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.
 

Chary

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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.
I was distressed from the moment Sutherland uttered his first "kept ya waiting huh?"

Hayter forever, bro. He is Snake.
 

MultiKoopa

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I was distressed from the moment Sutherland uttered his first "kept ya waiting huh?"

Hayter forever, bro. He is Snake.
yeah it was such a bad delivery of that line, I have no idea what happened with that line

but most of the other lines in Ground Zeroes, and the very very very few he got in Phantom Pain were very well done.

but David Hayter is still the best Snake
 
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tfocosta

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How I loved this game back in the day and still do nowadays. :D

Like many other games, the first time I've played it was at my cousin's, on his PS2. I managed to beat the game after borrowing it from him and then, again, once I got my own copy a few years later. And again on X-Box 360 (MGS: HD Collection), and again on PS Vita, and again on PCSX2! It's awesome! :yay:

The last time I've played it was last year, on PS Vita again (MGS: HD Collection). ^_^

I can't get tired of it. Such a beautiful masterpiece in gaming. :wub:
 
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Spider_Man

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Finally! A corner of the internet that appreciates this sequel!
I think the problem was people wanted to play as snake and they didnt like raiden, calling them selves fans and completely missed the main aspect of the storyline and why it was raiden.

Problem we have now with konami screwing mgs over is kojima cant bring it full circle.

Wonder if anyone else noticed why mother base resembles the big shell so much.....

And what was part of mgs5 storyline, god i hated mgs5 why kojima shared the same game style as peace walker, understanding why on the psp, but consoles???
 
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I just replayed through it for the 20th anniversary, must have been my 25th time since launch in 2001.
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I was in the MGS mood (I'm almost always as my avatar and signature will show.)

I made this custom MGS cover from Dave Rapoza's magnificent artwork. I inspired myself from the Game Over screen, I always liked that look. Hope you guys enjoy it!
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