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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Preview By: Marty Weisenburger
Developer:    Konami
Publisher:    Konami
Genre:    Adventure/Stealth
Est. Release Date:    Fall 2001
Posted:    7-16-00

If you really think about it, E3 doesn't seem to change a whole lot from year to year. Each time around, for example, there are a few games - commonly refered to as "Showstoppers" - that, although often present only on video, generate huge amounts of anticipation from awe-struck crowds. And so far, all of these showstoppers that have been released have pretty much lived up to their hype. Alongside the likes of Halo, Neverwinter Nights, and Black and White, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty may be placed as one of the most awaited games in development.

Given the original title's critical acclaim, it's safe to assume that introducing Metal Gear Solid to gamers would be as inane as telling sports fans all about the NFL. As the game was the closest thing to a movie anyone played, it's fitting that the eight minute trailer shown at e3 began with a green screen that displayed the words "The following preview has been approved for all audiences by the gaming association of Konami".


The trailer, consisting almost entirely of actual gameplay footage (as opposed to CG) demonstrated a number of new features in the game. One of these is the AI; as good as it was in the original, enemies are even smarter this time around. You'll now have to be weary of where your shadow falls, as guards can often tell where you're hiding by spotting it.


In addition to some new gameplay moves, the first person camera will help quite a bit; it's accuracy is used in one scene in which guards with bulletproof shields attacked snake and were quickly taken down with some shots to the kneecaps. Another interesting aspect of the game is the way Hideo Kojima and his team are handling the violence level. As opposed to a blood option in a game menu, MGS2 will try to determine the player's age through indirect gameplay "questions". Although we're not completely certain how this will work, the older the player's age turns out to be, the more the game will lend itself towards adult content.

The power of the PS2 is being put to good use in MGS2. You'll see in game effects that portray the weather, temperature, and even the air; when rain falls, you'll see it drop onto the characters, the ground, and even on the camera lens. Characters` facial expressions are also the most detailed to date, surpassing even those in Capcom's Code Veronica. And despite the PS2's trademark "jaggies", the game looks as real as you could possibly want.


Although a few jaded gamers may be skeptical due to the game's video only appearance, it's worth noting that this is exactly the way Metal Gear Solid, arguably the best Playstation game made during it's long lifecycle, started out - as an E3 trailer.

Expectations for MGS2 are already sky high. But with a team of perfectionists and a budget the size of an action movie, there's a good chance it'll meet them.
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