I think it shows how much the Metal Gear series means to me personally when the two games I was deciding between for my game of the decade were Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and while I do love Revengeance’s commentary on what it means to kill and war as a business, wrapped in Platinum Games style character action, my choice is Metal Gear Solid 4. Hopefully I can explain this decision without gushing too much.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the fourth instalment of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series that takes place in the futuristic year of 2014, 5 years after the Big Shell incident and 9 years after the hostage situation on Shadow Moses Island. The game follows an older Solid Snake chasing down Liquid Ocelot who is planning an insurrection against the organisation that controls society, ‘The Patriots’.
For me, a big part of the reason why Metal Gear Solid 4 is the greatest game of the decade is because it nails everything that makes Metal Gear so great and pushes them even further as concepts. Guns of the Patriots improves on the already stellar, but at times stiff gameplay of previous Metal Gear Solid titles by introducing third person aiming and further sneaking options.
MGS4 continues its trend of some of the best boss fights in gaming. The boss fights are excellent throughout, the standouts for me being the hide and seek battle with Laughing Octopus and the Mech Battle between Metal Gear Rex and Metal Gear Ray.
Guns of the Patriots also pushes Hideo Kojima’s completely nuts art direction even further, with storytelling that is completely mind bending and blowing your nips off with narrative twists that flip the metal gear series on it’s head.
MGS4 absolutely nails these Metal Gear features, making it a gaming experience that is absolutely mind-blowing from start to finish. However, for me, the thing that truly pushes Guns of the Patriots to that game of the decade status is the fact that it acts as a conclusion.
We have had years to grow attached to these characters and wrapping up their arcs provided potentially the greatest scenes in video-game history and cemented Metal Gear as the greatest narrative experience in all of video-games. That is not hyperbole. The microwave corridor and the final fight elicit emotions that I don’t think that can ever be replicated in any other kind of media, let alone any other game.
Above all, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots provides closure. Closure to the greatest overarching narrative in video games. Closure through two old lads boxing the heads off each other. How could it not be my favourite?