Metal Gear Solid 2 (Xbox 360)

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The original Metal Gear Solid (1998), directed by Hideo Kojima, was one of the most interesting and well-made games for the PlayStation. You played as a badass secret operative, Solid Snake, infiltrating a base, sneaking past or killing enemies and fighting against over-the-top boss characters. The sequel from 2001 was very highly anticipated, and its trailers generated extreme excitement among fans. The trailers, the cover, and all the press coverage never revealed the very subversive choices made for the story of this game.
The storytelling subversion is so profound that the whole game seems carefully structured around it. Like its predecessor, the fourth wall is constantly broken. The game seems very forward thinking for 2001, and it even concludes with questions about the nature of reality and truth.
The way the story is told is my least favourite part, but I was interested enough to suffer through constant interruptions in the form of voice calls, performed with stiff voice acting and repetetive dialogue.
Regardless of expectations, this game is a technical marvel. For example, this game has realistic reflections (not screen-space), and simulates eye adaption to light intensity.
screenshot
Image source: xbox.com

Facts

    2021-02-21
  • [11587]
    The water where Raiden first enters the plant has Thermal Googles in it.
  • 2021-02-24
  • [11594]
    The AK-74u is in the lower level of Strut F, and requires a Level 2 keycard.
  • [11592]
    R1 is first person free aim, L1 is lock to target.
  • 2021-02-25
  • [11597]
    Lie down to cure bleeding.
  • [11598]
    This game seems to have location-based damage on the enemies. Shoot them in the arm, and they can't use it anymore.
  • [11599]
    This game has an early example of simulated eye adaptation. When you enter the Plant interior from the outside, the scene will be dark at first, then become brighter after a little while.
  • 2021-02-26
  • [11601]
    You can equip a box and jump on the conveyor belt in Strut E to quicktravel.
  • [11602]
    In classic PS1 fashion, you can return to main menu by holding LT+RT+LB+RB+Option+Menu.
  • 2021-03-01
  • [11621]
    You can fire a Stinger missile and then lock on while it's in the air. Very useful for the RAYs.
  • [11622]
    The final corridor fight alongside Solid Snake determines your equipment for the Metal Gear RAY fight. You get 1 Ration after this fight, you should try to get through it with 4.
  • [11623]
    The Metal Gear RAYs are quicker to kill if you hit them in the leg first and then the head.
  • 2021-03-03
  • [11631]
    Olga's child is Sunny from MGS4. Sunny was taken from Olga by The Patriots and injected with nanomachines that would kill her if Raiden died. This forced Olga to cooperate with Raiden. She was later rescued by Solid Snake.

Analysis

    2021-02-27
  • [11604]
    I didn't finish the game yet, but I think I have mostly formed my opinion on this game. I think MGS2 is incredibly impressive in its graphics, to the point of pushing the boundaries of the medium in 2001, and exceptional in the level of detail of its systems, something it has in common with the other games in the series. The story it tries to tell is ambitious and has political and philosophical aspects unlike anything in the medium for years to come.
  • [11605]
    However, there are things I don't like at all, which makes this drop down below a bunch of other games in the series. The pacing is my biggest problem. It is almost intolerable how often you are interrupted by codec conversations, and the quality of the character writing and the acting does not at all live up to the sheer amount of it. I would most certainly like the game way more if the codec conversations were cut down to a quarter. The characters are interesting, some of them interesting in a way rarely seen before in the medium, but they are mostly unlikable and incredibly awkwardly portrayed. Raiden is especially hard to listen to. I do realize that the standard for acting in video games at the time set a pretty low bar that this game easily jumped over.
  • [11606]
    I actually enjoy the info-dumps and cutscenes, because the story is so fun and crazy, but the character interactions ruin it for me.
  • [11607]
    But then, when you're *playing* the game instead of listening to dialogue, it's a different story. The game perfectly balances carefully designed encounters with an impressive room for experimentation with a large selection of equipment. Again, this is something the games in this series mostly do incredibly well. However, enjoyable as it can be to experiment with the systems, certain key actions are too difficult to execute. A good example is: standing against a wall, moving to the edge of the wall, jumping out and shooting someone. This is possible, and incredibly useful in this stealth action game. Executing it is tricky, though: First you must equip your gun with RT if you haven't already, then hold the stick in the direction of the wall and keep it there, use LT/RT to shimmy along the wall and peek out, then hold X to jump out with the gun and then, while holding X, hold RB to free-aim, aim for the head, and release X to shoot. It's almost too much to ask, although it is very satisfying when you nail it.

Quotes

    2021-02-28
  • [11614]
    Raiden, turn the game console off right now!
  • [11615]
    Infiltrate the enemy fortress Outer Heaven! Destroy the final weapon Metal Gear!
  • 2021-03-01
  • [11624]
    FISSION MAILED. I love the fake game over screens.
  • 2021-03-02
  • [11626]
    The A.I. Campbell and Rose: The untested truths spun by different interests continue to churn and accumulate in the sandbox of political correctness and value systems. Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stay inside their little ponds, leaking whatever 'truth' suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large. The different cardinal truths neither clash nor mesh. No one is invalidated, but nobody is right. Not even natural selection can take place here. The world is being engulfed in 'truth.' And this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Log entries

    2021-02-15
  • [11573]
    This is the Xbox 360 port of 'Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance', the expanded version of the original PS2 game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
  • 2021-02-16
  • [11575]
    I'm playing this on my Xbox One. It runs great.
  • [11576]
    I think this game is very cool, but it's difficult to get used to the controls. Everything you do seems to require holding down half the buttons on the controller. For instance, if I'm to take out my gun and aim it somewhere in first person, I have to press RT, hold X, press LB+RB, and then use left stick to aim. I *will* get used to it again, but it's a lot.
  • [11577]
    It's hard to nail the range for grabbing enemies from behind. I wish there was an indicator for when you are close enough.
  • [11578]
    Got the Kissing Booth achievement. - I climbed into a cabinet, zoomed in on a poster with a sexy lady on it, and got an achievement. That Kojima.
  • [11579]
    With all the talk about raytracing in this new decade, I find it fascinating that this game has real reflections in the floor. I need to verify if this is the case with the original PS2 version.
  • [11580]
    Yep, PS2 version has real reflections.
  • [11581]
    I defeated Olga Gurlukovich.
  • 2021-02-19
  • [11585]
    I finished the Tanker chapter which was short and fun, watched a very long cutscene with Liquid Snake possessing Revolver Ocelot's body through his arm and stealing Metal Gear Ray, the U.S. Marine Corps' anti-Metal Gear weapon.
  • [11586]
    And now the 'real' game with Raiden starts. I was thinking about why I got demotivated from finishing this back around its release, and again in 2014. After the fun Tanker chapter, the Plant chapter grinds the momentum to a halt. You start over with entering the Plant in a sequence much like the PS1 game, and then all the tutorials start over, even covering everything you already learned in the Tanker chapter in excruciating detail. I guess it's designed for people who skips the Tanker chapter. I don't know why you would. The first couple of hours, you switch between playing for a few seconds and then waiting for endless codec conversations and cutscenes.
  • 2021-02-23
  • [11591]
    I did the whole bomb disposal mission. Searching for and freezing the bombs was fun, but the boss fight with Fatman was frustrating, first because I didn't know to bring him down and shoot him in the head, and second because I ran out of ammunition and had to run around, waiting for ammo respawns.
  • 2021-02-24
  • [11590]
    I calling it right now: Mr. X is a woman.
  • [11593]
    I knew I had to steal an AK-74u to enter the central strut, but I didn't know where to get it and went directly there to see if I could somehow get one from a guard. It was incredibly tough to infiltrate that area without the disguise, there are cameras and soldiers everywhere. I did get some progress by shooting the cameras and hiding in boxes, but in the end I gave up and went back to Strut F and got the AK using the Level 2 card.
  • [11595]
    Oh man, I have been holding L1+R1 to go into first person mode, similarly to what L2+R2 does in the first MGS game. Just now, I realized that R1 is free-aim and L1 is lock-on, and it's going to change my life.
  • 2021-02-25
  • [11596]
    The Metal Gear sickness has struck me again. I guess completing Death Stranding has re-awakened my appetite for this series. I've been watching the Metal Gear Scanlon playthrough of this game (again), and today I've been reading about Metal Gear characters and story, compiling hundreds of lines of notes.
  • 2021-02-26
  • [11608]
    I fought a Stinger Missile battle against Solidus and Vamp in a Harrier. The falling jet was caught by a Metal Gear RAY jumping from the ocean. Then I did a horrible swimming section, the most annoying part of the game so far. Finally, I reached The President and finally got an explanation of The Patriots, arguably the biggest story plot of this series. I can't help but be reminded of the whole QAnon conspiracy theory that is so remarkbly widespread right now; shadowy government institutions secretly controlling the world, and all politicians being puppets. This idea is probably as old as democracy itself.
  • 2021-02-27
  • [11609]
    The President is dead, killed by Revolver Ocelot. I fought a frustrating boss fight against Vamp. Frustrating because I would get killed again and again by accidentally dodging into the water. The water effects and lighting in this room is amazing though. The caustics on the walls and the bubbles flowing up in the pool look absolutely astounding.
  • [11610]
    Yep, I was right, Mr. X was Olga Gurlukovich.
  • 2021-02-28
  • [11612]
    Raiden's blocked out his traumatizing past where Solidus Snake trained him as a child soldier.
  • [11613]
    And now I'm running around Arsenal Gear naked.
  • [11616]
    The AI Campbell is glitching out big time right now!
  • [11617]
    The radar has been replaced by a recording of a sleeping lady.
  • [11618]
    I reached the Metal Gear RAY boss fight with 2 Rations, which was unreasonably difficult. After failing a bunch of times, I went back and replayed the corridor fight alongside Solid Snake, sniping enemies from afar, using the B.ARMOR and in the end, using the HF.BLADE. I managed to get through without using any rations.
  • [11619]
    Got the No Ray, José achievement. - I beat the 6(?) Metal Gear RAYs. What a terrible Achievement name.
  • 2021-03-01
  • [11620]
    completed the game on Normal difficulty. The final fight against Solidus was trivial, and apart from that, the ending was an hour-long cutscene. The Patriots are dead, there is only AI.
  • 2021-03-03
  • [11627]
    I had a lot of trouble with Vamp, Metal Gear RAY. Bosses I defeated on my first try: Olga, Fatman, the Harrier jet, and Solidus.
  • 2021-03-10
  • [11655]
    I completed 'VR MISSIONS: SNEAKING MODE', both 'SNEAKING' and 'ELIMINATE ALL'.
  • [11656]
    I completed 'WEAPON MODE: HANDGUN, ASSAULT RIFLE, C4/CLAYMORE'. GRENADES is giving me a bit of trouble.
  • 2021-03-18
  • [11683]
    I finally completed WEAPON MODE. The final GRENADES level is very annoying, but I did it, a bit randomly. Now for FIRST PERSON MODE.
  • 2021-03-19
  • [11685]
    FIRST PERSON MODE mission 4 and 5 were really fun and interesting.
  • [11686]
    Now I'm only missing the final mode, VARIETY MODE.
  • 2021-03-27
  • [11723]
    I've reached a sniper escort mission, which is no fun. I think I'm giving up on VARIETY MODE for now.


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