Looking forward to Metal Gear Solid 4

An ageing central character. Reviews that border on flat-out excitement. The first huge Playstation 3 exclusive. We look ahead to MGS4...

D'you think he's getting too old for this shit?

After a troubling first year, that’s only recent seen Sony springing into any kind of life, things have started to turn around for the Playstation 3. In certain shops the ‘out of stock’ notices have gone up for the first time, well, ever where this particular console is concerned. And while the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV shifted the most copies, the game undoubtedly gave the sales of the Playstation 3 a healthy shot in the arm too.

And now, Sony is preparing for the first time to launch a full price juggernaut of its own into the market. Granted, we’ve already seen one of its major franchises hit on the PS3, but Gran Turismo 5 Prologue was only a mid-priced taster for the real thing. No, Konami’s PS3-exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4 is the first real test of what the machine can do when it’s got a high-profile exclusive all of its own.

Subtitled Guns Of The Patriots, the game will be the conclusion of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid franchise, although the games will likely go on under the stewardship of somebody else (which may not be a bad thing, given the law of diminishing returns that applied with the later sequel).

The plot sees Snake being called back for that inevitable one last mission, and this time his old foe, Liquid Snake, needs taking out. Snake himself is man without time on his side, and he’s notably an older man in the new game (a brave choice for a videogame series). Fortunately, he’s an older man with an OctoCamo, a posh new suit that has a chameleon-like quality to blend into its surroundings. This, naturally, should ramp the stealth and tension through the roof, as theoretically it allows him to be standing right by his enemies, without them even knowing he’s there. No need to hide round a corner any more…

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We’re promised a game with a twisty narrative, the cinematics that the franchise is justly renowned for, as well as the trademark marriage of stealth and action of course. And there are returning characters from the franchise, too.

Early reviews? Naturally, the official Playstation titles on this and the other side of the pond have been very excited about it and given it top marks. Interestingly though, the likes of Eurogamer and Edge are pitching it around the eight out of ten mark. Still, the majority of the reviews that are in so far are borderline ecstatic, and we really hope they prove to be right.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots is on sale from 12th June. We have high hopes that this might be the return to form for the series that it needs.