Review of Metal Gear Solid by Anthony and Ashly Burch at Paste

The writing that the Burches do in Metal Gear Solid isn’t that kind of partisan work. It takes positions, of course: they hold it accountable for its sexism, its hamfisted writing, and its strange plot beats that cohere simply because the game tells us that they do. The Burches tell you at the opening of the book that they are going to be relentless in their criticism of this object that clearly meant so much to them in their shared childhood.

But somewhere near the end of Metal Gear Solid a Burch says that there’s a romantic appeal to how weird this game object is. It does lots of things that don’t quite make a lot of sense when any scrutiny is applied to them, but it does all of those things with ultimate sincerity. It might be annoying, or it might make no sense, or it might be goofy, but the wide-eyed innocence that permeates the experience drives it toward some kind of endearing endgame where you look at a caribou and weep.


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