The Influence Of The Metal Gear Franchise
There’s rarely anything in the medium of games which doesn’t use or borrow from something that’s come before and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With that in mind, here are games that were influenced by Metal Gear and Hideo Kojima…
Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear franchise has an extensive and beloved history and is often recognised as one of the medium’s all-time greats. From 2D, top-down scrollers to the massive open world of Metal Gear Solid V, the franchise has covered a lot of ground and, consequently, spawned many imitators.
Whether they intended to or not, quite a few franchises took inspiration from Kojima’s surreal series. Here are some of the best.
Whilst not a stealth game by any means, the Max Payne franchise shares its stoic protagonist, explosive action scenes and general testosterone-heavy exposition with Kojima’s own absurd games. Max Payne also gives Solid Snake a run for his money in the ‘most ridiculous name for a protagonist’ award category.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
A game with heavy sci-fi elements, plus an aloof and moody protagonist? I could be talking about either series. Whilst not present in the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution adopted a Metal Gear Solid style minimap, and even the melding of intense third-person combat and subtle stealth mechanics are reminiscent of Kojima’s series. Adam Jensen might not have Solid Snake’s popularity, but they have more than a few things in common.
Throw an under-equipped protagonist into a militaristic setting and you’ve already got the makings of something tonally reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid. République allows the player to communicate with Hope, the protagonist, through the use of phones and computers, not entirely unlike Metal Gear’s codec system. The game also features voice work from David Hayter and Jennifer Hale, who respectively voiced Solid Snake and Naomi Hunter in Kojima’s series.
The Last of Us
Naughty Dog’s acclaimed dystopian adventure might not seem at all like Metal Gear Solid on the surface. Stylistically and thematically, they’re worlds apart. It’s in the details that they start to resemble one another. Although run-and-gun tactics are viable in both, it’s the focus on quiet, stealthy resolutions to combat that link the two. Both Joel and Snake can take down a horde of enemies without much effort, but it’s in the cautious approaches that both truly shine.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Put a lone, elite warrior in a place of mayhem and absurd villains and you’ve nailed the basic Metal Gear experience. Another stealth-lite experience, Arkham Asylum and its sequels share of a lot of the DNA behind Metal Gear’s own successes. They also veer as far away as possible from sensible gaming tropes; I still can’t decide if a hero called Solid Snake is stranger than a grown man wearing tight leather and calling himself “Batman”.
UbiSoft’s once-annual flagship franchise has a lot of similarities to the Metal Gear Solid of old. Whilst neither particularly lack for substance, there’s an obvious focus on style and flair that underpin both franchises. Silly plots, fast-paced combat and, at least in the case of the original Assassin’s Creed, protagonists with gruff voices and bad attitudes are just some of the shared features of the franchises. An unlockable Altair outfit was also available in Metal Gear Solid 4. Neat.
Often described as the one true threat to Metal Gear Solid’s crown, Splinter Cell debuted in 2002 with a different brand of stealth gameplay. Whereas Metal Gear Solid allows you to go all-out and engage in brutal firefights, Splinter Cell encourages absolute stealth above all else. Detection often spells certain death. Although its reputation may not be what it once was, Splinter Cell definitely took the concept of stealth to tougher, more demanding levels.
With the release of Hitman: Codename 47 in 2000, developer IO Interactive introduced the gaming community to the polar opposite of Metal Gear Solid: straight-faced, no-nonsense and absolutely brutal. Like Splinter Cell, the focus is entirely on remaining hidden, though not in the usual stick-to-the-shadows way. Your ability to stay hidden is decided by your disguises and the believability of your actions. Fail to act the part and you’ll meet the business end of a firearm. This is pure, unforgiving stealth action.
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