In the last entry of my gaming backlog countdown I went from 35 games to 30, and checked off three games on my PlayStation 3, plus two games I played on my PlayStation 4.
I actually became a dad between the last gaming backlog post and when I started playing the games for this one. This does not affect these posts much, except how much of my free time I can use on video games.
This time I’m checking off the last three games I have on my PS3, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I also finished both games in the short Hotline Miami series on my PS4. Let’s start with those!
Hotline Miami is a top-down shooter with a focus on mastering the combat loop. In the game you are faced with an overwhelming amount of enemies, and you need to take them down quickly and efficiently before they get a chance to kill you.
Both you and your enemies die in one hit in this game. That could have been really frustrating, had it not been for the game instantly resetting the levels upon death. This makes it much more fun to try and try again until you have mastered an area. I would find myself quickly getting incrementally better at the game, so that an area that previously seemed impossible would be pretty easy with enough tries.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
This sequel is very mechanically similar to the first game, but has a much larger focus on the story.
Whereas in the first game you mostly played as one character in a straight-forward story, the sequel have you jumping back and forth in the story’s timeline, and between several interesting characters.
You get to play as a Miami detective, a Russian mobster, an investigative writer, a crazy movie star, a soldier, and many others. All these people’s story-lines weave in and out of each other, and in and out of the first game’s timeline.
The story in these two games is one of the most interesting stories I have played through in a while, and I had a lot of fun trying to work out the story from what I was given. It all felt very David Lynchian!
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
I had never played any Metal Gear games prior to this, and my main exposure to the plot is from a Starbomb song. So I decided to watch a video of all cut-scenes in Metal Gear Solid before I started playing the sequel. After familiarizing myself with the characters and story of the first game, I was ready to get started with MGS2.
MSG is a stealth series of video games, a genre I am not really all that familiar with. But I had a lot of fun sneaking around, silently taking down the enemy forces.
When the game released in 2001 a lot of people felt angry and cheated when the protagonist for most of the game turned out to not be Solid Snake from the earlier games in the series, but rather a new character called Raiden, despite the marketing and box-art featuring Solid Snake. Almost nineteen years later, I was already aware of this twist due to pop-cultural osmosis. So that twist did not affect my enjoyment of the game in the same way that is seems to have affected the people who played the game when it was first released.
I do think that the story got in the way a bit too often, which is something I don’t say lightly. A good story is one of the main things I look for in a video game. But in this game I often felt myself getting a bit annoyed as just as I was getting into the gameplay, the game would launch in to several long cut-scenes that I felt obligated to watch in order to understand what was going on. But the cut-scenes would often just get into inane details about a minor character’s fear of swimming or something.
That being said, I did largely enjoy the story, I just feel like it really needed some heavy editing to work it down to a better experience.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
This is one of the best games I have played in this whole gaming backlog series!
The story in the previous game annoyed me by constantly bugging me while I was playing. But in this game I was actively seeking out more dialogue by constantly calling Snake’s team members on the Codec. Oh, how the tide has turned!
The Codec conversations in MGS2 were often very boring, but the conversations in MGS3 are mostly funny and/or interesting.
I especially enjoyed the conversations with Para-Medic. Each time I saved my game she would inform me of the plot of a real movie from before 1964, the year this game is set in. And each time I would find a new animal in the forest, she would fill me in on some facts about the creature. And then Snake would inevitably ask what the animal tasted like, be it snake or bird or goat. Great fun!
The main plot in this game brought to mind a lot of fun action movies. It even has a James Bond-esque theme song. The gameplay also reinforces this feeling, and I had a big smile on my face while playing this!
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Peace Walker was actually released after Metal Gear Solid 4. So I watched a video on YouTube with a summary of MGS4 after finishing MGS3.
But then I also learned that Peace Walker was both a lot larger than previous Metal Gear games. And it was originally released for the PlayStation Portable system. The game have also heavily influenced the much more recent Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for the PS4.
Factoring all this together I decided to skip this game, and instead watched another summary video. I would much rather get to the end of this backlog earlier. Because when I finally finish this thing I will allow myself to buy new games again. And I would rather get to play the more refined version of Peace Walker which I suspect MGS5 to be.
After all, this backlog series is not about necessarily finishing these games. I just have to satisfactorily cross these games off my list, one way or another. Most of the time that means playing the games to completion. But as long as I am happy removing them from the list that is good enough. And I can always go back to play this game at a later point, if I really feel like it.