Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) MicroReview
A true high point for the series, Metal Gear Solid 2 is a nearly unparalleled masterpiece. The act of sneaking in this game is so clearly defined and completely natural, it’s probably the best the gameplay has ever been. The wonderful complexity beneath the surface of the game’s control scheme, AI and level design makes it feel like there are truly unlimited possibilities- I found completely new ways to solve some of the stealth puzzles even though this was my fourth playthrough! Kojima really laid it all on the line with this game’s narrative- the story itself feels like a lament of the designer’s uphill climb in trying to innovate while also appeasing fans- and the script goes so gloriously, shamelessly off the rails by the end that it’s truly a sight to behold. Harry Gregson-Williams’ score really shines here, as do the intricate sound design and brilliant cutscene cinematography. This game is also notable for its excellent vibration design, which only focuses on the player character, rather than shaking during every action set-piece like most games- it’s subtle, but really immerses you if you’re keeping your hands on the controller. If you can stomach the extreme length and sea of grammatical errors, the final two in-universe “previous story” texts in the opening menu are pretty entertaining, if not exactly necessary in order to enjoy the game.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty / KCEJ / Konami / November 12, 2001
This review was conducted on the PlayStation 2 version of the game.
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MicroReviews are short, one-paragraph critiques of games we’ve been playing. Learn more here.