For those just joining us, this is Part 2 of a series about the history of Metal Gear Solid, from the MSX to the PS4. If you haven't listened to Part 1, we recommend you do that now. This episode still works as a standalone, but we do call back to earlier points in the series. Continue at your own peril. With that out of the way...
We laugh at the most problematic game in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
No matter which way you cut it, Metal Gear Solid 2 is the weird one. If Metal Gear Solid is military fiction built on camp but with delusions of grandeur, its sequel is military fiction subsumed by that delusion. The game remains fun, at times, but it has the poorest gameplay, worst level design and easily the most outlandish plot of the series. It's also closest series director Hideo Kojima has come to producing a video game art project.
Metal Gear Solid 2 pretends to be a post-modern masterpiece. The game mocks the player, and goes out of its way to obfuscate its story. It tries to be about the need to break away from well-worn paths, by making you run well worn paths until you can see the ridges in the game's repetitive level design. The fact that it shifts lead characters from Solid Snake to Raiden is almost besides the point when the game introduces the poorly-motivated Patriots, an artificial intelligence bent on creating Big Boss' perfect future because of reasons. The story doesn't have the cocaine-addled madness of Snatcher to bring you along either. It just drags along, occasionally intermixing real life footage with cutscenes to further blur the line between reality and fiction to the point that it's not worth caring about.
The whole effort feels like first-year literature student's attempt at post-modern fiction with a military pastiche. With bad characters, a confusing plot, and stunt marketing, it's no surprise Kojima isn't particularly proud of the project either. Agness Kaku, who translated the game, has faced no end of grief in the years after its release. A project for which she had so many restrictions, it had little chance of crossing the Pacific without complaint. Metal Gear Solid 2 is a game so off-track and laughed at, Kojima needed two sequels to make the series feel relevant again.
Which we'll get to next time. For now, this episode contains the following:
- A history of the game's development and it's plot. (00:00 - 16:45)
- Agness Kaku tells us about her translation of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Ghost Babel, and her current feelings on the project. We reference an ongoing libel suit she is currently engaged in. Agness presents her case in more detail here. (16:45- 39:20)
- Metal Gear Solid 2's legacy and why it was originally reviled by the fans. (39:30-47:50)
- "Big Shell West Bristol" by BenCousins with music taken from Metal Gear Solid 2. (47:50-50:40)
Next time: Snake gets naked.