Saturday, July 28

Movement in Metal Gear Solid 4

Metal Gear Solid is one of the greatest game series' ever. Guns of the Patriots is the fourth and final entry in the tactical espionage action epic. As always, this latest Metal Gear is being directed by Hideo Kojima and his team at Kojima Productions.

Guns of the Patriots holds makes many changes and additions to the Metal Gear formula. One area I want to talk about in specific is movement. Compared to many other games, Snake has always had pretty limited options for movement. He can run, crouch, roll, roll into prone, and crawl. He can also lean against and sidle along walls. Later Metal Gear titles added the ability to hang off ledges and climb trees, amongst other movements. However, MGS4 offers without question the most diverse move set of any Metal Gear title yet. While this may immediately be met with much applause, it is very important to remember that Guns of the Patriots remain Metal Gear at heart.
"Do a Barrel Roll!"

Movement style is a signature of the franchise. As a series that helped to create and define the stealth genre, MGS4 must retain the heart and soul of the series, and not deviate too far from what makes it Metal Gear. To clarify, movement has always been a pivotal aspect of Metal Gear Solid. There's a reason Snake moves the way he does: his movement compliments the rest of the game. Metal Gear would be quite the different game if Solid Snake could move like Ryu Hayabua. Thats why its of paramount importance that Snake's movement repertoire doesn't compromise the feel of the game.

Kojima clearly wanted to expand Snake's move set, but at the same time, diversifying movement too much may sacrifice the feeling of a Metal Gear game. The key? balance.
Yay Crouch-Run!

Now let's talk about Snake's expanded range of movement. Or at least what we know of it. Everything I'll be discussing can be found in the newest MGS4 Gameplay Trailer.

Snake's New Moves:
  • Snake can now crouch walk. Previously, Snake was only able to crouch while staying still or sidling along a wall. Now, Snake can crouch and walk at the same time, much like Sam Fisher of the Splinter Cell series.
  • Snake can roll. Along with the traditional crawling, Snake can roll over left or right. This opens up another movement option.
  • Now Snake can lie on his back. This allows Snake to crawl backward on his back. He can now also aim and shoot in FPS mode while lying on his back.
  • Snake can now also lie very flat on his stomach. This allows him to play dead. It also allows Snake to very slowly, very.....slowly crawl forward. Like slithering. Its actually pretty sweet.
  • Snake can hang off of edges, just like usual. But now he sort of hand stands then flips onto an edge. This seems thus far to be more of an aesthetic effect than anything else. But its still awesome. Also, notice how when Snake drops from the edge he uses has the same falling animation as always. Classic.
  • The box of yore returns. Now also in drum can form. This proves to be a more resilient shield to bullets, and also allows Snake to roll over ground into enemies.
Lots of additions. But is it still Metal Gear? I would argue, yes. In my opinion, Kojima has expanded Snake's move set without losing the Metal Gear feel. Rolling makes moving around of the ground alot easier, and more realistic. Crawling forward slowly allows for less chance of detection. crawling at all in Snake Eater was almost certain to alert the enemy to Snake's presence. Being able shoot while on your back gives Snake a larger radius of attack. Before, it was necessary to look from first-person, swing the camera around, and then start shooting. Now players can just roll over and shoot away. The drum can is yet another weapon in Snake's arsenal. In past Metal Gear's, players were defenseless when cooped up inside a cardboard box. Now they can roll on through the enemy if threatened.
Back crawl into over-head grenade throw.

Most important to all of this is how Snake's new move set compliments his new battlefield. Snake is now in the middle of a war. An environment that is constantly shifting. Snake needs more mobility to cope with this faster-paced environment. Being relegated to his old move set probably wouldn't be enough to survive in Snake's new jungle. I'm positive Kojima was aware of this. Kojima designed a whole game. Not just a new move set. The environment needed to be considered along with Snake's movement. Everything must be designed cooperatively. Ingenious.

And now for something completely different. From the makers of the newer Appleseed comes Vexille.

No comments:

Post a Comment