I'm firmly in the camp of people who get bored by the punishingly long cutscenes in his games but I also can't deny that gameplay-wise they are some of the most fun, fresh, and unexpected titles out there. My mind was blown the first time I found out about the way you can cheese The End fight.
The first time I fought against Psycho Mantis, I simply marveled the genius behind the fight. MGS2 was way ahead of the curve in almost of all of the aspects - smart texturing work, AI squad tactics, pinpoint pointer shooting accuracy, the still amazing weather effects, cue to the future of information warfare and fake news, VR missions, realtime cutscenes which I can't believe were possible on PS2 during its early stages, the score by Tappy/Harry Gregson Williams/ Hibino, superb VR missions, crisply written dialog and narrative - I still discover something new during my annual playthrough. MGS3 broke grounds by pushing PS2 to its limits, details such as the way the bullets rustle leaves during enemy skirmishes, realtime cutscenes that still hold very well today, probably the best boss fights in the series, great story, score, tight controls and that Hideo Kojima touch. I still remember the fight with The Sorrow, I had no idea on what to do and then I realized - these are characters that I have killed over the course of the game.
Kojima, is an auteur and a master of his craft.
Bonus edit: I recently discovered by accident (epsxe mis-configuration) that MGS1 detects if the player has a monoaural TV set during the fight with Hind D. Video here (not uploaded by me) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzG8Sty9veI
Also, I tried MGS4 and it was just too cheesy to me. The intro of MGS5 was just too long and boring so I just gave up... so I'm not sure if I grew out of these types of games or if I should have tried harder.
I kind of stopped playing after MGS3 - tried MGS4 but it deviated too much from its roots. MGS5 is just okay but since there is no David Hayter so not a true MGS for me.
I can totally understand when people say this about the long cutscenes. However, that's partially why I love his Metal Gear games. They're like playing one "movie" (or a series) and it enhances the player feeling. I always felt like I was living through a (rather long) interactive movie. It was glorious. A little long-winded at times but otherwise entertaining.
It's a great juxtaposition with other games that have great storytelling and gameplay but sometimes feel more disconnected and "on rails." If that makes sense.
Unfortunately the HD edition did not include the 3D camera from Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which is MASSIVELY better than the original fixed camera in Snake Eater.
Definitely revolutionary for it's time, but the amount of dialogue and cinematic flair did not match up with over the top dialogue.
It's just kind of not immersive to have a 30 minute conversation and in depth look into every bosses tragic past before getting into a boss fight.
Good writers/Game designers introduce all of the above in a more natural way.
I also feel a lot of it is just culture. Japanese cinematics tend to be like that maybe? I feel subtitles without dubbing tends to hide a lot of the cringeyness of the whole situation. For example the original FF7 actually works well because it's all text.
It is really interesting the new gameplay loops and player interactions that Kojima has found. Death Stranding is a connected single-player game. You never see other players, but your world is quickly populated by everything they've built to help themselves -- and you.
And fascinatingly, once I had the resources to spare, I started contributing to structures or building my own, just in the hope that some other anonymous player, that I would never meet or interact with, could benefit just like I did.
In a gaming landscape filled with aggressively competitive (Battle Royale!) or at least "tit-for-tat" interactions, I've never seen another game implement so brilliantly "pay it forward."
I LOVED that game ! It is perfect for the covid era : you play as a courier bringing packages to people hiding in bunkers after an apocalyptic event. With a big emphasis on bringing people together and non violence.
It also has as many original mechanics that an AAA game can have : you get the basic move and shoot AAA formula, but on top of it you have some great ideas about movement and they work very well at the kinetic level. Having to hold the grips of your controler to do not slip down a slope or to hold a package tight works very well to immerse you, especially coupled with great sound design and haptic feedback.
[somewhat spoilery comment below]
However, while I loved some of Kojima's gimmicks, this is a game where many of them were not needed. Characters with masks, hidden identities, double crossing galore, all of that works in the spy world of metal gear but feels very out of place in this story of survival.
If they had cut on all of that and focused on the core ideas, I think it would have been a more interesting experience.
Ironically, while I really appreciate that it is possible to have both AAA budget and a personal directorial touch; I feel that this game would have needed a director or such above Kojima to bring some more focus.
In terms of the business side of things, if it's true that he and his team were behind schedule and their productivity was apparently low with no foreseeable end in sight, I could probably see why Konami would make the decision to force him to market with whatever he could finish.
As for the details, I hear things got very ugly between them, which is a shame. I read in places that Kojima himself was not really too interested in making more MGS games, so regardless of what happened maybe it was for the best. I hope he's able to build a similarly interesting universe again. I will probably try Death Stranding when it comes to PC.
In the end, it would have been in Konami's best interest to retain him and let him do what he wanted, rather than pump him for more money via MGS. The man gets eyeballs (and dollars) on whatever he makes, you think Konami would recognize that.
It was just so barren in terms of narrative, and what was there was forgettable and ultimately unimportant to the overall story. I wonder what could have been if the second half of the game was what it was originally intended to be, instead of just repeating some earlier missions on a harder difficulty. Ground Zeroes really set things up for the full game to be something amazing, but it didn’t pay off.
That, and I think it was a very low blow to not ask David Hayter back. Given how few lines Kiefer Sutherland has in the whole game I guess his rates were a little higher.
Maybe this particular role required someone who could do a better job with scenes like that.
Also there is a spoiler related reason why the protagonist does not sound the same in this game.
Though he did seem to get more enthusiastic about Peace Walker and V, two games that share a lot of things.
The man is a mix of Steve Jobs, David Lynch, and Jackson Pollock all in one.
The man isn't perfect. I feel a game like red dead redemption 2 is more closer to that perfect game we're looking for. It hits all the the marks in terms of story and systems based gameplay.
But as someone who is inherently drawn to over the top narrative-based games (see Persona 5, FF7, Detroit: Become Human etc.) I can't help but feel like his style of gaming is the future of narrative single-player experiences.
Which is good, cinema would be way less popular if more talented people worked in the videogame industry and would likely be regarded as the medium for all kinds of art. Specially now with VR.
Death Stranding in particular is very lackluster gameplay wise.
He is indeed an exceptional writer. I'm still curious if he would be able to make a movie or a TV show.
After a couple of hours it becomes really clear that Kojima spent ALL of his time on the plot and directing the cutscenes, and it's almost like the actual gameplay was left to be done by a pack of interns who weren't even given guidance.
The terrain physics are awful. The combat is extremely repetitive and not at all engaging. Almost every mission is 'go from point A to point B'. The plot (or rather the series of cutscenes that convey the plot) have absolutely nothing to do with the gameplay. They might as well have the player do rounds of tetris between cutscenes and the overall experience would remain largely unchanged.
When you get roughly through 3/4 of the game, you hit the level that's shown in the early trailers. That level is great fun. And despite being late into the game, it starts showing you tutorial tips and coaching you on mechanics you already know. You realize that this was meant to be the opening level of the game. They clearly intended to create a much better game but at some stage said fuck it, we'll make a bland open world exploration sandbox and throw in some cutscenes.
It's sad. I would have happily waited another few years to get a full game that plays and feels like what was in the trailer level. No more preorders even for Kojima.
The script was horrible despite the cast of talented actors.
I'm not talking about the plot itself but the delivery, the exposition dumps, the stupid dialogues, it's a catastrophe, even by videogame standards, which makes me ask myself whether Kojima was always like that but he had other people keeping him in check or something…
And unfortunately the gameplay couldn't redeem anything, the gameplay was tedious and unfun. MGS is fun, you infiltrate places by various means, you have a lot of cool gadgets, there is tension. The story was silly but it had memorable characters.
in DS, everything sucks except the concept, the idea, the concept is interesting, the execution is bad.
Yes, Kojima tried to be innovative, but it just doesn't work because it fails at the most basic things regarding gameplay and story telling.
The game is beautiful though.
> He is indeed an exceptional writer.
He is an "idea guy". Like George Lucas and many many other. He needs somebody else to makes sense of his ideas.
I almost choked on that one. He is exceptional good at coming up with ideas but writing wise he is absolutely terrible and gets worse over time. Way too verbose where it does not have to be.
I also think tone matters a lot in games. MGS1 lives in this kind of comic book, science fiction tone and is perfect in that regard. But something like mgs5 feels like a caricature in every way as it tries to be like a comics and realistic at the same time. It just does not work.
Kojima interrupts the entire game with a character monologue about some tragic past or some modern geopolitical issue. Makes sense for every single boss to launch into 30 minutes talking about all this stuff right before a gun fight.
and then you had the extremely awkward scene in MGS5 in the back of a truck with Skullface where nobody talks for 20 minutes and you can't skip it, because they "forgot" to record a long monologue. So bad.
Also, it basically has a feature length ending, with cutscenes interspersed with repetitive gameplay where you just have to trigger more cutscenes. If you want to complete the ending in one sitting, make sure you have a couple of hours.
Edit: One thing I remembered that frustrated me about it. The game is essentially a stealth-action, and it gives you a lot of freedom to choose how you approach the problems it gives you. But it doesn't always reward your choices the way you would expect. Did you choose to clear out an entire area of baddies so that you could freely loot it? Well in some specific cases, they'll respawn before you're done.
Unlike the MGS games, the story has so many opportunities to take a nuanced stance on issues of the internet (aghem, Chiral Net), data collection and the obvious metaphor of Amazon.com. It wastes every opportunity to tell a story about how the internet is inherently good even if it's controlled by Bridges. The game is spent building bridges without any question of whether those bridges actually make us more connected or more distant.
Furthermore, the "extinction event" i.e. the death stranding is presented as something which is inevitable to all species rather than something which is explicitly caused by and solved by humans.
It's just really strange seeing all this low hanging fruit go to waste. There are plenty of other problems such as character names and plotlines being overly literal. The exposition dumps are way too much, even compared to MGS which is famous for them.
Overall though it just comes down to the game having an utterly bizarre viewpoint on the world's problems. I had thought that to overarching theme of "rebuilding America by connecting everyone again" would at least touch on the current state of US politics where people are more divided than ever. Unfortunately, the game chalks that problem up to an inevitable event of nature rather than something humans could actually prevent.
Going into the game as a huge Kojima fanboy I basically gave the story way too many chances to redeem itself and it just gets worse.
So bad, unfortunately, that I'm forced to reassess his other games. Surely they have their faults which "come with the territory" of crazy anime style plotlines. But are the good parts even attributable to Kojima? Did somebody special from his Konami team not make it over to Kojima Productions?
Anyway, having said all that, the gameplay was pretty cool, the world itself was beautiful and I do suggest you at least check it out if it goes on sale or something. Meanwhile I'll be waiting for Kojima to hopefully tell better stories in the horror genre as he's suggested he may do.
It also had to do with my expectations being set by the Metal Gear games. While they certainly all had a touch of absurdity in them, there are messages in those games that I largely agree with such as the notion that war begets revenge which begets war (MGS V) or massive data collection resulting in population control (MGS IV).
But it's all subjective and I can totally understand other people enjoying this games story. I just personally didn't.
I've learnt to not have any expectations about what I'm going to get from a Kojima game, and instead just follow along whatever journey it is he wants to take me on.
I will say that I was pretty disappointed by the massive amounts of reviews claiming it was a walking simulator when they clearly put a lot of work into making the balance system a pretty innovative mechanic. Furthermore, games like Red Dead Redemption 2 (which I absolutely love, btw) consist of large portions of traveling and get little criticism for it.
I think one time that could have been better is the occurrence of encountering "random side quests" as was done in rdr2 often was extremely successful in making the world feel alive as you traverse it. But that mechanic doesn't really belong in the mostly empty world of Death Stranding.
That was one of the things I really liked about it. The side quests are really rewarding (in terms of powerful upgrades), and you can happily complete the entire game without touching most of them. So you end up getting rewarded for exploring and taking on non-central-story deliveries. The materials rewarded for a lot of those quests is also very, very useful. I felt as though I was engaged in the side quests a lot more than I typically am in games like say, Assassins Creed, where end up only picking them up if I was low on money. RDR2 was also incredibly successful in achieving this, but I'd just say via a different approach.
If you want to play a deep game with an immersive and engrossing story play planescape torment.
Planescape: Torment is on a very short list of games where some of the story or setting just randomly pops in my head again. Really one of the best.
The gameplay was pretty awful though, and I never really got into the incredibly cluttered Infinity Engine graphics. Would love a proper 3D remake that either improves the gameplay or makes it even less relevant.
Kojima makes unique games, and his best work has come from him forging ahead with his own ideas of how to do things. You risk mass appeal by doing things that way, but if you want a mass appeal product, there’s really no shortage of them.
Personally, I liked the handcuffs. Long-winded and contrived exposition is part of Kojima’s style, so I knew what I was getting in to. I liked the game in general. I even thought the product placement was hilarious. I liked God of War too, and the latest AAA FPS Game™. I’m happy they all exist.
The character names seemed cheesy at first but I get the impression many of them were selected for their mnemonic worth. You don't need to look up where Alex Weatherstone is or where to find Jake Wind-- their names suggest they're at the weather station and wind farm. The Southlake guy is at South Lake City. Heartman is at the heart-shaped lake. Etc.
It's not even unrealistic either. Ever met anybody surnamed Smith? Shumacher? Ericsson? Literal surnames used to be used to identify peoples' roles in the community.
The game uses a solar senor on the cartridge to charge your weapons and abilities. Very innovative
The first Metal Gear is available in English on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Not sure about the MSX2 version. It's also included in the Gamecube release of MGS.
No official English release for Metal Gear 2 on the MSX2. Fan translations available.
Many of the Metal Gear Solid games have had re-releases on the Xbox 360, and Windows ports in some cases.
Snatcher is on the Sega CD and Sega Saturn.
Policenauts, Saturn and 3DO.
He's had less-involved roles in a lot of games on other platforms, like the Gameboy Advance (e.g. Boktai, for which he served in producer and designer roles)
The first metal gear available on the NES has not much to do with the real first metal gear game, Hideo Kojima was not really involved in that adaptation for the NES, so it isn't considered canon or anything.
If I had to pick a platform for the full experience, that'd be the PS3 and the Legacy Collection bundle, which also includes MGS4 (physical BDD) and MGS1 as a digital download, I'm not sure if it's still available, but when it was, it was a great bundle.
Honestly though, it doesn't hold up well, and even as revolutionary as it was for it's time the dialogue was still often cringy.
I consider the gameplay to be superior, but it might not be worth it when it ruins the game's storytelling.