely still holds up. Its so good. I loved it enough to go back and get the Platinum trophy. Had to get the Fox or BigBoss rank. It was pretty tough, but theres a lot of ways you can cheese stuff.

That being said, one of the trophies is to do all of the VR Missions. I highly recommend playing through this. Its so fun. The soundtrack is incredible. There are laughs, frustrations, joys, mysteries, and even a ninja mode. Check it out!

I like mgs2, but its my least favorite one. Like… main frustrations are if you alert someone it takes way too long for to back to regular status.

I might skip mgs2 this time around, but i love the vr missions for it too. They are too much fun, so highly recommend that too.
Ive already done the raiden and ninja raiden vr missions, but have a long way to go still.

3 Likes

This is awesome, thank you for marking and sharing it!

2 Likes

It was the first Metal Gear Solid game I played, I loved it. I had no idea what was going on.

3 Likes

entry 10 - omg

11h 44m into MGS2. A lot has happened since my last entry. Vamp wasn’t so bad once I started using claymores. Beat him with just a sliver of health left. Met Otacon’s sister and helped them reunite, but she was tragically killed. And that’s just the start of it!

Raiden is Solidus’s pseudo-son and was a child soldier. :exploding_head: and the Colonel is made up?! And Rose is either not real or is real and pregnant. Rose was a bit chatty and needy after saving so much, so is that just Raiden’s perception of her?

I like the sword, feels pretty good to use. I made it through the first hallway with Snake, and it’s time to call it a night.

I’m glad I stuck with this, it’s really going places. The game really has picked up a lot since the Fatman fight. There’s clearly something more at play here, and based on the plot twists of MGS1, golly, I don’t think I’m prepared.

7 Likes