Metal Gear OFFline

May 16, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Latest Addictions | Leave a comment

 

Well last weekend the servers for the MGO beta finally shut down, but not before me and my friends destroyed team after team until the wee hours of the morning. It was definitely a great time while it lasted and I will be joining everyone back online once it hits next month.

Now I just want to put up my final impressions, now that I have had time to reflect on various aspects of the beta.  As I said in my last post, I want to spend some time discussing the Sneaking Mission playmode that was added a few days into the beta. For me this was the most exciting thing in the beta because it not only gave us a look at the general idea behind the single player in MGS4 but also gave us a chance to try out Snake and his awesome Octocam!

The idea to throw Snake into the middle of what is basically a Team Deathmatch game is absolute genius. Just adding the extra factor of Snake and Metal Gear Mk2 causing trouble in the middle of a match really made things more exciting. Outside of certain MMOs I can’t really think of a multiplayer game that managed to accomplish having 3 sides within one battle. MGO, however, accomplished this magnificently. With the extra chaos that Snake and his Invisible Buddy can reek the tide of a battle can easily turn against one team. 

The most impressive aspect of this game is how well it puts you into the soldier’s mindset, especially when facing Snake. Although there is still the other team and it is impossible to ignore them, Snake is the real target. He is the primary worry throughout the entire match, even if you don’t see him even once. In fact that usually just makes things more tense. A Snake that you have not seen for an entire match often means it is a good Snake player.  

Another impressive aspect of this Solider mindset is how easy it is to completely forget about Snake when you are in the middle of a chaotic firefight. This is often one of the best times for Snake to strike at any stragglers that might be respawning from the battle or just trying to flank the other team. There have been plenty of times when I would decide to flank the enemy while my friends were fighting an attrition battle. Of course this is the time when I would run into Snake in some dark corridor on my own. 

Chasing afters Snake solo is one of the best examples of the game putting you into the normal soldier’s mindset. No matter how good of a player you are, you are going to be outclassed as far as skill level and abilities go. Snake basically has everything you could have and at the highest level possible. Caution is the name of the game especially if you are facing off against a competent Snake . On the other hand, just like a normal AI guard urgency is just as important because he can easily escape and start fresh. It doesn’t get any more tense than chasing Snake around a corner just to find the room empty. His Octocam is his best weapon if used properly and is so good it can be frightening. I have often ran into this situation and my first reaction is to usually spray the walls and floor with gunfire. It has actually flushed him out a couple of times but is usually just a useless reaction because he somehow circled around behind me or moved on to another target. However, if you some how manage to hunt down and kill Snake, it is hard not to jump for joy. I always celebrate after a Snake kill because he can be such a pain to hunt down.

Talking about how amazing Snake is might make people think he is unbalanced, and yes if you were in a small game with no communication on the other teams this would probably be correct. But being in a full game with 16 people ready to kill you is extremely difficult and tense. Team members are alerted as soon as a comrade goes down thanks to the SOP system. Plus it is not as simple as killing the other teams. As Snake your goal is to knock them out and then collect dogtags by crouching and patting them down. This leaves you completely open for one of the teammates to run in and save the day. Especially if the teams are communicating, unless it’s a good Snake he is probably going to be in trouble.

Really I don’t have any complaints with the game in it’s current state, outside of lobby and server side things. The game really should have a party matchmaking system so that it’s easier to get together with friends. I also don’t really like the idea that you can’t talk to the other team through voice when in the lobby. It seems obvious to have lobby chat open so you can talk with friends who got placed on the opposite team, etc. I also never found an option to just filter servers by gameplay modes/options. I might have just missed it but I doubt it. Should definitely be there because it can sometimes be a pain to wade through all kinds of special rooms for a normal match.

However, there is one aspect of the gameplay that I think could be tweaked and it has to do with the SOP system. At the moment, when using voice chat you just have your name pop up on the left side of the screen with a little mic symbol. Two people can be talking at a time so a lot of times two names will be displayed in that area. Although this is a standard UI feature I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be worked into the SOP system. The reasoning is that sometimes in urgent situations its hard to know who is saying what. Something as simple as a glow or highlight of a character’s SOP outline would do wonders to show who was talking to you. Basically I think it would just be a nice detail and easily worked into the already existing SOP system. It would be nice to know that the guy yelling out “BEHIND US!!!!!!” is standing right beside you.

Outside of these few nitpicks and the launch problems it was an amazing beta that I had blast being a part of. I really can’t wait for the retail version next month and have even went back and beat MGS3 once already to help with the MGO withdrawals I suffered. Only a little less than a month left and then the return to pure MGO gaming bliss.

 

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