As we all know, metal gear solid was one of the best games that was ever released on the playstation, it introduced a storyline and gameplay and attention to detail never seen before in a game, it allowed gamers to really "feel" a character really get to grips with a game and begin to develop a real relationship with the main character, so when the PS2 was being shown off at expo's the return of Solid Snake in beautiful fully rendered graphics was a long awaited appearance. Last year MGS2 Sons of Liberty hit the shelves and promptly sold out in the hundreds of thousands, at this point i'll direct you all to the fantastic review by WoLf about a year ago, I not only agree with his every sentiment but add more praise to a game that leaves you desperate for more.
Its the only game i have ever played apart from metal gear solid on Playstation that made me start again from the beginning the moment I completed it.
SOOO the general public was split over MGS2, people like WoLf, myself, Jenksy and a lot of people I know were overjoyed with what was a phenomenal game, others lamented what was a shocking lack of Solid Snake action at your fingertips, I myself didn't connect with Raiden as much as I always had with Snake, his character was developed to such a fine point in MGS1 that It was sad not to have control of what I felt was the greatest games character ever. His role as guidance and council was fine but I wanted Snake to kick some serious ass, not get sliced open by vamp on his first appearance in the game!
So comments were made, message boards were started and feedback was.. well, fed I suppose, and the games creators took it all to heart, they listened to what people were saying and immediately went back to the drawing board and set to work on MSG2 Substance, A new version that contained many new and fantastic areas not included in MGS2.
Now, i haven't seen he Xbox version, but at risk of upsetting many PS2 junkies, I have to say i'm expecting the graphics to be slightly better on Xbox, I know there's a huge big argument but i'm sorry, the day we all accept the merits of different consoles and get one big happy house of console love the world will be a better place. Remember guys, when I was a young gamer I was a sega man, and hated all things Nintendo but even us Veteran gamers can see the benefits of Nintendo and Sega joining forces, it made the world of gaming today.
So onto substance, The makers have tried to include a broad spectrum of elements to keep everyone happy, from the lighthearted gamer who is first experiencing MSG through to the hardened Snake fan, So we have on the CD's
Documents of Metal Gear, over 350 VR missions not in MGS2, Making ofs,original artwork, testing demo's video footage and the ability to substitute certain characters in cutscenes (nothing like watching an overweight office worker rapel from a helicoptor), 5 (COUNT THEM!!!!) Snake Tales, which ill cover in a while,
and Skateboarding (or Snakeboarding) as well as many other elements, unlockables and modes plus the full Sons of Liberty game as well. SO the nice people at Konami have said, hey you can have all this extra game footage and missions, and hey, have Sons of Liberty as an extra! God Bless em all!!!!
So, the Snake Tales are a good place to start looking at the review, the 5 storys take place during Sons Of Liberty, following Snake around in the parts when you dont really see him in the game, they reintroduce Meryl, Hal's Sister Emma, The Navy Captain some of you may remember being dead with the handcuff in big shell? along with other elements, there's no codec which is a bit of a let down, and the emphasis is most definitely on stealth, in most of them you start with no weapons and very little in supplies (and no radar!), the story develops through text,a nd there's a fair bit of reading involved, so on the whole a little disappointing that they didn't cast the actors to revoice elements of the snake tales, Its little touches like that that always lifted metal gear above the normal games for me. But The snake tales on the whole are a welcome addition to a near perfect game.
The VR missions are fantastic, there's reportedly 350 of them, ill be honest with you all... I haven't got that far!!! The VR missions have always been the pass the pad game at gatherings me and some of the other reviewers have had and they work well, there's enough variety here to keep you interested, some stealth, some shooting, some with raidens trusty sword and a huge variety that includes sniping and 200 foot G-Nome soldiers walking around like godzilla! it really is a good laugh to play with others.
The Skateboarding is a bit lame, Personally i'm a huge skateboarding fan, I love the Tony Hawks Series (except 4 it was lame), also appreciating other extreme sports games like, dave mirra, aggressive Inline and SSX (Not BMX XXX that was Lamer) and I love these games for what they are, fairly real life sports sims taking place in real environments, I HATE games however, that have no relevance to skateboarding that throw it into the equation, This is one of those, the mode is a poor tony hawk rip off with some snake related missions, like collect 4 dog tags and destroy 3 cyphers. It sucks, its not what we wanted its nothing to do with sons of liberty and all it achieves is cheapening the whole package.
However its only a small element of the game, if it was a separate title I would have to be paying a visit to Konami with a big stick with a nail in.
The making ofs speak for themselves, they're really fascinating footage, showing some really interesting elements of the development that whilst I can't do them justice by explaining them here are definitely worth a look, the best way to describe is to think of your favourite DVD with a commentary and a couple of hours behind the scenes and making of, But No SKATEBOARDING OK?!!??!
Metal Gear Substance is a must buy game for all Snake die hards and new fans alike, its one of the best well crafted games i've ever played and all the extra's just make a great game phenomenal.