Metal Gear Solid 2 – In defence of Raiden.
When I first played Metal Gear Solid 2 (MGS2), I was too young to have been involved in the pre-release hype. I hadn’t been subject to any of Hideo Kojima’s mind games. I just went innocently into the game as a young, excited fan of the original Metal Gear Solid.
My first experience of Raiden when I was watching my older brother playing the game. He had utilised his big
brother authority ensuring he played the game first. I was slightly confused as to who the hell this Snake impersonator was supposed to be.
Why was Raiden a good idea?
Raiden as a character, grew on me hugely though. By the end of the game, I felt like I understood Kojima’s choice to upset the majority of his fan base.
He created Raiden to provide a new perspective on MGS1 hero, Solid Snake. Snake’s superiority was highlighted excellently by the relatively amateurish character we were forced to control. By putting the player in a weaker position, the strength of other characters was amplified. It allowed for a better game, the decision was very well thought out. Having to play as Snake and babysit an incompetent imbecile would not have made for an enjoyable experience.
All of the negativity surrounding Raiden has always been a little disappointing to me. I’ve always been able to look past the much-maligned whining. It didn’t take anything away from what I thought was an incredibly engaging story. Considering the situation he found himself in, at points I felt his reactions were entirely reasonable. Who wouldn’t feel a little hard done by after discovering they were being used as a tool in a much bigger operation?
The game is still amazing
MGS2 remains one of my all-time favourite games. Both the Tanker and Plant settings are among the most immersive I have ever experienced. The attention to detail was unrivalled by any other game in that era. The game was an incredible example of what was possible on the PS2 system. It didn’t matter who I was playing as when I was exploring the seemingly infinite little areas within the game.
The inclusion of Raiden had no effect on the actual gameplay. All of the strengths of the MGS series remained. The story was unreal, one of the very best in my opinion. The character interactions, whether it was Raiden and Snake, Otacon and Emma, or Ocelot and Solidus, were fantastically personal and incredibly intense.
I refuse to accept that Raiden ruined Metal Gear Solid 2. The game is built around his inclusion, and I think it works. Besides, as we have seen in MSG4, the guy is an absolute bad-ass. Without Raiden, we would never have witnessed a guy take out a herd of bipedal tanks single handed.