Review vs. Analysis

I received an email recently from a reader who wasn’t impressed with my review.  He said that it felt like a kneejerk reaction against the game, without all of the nuance and insight that I usually give.  This was my reply to him, which may interest some of you:

My review was written as a judgment, not an analysis.  Most of my articles do not review MGS games, they study them, as you said.  For a review, however, the purpose is to decide what I personally like or dislike, and to criticize the product as a product.  MGSV is a product that costs money, and which either meets or fails to meet expectations of consumers who paid to experience it.  I am one of those consumers.  I’m not a disciple of Kojima.

If you read my actual review of MGS2, which follows at the end of my “Complete Breakdown” analysis, you’ll see that I also give it criticism in ways that I never did elsewhere.  Perhaps it’s rare, but I can simultaneously understand the deep intentions of Kojima and step back and judge his output from a more unbiased point of view.

With that said, my review is positive.  Perhaps you interpreted it as negative because you expected an analysis instead of a review.  My analysis will be in my book, and its too early for me to even get into that side of things at this point.  Once we know about what the hell happened during production with Konami and him I’ll feel more comfortable doing a meta analysis, but honestly, everyone else is pretty much on the same level as me until we hear more.

I appreciate the email and I knew that it would come off that way.  I also felt bad giving a judgment on it as a product, because my role has been an analyst for years, but that’s not nearly all I have to say about the game.  I hope you’ll look forward to a deeper analysis without judgment down the road, because I am too.

Like I said, though, I genuinely give it a positive review and don’t hate it.  Trust me that I can see the attempts at meta things better than anyone else out there, trying to be smart about the artistic intentions and the twist.  I have some important things to say about the meta aspect that I haven’t shared yet.  But i just wanted to get my EVALUATION of the PRODUCT out of the way while it was fresh, and I felt that I may as well articulate what people were experiencing.

I did pretty much insult the way it tried to be clever, but there is a sick habit going around the gaming community as a whole where people defend games based on everything except enjoyment and user experience.  We’re all experts now, familiar with behind-the-scenes production struggles, sympathizing with various creators, or even just what they represent.  “This game isn’t fun but it represents the indie scene and anti-corporate practices so I’m going to defend it!”.  But what about the experience itself?  Is it impossible to separate our view of a product from the production itself?

My REVIEW is about that 16 year old who picks up the game without knowing anything about Konami politics, but played some of the old games and wants to experience something worth their money.  My analysis will be about Kojima and the meaning of it all.

The Ideology of Torture

Mr. Sylazhov returns with his latest guest article the day before the release of Metal Gear Solid V, to examine the extremely important matter of torture, in both the real world and the fictional one Kojima uses to show his views.

The methods, reasons, and history of torture are discussed, along with a personal story that drives home the reality of the barbaric practices used by military and spy agencies around the world.  This article was finished quite a while ago, but I’m publishing it on the eve of The Phantom Pain to emphasize the seriousness of its controversial subject matter.

Warning: Some graphic content follows.

The Ideology of Torture

A personal, political, and philosophical study of torture in the MGS series and the real world

I would like to dedicate the following piece to the victims of
the dictatorship in my country, and to all victims of
political repression from any side of the political spectrum.

Continue reading

Kojima and the Soviet Union

The following guest article was written by a friend and author, Alexander Sylazhov, who you ought to remember fondly from his Big Boss as Che Guevara article; I titled that article in order to highlight one of my favorite aspects of it, but it certainly went well beyond that.  I’m deeply honored to be able to present his new article, which is the kind of analysis I would love to be able to do myself.  With the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain less than a month away, this in-depth exploration of ideology, politics, and pop culture in the Metal Gear series is a fascinating must-read from a talented writer from a different side of the world.

Expect to see more from him soon, and please check out his science fiction novel series if you want to see more from him and support his work.


Kojima and the Soviet Union

An analysis of the political overtones of the MGS series and Hideo Kojima’s ideology



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Solid Kenny presents “Seeing Things For What They Are: Rose Analysis”

Here’s something I’ve personally been anticipating for a long time.  Solid Kenny–who you may remember from his huge analysis of Metal Gear Rising –has made another video.  This one is narrated by ItsDragonBlade, and whether you’re a fan of MGS2 or a hater, it should give you a new appreciation of the Raiden-Rose relationship.  14 years after the game was released, it’s amazing that there’s still more to think about in the game.


Site update! Mystery thing!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still working on one of my two projects — the more important one — and it’s coming along very well.  Hopefully I can announce details within the month, because it’s something I believe you will all go crazy for and I don’t want MGSV to completely outshine it before I can get you guys hyped for it.

That’s right, my hiatus and my project is definitely related to Metal Gear, and I’ve been devoting all my free time to it in the hopes that you will love it.  Did you think I could abandon the series with Metal Gear Solid V on the way?  Come on.

Thank you for being patient with me, folks.  There’s a lot left to do, but I’m putting my blood, sweat, and tears into it.  I’ve probably lost 10 pounds from forgetting about meals and pushing myself to do more.  Every step closer makes me more confident that it will be exactly what fans of this site have been secretly wanting all these years.  I can’t say more than that, but I will say to stay tuned.

P.S.  Big congratulations to our affiliate The Snake Soup for making it to their 12 year anniversary!!

Del Toro and Kojima still working together

According to an IGN interview:

In an interview with IGN, del Toro said, “I love working with Kojima-san. We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that’s not going to be [Silent Hills].”

Guillermo del Toro also detailed a bit about what Silent Hills — though still very early in the development process — could have been.

“We were in the planning stages, and it’s a shame it’s not going to happen,” del Toro said. “We were talking about really pushing the boundaries of the new consoles, and making the game really mess with your head. One of the great moments in Metal Gear [Solid] was Psycho Mantis. The idea that a game can actually interact with you, and stuff like that.”

It’s good to know the collaboration will keep going, especially since there is so much uncertainty about what’s next for Kojima.

Also worth noting that some fans believed Silent Hills was in full production, but del Toro says it was in planning stages, meaning that very little real work had been finished.