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07 July 2010 @ 01:35 pm
A ghost in the machine  

I finished Peace Walker last night in a frenzy of awesomeness. At about 2 AM. Three years since I was this invested in a series and completely worth it.

Tell you what, I was going to rant about the futility of sneaking past armed prison guards bare-handed, about how all the triangle-mashing has destroyed my fingers for a week, about that suicidal trek through a base crawling with hostiles on permanent alert, or how the last regular fight took me a full hour after I finally managed not to screw up within the first minute... but now I'm done and I can't really bring myself to. The ride sure was something, but in the end it's got nothing on the story and the way it's told. If I had to rate this game? I'd give it eleven stars of ten.

I loved how the final chapter (4, that is) was a perfect mix of epic and understated.

But you can kindly pretend for a while that I know where to start, m'dear reader.

--They did a brilliant job on the cutscenes in general. It's handled so well it doesn't even matter they're not traditional cinematics on the PSP like they are on the "big" platforms - they fine-tuned the illustrated aspect of it so nicely that you don't expect or want anything else. It has a sort of timeless feel to it.

--The moment when Big Boss came this close to becoming "another Che, dead at thirty-nine", I did an unabashed double-take. Hey, ever feel like a reference has been taken too far on your expense? Think of Big Boss and count yourself lucky.

--Strangelove is such an amazing character. Whatever scene she's in, emotionally charged electrotorture or a quiet agreement with the former victim, her presence makes it better. And her relationship with The Boss is no less involved than the one Big Boss has with her - there's more to it than just similarity. It's like everyone who managed to get close to The Boss while she was alive ended up with a lifelong contract.

--SPEAKING OF THE BOSS. Oh, Boss. Way to make me actually feel sorry for rocket-launching that machine into oblivion.

--I'd go as far as to say this game is an even worse time to be in Big Boss's skin than Snake Eater. Just consider: he finds himself with no choice but to kill The Boss all over again - the point about this Boss being an AI is rendered incredibly moot in the final analysis - he's there in that claustrophobic cylinder core with her voice all around, pulling her virtual mind apart on a freaking time limit, oh and did I mention the voice deteriorates and throws about random lines as the AI gets disassembled? Still, he goes through with it only because there's nothing else that can cut that data transmission - except wait, it DOESN'T go offline. The guy has just relived his worst nightmare and it leaves his fate still in the hands of some unreachable board of bureaucrats who are apparently not as hesitant to launch a counter-strike against fake nukes as the asshat who had first input the data (now dead) estimated. IF THIS IS NOT FUCKED UP, YOU TELL ME WHAT IS.
(As an aside to the "random lines" I mentioned, not all of them are random. One could even be read as a warning to Big Boss: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" changes into "The lonely fox chases the one-eyed hound". Why hello there, Major Zero.)

--And that's another thing I like about MGS: it's not linear, and it doesn't buy into the cliché of a single hero who always saves the day. (Come to think of it, this is even more pronounced in the Big Boss storyline since it puts such emphasis on his supporters.) Not going to lie, though, it was beyond badass when he sort of rebounded and was all, "Then get me Washington on the phone, THEY'RE THE ONES WHO GAVE ME THIS TITLE AND THEY ARE GOING TO LISTEN TO BIG BOSS IF THEY KNOW WHAT'S FUCKING GOOD FOR THEM, NOW." (Not a direct quote here, obviously. He's not that full of himself.) But leave it to realism that he managed to convince the one guy on the committee he spoke to and nobody else. And then the American Commie Scare of the Cold War(TM) took over when the rest of the board jumped up, determined to take those Russian fiends with them and who'd believe some impostor over in Nicaragua and his insane claim those missiles clearly showing on the screen aren't real, right? Right?!
Suffice to say, I headdesked and applauded Kojima.

--I'm not kidding; Kojima knows how to incorporate even the freaking load screen into the overall story. The sky is ever the limit here.

--Further fourth wall-breaking things! MGS is fantastic in the way it's not just a "game": the characters are like these people you know (with pretty extensive life stories at this point as well) and there's always something in the interactive aspect of the whole thing that engages you. When I first finished MGS4, for instance, I thought it was awesome there was no "health bar" at the end (and for the last few minutes before it was disposed of, it served more as an indicator of which characters came to the foreground). Made it so much more meaningful. In Peace Walker... they give you free rein to demolish the machine. Yep, the Boss one after that hour-long battle and AI issues. No indication how it's working, except that you see it gradually fall apart with each hit. It doesn't have a human shape but rest assured that it's disturbingly lifelike, with that likeness becoming even more pronounced when said machine's just standing there shaking and seems to have bleeding wounds from the artillery blasts. Even though this didn't take too long, I spent the entire time going, "I don't want to do this, why do I have to do this, Boss, those fucking nukes!"

--AND THEN. Nah, I am not summing up the key point of the story - you have to experience that scene. All I'm going to say is that it has a lot to do with this entry's title, and turns the expected conclusion upside down.

--As for the very ending, I'm still torn. On the one hand, I'm happy for Strangelove finally getting her answer and being at some semblance of peace with The Boss's life. But then there's the matter of Big Boss that only really hits home when he puts it to words himself. I'm not going to spoil that either, but... augh.

--Next I'm off to catch up with all the convos/library files, since there's a lot I haven't heard yet and no doubt there will be some new ones. Got a couple special people to join, after all! See, even the potential replay is arranged to fit in.

Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: 'Sleeping Sun' - Nightwish
scarlet_chan: Miyavi_Coolscarlet_chan on July 7th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
I want a PSP now. I MUST play this game.
See you later, instigator: YoshikiLoveoudeteron on July 7th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Hope I haven't revealed too much!
scarlet_chan: hidescarlet_chan on July 8th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
It's not too much. It's bait to me. ;3
See you later, instigator: Birkin/Wesker Lookingoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
Melmo: Snape's worst memorymustntgetmy on July 8th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Whoa, wait...you already finished it? I'm impressed! And I'm glad that you had so much fun with it.
See you later, instigator: Dr. Manhattan - photographoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
Heh, I sat at it for hours at a time! Turns out it's not entirely finished - the main story might be, but there's a Chapter 5 as a sort of "what happened next". Do I even need to say how cool that is?
Melmo: you know it's truemustntgetmy on July 9th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
That's so awesome! FMA did that too last week and I was really excited about it, so I know how you must be feeling now.
See you later, instigator: 30StMoudeteron on July 9th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)
High-five! I really like that they did this so you're still getting new stuff to do, as well as the opportunity to choose what to replay without losing anything.
Melmo: before you gomustntgetmy on July 9th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
Haha, I should mention that FMA is a show, so I definitely get the awesome aspect of "what happened next" for that, but not so much the replaying without losing anything. Though I don't think I need to experience that to know that it's good.
See you later, instigator: Johnny Weir - Imperatoroudeteron on July 11th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
I know, that's why I mentioned it as something that's sort of the same as the show did but not entirely. I'm actually becoming more and more impressed since I keep getting new missions. Even, like, story-related ones. So yeah, you can imagine how good it is!
Melmo: Azula losing itmustntgetmy on July 12th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
Haha, sorry. Of course you know after all my rambling about it. But yeah, that is incredibly awesome that you keep getting story-related stuff to do after "completing" the game.
See you later, instigator: House/Wilson Loudoudeteron on July 12th, 2010 10:24 am (UTC)
"The gift that keeps on giving" has never been a more appropritate thing to say. :D
Melmo: the boy who livedmustntgetmy on July 13th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
✩ Lex: → sorry I cannot hear you I'm kinda busysparkism on July 8th, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
NOT READING BECAUSE AAAH SPOILERS BUT HUZZAH! \o/ you are a speedy mcspeedster. wow how did that extra 'er' get in there I must've been really excited.

Edited at 2010-07-08 04:37 am (UTC)
See you later, instigator: Ocelot - Meow for Backupoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:35 am (UTC)
I EXPECT YOU TO COME BACK TO THIS POST AFTER YOU'RE DONE, OR ELSE I'LL RAMBLE AT YOU ENDLESSLY IN COMMENTS. XD And thanks! 'Tis a great title indeed. Nothing shows excitement like an extra "er".
✩ Lex: → fight for honor and humanitysparkism on July 8th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
I'LL TRY. BUT PROBABLY FORGET. POINT ME BACK HERE IF I EVER FINISH. ♥ stupid fingers like making up words
See you later, instigator: Gigaville - rail gunoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
SURE THING. I'LL BE ROOTING FOR YOU IN THE MEANTIME. Geez, don't complain you've got creative fingers!
✩ Lex: → brace yourselves!sparkism on July 8th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
♥ don't hold your breath, though, this might take a while. xD creative fingers, OR DEMON FINGERS?
See you later, instigator: Daisuke Takahashi - WIN!oudeteron on July 8th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Good things come to those who wait. :D MAYBE BOTH. *UNIVERSE IMPLODES*
✩ Lex: → classy facepalmsparkism on July 8th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
you are a very patient person. OH NOOOOO NOT THE UNIVERSE.
See you later, instigator: Bad Education2oudeteron on July 8th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can be. Now I just need to live to a hundred to inherit the title of The End. XD AND YET WE'RE STILL HERE, WHAT THE HELL.
✩ Lex: → now what are we doing?sparkism on July 8th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
a worthy goal to strive towards. HAVE WE SURPASSED THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE!?
See you later, instigator: Ocelot - Meow for Backupoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
Glad you approve! The Mosin's one of my favourite weapons in MGS anyway. SEEMS LIKE IT. TALK ABOUT EPIC.
✩ Lex: → I went down and the flames went highersparkism on July 8th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
See you later, instigator: Evgeni Plushenko - upwardsoudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
✩ Lex: → you're a starsparkism on July 8th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
See you later, instigator: Johnny Weir - Imperatoroudeteron on July 8th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)