We all have had games we couldn’t wait to get our hands on. That is part of what this month’s cover story, “Anticipation,” is trying to capture. This month’s Retro Spotlight features will reflect on those games that had tons of expectations and fans eager to get their hands on them. To kick off the month, let’s talk about a game directed and produced by one of the greatest in the industry: Hideo Kojima.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was released back on November 12th, 2001. That means I was nine years old when MGS2 was released. I wouldn’t say I was totally out of the loop when I was this age, but I wasn’t as well informed as I am today- I was nine. I remember this being one of the most anticipated games I can remember. After all, this was the sequel to one of the most successful and ground-breaking PlayStation games ever. One that changed the way I think about video games. The anticipation started to really build when Konami revealed the trailer for the game at E3 2000.
The nearly 10 minute trailer showcased all of Solid Snake’s new moves. Hanging off of ledges, aiming down sights, and hiding bodies were just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities for what was possible in this game. The game looked beautiful and this was all made possible thanks to the power of the PS2 that was also a major part of E3 2000. The trailer also showcased what was to come in the story. Another massive and deadly Metal Gear seemed to be a major part of the plot. Old enemies appeared to be coming back with the reveal of Revolver Ocelot and hints of Liquid Snake. This trailer was so successful that Konami managed to play a trailer every hour at their booth to a crowd of hundreds every single time. The hype continued through E3 2001 all the way up until its release.
Many fans were eager to play as Solid Snake once again and their wishes were granted on that release day…kind of. The game had us play as our beloved hero, Solid Snake, throughout the Tanker chapter of the game. After that, we were introduced to a surprise new hero named Raiden, who you would play as the rest of the game. This was a very divisive decision from Hideo Kojima and caused a lot of controversy. What caused a lot of the controversy was showing Solid Snake in trailers during portions of the game where you are actually play as Raiden. Fans felt Kojima and Konami lied to them about who the main hero was going to be. Snake ends up being a big part of the story, but he is never playable outside of the Tanker chapter. On top of this, the story was very convoluted, especially in the last hour and a half of the game. It is actually confusing to the point where I still don’t fully understand what the exact motives of the villains were after three play throughs of the game.
The game was still a Metal Gear Solid game at it’s core and that is what made this game awesome despite its issues. The stealth-action gameplay was superb and at the time revolutionary with all the new features added thanks to the power of the PS2. Even though it received critical praise at the time of its release, as time has gone on, some of its divisive nature of the game has worn away. As it turns out, this is my favorite game in the franchise.
As I said, I was only nine years old when this game came out so I did not play the game. I had seen MGS1 played by friends so I knew what these games were about and they always peaked my interest. I can’t remember the exact timeframe in which I finally experienced my first Metal Gear Solid game with the controller in my hand, but my first game in the series was Metal Gear Solid 2. I absolutely adore this franchise, but there is something about the nostalgia of this game being my entry point into the series that will always make this game my favorite. There is something about playing as Raiden, and having Snake as my sidekick that was really appealing to me. Also, I love the setting in both sections of the game. You are surrounded by water with no where to escape. I think being stranded by miles of open water is more effective than being stranded in the cold of Shadow Moses. Even though the story is convoluted to a degree, its over the top nature successfully walks this very fine line of either being too serious or too ridiculous. It truly is an amazing game and experience to be had and still holds up today in my opinion.
Even though I wasn’t hyped myself for this entry in the series, it led me to anticipate the other entries in the series. I believe Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was already out when I finally played MGS2 so my anticipation for a series release started with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. That game was one of many reasons I bought a PS3. However, the hype for MGS2 can never be denied by anyone who was a fan of the series during the lead up to its release. Hideo Kojima himself knew of the anticipation and played to the fact by kicking off Snake’s dialogue with Otacon in the E3 2000 trailer and the game itself with “Kept you waiting, huh?”