Video games are a medium filled with lousy stories, absurd scenarios and otherwise ridiculous plot points. That said, there are also some real gems out there. The sort that rise above the stupidity of their brethren and prove that yes, gaming can be a real, honest-to-goodness medium for storytelling. Sadly, few can do this perfectly. Even in the best games there are those moments where you just have to sit back and wonder what they were thinking.
This week: Metal Gear Solid 4
Honestly, if we wanted to we could probably do a piece on every single one of the Metal Gear Solid games. Be it the original’s “love on a battlefield” conversation. The nauseating discussions between Rose and Raiden in MGS2, or… well… no Metal Gear Solid 3 was pretty good in these regards.
Anywho, out of all the bizarre things that the Metal Gear Solid games hoist upon gamers, the worst I think is Raiden’s transformation in MGS4.
Now granted, Raiden wasn’t exactly a prize before MGS4. When we meet him in Metal Gear Solid 2, he is the pansy foil to Solid Snake’s monstrous coolness. We traded in a grizzled, mullet-wearing, stubble-bearing super soldier for a clean shaven, long haired blonde that looked like he’d feel comfortable in a schoolgirl uniform. Wear Snake took his trials with a tough skinned grunt, Raiden talked about his emotions at nearly every opportunity.
Fans hated him almost unequivocally.
Then Metal Gear Solid 4 comes around and Raiden returned with vengeance, ditching his boy band persona and replacing it with a sullen loner attitude and set of cybernetically enhanced swords skills that had him leaping, slashing and hacking with the best of them.
And then they went overboard.
When we first meet Raiden in MGS4, he’s whipping around knocking the tar out of some Metal Gear wannabes. MGS2 baddie Vamp shows up, and after one spectacular duel Raiden is fighting for his life. We have established that there are limits to his abilities yes?
It would seem not.
Later on in the game, Snake it seems is finished. His wounds, coupled with the effects of his premature aging have left him at the mercy of Liquid Ocelet who is now charging him down with Arsenal Gear. Arsenal Gear, in case you aren’t versed in this, is a massive warship. It should go without saying that a single human being, no matter what enhancements are running under the hood, should be helpless against a boat dwarfing the Titanic.
But no, in comes Raiden fresh from cutting off his own arm, and he is able to single handedly (no pun intended) stop the ship. He literally positions himself between the giant freaking warship and Solid Snake and through sheer force of will it would seem, is able to stop its charge long enough for Snake to escape.
The boat eventually does crush Raiden, but even that’s not the end of him! No, rather he just loses his other arm and actually returns to help Snake again fighting with a sword in his teeth. IN HIS TEETH.
If you thought this was cool when you saw this then I can only deduce that you are either a 10-year old boy, or a moron. Granted, Metal Gear Solid is a franchise that routinely bends the accepted laws of reality, but this is just too much. Were Kojima and company really sodesperate to make him cool that they had to resort to such antics? This kind of stuff wouldn’t pass in an Uwe Boll film, not to mention one of the most revered video game franchises ever made.
Maybe they should have just taken a note from Solid Snake himself. You know what make’s Snake cool? His resolve. Even as his body is literally falling apart he presses on. He’s the sort of person we all wish we could be, trucking on against the impossible. All the stunts they tried with Raiden, they all pale when compared to Snake’s romp through the microwave hall at the end of the game. Snake is cooler walking a straight line then Raiden is fighting off legions of soldiers with a sword in his teeth.