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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Information about Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of LibertyMetal 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 (16 years ago). 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 (13 years ago). In 2008 (9 years ago), 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 "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 heroes 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. While the gameplay was almost universally acclaimed, reviewers were divided on the philosophical nature and execution of the game's storyline, which explores the themes of memes, social engineering, political conspiracies, and artificial intelligence.
Prologue - Tanker chapterSons of Liberty opens on the George Washington Bridge in New York City, in 2007 (10 years ago), two years after the Shadow Moses incident, the events of 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 consistently described as being amphibious and having been designed as a counter-Metal Gear unit which have been built since Metal Gear REX's design was leaked. Shortly after Snake's arrival on the disguised oil tanker U.S.S. Discovery, 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.
After he successfully tranquilizes her in combat, Snake sneaks down to the hold in order to record pictures (wallpaper) of the new Metal Gear, RAY. Matters rapidly escalate as Revolver Ocelot betrays and murders Sergei Gurlukovich. It is revealed that Ocelot has received a new arm after Metal Gear Solid, that of the late Liquid Snake, which via Hypnosis 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.
Plant chapterThe player finds themself in control of Raiden, supposedly operating under a reformed FOXHOUND two years after the Tanker Chapter on Apr. 29, 2009 (8 years ago). Initially referred to as "Snake", his orders are to rescue hostages, including the US president, from the terrorist group Sons of Liberty, 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. He joins forces with SEAL Lieutenant Junior Grade Iroquois 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. The SEAL team manages to rescue the President, but before they are able to extract him, all of the SEALS except for Pliskin are killed by Dead Cell members Vamp and Fortune.
With the assistance of a mysterious cyborg ninja calling itself Mr. X, 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 information transmitted digitally. 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, helps Raiden escape, 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. Some of his nonsensical speech is derived from commands given in previous Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid games. 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 tentacles. Olga explains that two years ago, right after giving birth to her child, the Patriots took her away and have been holding her child hostage ever since. Olga continues to explain that the Patriots blackmailed her, ordering her to become a double-agent and make the S3 plan a success or her child would be killed. 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; what Ocelot describes as the 'S3 Plan', or Solid Snake Simulation, designed to create super-soldiers in the image (wallpaper) of Solid Snake. He 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. 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-Ocelot'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. As Snake disappears into the crowd, Raiden is finally reunited with Rose, on Apr. 30, 2004—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.
GameplayMetal 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.
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.
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.
PlotThe 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 the piece 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 an 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. 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 the 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 through unknown means, 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.
ReceptionAs a result of promising trailers and the huge commercial success of its predecessor Metal Gear Solid, there was a high level of anticipation in the gaming community surrounding the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Metal Gear Solid 2 received a large amount of critical and fan praise, maintaining a critical average of 95%, marking it the 4th highest game on the PlayStation 2 and the 17th highest overall at Game Rankings, having sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Game Informer Magazine gave the game a score of 10/10, and it received high reviews from nearly all major publications and websites. Gamespot gave the game a high 9.6 rating, stating that Metal Gear Solid 2 is a must-play game.
While critics praised the game's level of graphical detail, in particular the use of in-game graphics to render plot-driving cut scenes, the title's storyline was the source of mixed opinions. The storyline explores many philosophical and cyberpunk themes in great detail, including meme theory, social engineering, sociology, artificial intelligence, information control, conspiracy theories, political and military maneuvering, evolution, existentialism, censorship, the manipulation of free will and the nature of reality. Although some[who?] have praised Hideo Kojima's ambitious script, some even calling it the first example of a postmodern video game, others[who?] considered the plot to be "incomprehensible" and overly heavy for an action game. Some[who?] also felt that the lengthy dialogue sections heavily disrupted the gameplay, and that the dialogue itself was overly disjointed and convoluted.
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