Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal major plot points, especially considering the game had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is an action-adventure stealth game developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. It is the fourth Metal Gear game written and directed by Hideo Kojima and serves as the direct sequel to the original Metal Gear Solid. An expanded edition, titled Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, was released the following year for Xbox and Microsoft Windows in addition to the PlayStation 2.
The game opens with a flashback, two years after the Shadow Moses Incident in the original Metal Gear Solid. On August 8, 2007, Solid Snake and Otacon, now members of the non-governmental organization, Philanthropy, are investigating the development of a new Metal Gear by the United States Marine Corps.
On April 29, 2009, Raiden (who operates briefly under the code name Snake) is tasked under a reformed FOXHOUND. He has orders to infiltrate the Big Shell to rescue hostages, including the US president, from the terrorist group Sons of Liberty (whose leader claims to be Solid Snake), backed up by the rogue anti-terror training unit Dead Cell, who are also threatening to destroy the facility.
Why It Rocks
- Interesting story, which involves a tanker mission with Snake and a planter mission with Raiden.
- Great and memorable soundtrack.
- The game is considered to be ahead of its time for dealing with themes and concepts that later became culturally relevant in the 2010s. The game has been described as "profound," particularly the final dialogue scene between Raiden and the AI posing as the Colonel and Rose. Comparisons have been drawn to concepts that became mainstream during the 2010s, such as fake news, echo chambers, and alternative facts.
- Improved stealth mechanics. You can finally aim at enemies while crawling, use a tranquilizer gun, aim in first-person, and hide in closets and lockers.
- Introduced a new character named Raiden, who is voiced by Quinton Flynn.
- Intriguing bosses to fight, who all have different backstories.
- Liquid Snake is back but now he's Liquid Ocelot, who is a combination between Ocelot and Liquid Snake.
- Excellent graphics for 2001 that were way ahead of their time since games wouldn't look close to this until the seventh gen.
- The VR missions return from the previous game with even more challenges
- After completing the game you will unlock lots of bonus content such as Casting Theater and Boss Rush mode (you can play as either Solid Snake or Raiden in Boss rush mode)
- In the Substance edition, you can play a mini-game called Skate Mode, which is a mini-game where you play as certain Metal Gear 2 characters while skateboarding similar to Tony Hawk Pro Skater.
- Funny codec scenes, especially the ones with the fake Colonel.
- Great voice acting especially David Hayter as Snake and Christopher Randolph as Otacon.
- The enemy AI is a huge step up from the original, as enemies can now form squads and comb areas. They can even hear your heartbeats and breathing if you stand too close to the door while hiding in a locker. The AI is also known as the first stealth videogame to feature collective Artificial Intelligence.
- You can collect dog tags from enemies by holding them up and then pointing a gun at their face. Collecting a certain number of dog tags will unlock abilities for both Snake and Raiden.
- 46 dog tags will get you the infinite bandana. (Snake)
- 73 dog tags will get you the brown wig, gives infinite ammo. (Raiden)
- 76 dog tags will unlock the stealth camo for Snake.
- 121 dog tags will unlock the stealth camo for Raiden.
- 170 dog tags will unlock the orange wig, which gives Raiden infinite grip.
- 218 dog tags will unlock the blue wig, which gives Raiden infinite oxygen.
- Fans strongly disliked Raiden as a character and his playstyle. A lot of fans figured that Raiden may be one of the weakest characters in video games.
- Many things have been scrapped because of the September 11th attacks in Manhattan, which is where the final point of the game is set.
- The PC port has severe flaws.
- MGS1 Snake's VR missions suffer from difficulty spikes and trial and error.
- Not helping is the hold-up missions, which require the player to carefully press the aim button since the missions have you use the M4 (which in itself is frustrating).
- To collect every dog tag you have to replay the game on every difficulty in order to get every single dog tag in the game, which can be tiresome and get repetitive.
- Non-Sony consoles and the HD remaster do not have the Evolution Skateboarding minigame.
- While Raiden was hated by many in the West, he's actually liked by many in Japan. In fact, Kojima has explicitly stated that Raiden is his favorite character in Metal Gear Solid 2, a view that was also shared by Raiden's voice actor: Quinton Flynn.
While the game received acclaim for its gameplay, graphics, and its attention to detail, critics were initially divided on the protagonist and the philosophical nature and execution of the game's storyline, which explores themes such as memetics, social engineering, political conspiracies, censorship, artificial intelligence, existentialism, postmodernism, and post-truth politics. The game's reputation has improved over time and it is considered to be one of the greatest video games ever made.