Metal Gear Solid 2 20th anniversary retrospective

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2001 is one of the biggest, most influential years in gaming, no question. You had Halo: Combat Evolved, Grand Theft Auto III, Super Smash Bros. Melee--games that are still praised as much as the day they released, even 20 years later. It would be hard to stand out among titans like that, and even harder to still hold up to the test of time, but Metal Gear Solid 2 does both of those things flawlessly.

In fact, MGS2’s story might just be even more relevant and impactful than it was two decades ago.


With the prestige of Metal Gear Solid still fresh in the minds of gamers at the turn of the century, the sequel would have to be bigger, better, more innovative, with the power of the PlayStation 2. Characters had expressive faces now, first-person aiming was an option, ledge grabbing, better AI--a staggering amount of new features were touted. For many, this was a definitive “system-seller” kind of game; fans were chomping at the bit to play as the famous Solid Snake once more, especially thanks to a much-hyped E3 2000 trailer that focused solely on the hero infiltrating an oil tanker.

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Which makes it all the more impressive that Hideo Kojima eschewed all expectations, pulling a bait-and-switch by introducing Raiden, MGS2’s real protagonist. One that was never shown off in any marketing or previews for the game, leaving it to shock players who never could have seen it coming. Solid Snake is merely playable for the introduction segment. A controversial decision for sure, but a necessary one for the intricate story and themes that Metal Gear Solid 2 weaves together so wonderfully.

In the years since, we’ve seen developers try to do something similar: The Last of Us Part II did this with its protagonists, splitting the story between two characters--neither of which was Joel, the main character of the first game. TLOU2 also suffered from major leaks, weeks prior to release. Anyone even remotely interested in the sequel was quickly spoiled by news headlines and fervent discussion regarding the controversy. MGS2’s twist would never be possible today in a society dominated by the internet.

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An amusing thought, given how the narrative of MGS2 is all about what potential the internet and technology could have on people’s perceptions, and the ramifications of it. It’s an interesting topic to hear about during the turn of the century, but one that’s leagues more relevant in today’s day and age.

Kojima has a penchant for ridiculousness in his storytelling, and while MGS2 has plenty of weird and very Kojima-esque moments (there’s a man who plants bombs while rollerblading, for goodness sake), it balances the seriousness and silliness perfectly. Out of all the Metal Gear Solid games, this one has perhaps aged the best out of all of them, both in terms of story and gameplay. Whether you’ve seen it all for yourself before, or you’ve never had the chance to play Metal Gear Solid 2, then there’s no better time to play it than on the game’s 20th anniversary.
 

sarkwalvein

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For anybody that understands Spanish, I offer the following video:

It is a very nice analysis on Metal Gear Solid 2 in the context of its era and what it meant for videogames. I believe most MGS2 fans that can understand the language of the video will enjoy it a lot. I watch it from time to time, it gives me some satisfaction.

A terrible translation can be found here: https://pastebin.com/6PEAhMtP

Also attached below, the terrible translation with terrible timings as a subtitle file. You can either:
  1. Download the youtube video and open it up in your favorite video player with sub support, and add the attached sub to it.
  2. Use a Chrome add-on, like https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/subtitles-for-youtube/ ; open the video on youtube and use the subtitle attached below.

Sub in SRT format here: https://mega.nz/file/AYxnlKRI#nSkkevu8uhPY9xmpYqSgQJ_dNHxjJQRArVH_R_dXrWE

(PS: why can't attach SRTs?)
 
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Marc_78065

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It's sad that Konami doesn't care about MGS anymore and now, they've "temporarily" removed it from digital stores. :-/

I hope the rumors of SONY buying MGS or whatever is real.
 
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SG854

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For anybody that understands Spanish, I offer the following video:

It is a very nice analysis on Metal Gear Solid 2 in the context of its era and what it meant for videogames. I believe most MGS2 fans that can understand the language of the video will enjoy it a lot. I watch it from time to time, it gives me some satisfaction.
Can you translate the video for us? Word for word.
 

sarkwalvein

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Can you translate the video for us? Word for word in written text here in this thread on the wonderful GBATEMP so that we can understand this excellent well written thought out video.
For the moment you could use YouTube's autotranslate function, but I believe the result will not be very good.
If I find the time to do it, I will translate it and put the text here though.
 

sonicvssilver22

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Hands down my favorite game in the series. Absolutely loved Raiden’s character and playing as him. Also shoutouts to Cam Clarke’s cameo in the Tanker chapter. His voice work is always on point.
 
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DaFixer

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What a great game, I still remember the time that I saw the E3 2000 trailer for the first time.
I was 18 years back then, back then there was no youtube, So I downloaded the trailer in 240p (or lower) and I was blow away what I saw. Today MGS2 is still a great to play!

Digital Foundry made some good video's about MGS2.

E3 2000 trailler
Retro Review
 
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pedro702

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konami needs to remake mgs 1 or atleast make an remaster of twin snakes with optional cutsnes/changes that people didnt like, well a full on remake would be better imo.

mgs collection should be ported to current generation imo, its sad that many of the new generation will never experience any game exept phantom pain ...
 

Chary

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Thanks for writing Chary, and it is crazy that it's been 20 years....
Article too short though!
Haha, thanks. I was trying to keep it short and more to the general impact of mgs2 rather than the gameplay or other specific positives because I definitelywant to plan out and write a full recommends series on 2 through V one day! Or some sort of article on all the games, after having just finished them. :)
 

HellGhast

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Haha, thanks. I was trying to keep it short and more to the general impact of mgs2 rather than the gameplay or other specific positives because I definitelywant to plan out and write a full recommends series on 2 through V one day! Or some sort of article on all the games, after having just finished them. :)
That article would make a great read. Looking forward to it.

And please give us your opinion on who is the better Snake, David Hayter ftw or the new VA (24 dude) who ruined MGS5 & Ground Zero for me, never finished either one, I say David Hayter for ever.
 
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