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Metal Gear Solid

Built to Play Special: Metal Gear Solid 2

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Built to Play Special: Metal Gear Solid 2

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. 

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Built to Play Special: Metal Gear Solid

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Built to Play Special: Metal Gear Solid

THE BUILT TO CREW EXPLORE THE WORLD OF METAL GEAR SOLID, TRACING THE SERIES FROM ITS MSX ORIGINS TO ITS INCREASINGLY NONSENSICAL CONCLUSION.

Metal Gear Solid, first released in 1998, is one of the biggest game franchises out of Japan. Its combination of stealth gameplay, cinematic presentation, and charismatic voice acting has lent this series a charm it would have had otherwise. As for all of its moments of brilliance, Metal Gear Solid often feels like a game about the American military made by a film director for a Japanese audience. Which is exactly what it is, in all of its glory.Metal Gear Solid so frequently crosses the line between camp, military fetishisation, and half-hearted attempts at meaning that its hard to make heads or tails of any one part of it.

Yet, it's impossible to deny that it's entertaining. Metal Gear Solid is the kind of game that drives up to your house around 3 a.m. and screams, "Get inside!" without telling where it's going or why. You get in anyway, not because you trust the driver, but because your life was so boring up until this lunatic stopped by.

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Built to Play 26: Our Treasure

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Built to Play 26: Our Treasure

This week on Built to Play, the Japanese Beethoven didn't write that theme for Resident Evil.

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He also didn't compose most of the work he has under his name. Most of Mamoru Samuragochi's work, including the Resident Evil theme, was written by 43-year-old composer Takashi Niigaki since at least 1996. Niigaki also claims that Samuragochi isn't deaf either, as they held conversations together.  Nippon Columbia has since stopped distributing most of Samuragochi's work, and his publisher cancelled the release of three upcoming scores. As Daniel put it, the deaf brilliant composer may not actually be any of those things. 

Nintendo, meanwhile, is considering a unified operating systems for future consoles. This idea comes in response to its disastrous quarterly earnings, and fiscal year. Many have called this a great plan regardless of the financial maladies surrounding it, as Nintendo often trails behind technologically. For instance, current recursive nightmare that is the Wii Virtual Console residing in a sub-level OS within the WiiU.

Also this week, Game Informer revealed that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes may only be a couple hours. They played through the main story in about two hours, and had finished some of the sidequests by four hours. Konami claims that this is supposed to be a game you play over and over again for a score, but they're also charging between $20 to $40 USD, depending on the version. 

Finally, and to everyone surprise, Square Enix is back in the black. The Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn MMO is selling more than anyone thought it would, including Square Enix. Plus, Disney Interactive didn't burn itself to the ground thanks to Disney Infinity, and all of those sweet sweet action figures.  It still remains one of Disney's least profitable divisions, however. 

Passion is our theme this week! That's a passion for games and a passion to make games. 

Jason Oda joins us to talk about the adventure before Continue?9876543210a game about the afterlife. In it, you play as a video game character who has lost his last life and must try to escape the Random Access Memory before he's deleted. Oda's last game was Skrillex Quest, a Zelda-style role playing game based on dubstep. Most of his games fit that kind of lighter fun. But recently Oda had his own adventure that forced him to change his perspective. During one of his yearly winter vacations he went to Colorado to meet a Peruvian shaman, took some drugs, got lost in the New Mexico desert and barely escaped with his life. It's a strange story, but it's only half of what makes the game special. Listen to Oda talk about it starting at 27:05.

(Quick Correction: Skrillex Quest is not available on Steam, but is online for free)

We also heard from Gerry Pugliese, a Mass Effect fan so devoted that he wrote more than 500 pages for an alternate ending to Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 was an extremely divisive game to say the least, as its ending polarized fans and pushed Bioware to create an extended version. Ninety-one per cent of fans in a Bioware forum poll wanted them to scrap it and start over. And for those people, Pugliese has a solution. For more than a year he spent all of his spare time working on Mass Effect 3: Vindication, a pdf filled with gameplay and story revisions, concept art, potential DLC and a whole new ending. Hear about his ending to the Mass Effect trilogy at 47:50.


The music in this episode comes from the Free Music Archive. We used the songs, "Great Recession Watershed" by Fields of Ohio and "Everything is Broken, or Intact" and "Toy Cupboard" by Bleak House. Our ending theme is "Space Stage" by L'homme Manete. 

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