The innovative game mechanics have always made the Metal Gear series unique. From the 8-bits episodes to Sons Of Liberty, the principle has always been the same. Instead of the classic action/adventure game based on direct battles, Kojima and the developers wanted a more realistic experience. Metal Gear is first of all “Tactical Espionage Action”. The hero is just a skilled man, and he must avoid direct battles when possible. Most of the time the player has to use intelligence and stealth techniques to avoid being spotted. The main character is much more vulnerable to the enemies’ hits than in other more classic adventure games.
The same principle is behind Sons Of Liberty. The gameplay of this new episode further develops the game mechanics that made the original Metal Gear Solid such an incredible experience. While Metal Gear Solid for PsOne was the first episode of the series to feature 3D environments completely rendered in real time, the Artificial Intelligence of the enemies still worked on 2 dimensions. To make an example, enemies on a higher place were not able to spot Solid Snake walking underneath. In this episode, enemies can always spot you, open fire, and call their comrades revealing your exact position. In a few seconds, you will be surrounded by skilled soldiers, and it will be difficult to survive. In fact, while in the preceding episode escaping your pursuers was rather simple, this time you will need to find, as fast as possible, a place to hide - and it must be a true save haven, or they will find you easily. The soldiers will hunt you in small groups of three-four men, with complex and ever changing strategies. Usually, a soldier guides the others and communicate with them through voice orders or gestures. Then, soldiers are equipped with different weapons and armors, and their role changes accordingly. Anyhow, if a guard spots you, you still have more than a possibility to prevent him from calling his comrades: you can shoot at his radio, you can kill him, you can send him to sleep with a shoot of your modified M9 at his head. An incredible freedom is given to the player in Metal Gear Solid 2. There are nearly unlimited possibilities to escape certain situations – if it’s likely, then you probably can do it.
This is made possible in different ways. First of all, the graphic engine renders in real time 3D environments in which you can interact with nearly every object you could need to use. Then, Metal Gear Solid 2 has simply the best control system to ever grace a gaming console. There is a series of basic, intermediate and advanced actions. In the manual or in the in-game tutorials you will find a detailed list of all of these moves. Overall, there are more than 30 different actions, and many of them are new to the series. For example, you can now jump over a handrail and hang to avoid an enemy (press the triangle button), you can take hostages, hold up an enemy, hide yourself or a soldier's body into a locker and much more. In Metal Gear Solid 2 you can shot in first person view, while in the preceding episode this mode was used just to take a look at the surroundings. The first person view is fundamental when you need to aim with care at an object or at a spot of the enemy’s body. In fact, sometimes enemies will use special protections and you will need to aim at their head or knees to get rid of them. You can also shoot at steam pipes or fire extinguishers to distract them.
Just like in the previous episodes, you will find loads of weapons and special objects during the game. You will have the possibility to use handguns, rifles, hand grenades, chaff and stun Stun grenades, a sniper rifle, C4, claymore mines and a few more that if revealed would spoil the game. The other gadgets are just as exciting as in the preceding episode. Zoom and thermal goggles (I love these ones), digital camera, heartbeat sensor, cigarettes are just a few of them. Also, many of these objects can be used in more than a way. I will make an example: you will find a coolant to defuse C4; anyhow, this coolant can be also used to wake up a sleeping soldier.
But why would you need to wake up a soldier? To get his dog tag, for example! In fact, if you hold up a soldier and point your gun at his head or at his crotch, he will tremble as a leaf and give his tag to you. Most of the soldiers have a dog tag that contains the name of those that won Konami’s contest "Your name in MGS 2".
This game is so complex and refined that I could keep on writing about its gameplay for pages. But you will find out the rest by yourself. Keep in mind that in order to not spoil the game to our readers, I didn't reveal a few important details about the storyline. For the same reason, I suggest not to read the manual: there are many spoilers that you shouldn't really know before playing the game. After all, there are many useful tutorial lessons that will help you mastering the controls, and the codec (a nano-tech radio that let the main character communicate with his support team) is another way to ask help when you need it. Just like in the preceding episode, pressing the select button you will open your codec men. You can then choose a frequency and speak with the person you need in that moment.
Well, there is a last thing I can say. At present, there is no action game, on any platform, that plays like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. Perfect.