The Guest Writer pieces we’re featuring have settled into a routine now. That routine being, you send them to me and I plan to schedule them, only to have that plan completely slip my mind for a week or two. I get around to it in the end though. Today we have a feature written by Gamoc about a favourite PS3 online experience and the changes that have taken place. For anybody who wants to be featured as a Guest Writer (and score a massive 250 TSA points) the address to send your entries is peter[at]thesixthaxis[dot]com with TSAGuest in the subject line.
I slowly edged towards the archway in front of me, checking around me to make sure I wasn’t about to be flanked. Leaning against the wall, I checked the alley ahead. Empty – Or so it seemed at first glance. I could see the feet of an enemy under the van that sat in the middle of alley. Suddenly, another soldier appeared from an opening between two buildings and directed a hale of bullets at me. I went back behind the corner as a grenade tinkered along the floor next to my hiding spot – I dived through a window to my left, narrowly avoiding the grenade’s explosion as I rolled to my feet.
Quickly, I got into a cardboard box, being careful not to move as the two soldiers climbed through the window and moved into the next room. When they were out of sight, I climbed out of my box and followed them, quietly. One had gone upstairs, the other was at the end of the corridor, shooting at someone through the door. I sneaking up behind the shooter, I slammed him into the ground, quickly taking him out with a silenced pistol shot or two to the head before I pulled out my M4 and moved to the staircase. I moved up slowly, peering through the door at the top of the stairs as I reached them. It seemed clear, so I crouched and crept into the room, looking around for any signs of movement. Suddenly, a pistol shot hit the door frame behind me, causing me to swing around, aim and shoot without even thinking. The second soldier dropped to the ground with a dull thud as I caught my breath and reloaded.
This is Metal Gear Online. Or, more accurately, this was Metal Gear Online. Recently I re-bought Metal Gear Solid 4, for a few reasons. One of these reasons was because I missed Hideo Kojima’s quirky sense of humour, whilst another reason was that I missed the game in general – there are few games that give the sense of intense ‘ohgodohgodohgod’ that you get when you’re hiding place is two feet from a GEKKO in MGS4. The biggest reason, and the reason why I hurried home so quickly, was Metal Gear Online. Every match I played when the game first released all those months ago were like the previous two paragraphs – clever, tactical, even stealthy. Never in any other online experience have I both barged in face-first, guns blazing (and got my friend shot in the arse), then decide to take a couple of silenced weapons and sneak around in a way that would make Solid Snake himself proud.
But now, I am in mourning for my arse – sorry, I mean, I am in mourning for MGO. When I first played the game I enjoyed it so thoroughly I bought the whole damn game again so I could play it. Even barring the 12 hour-long download I had to go through to update it all because Konami are idiots who inexplicably didn’t use the usual PSN system for patching, and even ignoring that I spent 90 minutes trying to figure out what my damn Game ID was, I was still sorely perplexed that, when I finally managed to actually get into a match, the quality of the game has dropped sharply. Suddenly, the game is horribly laggy. Inexplicably, I die immediately after respawning, leaving me sat on my couch wondering how, in the name of God’s life-giving balls, did the guy who killed me before manage to take me out again immediately after respawning on the other side of the map when there’s nobody around but a load of suspicious-looking cardboard boxes?
These are not even bugs that were around before. I never experienced any bugs the first time around, not even in the beta, provided you don’t consider the Konami IDs and Game IDs to be a bug in Whoever-the-Hell-Thought-of-that-Idea-in-the-First-Place’s mind (that is his real name). The game was smooth and, despite being disconnected by a few game hosts (who were pure evil), the game was bug free – at least it was as far as I remember. Konami actually managed to introduce new glitches and problems into a game that was relatively free of them in the first place. It makes me wonder if they missed the bug quota the first time round and had to correct it via their ridiculous patching methods.
So how in the in Mary’s unwashed crotch have Konami managed to balls up the game so much? MGO was a winning formula – it was slower and much, much more tactical than any other online shooter out there. And it let you hide in boxes and play dead. If Call of Duty IV let me hide in a box, then pop out to shoot someone in the back of the head like the cowardly (but hilarious) little girl I really am, I’d probably still own it. You listening, Infinity Ward? Modern Warfare 2 suggestion: Cardboard boxes. Weird rubber ducks probably wouldn’t go amiss, either. In fact, just hire Kojima.
Now for you, Konami: Fix your game. I loved MGO with all of my black hole, so please, for the love of God, fix it again so I don’t feel like making a Metal Gear Ray stand all over it. ‘Eeewww, I’ve stood in buggy, low-quality online gaming’. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to join me in my quest to ignore bugs in MGO as best I can, you can add my PSN ID (Gamoc) and we’ll tear it up, Old Snake-style.