Metal Gear Solid (1998) MicroReview
Seminal PlayStation title ushered Hideo Kojima’s stealth franchise into the modern era. Gameplay still holds up incredibly well, and the interactive cinematography continues to be top-notch. The pacing in this one is divine, charging forward with lightning speed from plot point to plot point, constantly impressing with Kojima’s signature tricks and inventive boss battles. While the MSX entries are still referenced as canonical, Metal Gear Solid feels in many ways like a remake of those two games- most of their major plot points, gameplay tricks and overall themes are carried over pretty blatantly. This doesn’t take away from the experience, but it does make it weird if you’re doing a full series playthrough. Alternate “bad ending” is actually superior from a storytelling perspective, though it’s tough to rationalize as canon. Acting is excellent, with the exception of a few bad accents, but the writing trips up as the story treads on. Later games in the series would eventually find the sweet spot between military self-seriousness and supernatural camp, but despite its kookiness this one finds itself too far in the realm of the former, driving home heavy-handed schlock in ways that are sometimes cringe-worthy. Despite its narrative flaws, Metal Gear Solid is still a masterpiece, and an absolute must-play.
Metal Gear Solid / KCEJ / Konami / September 3, 1998
This review was conducted on the PlayStation version of the game, through the PS3’s “PSone Classics” emulation.
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MicroReviews are short, one-paragraph critiques of games we’ve been playing. Learn more here.