Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami exclusively for the PlayStation 3 console. It is the sixth Metal Gear game directed by Hideo Kojima and was released worldwide on June 12, 2008.
Guns of the Patriots received universal acclaim, garnering perfect reviews and Game of the Year awards from several major gaming publications, including GameSpot, which claimed that the game was "technically flawless". The game was a financial success, selling 6 million copies worldwide.
Set five years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the story centers around a prematurely aged Solid Snake (now known as Old Snake) as he goes on one last mission to assassinate his nemesis Liquid Snake (who now inhabits the body of his former henchman Revolver Ocelot under the guise of Liquid Ocelot) before he takes control of the Sons of the Patriots, an A.I. system that controls the activities of PMCs worldwide.
Guns of the Patriots is set in 2014, nine years after the events of the original Metal Gear Solid and five years after Sons of Liberty. The world's economy relies on continuous civil wars, fought by PMCs, which outnumber government military forces. PMC soldiers are equipped with nanomachines that enhance their abilities on the battlefield. The control network created through these nanomachines is called Sons of the Patriots (SOP), and Liquid Ocelot is preparing to hijack the system, later renaming it Guns of the Patriots.
Snake, meanwhile, is experiencing accelerated aging that was coded in to his genes as part of a counter measure as one of the sons (clones) of Big Boss. Because of his rapid aging he is told he has about a year left to live. He is now living with Dr. Hal "Otacon" Emmerich and Olga Gurlukovich's daughter Sunny. When his former commanding officer Roy Campbell approaches him with one last mission - to terminate Liquid - Snake accepts and is dropped into the Middle Eastern war zone where Liquid is believed to be hiding. In the aftermath of the Big Shell Incident, Raiden had drifted away from Rose, who had apparently suffered a miscarriage with their child and gone to live with Campbell, and becomes a cyborg ninja fighting against the Patriots.
- Sunny Emmerich (サニー・エメリッヒ?) is Olga Gurlukovich's daughter that was kidnapped by the Patriots to manipulate her mother during the Plant Chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2. Afterwards, Raiden rescued her from the Patriots, leaving her in Otacon's care. By the time of Metal Gear Solid 4, she is a gifted computer programmer where it is heavily implied that her status as prodigy is the result of genetic engineering experiments done to her at Area 51 while she was in possession of the Patriots.
- Drebin (ドレビン?) is a weapons launderer that's usually accompanied by his pet monkey Little Gray. In Metal Gear Solid 4, he assists Old Snake by disabling ID-tagged weapons taken from PMC troops. He also provides exposition on the origins of each of the Beauty and the Beast members.
- Jonathan (ジョナサン Jonasan?) is a hulking Korean-American who serves as the Rat Patrol team's heavy weapons specialist and has a mohawk in the shape of an exclamation mark. Jonathan is voiced by Hideyuki Tanaka in the Japanese version and by James Sie in the English version.
- Ed (エド Edo?) is an African-American who serves as the Rat Patrol team's sniper and Meryl Sliverburgh's second-in-command. He is a tribute to the Policenauts character of the same name. Ed is voiced by Shōzō Iizuka in the Japanese version and by Dave Fennoy in the English version.
- Liquid Ocelot (リキッド・オセロット Rikiddo Oserotto?) is an amalgam of Liquid Snake and Revolver Ocelot, and the main antagonist of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. To trick the Patriots, Ocelot deliberately uses self-hypnosis and nanomachines to serve as Liquid's mental doppelgänger. In conflict with the Patriots, Liquid establishes the Outer Heaven mother company that runs the four largest PMCs that exist in the game, fighting the Patriots' control over the world.
The Beauty and the Beast Corps (ビューティー＆ビースト部隊 Byūtī & Bīsuto Butai?) are a team of female PMC operatives in mechanized suits designed according to their animal designations. Each member of the BB Corps featured the likeness of a different real-life supermodel.
- Laughing Octopus (ラフィング・オクトパス Rafingu Okutopasu?) wears a special cybernetic suit that can imitate the appearance of her surroundings or other people, allowing her to blend in before attacking with powerful mechanical tentacles. She was born and raised in a small Scandinavian hamlet known as the Devil's Village, where the residents habitually eat octopus. A nearby cult took offense to the village's diet and attacked, sparing few, including the young girl. On pain of death, they tortured her into killing her entire family while laughing. This has utterly numbed her to bloodshed and has spawned an obsession with laughter, particularly during battle. Laughing Octopus is voiced by Haruna Aimoto in Japanese and by Paula Tiso in English. Her likeness was provided by Lyndall Jarvis.
- Raging Raven (レイジング・レイヴン Reijingu Reivun?) is the only member of the Corps with true flying capabilities that utilizes UCAVs and a grenade launcher to attack her enemies. Born in Aceh, Indonesia, she was taken as a prisoner of war as a child. After enduring months of torture and starvation, her captors abruptly abandoned the prison, leaving her and the other child prisoners to be eaten alive by ravens. She was the last living child; though instead of eating her, the ravens peck away her bonds. She finds her captors' base camp and kills all soldiers and civilians present. Raging Raven is voiced by Yumi Kikuchi in Japanese (who also provided the character's likeness) and by Nika Futterman in English.
- Crying Wolf (ウルフクライング?) is the Corps' strongest member as she can attack with a railgun or sheer brute force. She is also endowed with a strong sense of smell, enough to identify. She was born in an unnamed country ripped by civil war. After her family was killed in an attack, she fled the village with her baby brother and became a refugee. When hiding from an enemy unit in a shack, her brother began to cry; she covered his mouth to silence him and accidentally killed him. Upon reaching a refugee camp, she was driven insane by her grief and by the cries of children. She experienced visions of a wolf killing the children of the camp; in reality, it was she who did so. In Metal Gear Solid 4, she does not accept that she killed the children until her fight with Old Snake. After their fight, she is taken away by one of Sniper Wolf's wolves, with Otacon implying the wolf carrying her was Sniper Wolf's spirit. Crying Wolf is voiced by Eriko Hirata in Japanese and by Debra Wilson in English. Her likeness was provided by Mieko Rye.
- Screaming Mantis (スクリーミング・マンティス?) is the Corps' leader. Able to float by using unknown abilities, she has the power to crush people at will and manipulate soldiers to do her bidding, including killing their former allies. She has two puppets shaped like previous Metal Gear Solid bosses Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow. It is revealed that the Psycho Mantis puppet is used to control and manipulate living people while The Sorrow puppet can be used to manipulate dead bodies. Screaming Mantis is voiced by Mao Yuki in Japanese and by Andrea Zafra in English. Her likeness was provided by Scarlett Chorvat.
In MGS4, players assume the role of an aged Solid Snake (also referred to as Old Snake), using stealth, close quarters combat, and traditional Metal Gear combat. The overhead third-person camera of earlier games has been replaced by a streamlined view and over-the-shoulder camera for aiming a weapon, with an optional first-person view at the toggle of a button.
A further addition to gameplay mechanics is the Psyche Meter. Psyche is decreased by non-lethal attacks, and is influenced by battlefield psychology. Stressors (including temperature extremes, foul smells, and being hunted by the enemy) increase Snake's stress gauge, eventually depleting his Psyche. Adverse effects include difficulty in aiming, more frequent back pain and the possibility of Snake passing out upon receiving damage. Among the available methods of restoring Psyche are eating, drinking, smoking, and reading an adult magazine.
Snake has a few gadgets to aid him in battle. The OctoCamo suit mimics the appearance and texture of any surface in a similar fashion to an octopus, or a chameleon, decreasing the probability of Snake being noticed. Additionally, FaceCamo is made available to players after they defeat Laughing Octopus. FaceCamo can be worn by Solid Snake on his face and it can be set to either work in tandem with the Octocamo or instead mimic the face of other in-game characters. However, to get access to these unique FaceCamos, players have to complete certain in-game requirements first. When the FaceCamo is worn with OctoCamo, under ideal conditions, Snake's stealth quotient can reach 100%. The Solid Eye device highlights items and enemies, and can operate in a night vision and a binocular mode. It also offers a baseline map, which indicates the location of nearby units. The latter function is also performed by the Threat Ring, a visualization of Snake's senses that deforms based on nearby unit proximity and relays them to the player.
Metal Gear Mk.II, a small support robot that always tags along with Snake, later substituted by Mk.III, offers codec functionality and a means to the in-game menu for a large part of Snake's mission. It can be remote controlled to stun enemies, provide reconnaissance and interact with the environment. Its design is based on the namesake robot from Snatcher, a game designed by Hideo Kojima. It is also controlled during the beginning of each separate "Act", although the player is not able to utilize its capabilities during this time.
Whenever the Drebin menu is available, weapons, attachments and ammunition can be purchased via Drebin Points (DPs), awarded for on-site procurement of weapons already in the inventory and by initiating specific scripted events or destroying Unmanned Vehicles. The conversion rate between weapons and DPs depends on current battlefield conditions, with more-intense fighting yielding higher prices. Also, Drebin would purchase items from the player at a discounted price, especially at certain points in the story and certain days in real life. The game may also be finished without killing anyone, using non-lethal weapons.
The Virtual Range, similar to the Virtual Reality training of previous titles, functions as a test facility for weapon performance and gameplay controls.