I completed Metal Gear Solid 2 last night. It seemed shorter than I recalled, probably due to its extreme linearity, which not necessarily a bad thing. It's also no doubt due to the fact that the Big Shell is made up of small, straightforward modules that consist of simple arrays of narrow corridors and pathways--there is just nowhere to get either lost or sidetracked (other than in the plot :drumroll:).
The boss fights can be a pain in the ass. I have never liked Fatman (what a shitty character design; a roller-blading mad-bomber fat-ass with a glass of wine? Really?) or his pain-in-the-ass encounter. The Harrier fight wasn't bad, and it had cool cinematics featuring Solidus, but it treads the fine line between homage to and rehash (and simulation) of the Hind fight in the original MGS. The Vamp fight is a real pain. Once I had him down to one more shot needed with my Tranq gun when he killed me. At that point I started using the grenade thrower to murder his punk ass, which works pretty well. The toughest fight in the game for me is undoubtedly the squadron of Metal Gear Rays at the end. You have to see that fight as more of an endurance test than anything. Even on normal I breathed a sigh of relief after what must have been my seventh attempt was successful. And then, the battle I had been dreading the most, the sword duel vs. Solidus, turned out to be pretty simple. You just take the fight to him. Get up in his face and keep your guard up, and then when he attacks and you block, you'll be able to retaliate with a 2 or 3 hit combo. The first couple of tries had me dead having barely made a dent in Solidus, but once I figured out this strategy, he went down quick and easy.
As far as the plot goes: well, does anyone really get it all? Give me a moment to make sense of all this...
So, the Patriots are trying to reign in the flow of information over the Internet in order to cull the dross and pass on only what's worthwhile to the next generations of humanity. In order to do this, they needed to collect data from a super soldier such as Solid Snake, and thus set up Raiden's mock Shadow Moses mission, which apparently needs to be carried out in a real terrorist situation, which has just developed at Big Shell, which is actually the development grounds for Arsenal Gear, which is guarded by a unit of 25 Metal Gear Rays, and which Solidus Snake and Dead Cell wish to hijack in order to create a nation free of the Patriots' influence: Outer Heaven. The Plan is to detonate some kind of hydrogen-based nuclear bomb in the atmosphere over Manhattan, cutting it off from the world's power and information grid, giving birth to Outer Heaven, and it's citizens, the Sons of Liberty. Solidus then wants to hunt down and kill the 12 members of the Patriots' highest echelon, an elite cabal that Solidus, George Sears, ex-POTUS, once desired to be a member of, but had his chances of that ever happening cut out from under him when his plan, the Shadow Moses Incident, went tits-up in the first Metal Gear Solid.
Meanwhile, Revolver Ocelot is pulling double agent duty, working for the Patriots alongside Solidus and Dead Cell. His true objective is apparently just to steal one working Metal Gear Ray unit, and possibly to stop Solidus from gaining control of Arsenal Gear and completing the creation of Outer Heaven. The Patriots also have Olga Gurlukovich's child, and hold the boy hostage to force Olga to assist Raiden in his mission (remember, they need the mission data that his nanomachines are collecting). There is also the little matter of Liquid Snake's arm carrying his personality, and it taking over Ocelot's body and opportune times. By the end of the game, it appears as if Liquid is in total control, and his own objective is also to hunt down and kill the Patriots.... whom we learn at the end of the credits are all dead, and have been for around a century. Food for thought.
What I don't get is Raiden not knowing Solidus from their first encounter. Solidus supposedly 'adopted' the boy Raiden in a war-torn African nation, and taught him much about fighting. Not to mention the fact that Solidus used to be the President of the United States, for fuck's sake! How could Raiden live in the modern world and not recognize the man he himself knows and who is also constantly on tv and the front page of newspapers all over the world?
I do know that Raiden is a much cooler character than people give him credit for. At first he comes off as a whiny-but-cocksure virtual-veteran with a needy and naggy girlfriend, but then proceeds to do cool stuff like shooting down fighter jets and scads of advanced Metal Gears and using a katana to fight (and kill!) one of the Snake triplets, a clone of the mighty Big Boss himself. He's also got an incredibly bad-ass background as a ruthless child-soldier killer known as "Jack the Ripper" or "The White Devil."
So, uh, I think I'm ready for MGS4. I dunno though, I might need more skateboarding practice. Zing!