Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a stealth action video game. Directed by Hideo Kojima, Shuyo Murata and Yoji Shinkawa, Guns of the Patriots was developed by Kojima Productions exclusively for the PlayStation 3 video game console. It is the seventh title in the Metal Gear series and the first in its fourth generation. The game was released worldwide on June 12, 2008, 10 years after the release of Metal Gear Solid and 20 years after the US release of the first Metal Gear.
In Metal Gear Solid 4, the player (Old Snake) must navigate the game world in order to progress, using cunning in addition to traditional combat. It uses third person view with full camera manipulation, but also allows the freedom to play in first-person mode, as well as an over the shoulder view which can be switched from right shoulder to left for corner maneuvering. The Close Quarters Combat system has been completely revamped. Several elements from previous titles return in modified forms. Players can also use a new form of camouflage called "Octocamo," which replaces the camouflage system featured in Metal Gear Solid 3. The normally dark-blue OctoCamo suit allows the wearer to blend in with any surface within a few seconds. Players use the Sixaxis/DualShock 3 controller's motion-sensing capability to reset the OctoCamo to its default colour. Snake later gains a facial version of this technology, either enhancing the effect or allowing him to impersonate others. A new monocular device called "Solid Eye" replaces the various binoculars and image intensifiers from previous titles, and a steel drum complements the series' traditional cardboard box disguise. It is able to deflect bullets, and can be rolled to knock enemy soldiers over, but can lead to Snake being sick should the player roll around excessively.
The game is filled with cut scene "flashbacks" (although they're not actually cut scenes, but still photos of past events, locations, or characters) that reference what happened in previous Metal Gear Solid games and how the events or characters relate to the setting of MGS4. Players are able to choose whether to view these scenes by pressing the X button [O button in some countries] on their controller when prompted (though there are some instances where there will not be a prompt). Players also have the choice of watching the Mission Briefings through set camera angles or freely exploring them with the Metal Gear Mk. II/III.
Snake is also partnered with a robotic drone, the Metal Gear Mk. II/III, which allows him to communicate with other characters, in addition to the CODEC radio system from previous games. It is also capable of incapacitating enemies using a weak electric shock, as well as providing reconnaissance. This drone is reminiscent of Gillian Seed's robotic sidekick of the same name from another Hideo Kojima game, Snatcher.
Due to the lack of force feedback (an important part in previous titles) from the PlayStation 3 during much of the development, the game had been designed with a new feature: a white "Threat Ring," that shows "hills" that display nearby enemies. As a series known for extensive use of force feedback, when Sony announced the reintroduction of a new DualShock 3, MGS4 was announced as one of the first major games to make use of the restored capabilities.
Snake's health plays a small factor during gameplay. If injured on the battlefield, cuts and burns will remain on his skin. However, the developers wished to avoid putting the stress of maintaining Snake's health onto the players, so he wears a muscle suit, allowing players to move in a similar fashion to previous games.
Snake has a meter and an index that replaces the stamina bar from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The index, "Stress," is based on current fighting and climate conditions. This can cause Snake to go into a "combat high," that sharply increases his accuracy and reduces damage taken. However this effect will eventually wear off and could cause Snake to momentarily collapse. Smoking a cigarette calms him down. The meter, "Psyche," slowly drops over time reducing Snake's accuracy and his ability to recover his LIFE bar. Many items in the game -- such as the iPod -- will increase the meter, as will consuming ReGain Energy Drinks, noodles, and military rations, or using a compress on Snake's sore back muscles. Reading an issue of Playboy Magazine (in first person view) "curiously raises Snake's Psyche".
There is also a "Baseline Map" which is a radar map with a dynamic circle based on Snake's "presence" in regards to the environment. Accessible through the main menu, the Virtual Range is a test facility that allows the player to access the game's library of weapons as well as practice Snake's CQC moves