Friday, July 8, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: METAL GEAR SOLID 2 SONS OF LIBERTY










Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (メタルギアソリッド2 サンズ・オブ・リバティ Metaru Gia Soriddo 2 Sanzu Obu Ribati?, commonly abbreviated as MGS2) is a stealth action video game directed by Hideo Kojima, developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001.

It is the fourth Metal Gear game produced and directed by Kojima and the direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid. Its release was followed by an expanded edition, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel to the entire Metal Gear series, followed in 2004. In 2008, a direct sequel, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released.

The story revolves around a massive offshore clean-up facility that has been seized by a group of terrorists that call themselves "Sons of Liberty", backed by a rogue special forces anti-terrorist unit "Dead Cell". They demand a massive ransom in exchange for the life of the President of the United States, and threaten to destroy the facility and create a cataclysmic environmental disaster if their demands are not met. The motives and identities of many of the antagonists and allies change rapidly, as the protagonists discover a world-shaking conspiracy constructed by a powerful organization known as the Patriots.

The game was well-received, shipping over 7 million copies worldwide and scoring an average of 96% in Metacritic's aggregate, making it the fourth highest-rated game on the PlayStation 2 and the 27th highest-rated game of all time. While the gameplay was almost universally acclaimed, critics were divided on the philosophical nature and execution of the game's storyline, which explores themes such as memes, social engineering, political conspiracies, and artificial intelligence. It has been considered the first example of a postmodern video game, and has been cited as a primary example of artistic expression in video games. The game was controversial due to its complex postmodern narrative and unconventional protagonist.


Gameplay

Metal Gear Solid 2 carries the title of "Tactical Espionage Action," and most of the game involves the protagonist sneaking around avoiding being seen by the enemies. Most fundamental are the wider range of skills offered to the player. The new first-person aiming mode allows players to target specific points in the game, greatly expanding tactical options; guards can be blinded by steam, distracted by a flying piece of fruit or hit in weak spots. Players can now walk slowly, allowing them to sneak over noisy flooring without making a sound, or hang off walkways to slip past below guards' feet. The corner-press move from the original title, which allowed players a sneak peek around the next bend is expanded to allow players to fire from cover. Other new abilities included leaping over and hanging off of railings, opening and hiding in storage lockers, and sneaking up behind enemies to hold them at gunpoint for items and ammunition. The environment also had a greater impact on the stealth gameplay, taking into account factors such as weather, smell, atmosphere and temperature.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, the enemy guards were given more advanced AI "to prevent an imbalance of power, and unlike the original Metal Gear Solid, work in squads. They call on their radios for a strike team upon seeing the player, then attempt to flank him and cut off his escape while avoiding the player's attacks. Often strike teams will carry body armor and riot shields, making them an even greater threat. Even if the player escapes to a hiding place, a team will sweep in to check the area. The game has a collective enemy AI, where enemy guards work together in squads, can communicate with one another, and react in a more realistic manner towards the player. The game's enemy AI was considered one of the best in gaming for many years.

The game also expanded its predecessor's cover mechanic, with Solid Snake or Raiden now able to take cover behind walls or objects and pop out to shoot at enemies, while the improved enemy AI allowed enemies to also take cover from the player character. The enemies would often take cover to call for backup, but during battle, they would take cover then pop out and shoot at the player or blindly throw grenades from behind their cover. Boss battles and set-pieces remain a case of finding a strategy that bypasses the defenses of the enemy. However, in a major break from action game standards, it is also possible to clear the entire game, including boss fights, without causing a single deliberate death, through use of tranquilizer guns, stun grenades and melee attacks.

Characters

The protagonist of MGS2 is a young rookie agent named Raiden. He is supported by his commanding officer, the Colonel, and Rosemary, his girlfriend. Allies formed on the mission include Lt. Junior Grade Iroquois Pliskin, a Navy SEAL of mysterious background who provides his knowledge of the facility; Peter Stillman, a NYPD bomb-disposal expert; Otacon, a computer security specialist; and a cyborg ninja imitating Gray Fox's persona, but calling itself Mr. X.

The antagonists of peace are the Sons of Liberty, a group of terrorists who seize control of the Big Shell Disposal Facility, including anti-terror training unit Dead Cell, and a Russian mercenary force. The Dead Cell team members are Vamp, an immortal man exhibiting vampire-like attributes; Fatman, a rotund man with exceptional knowledge of bombs; and Fortune, a woman capable of cheating death by apparent supernatural means. The leader of Sons of Liberty claims to be Solid Snake, previously declared dead after a terrorist attack, later revealed to be Solidus Snake, a third clone in "les Enfants Terribles" project. Assisting the Sons of Liberty are Olga Gurlukovich, commander of a rogue Russian mercenary army, and Revolver Ocelot, a disenfranchised Russian nationalist and former FOXHOUND agent, Solid Snake's old archnemesis, and henchman of Solidus Snake.

Other characters include Emma Emmerich, Otacon's stepsister and a computer wiz-kid; Sergei Gurlukovich, Ocelot's former commanding officer and Olga's father; President James Johnson, held hostage by the Sons of Liberty; and DIA operative Richard Ames. Solid Snake returns, along with Liquid Snake, who communicates via Ocelot because his right hand, sliced by Gray Fox in the previous game, has been replaced with the right hand of Liquid, and a third Snake, Solidus, is introduced.

This game features cameos by Mei Ling, the communications expert who aided Snake in the first game, and Johnny Sasaki, the luckless soldier with chronic digestive problems.

The names of Jack and Rose as well as the setting of the first chapter at the tanker that sinks are a wink to Titanic.

Story

Prologue - Tanker chapter

Sons of Liberty opens with a flashback, on the George Washington Bridge in New York City in 2007, two years after the Shadow Moses incident that was described in the original Metal Gear Solid. Solid Snake and Otacon, now members of the non-governmental organization Philanthropy, are investigating the development of a new Metal Gear described as an amphibious counter-Metal Gear unit. The unit was constructed in response to the multiple Metal Gears that had been built since Metal Gear REX's design was leaked. Shortly after Snake's arrival on the disguised oil tanker U.S.S. Discovery, via bungee jumping from the bridge while using stealth camouflage (which busted from landing impact), a group of Russian ex-military terrorists under the command of Russian nationalist Sergei Gurlukovich attack the ship. After sneaking up to the bridge, Snake encounters Olga, Sergei's daughter, who has refused to leave the tanker despite being pregnant. A gun battle ensues between Snake and Olga.

After successfully tranquilizing Olga in combat, Snake sneaks down to the hold in order to record pictures of the new Metal Gear RAY. Matters rapidly escalate as Revolver Ocelot and Sergei Gurlukovich sneak into the holds and hold marine commander Scott Dolph at gunpoint. Revolver Ocelot and Sergei Gurlukovich have different motives, with Sergei wanting to sell Metal Gear RAY to the highest bidder and Ocelot saying he is "taking it back". Revolver Ocelot then betrays and murders Sergei Gurlukovich along with Scott Dolph, as well as the GRU in the holds. It is revealed that Ocelot had his severed arm replaced with that of the late Liquid Snake. The implant causes a change in Revolver Ocelot's demeanor and behavior, with Liquid somehow 'possessing' him. Under Liquid's control he sinks the tanker and escapes with RAY before regaining command of his body, leaving Snake to "die" as the tanker sinks.

Plant chapter

The game moves to the present, and the player finds themself in control of Raiden, supposedly operating under a reformed FOXHOUND two years after the Tanker Chapter on April 29, 2009. Initially referred to as "Snake", Raiden has orders to rescue hostages, including the US president, from the terrorist group Sons of Liberty (whose leader claims to be Solid Snake), backed up by the rogue anti-terror training unit, Dead Cell, who are also threatening to destroy the Big Shell clean-up facility they have seized. Raiden infiltrates the Shell via sea while SEAL Team 10 enters by air. The SEAL team manages to rescue the President, but before they are able to extract him, all of the SEALs except for Lieutenant Junior Grade Iroquois Pliskin are killed by Dead Cell members Vamp and Fortune. Raiden joins forces with Pliskin and bomb specialist Peter Stillman to disable explosives planted on the Shell by Stillman's former pupil, Fatman, now a terrorist. While Raiden successfully eliminates Fatman, Stillman is killed as a result of one of Fatman's traps.

With the assistance of a mysterious cyborg ninja calling itself Mr. X, Raiden is told by Mr. X that a man by the name of Ames is in the B1 core, and he knows the president's location. The security is tight so Raiden is given a disguise and finds an AKS-74U to pass off as a guard in the core. Mr. X does not know what Ames looks like but knows Ames has a pacemaker, so he uses a directional mic to find him. Ames confirms that the Big Shell is a cover up for the development of a new Metal Gear. He overhears a conversation with "Solid Snake", Revolver Ocelot, and Olga. Raiden is discovered by Ocelot, Ames dies from a heart attack, and Ocelot is ready to finish Raiden before Mr. X helps him escape. Raiden is attacked at the bridge by a man who claims to be Solid Snake. Pliskin appears and argues that the mystery man is not Solid Snake. Raiden must then destroy a Harrier driven by Vamp. After the battle, Pliskin reveals that he is indeed Solid Snake. Eventually, Raiden locates the president, and discovers that the Big Shell is actually a disguise built right on top of a new Metal Gear. Known as Arsenal Gear, it houses a powerful AI supercomputer, "GW", capable of controlling the transmission of digital information. The president also claims the democratic process is a sham, and the true rulers of the United States are an organization known as the Patriots. Revolver Ocelot kills him soon after, and Raiden proceeds to his final objective: disabling Arsenal Gear and thus halting a nuclear strike. Pliskin, having revealed himself as Solid Snake, and Emma Emmerich, an Arsenal Gear engineer, assist Raiden in attempting to destroy the "GW" AI by uploading a virus. On the way to the computer room, Vamp attacks Emma. The virus is still installed, but aborts partway through; Emma dies due to a fatal knife wound from Vamp. Snake and Raiden are left with no choice but to disable Arsenal physically. As Snake's partner Otacon escapes with the surviving hostages by helicopter, Mr. X returns, revealing itself to be Olga Gurlukovich, and knocks Raiden unconscious. The Big Shell has been destroyed.

Awakening in an Arsenal torture chamber hours later, Raiden is probed by Solidus Snake, the true terrorist leader. Solidus reveals that he once adopted Raiden, a former child soldier, as his son during the Liberian civil war and that Raiden is now a Patriot agent. Olga, working as a Patriot double-agent within the Sons of Liberty, reveals that she was blackmailed by the Patriots to aid Raiden in order to protect her two-year-old daughter. and he locates Snake within Arsenal Gear. As they fight through the mammoth vessel, Raiden's commanding officer begins to act extremely erratically, often speaking complete nonsense. It becomes apparent that the "Colonel" that Raiden has been taking orders from is actually a creation of the GW super-computer, pieced together from information about Colonel Roy Campbell coupled with Raiden's own expectations in order to manipulate him. The erratic behavior of the simulation is the result of the virus uploaded earlier beginning to damage GW's systems.

With Snake holding off a vengeful Fortune, Raiden is forced into battle with the 25 Metal Gear RAY units guarding Arsenal Gear. Olga intervenes to protect him, but is restrained by one of Solidus' robotic tentacle. Then, Solidus shoots Olga and throws her corpse out of the way. The RAY units begin to malfunction, attacking each other and Solidus as the virus tears through the GW AI's program. Arsenal begins an emergency ascent, and Snake, restrained by Fortune, Solidus, and Raiden are carried to the roof of the fortress as it surfaces. To Solidus' increasing rage, Ocelot reveals that he too is a Patriot agent, the entire episode was a carefully coordinated attempt to reenact the events of the Shadow Moses incident; Ocelot calls it the 'S3 Plan', or "Solid Snake Simulation", which hopes to create super-soldiers in the image of Solid Snake by subjecting them to similar circumstances. (Continuing the series' tradition of breaking the fourth wall, Ocelot's description of the S3 Plan can be interpreted as addressing not just Raiden, but also the player controlling him.) Ocelot kills Fortune and boards the prototype Metal Gear RAY stolen from the tanker two years previously, and attempts to finish off the survivors of the exercise. However, Liquid possesses him, and announces his plan to hunt down the Patriots based on his host's knowledge. Setting Arsenal on a collision-course with New York, Liquid launches RAY into the ocean, followed by Snake.

Arsenal comes to a halt in downtown New York, launching Raiden and Solidus onto the roof of Federal Hall.[75] Solidus reveals to Raiden his reasons for trying to steal Arsenal: a nuclear electro-magnetic pulse would take down Manhattan's digital infrastructure and allow Solidus to lead it as a republic against the Patriots, a nation of "Sons of Liberty". Likewise the Patriots, via another AI, contact Raiden to reveal the truth of their actions, the AIs being programmed to becoming "digital censors", removing trite and needless information from the electronic world in what they call "Selection for Societal Sanity", or "S3 Plan". The information fed to Ocelot was another part of this plan. However, with such a control over the flow of digital information, they could as easily be manipulating perceived history for the Patriot's needs. Believing the only option available is to track down the Patriots using the information in Raiden's neural implants, Solidus offers his son one final duel.

Raiden defeats Solidus, and as crowds descend upon the wreckage of Arsenal Gear, Snake and Raiden meet one last time, where his mentor informs him that only he can choose what to believe in, and that he must pass on what he believes to be true. Having planted a tracking device on Liquid's Metal Gear, he and Otacon plan to follow him, and to hunt down the Patriots, whose details were hidden in the GW computer virus disc.[80] As Snake disappears into the crowd, Raiden is finally reunited with Rose, on April 30, 2009—the 220th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as President of the United States, and the anniversary of Rose and Raiden's first meeting.

In a brief epilogue, Otacon and Snake discuss the decoding of the virus disc, which contains the personal data on all twelve members of the Wisemen's Committee (the Patriots' high council). It is revealed on this disc that one of the members of the committee was a major sponsor of Philanthropy. Another shocking revelation found on the disc indicates that not only are all twelve members of the Wisemen's Committee dead, but have been dead for approximately 100 years.

Original story

According to Hideo Kojima in the documentary Metal Gear Saga Vol. 1, the original plot of the game revolved around nuclear weapon inspections in Iraq and Iran and had Solid Snake trying to stop the Metal Gear while it was located on an aircraft carrier, in a certain time limit, while trying to stop Liquid Snake and his group. However, about six months into the project the political situation in the Middle East became a concern and they decided that they couldn't make a game with such a plot. The tanker in the released game is based on this original plot.

Significant changes to the game's ending were made late in development following the September 11 attacks in New York, where the finale occurs. A sequence depicting Arsenal Gear's displacement of the Statue of Liberty and crashing through half of Manhattan was removed, as was a short coda to appear after the credits, a breaking newscast showing the Statue of Liberty's new resting place, Ellis Island. At the point where Solidus dies, Raiden was supposed to have cut the rope on Federal Hall's flagpole, causing an American flag to fall over Solidus' body, and American flags which were supposed to be on all the flagpoles in New York were removed from the title.

MGS2 was also intended to reference the novel City of Glass, notably in the naming of its characters. Raiden's support team originally featured a different field commander named Colonel Daniel Quinn; Maxine "Max" Work, an Asian woman who saves game data and quotes Shakespeare, and William "Doc" Wilson, the creator of GW. All take their names from key characters in the book, and all three would have turned out to be artificial intelligences. None of these characters survived to the final edition, their roles being absorbed by other characters, namely the "Colonel Campbell" simulation, Rose, and Emma Emmerich. Peter Stillman, however, takes his name from another City of Glass character. Kojima has also cited another novel, Kōbō Abe's Kangaroo Notebook, as an influence on the game.

A character named Chinaman, originally planned to be included as a villain, was later on omitted and his abilities incorporated in Vamp. Namely the ability to walk on water and walls. Chinaman would have movements modeled after Jet Li and have a body tattoo of a dragon that would come alive as soon as he dove into water.

Music

Hideo Kojima's choice of composer for Metal Gear Solid 2 was highly publicized in the run-up to the game's release. Kojima decided upon Harry Gregson-Williams, a Hollywood film composer from Hans Zimmer's studio, after watching The Replacement Killers with sound director Kazuki Muraoka. A mix CD containing 18 tracks of Gregson-Williams' work was sent to his office. Flattered by the research put into creating the CD (as some of the tracks were unreleased, and that what tracks he'd worked on for some films were undocumented), he joined the project soon after.

In order to bypass the language barrier and allow the score to be developed before the cut-scenes were finalized, Gregson-Williams was sent short phrases or descriptions of the intended action. The resultant themes then shaped the action sequences in return. Gregson-Williams also arranged and re-orchestrated the original "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme" for use in the game's opening title sequence.

Norihiko Hibino, who had worked on previous Konami games such as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, was responsible for all of the in-game music. He also worked on the majority of the game's cut scenes, re-orchestrating Gregson-Williams' "Main Theme" remix for use in several sequences.

As with Metal Gear Solid, the cut scene music includes orchestral and choir pieces, while the in-game soundtrack is scored with ambient electronic music. However, the score as a whole incorporates more electronic elements (particularly breakbeat) than its predecessor, in order to reflect the plot's thematic thrust of a machine-dominated society. Rika Muranaka again provided a vocal ending theme, a jazz track entitled "Can't Say Goodbye to Yesterday", sung by Carla White. The game's music was released via 4 CDs: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Original Soundtrack, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Soundtrack 2: The Other Side, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance Limited Sorter (Black Edition) and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance Ultimate Sorter (White Edition).

Original version

The Japanese release was held back two weeks following the initial American release. As a result, the developers added new features and cut scenes, including two new modes: Boss Survival and Casting Theatre (the latter allowed players to select cut scenes and change the character models used). Like the original Metal Gear Solid, a Premium Package of the game was issued in addition to the stand-alone version. The box came with the reversible cover art on the DVD case, a DVD video, an A4-sized pamphlet and a metallic-colored Solid Snake figurine.

The game's initially scheduled European release date of February 22, 2002, nearly three months after the other releases, was delayed another two weeks. The added features from the Japanese release were carried over to the European version, along with a new difficulty setting (European Extreme). In addition, the European edition featured a Making Of DVD video by French television production house FunTV. As well as collating all of the game's promotional trailers and a Gamespot feature on the title's closing days of production, it featured a documentary filmed at KCEJ West's Japanese studio. The DVD was included as an apology to European gamers for the several month delay that had occurred between the American and Japanese releases, which saw numerous European gaming magazines detail the various twists in the game.


The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2

Released on September 12, 2002 in Japan and September 24 in North America, The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 is an interactive "making of" documentary released for the PlayStation 2. The disc is a database of the game's development process where the user can view polygonal models used for characters, mechanics and areas in the game, as well as listen to the game's soundtrack. The disc also features all of the game's real time cut-scenes from the game (without audio) and their respective storyboards. Other features include a collection of behind-the-scenes footage, preview trailers, a partial script, Hideo Kojima's original draft of the game (available only in Japanese), a development timeline, and a gallery of Metal Gear Solid related products and merchandise. The disc also includes five "VR Training" levels that served as a preview of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. The disc was included in the European PlayStation 2 version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, but was not available at retail in that region. It was also included in the 20th Anniversary Edition re-release of the original Metal Gear in Japan.

Substance

Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is a multi-platform updated version of the original MGS2 first released for the Xbox, then followed by PlayStation 2 and PC. The game contains the main Sons of Liberty game with some subtle alterations, as well as the inclusion of Boss Survival and Casting Theater modes from the Japanese and PAL versions of the original game. The idea for Substance follows from Metal Gear Solid: Integral and was continued with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.

The main addition of Substance is the inclusion of an extra missions mode with 300 virtual reality training missions set in a computer-constructed environment and 200 "Alternative Missions" set in areas taken from the main game. The player can choose to play these missions as Solid Snake or Raiden, with alternate outfits for both characters becoming available as the player progresses. Mission objectives include reaching the goal undetected, target practice, eliminating enemies, bomb disposal and a set of miscellaneous missions that include protecting a wounded ally from enemies or fighting a series of enemies. There are also a set of missions simulating a first-person shooter game.

In addition to the missions mode, there is also a set of "Snake Tales", which are five story-based missions featuring Solid Snake as the main character. This includes missions set in the Big Shell area from the Plant chapter, featuring characters such as Fatman, Emma, Vamp and Solidus Snake, as well as an alternate version of the Tanker chapter which replaces Olga Gurlukovich with Meryl Silverburgh (from Metal Gear Solid) as the boss. These missions, which are not canonical in respect to the main storyline, have no voice acting but are instead narrated via on-screen text. They are side stories created by directors of Kojima Productions such as Shuyo Murata and Shinta Nojiri.

The PS2 version also featured a skateboarding minigame based on Konami's Evolution Skateboarding game.[88] The player can use Solid Snake or Raiden in a pair of Big Shell-themed levels and has to complete a set of objectives before time runs out. These objectives range from collecting dog tags scattered throughout the level to blowing up parts of Big Shell.

Substance was originally released as an Xbox timed-exclusive in North America on November 5, 2002. The PS2 version was released on March, 2003 and released alongside the PC version. All three versions of the game were released almost simultaneously in Europe, the PS2 version being bundled with The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 to once again make up for a substantial delay in its release. Only the PS2 version of Substance was released in Japan on December 19, 2002, replacing the original Japanese voices with the English dub.

Upcoming HD Release

Konami has announced on June 2nd during a pre-E3 press conference that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty will be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles as part of an HD Collection also including Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Related media

IDW Publishing published a 12-issue comic book adaptation from 2006 to 2007, titled Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty, illustrated by Ashley Wood (who also worked on the comic book adaptation of the previous game) and written by Alex Garner. This version deviates from the game, where many scenes involving Raiden are substituted with Snake.

A digital version of the comic, titled Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée, was released on June 12, 2008 in Japan. Originally announced as a PlayStation Portable game, similar to the Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel, the digital comic was released as a DVD film instead. A fully voiced version of the graphic novel adaptation of the first Metal Gear Solid is featured as well.

A novelization of the game written by Raymond Benson and published by Del Ray. The American paperback edition was published on November 24, 2009. The novel is almost completely faithful to the game, and a majority of the character interaction in the novel is taken verbatim from the Codec conversations in the game itself.

Awards

E3 2001 Game Critics Awards

Best Console Game
Best Action/Adventure Game

E3 2000 Game Critics Awards

Special Commendation for Graphics

IGN Best of 2001

Best Graphics
Best Sound
Best Story

GameSpot 2001 Game of the Year Awards

Best Music
Biggest Surprise (Introduction of Raiden)

GameSpy 2001 Game Awards

Best PS2 Action/Adventure Game
Reader's PS2 Game of the Year
Best In-Game Cinematics
Best Force Feedback

Game Informer 2001: Game of the Year Awards

Game of the Year[120]

EDGE Magazine

"Innovation of the Year" award

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