Here at TSA we don’t cover the downloadable stuff as much as we should, but it’s part of our New Year Resolutions to address that, along with some other cool changes. To start us off, then, we asked our resident LittleBigPlanet expert, AndyTorr, to take a look at the recent Metal Gear Solid download pack from the lovely chaps at Media Molecule. If you’re unware, Andy was the mastermind behind the absolutely wonderful TSA Towers level that we championed, and knows more about switches and stickers than most.
It wasn’t easy, mind. “I change my mind more than my underwear, which isn’t that often, but often enough to make me sound like a wally,” Andy told us. “One example of this was my angry post about Ferrari Challenge, you know, that game on the Playstation 3? But I took it all back a few days later, only to decide I hate it again the very next day. My point being, I don’t usually do write-ups, I don’t do articles and I don’t do reviews, because I will only change my mind the very next day.”
Thankfully Andy relented, breaking tradition and taking one for the team in the name of investigative journalism. And I promised him a pint, which usually does the trick. We soon found out that Andy’s also rather fond of MGS: “If you’re as mentally obsessed with the Metal Gear Solid series as I am, then you will often find yourself with a belt around your arm trying to push anything MGS into your veins.” When he found out Media Molecule were working on an entire game pack based around Solid Snake and co, he got a tad excited. ‘Tad’ being the new word for standing in the middle of the street shouting Shadow Moses over and over again, apparently.
Anyway, one small, but expected delay later, the DLC was officially in the store for everyone to download. “I was surprised how quick it downloaded actually,” said Andy, “considering the amount of content you get.” The first thing he did was dress his Sackboy up in the different costumes available, these being Solid Snake, Meryl, Screaming Mantis and Raiden (and the guard costume you unlock a bit later). “They do cost a little extra bob, but the Mantis outfit is worth the entire price alone. Also, Raiden looks kinda cute.”
Andy goes on: “Now that I was dressed for the part, I began my journey into the new levels. It starts out with some VR training, introducing you to the new Paintinator gun. I didn’t really understand why they gave us a paint ball gun at first, but when you fire your first few rounds you instantly fall in love with the sound it makes. Being a bit of a create whore myself, I also took note of all the new materials being used, and started thinking about how I can use them, new things I can build, bits and bobs I can improve in my own levels.” And there’s more: “when the music hit my ears a whole world of ideas starting popping into my head.”
After you play through the next set of levels it becomes obvious that they are kind of sticking to the Middle East theme from the beginning of MGS4, Andy told me. “Not that this was a bad thing, because the level designs were great.” The effects of chipped stone on the floor, bullet holes scattered on the walls, and the new background they have created all worked well and gave it a brand new feel to the already loved LBP. However, they weren’t really very long. Andy says that from starting the VR training to finishing the 5th level only took him about 20 minutes, and that’s not enough. “Maybe thats just me being a bit tight, but I was expecting quite a bit more for my cash,” he said. “Again, maybe me just being me, but the levels quickly drifted out of anything Metal Gear, and just became something you would find on the community area any other day, with the odd new material shouting ‘look at me, I’m that texture from the Gecko’s right foot!’“.
As things started to go a little bit down hill for Andy, they suddenly hit a vertical drop. On the final level you start in a similar fashion to the last level on the story mode, but instead of the creator being behind the glass, we have Liquid Snake. Which isn’t actually Liquid Snake, because he didn’t have long grey hair and glasses, that is Liquid Ocelot. He leads you to the so called ‘climax’ of the DLC that is REX. “Only it would have been,” said Andy, “if it wasn’t 4 foot tall, and sat on its bum the whole time.” Instead, we get a lazy attempt at a once epic boss battle, which takes no more than a couple of minutes to complete, leaving you feeling empty and a little cheated. Where was the epicness? Where was the fight on his head? “But more to the point,” complains Andy, “where was his little rocket?”
The best part of the DLC for Andy was the handful of new items available for you to abuse in the create mode. “With 3 brand new music tracks, the Paintinator & paint switch, several new materials and a new background, it really has given us creators a lovely breath of fresh Kojima-ridden air,” he said. “Don’t read this thinking that I’m slating the whole thing, thats just the spoilt brat inside me poking his ugly head out and asking for more all the time.” The pack is well worth the cash, and you get a lot for your money. But if you’re not into MGS in a big way, the only thing you will really enjoy is the gun.
If you downloaded the MGS pack, tell us what you think of it in the comments below. Thanks to Andy for his time.