MGS4 - 13 years later

Crazy to think MGS4 is gonna be 13 years old this year. It was a landmark game in 2008 that floored everyone when it first came out and, to this day, still holds up visually and mechanically.

My problem is, for as great as the mechanics may be, the game kinda stops being fun two acts in. The instant Octopus goes down, everything I loved about the game up til that point dries up. There’s no more battlefield stealth sequences. No more conventional stealth action. And the boss fights, mostly, aren’t as inventive as Octopus’.

Act 3 boils down to a tedious tailing mission where, even if you know where the cathedral is, you still have to slowly tail that whistling dipshit. Then two overblown yet monotonous railshooters, and a boss fight that can be fun, if you don’t go to the top of the tower and just fight Raven inside.

Meanwhile, act 4, despite all the nostalgia, ditches human guards for ineffective evil bowling balls which you can’t even use half your fun toys on. The act has the most bosses and they’re all rock solid, especially Wolf’s, but so much of the gameplay around it feels inefficient without a human presence.

And finally, act 5 brings back the human enemies, but only for one room, before it devolves into a series of set-pieces that just don’t excite me. I know a lotta folks love the final boss fight of the game but I wasn’t one of 'em, to be honest. I believe that a final boss should put the skills you’ve been honing to the ultimate test. You can’t do that if you toss all the mechanics out the window and introduce brand new ones right at the home stretch. It could’ve worked if they did what Death Stranding did, give you a stealth action shootout with Ocelot first like you do against Higgs, then have the old man slap fight. But honestly, the real issue is that act 5 is literally just one corridor. It wouldn’t have killed anyone to make Haven have as many rooms as the tanker in MGS2, to actually get some proper sneaking done before all the chaos after the fact.

My issue overall is that MGS4 is just too inconsistent. It’s a game that tries to be MGS’s best hits, but honestly, is at its best when it’s just being MGS4. And it’s only being MGS4 in its first two acts. The instant it ditches its most unique idea, nothing after that lives up for me. And as we later learned, so much of that wasn’t the original plan.

Act 3 was supposed to be a lot longer, and the European town from MGO2’s third expansion was gonna be used after Raven’s boss fight. You had to escort Big Mama through the town and passage, evading guards, and when underground, evading a new type of Gekko that chucked acid grenades through doors.

Act 4 was originally supposed to have a human PMC unit, the wolves, which were gonna be Russians led by this guy, who was likely going to act as a boss fight at some point too:

The act was supposed to be longer, with plans to revisit more sections of Shadow Moses.

And while I have no clue if act 5 was gonna be longer, it should’ve been. Hell, they could’ve done battlefield stealth one last time by having the marines face off against the cyber gals.

The story is what it is. A whole lot of exposition dumps and usage of the word nanomachines, as well as some muddied storytelling when you throw Big Boss back into the mix, but honestly, I don’t really think MGS4 is any more offensive than any other MGS game in that regard. It’s incredibly stupid, but charming, and I’m skipping all of its cutscenes anyway so who cares.

There’s nothing about it I absolutely hate, but the sheer quality of gameplay just dips way too early for me to wanna replay it all that much.

That’s my take at least. I made a fuller video on my channel if anyone wants to see that noise. But otherwise, how do you feel about this game over a decade on?


Yeah, on the whole I agree. Act 1 & 2 were fantastic, spent a good amount of time experimenting and exploring the battlefields and playing with all of my toys.

Act 3 the first time I actually enjoyed, felt cool at first walking through all the streets in civi clothing being a regular old spy… upon replay it was very tedious, I can’t imagine the frustration speed runners had when that act came around.

Act 4 was fun, nice bit of nostalgia, but I think that was most of its appeal? Like you say, needed some humans thrown in there as well. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would have been cool to have some classical metal gear backtracking to pick up items when you had the right keycard. Piloting Rex was fun.

I honestly can’t remember any of act 5 except for the punch up, I guess that speaks volumes about it?

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MGS4 is the start of where the series lost its way for me. Phantom Pain was a nail in the coffin.

Both good games in their own rights, but not good Metal Gear games IMO.


I go back and forth on this game whether it was good or bad. But I think I have made up my mind that it was bad. It had some good in it too, the game even today looks beautiful and made the best use of the PS3’s architecture.

What is a shame is that there is no remaster for this game. Emulation is the only bet if you want to see this game at 60 fps, it is a forgotten title. Probably hard to renew the contracts with apple etc and what is going on with konami overall.


I always cite MGS4 as my “unofficial” first platinum trophy. I essentially did everything that was possible to get the platinum BEFORE the trophies were patched in. Wasn’t about to do it again.

Remember when you had to reinstall every act whenever you wanted to replay the game, early PS3 days were wild.

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Can’t agree more really, was discussing this elsewhere recently too. It wasn’t much of an MGS game really, certainly not after Act 2 anyway. It can happen, Mass Effect 3 while having its good parts felt like it spent too long focusing on tying up loose ends and concluding things and MGS4 suffered from the same fate too. I would still like to replay it soon but feel like I’ll stop halfway into Act 2.


I still like the TGS 2005 trailer better than the actual game. Of course, that’s a decade later, after multiple playthroughs, and lots of reflection.

I can never deny how excited I was during that time between 2005 and 2008. Each new trailer, or picture, or bit of news added to the anticipation. I’d study everything for new information, work out new story possibilities, or enemy capabilities. I was so ready for this new adventure.

I don’t recall feeling disappointed. I think I was just happy that it was over with. The waiting. As time went on, and as the linear aspects of MGS4 became dull, I gravitated back to my first encounter with MGS4, that TGS trailer from years past. It remains now as my ideal. The game we never got. Even now, it gets my imagination going ("It’s not Solid Snake, it’s Solidus - revived from the dead like Gray Fox and using a prosthetic eye (SolidEye). He’s unknowingly working for The Patriots, who manipulated his mind to have him believe he’s Solid Snake and speak to him using a likeness of Otacon; just like how they did with Raiden and The Colonel. Brilliant!" (several minutes later) “That’s dumb as hell!” (drinks whiskey))

In short, I guess MGS4 haunts me a bit as a disappointment. I feel it fell short of something wonderful, something I can’t describe. All the pieces were there, but the final assembly wasn’t what I was hoping for. That said, it is a game I still play from time to time, all these years later.


I remember the trailers too very well. The hype was unreal and the PS3 looked amazing and felt like graphics couldn’t get any better. MGS4 had a bigger impact on me since I was younger and today I hardly ever get excited for any upcoming games. There is a lot of nostalgia for those old days.

This is the trailer I remember the best. Act 1 should have been longer and I think this trailer showcased the game really well.

Yeah, that TGS 05 trailer was something else. I remember finally playing mgs4 and all through act 1 I was like HELL YEAH THIS IS THE KIND OF MGS IVE BEEN MISSING (mind you we had snake eater AND portable ops in between games, so I was thirsty for some real SOLID Snake IFKWIM). Then the game went downhill hard after that I never wanted to leave the middle east, traveling and missions made me feel like I lost all sense of time and urgency in the mission. MGS was always a “you have 24 hours to stop this terrorist threat” kind of badass feel to it, and turning it into a globe traveling thing just didnt work for me

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About the prettiest version I’ve found of the TGS 2005 MGS4 Trailer.


The original plan wasn’t to leave the Middle East. I remember reading a lot of interviews with Ryan Payton that the MGS4 the team originally came up with wasn’t remotely what the MGS4 we ultimately got was. Their original plan was to go all in on battlefield stealth (which would’ve been perfect because it was MGS4’s unique idea and most entertaining asset) with way more sequences like that and a less binary choice, by letting both rebels and PMC’s be viable options to team up with / against. And to have more destructible environments.

Apparently, the game was in development hell for a very long time before things started to formulate, and from there, when Kojima took the helm, he was more focused on cutscenes than gameplay, which wasn’t their original MO. But for some reason, I guess leadership was in free fall around 2005-2006.


I have complicated relationships with this game. From amouth of gameplay/being typical MGS game POV fourth is the worst among numbered games. But being final game for Solid it did amazing job with characters arcs.


I remember being beyond hyped after seeing this. I was so fucking excited :disappointed_relieved:

This is truthfully what I expected MGS4 to be. I actually really hated MGS4 when it came out and haven’t really played it since the first time. I think I replayed the first chapter several times though, as it’s clearly the best part of the game. I spent the rest of my time on MGO2.

Welcome to the forum! You should make a topic in Member Announcements introducing yourself!

Much as I love act 1, I think act 2 really is where everything just clicks the most. The battlefield stealth sequences were outta this world good, especially that big showdown at the vista map from MGO2 or the branching paths you can take after that. That and Octopus’ boss fight was easily the best in that whole game, due to how creative it was and the way it really got mileage outta the dodge mechanics.

Act 1 is still amazing, but it would’ve been infinitely better if that pmc camp at the end were playable, and if this guy didn’t get cut from the game. He would’ve made a killer first boss:


Right, I honestly forget how it was broken up at this point. I don’t think I’ve even touched MGS4 since MGO2 died.

Just thinking about the technology Snake uses in MGS4.

I always loved the fact he used a DS3 to pilot Mk2. I was about to say something like “lol in 2014 and Snake’s still using a PS3 controller” but then I remembered that even in 2008 Snake would have been running around with three year old tech

I really liked how MGS handled these inclusions. Rotating the analogue stick to select a song like you would on an actual old iPod was really cool.

Look at what some JACKASS wrote about its inclusion back when the game released:

Paid product placement?? Apple paid Konami to include product placement for their OLD version of the iPod?! And Apple TV and iTunes aren’t virtual iPods, jerkoff!!!Why WOULD they imitate the scroll wheel? Want the game to be more boringly designed so you can pick your songs easier?! Maybe they should have just removed the iPod in its entirety and just let you pick song sfrom a fucking pause menu?!?!?! THAT WOULD BE FUCKING FUN, WOULDN’T IT?!?!?!?! (this guy wrote this shit 14 years ago and likely hasn’t thought about it in nearly as long)


Parts of Act 3 are fun but I lose all interest in the game around there because it kind of ends so quick, the chase scene sucks, the boss fight is annoying, and there’s too many damn cutscenes.

Going back to Shadow Moses was cool but it’s not very fun sneaking around some abandoned place with no enemy soldiers. Always hated the Geckoes and the Dwarves aren’t any better.

Act 5 is like a straight hallway and the enemy already knows you’re there so you can kind of just run straight to the end of the map or spend the whole time crawling like a worm.

I spent way more time on MGO than I did MGS4 but I do remember loving everything about MGS4 the first time I played it. I just don’t think it’s a game I enjoy replaying at all.


The latter parts of MGS4 are just set pieces unfortunately. The first acts were far more open but that openness disappearing kind of feels like when they take all your abilities away at the start of Symphony of the Night after giving you a taste of how fun it is to use them-but then never returning them to you hahahaha

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Yeah the Ass end of mgs4 in terms of gameplay is kinda of underwhelming. the final act, starting in an already heightened phase doesn’t lend good to gameplay. Seriously best part of mgs4 was the middle east and not exploring more of it is a let down. I wonder if there was pushback, remember originally koj said you could help either side or neither? then we’re kinda led down fighting with the rebels. Geckos were also a bad touch for shadow mosses. id have preferred to sneak around and just see ghosts of nostalgia floating around. It’s a shame they cut out parts of the map too for SM,

I remember how STOKED I was for MGS4 just based off of that section. Man was I fucking disappointed. MGS4 is the only main series title I haven’t replayed. In fact, I think I ripped it out and bounced the disc off the wall so hard it just stopped working all together.