I'm sorry are we having a discussion on one of my favourite MG games? SCUSE ME WHILE I EXPLODE HERE
Allllso here's a link to TheSnakeSoup's Ravi Singh and hiiiis critical analysis of MGS2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx2dgVKYWWU
Because you guys I'm so nerdy for him. That said, spoilers ahoy in the video.
It took me a lot quicker to "get" MGS2 than it did to understand Xenogears. I'm mainly blaming the fact that MGS2 has a lot to do with present-day issues today, and it's incredibly forward thinking considering it's only really now that people are freaking out about internet censorship. While I was definitely in the crowd of not being overtly fond of MGS2 when I was underaged for playing it (cough 13 cough), by my senior year I was worshipping this game. So much I wondered if Big Shell Day (April 30th, 2009) was going to happen. Also let's not forget how cool it is that Hideo Kojima thought (at the time, before the waves of death threats for him to continue MGS) that his audience was stocked with intelligent human beings that didn't need everything spelled out for them.
Also I'm not sure if it's fair to say that MGS2 or Xenogears' storylines for that matter are supposedly "on par" with other mediums...while their themes are really interesting and what is understated says a LOT about these games, in terms of how the plot flows and how things developed, things could have definitely been handled better. The storyline for MGS2 is not easily accessible;
it serves a niche audience in that what's actually said isn't what you should be taking away from it, but rather the game is actively questioning its players to ask about WHY certain things are happening. When you're a bratty pre-teen playing your older brother's video games, you're not going to understand what happened. And that's exactly what happened to me and exactly why for at least two years I didn't like MGS2 as a game. To me one of the golden rules of good story is accessibility. You want young children who are super underaged to get the gist of what actually happens and not be confused by it, even if they don't get the most complex themes or messages. <-- the reason why it's called Fridge Brilliance is so you can look back on what just happened to you and suddenly hit an epiphany years later.
As games, MGS2 didn't blow my mind. In comparison to MGS1 I'll say it did, what with caution mode, first person shooting, corner shots, and all of the mechanical changes. That said when you compare MGS2 to other stealth titles such as Splinter Cell or Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (which were released around the time I can't quite remember, sorry) I've had more fun with SC to be honest. Some of the controls I thought were kinda lame, and personally made life more frustrating when in MGS3, I kept slitting people's throats instead of interrogating them
I'm trying not to overemphasize the bad things about MGS2, really. I love the living Christmas out of this game.