PlayStation 2
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Developed by: Konami
ESRB Rating: M for Violence, Blood, Gore
For: PS2
Price: $5.00 on LeapTrade

You sneak up a dark metal floored hallway. Your footsteps echo slightly as you move through out the hallway. You pause, listening to your breath, heartbeat, and a patrolling guard's foot falls. You crouch down, moving swiftly, and peer around a corner. The guard is there, barely visible in the fog of darkness. You move behind him, then grab him by the neck. In one quick moment, the guard tries to wrestle free of your grip. You tighten your headlock on him, once, twice, three times. A wretched snap echoes the halls, as the guard's body convulses a moment after his neck is snapped. You move swiftly on, going to find a way to complete your next objective. This could be one scene out of many in MGS2:SOL.

The open-ended game play in the first game makes this one so revolutionary. Hideo Kojima, the writer and director of this installment, and all previous installments, wanted the game play open-ended, and pushed his designers to script the programming that way. And it shows. The very story is one of a complex, intriguing plot of corruption and death. The President of the U.S.A is just a front for a world-wide organization called the Sons of Liberty. Solid Snake is dead, and a newbie called Raiden has to take Snake's place.

This story, as you can see, is already showing intrigue and plot structure. This is added to very small subtle visual effects, and subtle sounds. For example, in some parts of the story, you are forced to swim underwater. When you surface for air, the camera has water droplets on it. The game is also very good at showing emotion in the characters; there is one scene where Raiden has to rescue a girl, and she urinates herself because she is so scared. My one complaint is the fact that the cut scenes are not implicated in the story more. I personally believe that cut scenes should occur while you are playing. This is just my opinion, but cut scenes need to be more a part of the story, instead of them making the story move on in between huge load times.

I think that games should be like interactive movies, with no freeze-up, and with stories that garner an emotional response from the player or viewer. Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's masterful artistic game designer (heck, he's even better than Sid Meier!), first revolutionized the emotional response from gamers. I experienced it in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The scene where Link is separated from his girlfriend, and she gives him the Ocarina was one of the most emotional moments in video gaming history. Other games have tried to squeeze an emotional response out of me, but none have succeeded. That might be because of Zelda having you go through so much with Link in the first 20 minutes of the game. So, I suppose for gamers that have followed Solid Snake throughout his many missions, such as the Moses Island Incident, would have an emotional response from the many things in MGS2:SOL. I have not followed the series through, so I cannot tell the emotions that many must have been feeling.

There are some issues concerning the ESRB rating. As many know, I do not trust the ESRB's judgment in such matters as game violence. The ESRB just puts the rating on the box--that's it. So, as always, there are some content descriptors that need to be mentioned, namely one descriptor that was in the original MGS, yet strangely not in this copy. It would be fine if this descriptor weren't in the game at all, yet unfortunately, it is. Mature Sexual Themes are in the game, and are kinda hard not to notice. Vamp, a main character/boss is homosexual. Now, the very mention of this is not bad, since it is very much a part of life in America today. I am fine with the mention of this if it does not go into explicit detail. That's when I say, Too Much Info. Quote: 'After meeting Stillman: 'Talk to Snake on the Codec, and eventually discover a whole lot more than you ever wanted to know about Vamp's sexuality.' --Electronic Gaming Monthly, February 2002 This kind of Easter Egg (if you don't know what that is, I feel pity for you) is inappropriate and inexcusable. At least the game doesn't have fart jokes. I'd probably throw it out if it did. Second, the game has an item you can pick up called the 'girlie magazine'. It tells that the mag has pics that are graphic in content, and inappropriate for children. One of my friends told me it's just a pic of a girl in a bikini. So, if this so called 'girlie magazine' is so bad, why don't they filter the content on Laguna Beach in California? And why don't they just edit out the content on the inside of lockers in the game? Because it is used as a distraction to the guards. Still, I'd rather they have a pixelated pic of a girl in a bikini or lingerie that gives you the general gist, then having you look at the pics in a top-down perspective. Isn't there enough sexuality on TV and on the Internet? Well, my lecture on that is over.

From a Christian perspective, this game is violent, and bloody as well. It is excellently written, so there is no need to fear about that. Think of a good 15-hour spy flick, and you've got MGS2. But, the sexuality should have a filter on it. There should not be that much of that kind of stuff in a game clearly aimed at mid to older teens. And we should finally get the limited edition pack here in the U.S.; it's currently available in Japan.

Final Ratings

Game play A+
Graphics A+
Controls C
Sound A
Appropriateness D-

Overall 76%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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