In honor of the Metal Gear series coming to a close, I've painted something for each canon game in the saga.
If there is a black sheep of the series, it's probably 2008's Metal Gear Solid 4. One of the first big games to come out for the Sony Playstation 3, once called the only reason to buy a PS3 over just a bluray player. Critically received, and visually impressive, among fans it's actually quite polarizing. It's very much a tribute to the series as a whole, impossible to appreciate if you haven't played the other games in the series. The gameplay takes its first move toward becoming a third-person shooter, finally streamlining the aiming mechanic, feeling smoother than ever. Snake has access to like a billion guns now, most with customization features, and more ways to pass through undetected than ever before, in a world more open than ever before. The glaring flaw is that the cutscenes drag on longer than ever. They're the most gorgeous and well directed cutscenes in the series at that time, but they extend to feature length at times. It doesn't help that the plot is confusing to even big fans of the series and sometimes comes off as almost a parody of itself. That said, it has some of the most moving scenes of the series and has a knack for giving the fans just what they want... mostly. One can see why it's considered polarizing.
In 2014, war has changed. All across the globe, the movement from conflicts between nations and ideologies has shifted to conflicts between corporately owned paramilitary companies, hired to fight often for fighting's sake. Big Boss's dream of a world of constant conflict has become a reality. The man in charge of the largest Private Military Company, Outer Heaven, is Liquid Ocelot, a man Solid Snake has chased around the globe for years, but always went into hiding. Roy Campbell, now a consultant for the UN has found Liquid in the Middle East and, without consulting his superiors, he goes directly to Solid Snake himself with a hit contract. But Snake isn't the same anymore. Like war, he has changed, a reflection of a time past, he's showing symptoms of accelerated aging with nothing but theories as to why. Even with the body of a 70 year old man, he once again accepts the call to finally bring justice to Liquid, but what use to the world is an Old Snake?
Playing this game without playing any of the others is kind of like watching Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, without having played Final Fantasy VII beforehand. You can enjoy it for the gameplay which is great and diverse and offers loads of replay value, but it'll be a miracle if you have any clue what's going on, and why these characters are important, and what this reference means, etc. At times it's like the characters themselves are watching a clipshow of the previous games and making injokes about it, which is fantastic for hardcore fans, but very ostracizing to newcomers. You should be playing these games in release order anyway, but the secret club feeling does persist from beginning to end. It does have the best final boss fight in the series that really makes the game feel like the final curtain on a grand opera.
Then they made two more...
From left to right:
Mei Ling is currently the captain of a decommissioned WWII battleship, the USS Missouri.
Rosemary is Snake's on-call therapist. She's no longer with Jack and appears to be living with...
Roy Campbell. Snake's longtime CO and the man who hired him to assassinate Liquid.
Big Mama is the head of the Paradise Lost PMC operating out of Eastern Europe. She has intimate knowledge of Snake's past and the mysterious group known as the Patriots.
Drebin is what they call a "gun launderer". In a world where every person, item, and weapon is tagged with ID nanomachines, it takes someone like him to clean the weapon for free use, at a cost. He's Snake's contact for buying and selling weapons on the go, and there are so many. He has a naked monkey companion named Little Gray. Drinks lots of soda.
Johnny Sasaki AKA "Akiba" is one of the members of Rat Patrol Team 01. He's very clumsy and suffers from IBS. His military career has been all downhill since 10 years ago, in Alaska...
Ed is Rat Patrol's sniper and communications man.
Meryl Silverburgh is the leader of Rat Patrol, a UN sanctioned team in charge of investigating the PMCs. She's Snake's contact in the Middle East. She's very much in favor of the Sons of the Patriots system in use in the military. SOP has all of the soldiers and equipment information communicate with each other, allowing for a squad of soldiers to work as a single unit in an almost literal sense. Snake disagrees with her.
Jonathan is Rat Patrol's heavy. He's a big guy and doesn't like it when people stand behind him.
Sunny is Olga Gurlukovich's child, rescued by Raiden after the Big Shell incident. She lives her entire life on Philanthropy's jet, the Nomad, interacting with the world through her computer and the internet. She's a child prodigy, a genius level programmer at age 8. Likes to cook eggs, though she's not very good at it.
Old Snake is the main protagonist, hired by Campbell to assassinate his longtime foe, Liquid Ocelot. Snake's suffering from accelerated aging, and so he must complete his mission using a powered muscle suit. The suit, developed by Otacon, also uses Octocamo, a fabric that can mimic the colors of the surface it's touching, like an octopus or a chameleon. Snake has great determination to finish this mission, but he's more than certain that it will be his last.
Dr. Hal Emmerich AKA Otacon is Snake's best friend and primary contact. He even can assist Snake directly in the field via a remote control robot, the Metal Gear Mk2, a tiny version of the TX-55 with stealth camo and a stun whip. He takes the most responsibility for Sunny's well being, acting as a surrogate father on board the Nomad.
Raiden, once a man called Jack, he's been made over into a cyborg ninja. He is lightning: the rain transformed and he's made a promise to protect Snake.
Liquid Ocelot. Is he the man once known as Revolver Ocelot, or is he Liquid Snake? Is he one man masquerading as the other? What's known is that he controls the most powerful PMCs in the world and he's up to something. His assassination is Old Snake's primary goal.
Raging Raven is one of the all female unit of crazies in power armor known as the Beauty and the Beast Unit AKA SNAKEHOUND. Charged with the one goal of finding and killing Old Snake. Raven's armor allows her to fly and she uses a grenade launcher to devastate the landscape. She is always accompanied by flying drone robots.
Naomi Hunter, formerly FOXHOUND's biologist and expert on nanomachines, has been seen with Liquid Ocelot. Whether she is working for him willingly or against her will is not clear.
Vamp, seemingly immortal, is also with Liquid. Can this man be killed?
Laughing Octopus is another B&B. Her exosuit allows her to blend in perfectly with any environment and comes with four large tentacle arms. She's sadistic, and likes to play with her enemy, torturing them for her amusement.
Screaming Mantis is the B&B's psyop. She's a powerful telekinetic and can control both the living and the dead. There's also something familiar about her...
Crying Wolf is a B&B in armor that moves like a giant wolf. She's equipped with a railgun that she uses at very long range. There's no hiding from her.
Metal Gear - fav.me/d9730ax
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - fav.me/d9775uv
Metal Gear Solid - fav.me/d989uip
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - fav.me/d98h63p
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - fav.me/d98o2m0
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - fav.me/d99h9d3