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YMMV / Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

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  • 8.8: Combined with Critical Dissonance. The game received spectacular scores; however, a number of reviewers mentioned they would have given Metal Gear Solid 4 a perfect score if not for the long cutscenes. Of course, for most fans who have grown emotionally attached to the characters and followed the storyline throughout the series, long cutscenes aren't necessarily a bad thing. In retrospect, the dissonance now works in reverse; the game has received considerable Hype Backlash in the years following its release and now has a sizable hatedom, in contrast with its positive critical impressions.
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  • Accidental Aesop: Thanks to certain retcons in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid 4 retroactively gained an aesop about not trusting big reveals from just a handful of sources, especially when both of your informants are former friends of the subject in question.
  • Adorkable: In Metal Gear Solid 4, Johnny is a pretty sweet and awkward guy off the battlefield. As a soldier, he emulates Meryl's lack of expertise from Metal Gear Solid. At least, until the mask comes off...
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Naomi Hunter is a cross between this and Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. What really made it heartwrenching was Otacon's reaction to her death.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Metal Gear REX defeating Metal Gear RAY. By all logic, REX shouldn't even be functional, having had its sensors destroyed, being blown up, and being left exposed to arctic conditions for years. Yet it goes toe-to-toe with RAY, which was explicitly designed to destroy REX units. Not to mention the fact that Solid Snake had never piloted a Metal Gear before, while Liquid Ocelot had spent time in the VR and had been piloting a RAY for years. Few fans seem to mind this particular ass pull, though.
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    • Depending on one's opinions, there's a lot of story moments, but one stands out due to how it plays out: Raiden stopping Outer Haven from crushing Snake at Shadow Moses, only for himself to be crushed and seemingly killed. Despite all the posturing of the cutscenes involved that would signify death for pretty much any other character in the franchise, he's back and only missing his arms and put in extreme care afterwards, and even returns to kick ass with brand new lightning powers for the final act. It's almost like Raiden was supposed to die, only for the writers to revise and save him from the brink.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Two. The main one was Hideo Kojima's attempt to turn the much-ridiculed "magic hand" plotline into something remotely sensible, but a lesser one was a bone of contention from Metal Gear Solid: it was believed by Metal Gear Solid 2's non-direct mention of Meryl Silverburgh that Snake had cracked under Ocelot's torture, the "Otacon" ending was canon and Meryl was dead, which fans thought hugely out of character for Snake.note 
  • Awesome Bosses:
    • Laughing Octopus is a weird and trippy boss fight in a claustrophobic maze of a clinic. She can be anywhere, strike from anywhere...
    • The battle between Metal Gear REX and RAY at the end of Act 4. It's literally two Humongous Mecha pounding away at each other, and it's awesome.
    • The final battle with Ocelot. That is all.
  • Awesome Music: See here.
  • Awesome: Video Game Levels: Twin Suns. A nostalgia-laden romp through the ruined Shadow Moses facility, topped with a sequence where you get to pilot Metal Gear REX and have a one-to-one giant robot fight with Liquid in his Metal Gear RAY, makes this a fan favorite.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Naomi. Some fans like her characterization and Character Development due to how it shows how much she has changed between Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4. Others consider it be contrived due to her being well liked in-universe despite being manipulative, and how she was directly or indirectly responsible for some of the game's biggest plot points.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Shortly before you revisit Shadow Moses, Snake has a dream where he's on Shadow Moses in his youth, and you have to play a brief scene from Metal Gear Solid. Besides earning FaceCamo that makes Snake look like he did in the first game, there's no point to this dream.
    • When Outer Haven first rises from the ocean, we get a shot of "Mount Snakemore": a reproduction of Mount Rushmore built into Haven's hull, with the likenesses of Big Boss and his clones in place of Washington and company. It appears on-screen for all of three seconds, after which it is never seen or mentioned again.
    • In the final act, Raiden suddenly appears just in time to save Snake...with the new ability to conduct electricity. He proceeds to take care of the FROGS by electrocuting them. This fit his name well, but how and why it happened are never explained.
  • Broken Base:
    • The mid-credits epilogue where Big Boss turns out to still be alive. Either it ruined a perfect ending with what was essentially a 20 minute rant filled with retcons, Deus ex Machina, and strained metaphors about Zero's name, or it was a beautiful if somewhat flawed resolution to Snake and Big Boss' relationship.
    • The story in general. Some fans find that it is a satisfying conclusion that pulled off a large share of Tear Jerker moments and did as well as it could have to wrap up the huge number of dangling plot threads from all the previous games into a Grand Finale that made sense, even if it had to strain at times. Others think it contradicts everything previous games told (most notably the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2). The changes that bothered them are Snake's depressive personality even though he's already used to these situations (David Hayter came to complain about some of his actions), Meryl's romance is considered an Ass Pull, Raiden going from a normal man happy with his life to a depressed badass cyborg, Sunny overshadowing Otacon and Naomi despite her young age, and several plot mysteries being explained away with nanomachines.
    • The incredibly long cutscenes. Some have no problem with them since the franchise already had pretty long cutscenes in prior games. Others feel that the cutscenes makes the game feel more like a movie due to their length (the ending in particular clocks in at just about an hour).
    • Having it turn out that Liquid's spirit was Dead All Along, with Ocelot cutting off his arm and only pretending to still be possessed via nanomachines and hypnotherapy. Some fans consider it an Author's Saving Throw for one of the franchise's most ludicrous plot twists, while others think it cheapened the conflict between Snake and Liquid by having him be exorcised offscreen and be forced to fight a cheap imitation throughout the game.
  • Contested Sequel: From a fan standpoint, the game is either a fantastic finale to a great franchise, a game that isn't as good as Metal Gear Solid 3 but still entertaining in its own right, or a substandard military stealth shooter with a convoluted story that ruined the series.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Anyone jumping right to this game without playing the previous ones will have absolutely no idea what's going on, with the game constantly introducing characters and concepts whose true significance won't be clear at all without prior knowledge of the series, right from the get-go. This is presumably why the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database was released, so that series newcomers could consult the Database to catch up on the previous titles.
  • Demonic Spiders: Gekkos. There's quite a lot of them in Act 4; chances are if you don't run into a Gekko, you'll get swarmed by Scarabs.
  • Faux Symbolism: EVA hands an apple to ADAM (a.k.a. Ocelot), who crushes it and throws it away.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own section.
  • Genius Bonus: Sunny's songs all apply to specific patterns:
  • Goddamned Bats: Scarabs. Imagine a tiny, three-armed robot (often holding a gun in one hand) capable of rolling around, hanging onto a wall to act like a security camera, and grabbing onto you to deliver an electric shock. Now imagine dozens of these little bastards climbing all over you because you triggered an alert. For bonus irritation points, they're small enough that it's easy to not notice them the same way you'd notice a tall human, and you could wind up wandering right into their path. Chaff grenades, the one thing that can stun machines in this franchise, are also extremely rare in this game.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • He Really Can Act: Many fans complained when it was revealed Cam Clarke wouldn't reprise his role as Liquid Ocelot, but they were unanimously impressed with Patric Zimmerman's portrayal of the character.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Multiple cutscenes in the first two acts have someone explaining background information to Snake, to which Snake assumes the Patriots are somehow involved and the person talking to them shoots that theory down. Then come Act 3, and to a lesser extent Act 5, and it turns out Snake was right every single time this happened.
    • Snake's comments about Samus Aran in Super Smash Bros. Brawl — namely, that he's attracted to her — become this upon the introduction of the Beauty and Beast Unit; an entire group of women who wear "sneaking suits" and big power armor, just like Samus does. Not only could he not tell that they were women at first (unlike with Samus), but he seems mildly repelled by them. Guess they're not "your kind of woman" after all, eh Snake? He also has a line, while discussing Meta Knight with Mei Ling, that foreshadows the infamous "Mt. Snakemore", and the fact that the writers were making fun of it well before any fans did is absolutely amazing:
      Snake: What kind of weirdo puts his face on the bow of a ship, anyway?
    • An episode of Transformers titled "Only Human" featured a character heavily implied to be Cobra Commander, of G.I. Joe. As that episode was set in the future, he went by a different name — Old Snake.
    • This bit of fan art not only correctly guessed what Johnny looked like under his balaclava, but even predicted his romance sub-plot with Meryl several months ahead of the game's release.
    • In the ending, Drebin remarks that The Patriots played Snake and Otacon "like a violin." Come Ground Zeroes...
  • Ho Yay: Vamp and Raiden in Act 2. Who do they think they're kidding? Even Snake is distracted from taking aim with a sniper rifle once Vamp starts licking Raiden's artificial (white) blood off of his knife. Did we also mention that the knife sheath is right on Vamp's crotch?
  • Magnificent Bastard: Do you even need to ask? Ocelot was already a Magnificent Bastard in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 but with this game, he became one of the most magnificent bastards in all of fiction.
  • Hype Backlash: At the time of its release, the game received acclaim for being an overall fantastic wrap-up for the series. Over the years, however, many have become more critical of the game after revisiting it, citing the cutscenes-to-gameplay ratio and narrative flaws that made the series unnecessarily convoluted, alongside the aforementioned contentions.
  • Memetic Mutation: See here.
  • Moe: Sunny.
  • Narm: See here.
  • Never Live It Down: The game's use of lengthy cutscenes. This is especially the case concerning Naked Sin, which contains the longest sequence of cutscenes.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The Patriots' use of a quadruple amputee — namely Big Boss — with nanomachine-induced Locked-In Syndrome as the key to their network. Who is then thrown into a fire when he has served Ocelot's purpose. The fact that it is actually revealed later to be Solidus in the fire does little to ease the creeps.
    • Laughing Octopus. Everything she does is disturbing as hell. Laughing uncontrollably while killing people is bad enough, but some stuff is just wrong, like imitating Old Snake's face (while still using her own voice) during a session of killing a bunch of prisoners. Her boss fight makes full use of her ability to imitate nearly anything with her octopus-like mimicry, also leading into Paranoia Fuel as you try to hunt her down. The music that accompanies her is also appropriately disturbing.
    • Vamp's overall appearance is much more unsettling now than when we last saw him; an unhealthy skin color, nasty-looking veins in his face, red eyes, and the scar from the gunshot wound he received to the head in Metal Gear Solid 2 before his healing was nano-enhanced to fix such wounds instantly and without reminders. He's also got dog tags which appears to be his current method of counting kills, although these could be Dead Cell's tags; the number is right if you count Fortune's husband, Chinaman and Old Boy, and we never see him add any more (then again, we never see him directly kill anyone in this game either).
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Cut out all her exposition, and Big Mama really only has one big scene in the whole game. That said, it was a pretty cool scene, and it's a pity she didn't get more.
    • Big Boss, who, for better or worse, leaves quite a mark on the game's ending.
    • Two for the price of one: Psycho Mantis returns from the grave to torment you, and the equally dead The Sorrow returns in the same scene to put him down once and for all.
  • One True Pairing: The ending pairs off Meryl with Johnny Sasaki and has Snake retire, with Otacon joining him. The squees from the Snake/Otacon shippers could be heard from some distance away.
  • Player Punch: The Microwave Hallway. Seeing Snake dragging himself across the floor in excruciating pain is heartwrenching.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Though panned by many players in Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden was rather well received in this game and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance after becoming a badass and slightly Ax-Crazy cyborg Ninja.
    • Rosemary. Most fans didn't care for her overly dramatic and annoying moments over the Codec in the second game. In the fourth game, fans didn't like the fact that she was married to Colonel Campbell, although once it was revealed she did it to protect Raiden and their child, fans warmed up to her. Her conversations with Snake about psychology were also very well written, not to mention they weren't forced on the player every hour or so like her conversations with Raiden regarding their anniversary in 2.
  • Retroactive Recognition: In the English version, Sunny's voice is provided by Cristina Pucelli, who would later go on to voice Luan Loud in The Loud House. (Anyone coming into MGS4 from the Viewtiful Joe series, on the other hand, might have already recognized her as the voice of the eponymous hero's main squeeze Silvia, making Pucelli's turn as Sunny also count as an example of Retroactive Recognition for said players.)
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The game railroads you into using the Operator and much more rarely M4 Custom after certain cutscenes. While they are decent weapons with plentiful ammo, it's pretty jarring if you want to experiment with other pistols and assault rifles; you're basically forced to limit yourself from five active inventory slots to three plus the Operator and M4, because otherwise whichever gun you want to use will be forcibly replaced with the Operator during the transition from cutscene to gameplay, thus forcing you to ruin the cool factor of the transition by going back into the inventory and re-equipping what you wanted.
  • Shocking Moments: If you didn't gasp out loud when Psycho Mantis returned to torment you one last time, you certainly did when The Sorrow dropped in to save you.
  • Shocking Swerve: Liquid never came back from the dead; Ocelot was using a combination of nanomachines and hypnotherapy to make himself think he was Liquid.
  • Spiritual Successor: A story about Private Military Contractors who profit from a series of Forever Wars, with an economy maintained by hooking up soldiers to a system that improves their capabilities and suppresses the horrors of war, and without which they are quickly driven to insanity? Guns of the Patriots can be considered what Haze could have been without its Troubled Production.
  • Squick: Johnny's mid-combat bowel movement. Yuck.
  • That One Achievement: "Sounds of the Battlefield" requires you to get every song in the game for your iPod. The "Snake Eater" song requires you to get all 40 Emblems in the game, which range from the difficult ("Big Boss" requires that you beat the game on The Boss Extreme difficulty without dying, getting caught, killing anyone, and without using recovery and special items, all in under 5 hours, making it That One Achievement within That One Achievement), to the unintuitive ("Puma" asks you to get more than 75 alerts, 250 kills, and 25 continues), to the weird ("Gecko" requires you to press against walls for an hour total, "Tortoise" wants an hour inside the drum and/or cardboard box, and "Giant Panda" requires you to spend 30 or more hours in-game before you complete it).
  • That One Boss:
    • Vamp. If you go into the battle without knowing how to properly execute a CQC hold then you can be totally screwed, as failing to execute the hold exactly right at a critical moment of the battle will result in Vamp just knocking you flying, regenerating all his health and continuing the battle. Ditto if you don't realize that the syringe is an equippable combat item that can be used on enemies in CQC.
    • The Suicide Gekkos immediately afterwards. How can you even pay attention to them when there's a ninja knife fight taking up the right half of the screen?note 
    • The battle against Laughing Octopus is also by far the most difficult fight of the Beauty and the Beast Unit.
    • Crying Wolf is a close second due to the fact that there are very few places you can hide in the arena to lower your stress, making you have to waste ration after noodle after Regain™ to keep your stamina up if you don't know about them. Especially troublesome for emblem runs that don't allow you to use healing items or waste time.
  • That One Level: Third Sun doesn't get very much love, thanks to its very high Story-to-Gameplay Ratio, starting out with a long, slow trailing sequence which leads into a series of long, exposition-heavy, retcon-laden cutscenes. Many players felt that the action sequence after said cutscenes, along with the following boss fight, redeemed it a little bit.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans claimed the improved shooting mechanics and the ability to buy limitless amounts of ammo from Drebin at any time turned Metal Gear Solid 4 from stealth game to a third-person shooter with stealth elements. Of course, you can still be shot to pieces easily if you don't watch yourself, even on normal difficulty, so stealth is still required, especially if you're in a heavy combat zone between two different groups, at least one of which will shoot you on sight. There's also the fact that you get less points for dropped weapons if you kill the owner (versus getting full price if you hold them up) and have to spend more to get ammo if you've been killing a lot of people.
  • Uncanny Valley: For non-humanoid machines, the Gekkos are just freaky. Their bizarrely organic legs are incredibly unsettling, and you'd never think a cow's mooing could sound so terrifying.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The introduction of an Alliance Meter-inspired system, where Snake can theoretically choose to influence the outcome of battles between PMCs and militias, has the potential to shake up the series' gameplay formula in some significant ways. Unfortunately, the game forgets about it after Act 2, after only really using it to allow Snake to ally himself with the local militia and have them serve as a distraction in a handful of maps.
  • Wangst:
    • One of Raiden's lines in particular. It even rained the day I was born!
    • Not to mention the backstories of the B&B Corps, which Chip Cheezum summed up as being like a series of Aristocrats jokes without the punchlines.
  • The Woobie: Many:
    • B&B Corps: It varies whether you find their backstories woobify them or cross into outright silliness. Drebin's apparent omniscience certainly doesn't help with the latter.
    • Old Snake: Aging at an accelerated rate thanks to being a clone, Old Snake also has to cope with his growing irrelevance and the fact that he is well on his way to becoming a Person Of Mass Destruction. Actually, the last bit turns out to be false, though he doesn't know this until after the credits have already started rolling. And then there's the microwave hallway.
    • Otacon: In particular, Naomi seducing him to procure information for Liquid and Vamp. Her betrayal, double betrayal, and subsequent death, really hit Otacon hard. He's also keenly aware of how little time Snake has left to live, something that he's clearly finding difficult to cope with on top of everything else.
    • Raiden: In addition to all the stuff he had to deal within in the second game, Raiden now has to deal with having been tortured beyond human capacity, turned into a cyborg killing machine (a la Gray Fox), seeing his girlfriend go off and marry the much older Colonel, and coping with the fact that their unborn child died in a miscarriage. Fortunately, the last two turn out to be false, and the first seems to be remedied in the epilogue.
    • Big Boss: Not dead, but instead induced into an artificial locked-in state so that he can be used as the key to the world's Evil Overlord computer, one can't help but feel sorry for the guy. Until after the surprise ending, when it turns out it was Solidus Snake that suffered the sad fate of being thrown into a fire.


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