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Metal Gear Solid 4

PSM3 visits Japan to finish MGS4, and give you unparalleled, spoiler-free, access to the most important next-gen game on any console [Part 2]

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As it stands, don't expect perfection - nothing this ambitious, or heartfelt, is - certain elements could be more clearly flagged, Kojima could self-edit more ruthlessly and the controls are still fiddly, if incredibly deep. But like GTA: San Andreas it's an unprecedented achievement, that you could spend months eulogising about in terms of unique moments, despite technical imperfections. That's how Metal Gear has always been - an intensely personal game, created with singular vision, not the bland, cold hand of focus groups that delete anything considered 'edgy', 'challenging' or 'obtuse'.

It's a game of contradictions, as fiddly as it precise, as genuinely funny as it is rambling, as beautiful as it is, at times, functional. There's something to delight - and frustrate - everyone, from newcomer to veteran, a welcome relief from the sea of bland, demographic pandering, shooters that placate myopic shareholders, but inspire devotion in precisely nobody. In short, it's a rallying point for hardcore gamers - or rather, anyone who thinks games have the potential to be richer than any other media. It's a Hollywood blockbuster, and obscurio indie flick rolled into one seething, imperfect, unmatched river of entertainment. And, er, it's not even quite finished, so might be even better than the version we played.

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Ten years on from Metal Gear Solid on Psone, MGS4 feels like Kojima coming full circle, having previously insisted this would be his last Metal Gear game - a claim neither repeated or denied during our time in Nasu. "I want people to look back on themselves , to reflect on what has happened in between, and how you have aged", claims Kojima.

In that respect, MGS4 is a humbling, almost poignant success. The truth is, it makes MGS look like a crude artefact from an ancient age, echoing Kojima's theme about the thrill, and dangers of technological acceleration. In that context, two months is hardly that long to wait for the most anticipated next-gen game yet. When the game's finally available for review, you can rest assured that no-one will have played it more - handy, because when you've completed it, our real conversations about the staggering depth, and achievement, of MGS4 can begin.

[This is part two of PSM3's huge MGS4 cover feature. Part one can be found here. Pick up issue 100 of PSM3 for the full feature, including extra info and loads of awesome new screenshots].

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