Finally, I got to play the game that started it all. And when I'm talking about Metal Gear Solid, I don't mean the game that started the franchise (although it did start the Solid series, technically). No, I'm actually talking about the game that started it all for me, as a gamer, in being interested in realer, tougher and more mature-themed games.
Up until I bought Metal Gear Solid for myself with my own money from my paper route, I had pretty much enjoyed a fairly non-diverse selection of games, mainly from Nintendo, and mostly platformers and the typical, big Nintendo franchises. When Metal Gear Solid was preparing to come out, I read all about it in a gaming magazine, and I was immediately sold on the game. I can't exactly remember what it was that drove me to it, but I knew it was a game I had to play and experience.
I'm so glad I made that leap of faith, especially considering it was my own hard-earned money. That was a lot of money for a kid, ya know?
Playing this game tonight instantly made me realize how similar it was to Metal Gear 2, despite it being 3D as opposed to the top-down 2D model before it. When it came out for the Playstation, it was an amazing graphical feat, but going back and playing it now really makes me remember that old games are old games. Man, it was hard to play - so rough, so ugly, so ... beautiful in a polygonal type of way.
The gameplay took all the great elements from Metal Gear 2 and implemented them in Solid, but just made them better. The storyline actually becomes much more fleshed out, especially for me, as the conversations with Codec really help in explaining some back story and shining some light on some unanswered questions. As I kid I remember how amazed I was by depth of the characters in the game, as you genuinely made connections with them and their personalities. This was something new to me as a kid, if I recall correctly.
Many herald this game as greatness, and honestly, I can't argue with the point this time around. As I kid was enamored with it, and sunk more seriously invested hours into it than I probably thought I would initially. I loved every moment of the game, especially with how connected I felt to the universe.
And then there is the Psycho Mantis boss battle. Wow. Not only did the fourth wall get shattered, but actually figuring out how to beat Psycho Mantis was one of more frustrating things I had ever done in a game before. Again, I wish I could remember how I eventually figured out how to do it, but once I did, it was one of the most satisfying and rewarding boss fights ever, and even to this day, remains near the top of the list.
Playing this game again tonight helped me remember some crucial plot points, such as Liquid Snake being Solid Snake's twin brother, and both being clones of Big Boss. Again, this is all stuff that could have been figured out by reading all about the franchise, but honestly, its easier and much more fun to discover and re-discover by playing the games.
After this game, however, I have nothing more for context in this franchise. While I am still extremely nervous to play out this week, I am rejuvenated thanks in part to playing Metal Gear Solid tonight. Sometimes its the familiar things that make you comfortable.
Resident Evil 2 was a crucial game in the franchise's series. It was almost a make it or break it type of game, since the first one wasn't exactly a crazy mainstream success. Sure, it was popular and got a lot of people's attention, but the questions were persistent: could they make another relevant zombie game in this relatively untouched genre of survival-horror?
Well, Resident Evil 2 happened, and quickly all the doubts were erased.
The game took everything that the first one did so well, polished it, expanded it and cemented the namesake as a force of nature in the video game industry for years to come. The first game did a remarkable job of creating the foundation for one of the most popular and best-selling franchises, but this second one is not only the first story of the beautiful house, but the amazing landscaping as well. When people point to what game brought them into the series, this is the most common answer.
And for good reason.
Playing this game tonight, I was quickly reminded of the graphical upgrade of the game. It looks FANTASTIC, far better than the original game, as it is clear that the developers put a lot of love and dedication in to making this the ultimate experience visually.
The storyline itself is good, and it's fun to have new characters introduced to the universe I was already slightly familiar with. The voice acting is still horrible, but without it, I'm not sure I would be able to think of this franchise in any other way. The game play and puzzles are far more advanced and flushed out than the first game, but the controls are still something to be desired.
It's always fun to go back and find/play the games of popular franchises that set them into the orbit of mainstream popularity. Having context for a series that you are extremely fond of is great to help you understand how that series is where it is today. This kind of stuff is called hindsight, friends.
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Games played for project : 365