First and foremost, MGS4 is the first 50GB game for the PS3. In fact, that kinda makes it one of the biggest games ever (file size) if not the biggest. This space has allowed Kojima to split the game into 5 episodes/locations. This is a first for a Metal Gear game, as previously they have all revolved in the one part of the world. So far we know MGS4 takes place in the Middle East, South America, Alaska, a city in Eastern Europe (looks like Prague) and a.n. other location. This has meant that the styles of gameplay for each location will likely be different too.
From what I have seen, the controls have been hugely refined, with L1 moving to the over-the-shoulder aim and R1 being the fire button. SIXAXIS control has been implemented to allow the game to be played as an FPS (First Person Shooter) and the right analog stick now controls the full 360 camera. Additionally, the Triangle button now seems to focus on more actions than ever, including moving over objects, pressing against surfaces, playing dead, CQC, first person view amongst other things. Square's only function seems to be toggling auto-aim on or off whilst I imagine Circle will still deal with punches and kicks. The X button has gotten an overhaul as well, where now you have to hold x to lie down rather than the classic 3 taps system.
MGS4 is the first in the series which makes stealth an option rather than a necessity. Whilst I reckon I will still play it as a stealth game as I am accustomed to, the option of playing it in a very different manner - i.e. guns blazing - opens the game up to huge replayability.
New features in the game include:
- Over 70 weapons, all of which are customisable from front grips to laser sites and scopes, to grenade launcher attachments and flashlight additions. That's more weapons than any game to date!
- A new camoflauge system with Snake's Octocamo suit. Pressing up against a surface, the suit will adapt to match its texture, making Snake virtually invisible to the naked eye. With this Snake can also wear an Octocamo mask which will have also have predetermined patterns, one of which is "Young Snake"...
- The Solid Eye is another of Snake's new toys which acts as an advanced sensor for the map, binoculars, thermo vision and night vision.
- The MkII is a little drone built by Otacon to assist Snake. It can be used for reconaissance to stun enemies and gather enemies' weapons.
- The Drum can replaces the old cardboard box, it can deflect bullets and Snake can use it to make rolling attacks.
- The Threat Ring is a new sense for Snake which indicates the location and proximity of nearby enemies.
- The in-game iPod is used to play music tracks which can be found throughout the game.
- The Stress gauge represents the effect the battle is having on Snake. When peaked at 100% he will temporarily hit all targets with absolute accuracy before collapsing.
- The Psyche gauge linked to the Stress gauge influences Snake's ability to heal and relax and aim correctly amongst other things yet to be revealed.
- Interactive cut-scenes when activated following on-screen prompts will trigger flashbacks to previous scenes from the Metal Gear games before it.
- Re-gain energy drinks to boost stamina.
- A hidden costume of Altair from Assassin's Creed for Snake unlocked by doing something "very special".
- A new codec screen which lets you rewind in case you missed any important points.
- Drebin points allows you to buy new weapons and upgrades. The system adds to replayability as we know already that there are certain weapons that won't be available on first or second play throughs.
There's probably a tonne more but that's all I know from what I've read without dipping into any spoilers. And of course there's Metal Gear Online aswell but I don't know enough about that to comment.
That's it for now, tomorrow I'll post up all the review scores and remarks made by credited reviewers.