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Metal Gear Solid 2
PS2 Preview by Shawn Fogarty

Who hasn't heard about all the commotion the sequel to MGS is making at the 2000 E3 show? The movies being shown at Sony's booth have been awing and stunning show-goers everywhere. I don't think there is anyone, no matter where their stance is with Sony that couldn't help but be impressed by this game. The original MGS considered by many to be the best game ever released on PSX has a sequel on the way that is huge in every way, shape and form. Now I know many of you have probably read the emotionally rushed first impressions of the game by some of the guys who were lucky enough to go to E3 so I will just try and dish out all the facts that we know of about the game.

The official name for the MGS sequel is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. It is likely that most of the game scenes will take place in parts of America instead of the whole world this time around. Players will find themselves in even greater control of Snake with more freedom in the levels. The developers are also working on a new concept for MGS2, a way to let players feel the temperature and humidity of the environments adding an unrivaled immersiveness to the game. How this shall be implemented is not known. Maybe we will be able to see sweat beads on Snake's face or something. There will be more enemies to fight, which are also going to be more interactive too.

All the buzz going on about MGS2's graphics is really quite amazing because I would have never expected the game to look so good so early on in development. The game is over a year away and yet it already seems to have the best graphics on the system! This just goes to show you that it's just a matter of putting the effort into tapping the PS2's REAL power to see what the system is actually capable of. However the design team doesn't claim that their goal is to have the best graphics on the system. They say their goal is to create a virtual world in which players can feel the environment and what's around them. Realism is the key here, many effects like rain, fog, steam, breath and heat are shown visually which just happens to make for some incredibly lifelike graphics. Visual effects play a role in gameplay in many cases. For example, the shadow of Snake is not just there for eyecandy, if a guard sees your shadow around a corner even if he cannot actually see you, it will alert him to your presence.

Of course we can also expect the very best in the sound department, but MGS2 will take a more dynamic approach to creating the musical scores in the game. Depending on Snake's situation at that time, the music will change moods accordingly instead of just switching to another song entirely. It's like there is an orchestra right next to you watching you play and changing their song to fit the situation your character is in. Just think of how the music is done in a movie and you'll get the idea.

The controls will also be enhanced but all the standard aspects in the first MGS will be back. Because of the PS2's analog controller, you can be sure the design team will make use of those analog buttons. As for the analog stick, it will allow players to aim better and move at the speed they want from a crawl to a full sprint.

MGS2 will have great gameplay depth that will surely suck anybody within 100 feet of a TV right into the heart of the action. Enemy AI is far superior this time and instead of fighting soldiers that come at you independently without a care in the world of dying, now they work in teams. They work together, take cover behind objects and peek out to take shots at you. They will attempt to surround you, cut off your escape roots etc. It all adds up to some realistic play that should enhance the enjoyment of the game and to add some more innovation to the genre. Remember how I said before that the levels will be much more interactive? Well listen to this. Depending on what you shoot act, no matter where it is, will have a different impact. Shoot a guards radio transmitter and he won't be able to call for backup, shoot a pipe and hot steam will rush out the hole. Players can device new strategies for taking out their enemies with such interactive environments. Like that may be hot and if you can get it too spray into the faces of your enemies it will hurt them. Even your bullets can ricochet off walls and still hit someone. If you ever wanted proof of the developers devotion to this game than here are a few interesting things. They have a military advisor, they study military situations, read books and watch videos everyday to make absolutely sure they are designing a true to life game. Heck, the team even visited a tanker to help them design a level in the game.

There are some features that couldn't be included in the original MGS game that will now be implemented into this sequel. Players will be able to hide dead bodies inside lockers! You can also use the locker door or any other door as a shield. One of the most exciting things to learn about this game is what kind of weapons are being cooked up for us. Unfortunately they aren't giving too much away yet but they say there will be a lot of different weapons including the tranquilizer. Some will be real world weapons while others will be fictional but based on real life ones, like future concepts.

The dev team admits that making this game on PS2 is difficult but whenever they come up to a roadblock, they look to take another route sort of speak. All the hard work will no doubt make this game go down in history as possibly the best game on PS2. So many unique things are being done in this game which is what makes it so exciting to follow. When MGS2 is finally released, I think critiques will never look at the PS2 the same way again. With the early screens shots and movies that we've seen thus far, it gives us a glimpse of what is to come when the system really warms up.

Expected Release Date:
Fall 2001

Developer / Publisher:


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