With MGS4 only 10 days away here’s a little something to get prepared for the battlefield…
METAL GEAR MONDAYS! – Top 12 Tips for MGS4!
+ Posted by Brandon Laurino // Konami Online
We’ve noticed in the comments that some of you have been requesting more specifics on the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Who better to provide that than someone who’s writing the strategy guide? Presenting his top 12 tips for MGS4 is James Price, part of the team at Piggyback finishing up Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The Complete Official Guide.
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James Price, Piggyback Interactive Limited:
We’ve been playing MGS4 every day for the past ten weeks, and the good news is: we’re still enjoying every minute of it. If we had a dollar for every time that someone on the team has said “Did you see…?” or “Have you tried…?”, we could probably fund Hideo Kojima’s next project, and still have spare change to buy a nice holiday home – like, say, in the Bahamas.
Okay: so that’s perhaps a slight exaggeration. But really, MGS4 has more secrets and subtle features than most games have… well, game.
MGS4 is a game built from the ground up for repeat play. As the story draws to a close, you are awarded with one or more secret emblems that acknowledge (and, in effect, rate) your performance and style of play. Usually, even veteran gamers only unlock one, perhaps two on their initial playthrough. There are a ton of these accolades in total.
Though it contains a handful of situations which have the potential to stop even hardcore players in their tracks (including one audaciously excellent boss f!ght puzzle), Metal Gear Solid 4 is defined not so much by what you do during play, but what you haven’t done. When you pass through a checkpoint your first reaction often isn’t to focus on what lies ahead, but to reflect on how you could have approached the previous area in a completely different way. MGS4 constantly inspires the question “What if…?” – even as the final credits crawl by, you suspect that you didn’t so much “beat” it as simply reach the end. Precious few games evoke this kind of response, and it’s a big part of what makes Kojima-san’s opus so very special.
Kojima Productions has packed MGS4 with an incredible range of hidden weapons and items, Easter eggs, dialogue sequences, post-game rewards and other such “optional” features. When you take the sheer number of tactical options into account, you realize that many players could reach the conclusion of MGS4 a dozen times, and still not have fully explored the possibilities on offer. There are gadgets and weapons that a player might completely neglect to try out (or, indeed, find), even after twenty or thirty hours of play; later, using some of them is a revelation as you realize the new strategic options they offer. Others are just fun, pure and simple.
In the meantime, check out these 12 exclusive tips to get you started with your own tactical espionage action:
1. Life Gauge
Keeping the Life Gauge topped up is vital, but it’s just as important not to panic and keep filling the gauge unnecessarily with precious items. Though you can replenish it with healing objects such as Rations and Noodles, you should take care not to waste them – especially on higher difficulty levels. Using a Ration when Snake’s Life Gauge is 80% full, for example, is plain foolish. You usually don’t need to even think about refilling the gauge until it drops below 25%. During boss f!ghts or difficult skirmishes, you should instead equip Rations, Noodles or Regain and position them as an “active” item. Once Snake’s health reaches zero, these will be automatically used until your stocks are exhausted.
One other method of restoring Snake’s health is simply to find a safe hiding place and let him stand still. After a few seconds the Life Gauge will slowly start to creep back up. If you crouch or go prone, it will refill more quickly. If you have good cover, you’ll find that this even works during boss battles. This can be a great way of refilling your Life Gauge for free – essential when playing on a high difficulty level. Note that recovery speed depends on the condition of Snake’s other main gauge, the Psyche Gauge; the higher the Psyche Gauge, the quicker the Life Gauge refills. (Incidentally, if you have an extended break from playing MGS4 that lasts for more than 24 hours, you may notice that Snake’s Life and Psyche gauges are refilled by 20% per day. It’s hardly necessary, but a nice touch nonetheless.)
2. Psyche Gauge
The Psyche Gauge is situated directly below the Life Gauge, appearing as four separate blocks. This represents Snake’s psychological wellbeing, which has a direct effect on his performance. Essentially, the more stressed Snake is, the less effective he becomes. Keeping him as calm and focused as possible should be your main goal in terms of managing this meter. The Psyche Gauge can be refilled with certain healing items, such as Noodles; dedicated Psyche-related objects such as the Compress do not directly refill the gauge, but instead temporarily increase the speed at which it is replenished. Cigs can also be equipped to regain Psyche, but to the detriment of the Life Gauge.
As with the Life Gauge, the Psyche Gauge can also be refilled simply by staying still, and more quickly by crouching or going prone. The better Snake feels generally (not too cold, hot, wet, dirty, or overloaded) the faster his Psyche will replenish. You can tell when he’s not feeling great by observing his behavior or murmurs of discontent – if he starts feeling his age, it’s usually a direct sign that something is wrong. Finding solutions to a.ssuage these symptoms is usually just a matter of common sense. If Snake is freezing in cold water for instance, get him out of there; if he’s overheating in direct sunlight, find some shade where he can cool down. One of the major effects of a low Psyche Gauge is that it will severely hamper Snake’s ability to aim accurately. The more stressed and hyped up he is, the more his aim will be impaired; this can have a particularly detrimental effect when he’s using a sniper rifle. Try using a scope when Snake is overanxious and you’ll see how his unsteady hands make it thoroughly difficult to make a clean headshot. The Pentazemin item can be used to temporarily improve his marksmanship when required, but preventative maintenance is always better.
3. Stress Level & Combat High
The Psyche Gauge is affected by, which is depicted by a number that appears underneath it. If Snake is sweltering in a hot, evil-smelling location, or alternatively shivering in a freezing location, his Stress level will rise. He will also become stressed if his equipment is too heavy (over 70 kg), or during an Alert phase. When Snake’s Stress level exceeds 50%, the display will turn red and he will begin to lose Psyche. As his Stress rating continues to increase, his Psyche will diminish at a great rate. However, as long Snake is not experiencing a Combat High, his Stress level can only reach a maximum of 80%.
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A Combat High will kick in if Snake shoots with a gun more than 100 times during the Alert phase. Notification that he is currently experiencing a Combat High will appear next to the Life Gauge. During this enhanced state, Psyche does not decrease, and any damage caused by enemies is halved. But it’s not all good news: during a Combat High, Snake’s Stress level can shoot up as far as 100%. It’s a short-term boon, but the repercussions can be painful.
4. Choosing your Equipment: Weapons
When it comes to selecting weapons, you have two important choices to make – which five weapons you have available by pressing the R2 button (which you decide in the pause menu), and which one of these five weapons you will actually wield (which you decide in the weapons window). Your chosen five should always be balanced. A good configuration would be to have a silenced weapon, a powerful submachine gun for close-range action, a sniper rifle, a grenade type, and one diversionary item such as an empty Magazine. The weapon you actually hold should obviously always reflect your immediate needs.
There are many ways to obtain new weapons or ammo. The most obvious is to search for “hidden” collectibles and pick up weapons from the battlefield, but you can also search corpses or pay a visit to Drebin’s Shop.
5. Choosing your Equipment: Items
As with weapons, you have two important choices to make here: which eight items you will have available to you by pressing the L2 button (which you decide in the pause menu), and which one of these eight you actually use (which you decide in the items window). The eight that you choose should also be balanced, although this decision is less critical than with weapons. However, the one “active” item you opt for is very important. At first, you will probably tend to equip the Solid Eye most of the time, because it gives you a better understanding of your surroundings. As you eventually acquire the knack of using the Threat Ring instead of the Solid Eye, though, you’ll soon be able to free up the item slot for something else – such as a Ration during boss f!ghts.
To obtain new items, you can either pick up any that you find (as shown on the maps in this guide) or search bodies. You can’t buy any from Drebin so take great care not to waste anything (especially healing items such as Rations).
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Last edited by GodzMustBeCrazy; 06-02-2008 at 07:25 PM..