Two Demos Instead of One?
By: Adrian V.
decided to take a stand in the videogame industry. While you
may not respect them for various other reasons, like the
endless string of rhythm-based video games, (I mean
really...didnít Janet Jackson officially suck any and all
coolness from the Ďrhythmí concept back in the 80ís?) or
waiting fifteen years to provide a sequel to Metal Gear; the
only one of their games anyone actually wanted to see
updated. Regardless of these facts, you have to give them some
credit for standing fast on anything in this era of
delusional paranoia centered around interactive entertainment.
I know I certainly wouldnít want to do anything to
attract the attention of large groups of semi-literates (yes,
that is a noun) convinced that pressing a button and
seeing red pixels appear on a screen would shove a normal
person over the edge into a homicidal rage. Because we all
know that the proficiency with which I flex the muscles of
either thumb obviously triggers my genetic ability to locate,
acquire and make use of projectile weapons for antisocial
purposes. This advanced capability of oneís hands would
naturally never be put to use in the gratification of
any other physical urges I might possess. In fact, one
doesnít even begin to wonder why said gratification
wouldnít encompass the entirety of my thoughts on a daily
basis if my hands were truly so masterful at precise,
digress. What we are here to honor is the fact that Konami has
stood tall in the sea of game developers threatening to drown
us all in titles that require a significant amount of time,
dedication and sometimes careful thought to discover what
carefully crafted answers the developers provide to the
questions their games pose. Yes, Konami has decided to stand
head and shoulders above this morass of different-minded
peers. Now if only we can find someone willing to take a
someone please explain to me exactly why you go to all the
trouble of creating a very attractive game like ZOE with loads
of potential backstory, only to apparently give up in the
second lap? Actually, I donít need you to tell me the answer
to that, because itís sitting right next to me, laughing
maniacally and eating loads of truffles covered in mustard.
And not even a decent mustard. Itís that nasty yellow
generic stuff in a squeeze bottle with a pathetic artistís
rendition of a baseball stadium on it...couldnít they spring
for a camera? Or a paint program?
And do you
know how much truffles cost? Whatís even more obscene than
covering them with cheap condiments is that this little
display of gluttony was paid for entirely with your
money. Thatís right, the subject of this rather thin analogy
that not only gave Konami a reason to release an unfinished
game but got you, the Ďgamerí to thank
them for it is a little slice of evil I like to call ĎThe
Next Violence-in-Entertainment Lawsuit from Middle Americaí,
or as everyone calls it at parties; The Metal Gear Solid 2
laugh and point at me, then go back to your little group of
friends and talk about that weird guy who hates Metal Gear
Solid 2... and wonder Ďexactly who invited that guy anywayí
just loud enough that I can hear you. But youíll know, in
the dark little corner of whatever passes for your soul that
keeps insisting you donít look like a geek playing your
fruity-colored gameboy in public...that Iím right. That ZOE
wasnít even half-finished when some bright boy at Konami
called a meeting with all the programmers and the people who
actually pay for the programmers to program, and said
something like this:
we have giant robot blow-up game half done. I believe Next
Violence-in-Entertainment Lawsuit From Middle America game
will make more money than big robots. We have demo of violence
game, and we have half a big robot game. I say, sell them both
together and make big bucks off stupid gaijin. Then, use
money- finish Violence-in-Media Lawsuit game. Make big bucks
with that. Then, if we feel good, we finish big robot game. Or
maybe More Air Force Delta, I donít know. Weíll
then roundly applauded and they gave him a big raise and a
promotion that carries a title I canít pronounce. Obviously
this was a rough translation, but you get the point.
I am so
disgusted with this game, that I have no intention of giving
it a real review, since it hasnít earned it. Instead Iíll
just hit the points youíre most interested in hearing me
complain about, that way we can get this over with and you can
get back to searching for free porn.
I really canít fault it here. No wait, I can. The distance
you can see is pretty pathetic for the supposed power of this
system. After a very unimpressive range, the enemies
disappear, and the environments themselves fade away not much
beyond that. Call me silly, but when you generate arenas like
this, with little to no features (Donít believe that Ďooh,
look at all the buildings I can blow up...and every single
warehouse and apartment can be destroyed! *giggle!*í
b******t. This amazing interactivity lasts for a total of
possibly four levels, and two of those were obviously
populated with destructible scenery because there was nothing
else going on.) And I got pretty tired of seeing and
fighting the same three robots everywhere I went, regardless
of how intricate their design was. I got your intricate right
here... Letís not forget that nearly every one of the
weapons had some really weak visual effects. There were some
nice touches on some of them, but most of those you would
either never use.
were detailed enough, but you often couldnít get close
enough to them to appreciate it, and the complete lack of
control you have over the camera made getting a look at
anything you really wanted to see while in the heat of battle
impossible. The overworld map was very nice, but since you had
no interaction with it whatsoever, it might as well
have been a pre-rendered, animated background, which it
probably was just to give them something else to laugh at us
explosions were nice, and the mech was intricately detailed.
But who cares? Especially after you read the next category...
examine the word, shall we? Game- any test of skill, courage
or endurance or any specific contest, engagement,
amusement, computer simulation or sport involving physical or
just stop there. Test of skill? I beat it in 3.5 hours
watching all the cinemas, with one continue and multiple
bathroom breaks. In fact, I believe at least 40 minutes of
that 3.5 hours was wasted on visiting every level I had
already played through because I had to find items whose
locations they didnít even bother to hint at. And do you
know why they didnít bother giving me any hints? Because it
only took me 40 minutes to search every nook and cranny of the
entire game. I think they actually took that search
into account as a feature. Itís on the box somewhere.
Iíve endured far more stressful activities like lying in bed
and waiting for my girlfriend to make dinner, so I doubt that
I can be unbiased here.
As for the
competition...well, there wasnít any. In fact the only guy I
had any trouble with was the last guy you face, and they tell
you outright that you havenít got a chance. Heís far
too powerful. Instead, they let you know that you have to stay
away from him (which is probably the most pathetically easy
part of the game, next to actually putting it in the PS2) for
a few minutes while you wait for someone to rescue you.
believe this? Iím not done with this boss match yet...oh no.
get you all pumped throughout the game about how bad-ass you
are. This 12-year-old kid who jumps into the most advanced
piece of equipment in the galaxy, and is somehow able to beat
down people who have spent their lives training to use
these machines...and as your final duty in the game, you get
to hide like a bitch. "Ooh Iím a big scary robot that
nothing can stop...except for him! Run away! Run away!"
Because that makes you feel like you accomplished
something, especially as your final act in the game.
you escape, your head is spinning while you try to grasp what
just happened and what they will possibly provide you with to
stop this guy. And you know that theyíll just give it to
you, since so far, every last upgrade you for your mech,
whether it be a vital component or monstrously useless
doohickey, has been lying around waiting for you to find it.
Out in the open. Nobody guarding it. Nobody cares.
in the middle of your astounded musings, they really
pull the rug out from under you, and end the game. You
just met the baddest-looking robot I have ever seen, he
kicked your butt from here to tomorrow, and they stick your
new giant robot toy on a shelf and tell you itís going to be
used as a walking missile. Theyíre gonna send it in on
auto-pilot to the middle of some base, and itís going to
blow itself up. Because you obviously need the most
sophisticated artificial intelligence operating the most
technologically advanced giant robot ever built (next to the
guy who kicked your ass! Ha ha!) to get that job done.
Oh, and by
the way, at this point youíre supposed to care about this
artificial intelligence, which brings us to the next
really get your blood pumping with the opening movie. Your Ďfriendsí
die, you suck, and now youíre in a 7-story transformer with
a computer for a sidekick. Of course, the computer tells you
to kill your enemies, but you donít want to do that, because
you think itís Ďwrongí. So every time you come up
against a boss, you let them escape to wreak vengeance on you
later. Regardless of the fact that these people have already
murdered hundreds, possibly thousands of people from your
orbital colony, and will absolutely be back for more,
you feel itís wrong for you to hurt them. Because this gives
your character Ďdepthí. Then you go and save your
would-be girlfriend from getting stepped on, and somehow you
fit her into your one-man pod, where she stays for the
duration of the game. In the cinema, she actually has to sit
in your lap and you have to reach around her to touch
the controls before the canopy Ďre-congealsí. Right. Of
course she wonít be in the way.
you have time to ponder the insanity of this. Youíre too
busy trying to ignore your own incessant whining. The hero of
this story is the most unlikeable, uselessly moralistic,
offensively voiced character I have ever encountered.
Heís like Jar-Jar, if Jar-Jar ran around saying "Mesa
donít wanna hurt nobody!" every five minutes.
You want to lose every fight just to kill him yourself. And
the artificial intelligence is the traditional Ďcold-hearted
logic machine you teach how to feelí that gets stuffed into
sci-fi so much these days.
What am I
saying? The plot was pathetic. The story was useless,
overplayed and heavy-handed. The voice-work was well done,
since itís obvious that the actors were given a
piece-of-filth script to work with from the beginning. Please,
for the love of all thatís holy, let Konami hire some
honest-to-god writers for Metal Gear Solid 2.
what else? Iím not done yet.
bothered the hell out of me. All I heard was how Ďintuitiveí
the control system was, and how easy this game was to Ďpick
up and playí. And to some degree, they were right. You do
have a considerable ease of use involved here. However, this
is meaningless since what youíre controlling are some really
poor mechanics anyway. Itís kind of like taking the
transmission, steering and wheelbase from a Ferrari and
putting it on a Honda Civic. Sure, it handles well...but is
this the thing you want to handle like a dream?
battle can be won with the use of one move. You just get
close, push in a direction, hit Ďattackí and your big
scary robot performs a slash attack that not only does a good
job of killing your opponent, it also helps you dodge their
attacks. If it werenít for the bosses, you would never need
to use a special weapon, ever. Not that it matters, since half
of the weapons are just an excuse to have enemies drop
something when they die. Thereís one that has you toss out a
handful of discs that land randomly on the landscape and emit
a laser beam from one side thatís just a little taller than
your robot. You end up with a few beaming straight up in the
air, a few at various angles and the occasional disc
completely sideways. A neat trick, until you remember that you
never have to go near the ground. Iíd say 80% of your
battles occur in the air, and the few that donít generally
have the opponent attacking you from above. So if you toss the
discs where they can hurt him...youíre hitting yourself too.
targeting system is also a joke, since finite control in this
game is so awkward they did everything they could to eliminate
the need for it. If it werenít for the ability to auto-lock,
I swear you wouldnít get more than two levels into the game
before wondering why you tried. God forbid you suffered
through without it to the end only to realize that was it.
You just went through all that for the lamest plot-closer in
buy this game. Find some idiot who did and borrow it from him.
I would tell you to rent it, but the guys who work at those
places were smart...they all stole the demo discs and left the
truth, I feel, is that this game wasnít even near completion.
There was too much potential, too much back-story (the
space-colony alone could be the subject of multiple novels)
and the final confrontation left far too much unresolved. This
game was, without a doubt, meant to be so much more.
Perhaps Kojima-sanís ambitions were too much, or required
more time and money than they had anticipated. Perhaps they
needed him to focus entirely on MGS2. Or perhaps this was a
really devious and evil way to get people to buy a sequel,
which will turn out to be the original game as it was
intended. I donít have the answers, but I hope you donít
bother trying to find them with your hard-earned cash.
am deeply disappointed, and the fact that you want to charge
gamers $50+ for essentially two game demos is appalling.