I was talking with a friend and fellow Metal Gear aficionado the other day after he had read my “Day Tomorrow” post. He mentioned in passing that I was probably becoming very good at MGS2 – such as it is – having gotten to a 75% completion rate. I’m pretty good but I’m certainly not a master level player. Thank goodness the Big Boss rank play through isn’t required to get a platinum trophy, because I would probably never be able to pull it off. But it did get me to thinking though just how high is the ceiling for skills improvement? For instance, if you place 1st in each of those 500 missions, would you automatically be good enough to complete the campaign on its highest difficulty with ease? I find this to be a timely question seeing as how that I’m thoroughly stuck in the shootout scene in the “Big Shell Evil” Snake Tale. That’s when it dawned on me that I might benefit from taking an OODA loop approach to the game.
OODA – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act – loop is a strategic framework developed by Colonel John Boyd. It probably lends itself better to multiplayer matches than within the set piece single player environments of MGS2 but it may be worth a shot here. In my case, I’m stuck in the second shootout with the heavy attack guards in the parcel room. They come from two directions and there’s lots of them. To make it worse in this tale you have to protect Emma, who like in the main story basically can’t move fast or fight. Fun, right? Though the AI was advanced for 2001/2002, it’s still fairly rudimentary compared to a human player’s intelligence. That means disrupting the AI OODA loop as you would another human is out of the question; no disrespect intended to the Konami AI programmers but I doubt the Gurlukovich sprites have the same kind of adaptability as a human opponent would. So in combat phase like this my tactical creativity is kind of limited.
One thing I have been assuming this whole time is that you have to “protect” Emma during the encounter. For that reason I haven’t been moving out of that corner with the node and her (where you have to go for the storyline). The corner has proven to be a death trap. If the soldiers are giving her priority over me I may be able to maneuver to a different spot and cheese them with headshots or grenades. I would have to be quicker with the gun than I have been though. And aim a lot better. And if they’re going after me exclusively (like the heavy troopers do in standard alert phases) – I could lure them to a chokepoint and take out in detail. Whatever the case, the conclusion from my Observing and Orienting: I need to get out of that damn corner to have a chance at beating this section.
I’ll give it a try and update the post with my results.
Update: so it would have been helpful if I had read the encounter win condition earlier: you have to exit the room with Emma in tow. The enemies constantly spawn so there’s no “cheesing” them, but they do give Snake priority over Emma. There’s a pattern in place, apparently the heavy armored guys will make a beeline to the exit while the others attack no matter what. Not sure how that helps. It looks like you need to be very good at getting headshots, and very fast with the controls.