Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 100
    Easily makes up for any shortcomings just by its sheer volume. The missions alone will take over twenty hours to complete. It's hard to argue with a release that features over 500 mini missions, a ton of unlockables, and a complete game that was one of last year's most acclaimed titles.
  2. 100
    Packed with so many new features, you might not pop the disc out of your machine for months. [Jan 2003, p.55]
  3. I dare say this game could take up 50+ hours or maybe even more to fully finish everything. It just oozes value and I still play Son's of Liberty over and over.
  4. All the added VR missions take advantage of the game's biggest strengths (gameplay) and cut out its one real weakness (silly story line). [Jan 2003, p.200]
  5. Tactical stealth action at its most gratifying and if you are a fan of the series, this is the definitive version to own.
  6. More missions, more fun and more laughs. It's just a shame it hasn't taken advantage of Xbox's capabilities. [GamesMaster]
  7. One of the greatest games of all time... [but] feels as though it was rushed off of the development floor well before completion. [Jan 2003, p.112]
  8. Those who have played MGS 2 should treat this much in the same way as buying a DVD, only to find out a year later that they've released a double-extra-special collector's edition.
  9. If you’re obsessed with the series, though, and love the super hard modes, you might want to pick the game up. This is also the definitive version for folks who might not have played the game before either.
  10. Quite simply, action-adventure games don't get much better than this... The VR missions alone are well worth the price of admission. [Winter 2002, p.78]
  11. Whilst Sons of Liberty and "Splinter Cell" offer huge, all encompassing adventures; there is no quick fix. With Substance the mission structure allows quick access and it soon becomes very addictive.
  12. 90
    If you've never played the PS2 version of Metal Gear Solid 2, then this game is a definite must-play. Even though the game is year old, it is still an unbelievable game.
  13. While Substance is absolutely a gorgeous-looking game and has tons of gameplay options, its graphics engine sometimes performs a bit below par. [Feb 2003, p.60]
  14. All of the VR missions, Snake Tales, palette swapped characters and the Boss Battles make Substance a must have for ANY Xbox owner.
  15. The extras in Substance--while perhaps not as substantial as Metal Gear fans had hoped--help make the wait for this Xbox version justifiable, but in the end, it's the core game itself that's still very worthwhile.
  16. So if you thought this title lacked gumption because it isn't multiplayer, there's a massive amount of gameplay you can go through. This offsets the linear main segment somewhat.
  17. 85
    By far the best feature of Substance is the audio. Supporting Dolby Digital, the sound effects, dialogue, and musical score are topnotch.
  18. The extra missions can be played as either Solid Snake or Raiden, the two heroes from last year's hit game. The VR missions are equally compelling.
  19. There is a magnificent amount of stuff to do.
  20. Pre "Splinter Cell" this was undoubtedly the benchmark in stealthy gameplay and innovation within this genre, but post SC it’s a solid game that, despite having a wealth of engaging modes outside of the main game, must content itself with second place behind Ubi Soft’s outstanding sneak-’em-up title.
  21. The excessive amount of FMV movies in the story mode is something that really hampers the enjoyment.
  22. So yeah, MGS2 is a great game. It's just a pity that the game is so often hamstrung by its own plot, which, whilst fun to puzzle out, is ultimately quite silly and forces so many frustrating cutscene interruptions.
  23. 80
    Those expecting a true sequel here will be disappointed: Substance strictly builds on the success of existing material.
  24. Well worth the investment for anyone who has yet to experience the Metal Gear franchise.
  25. A game of surprise, stealth, patience and dexterity. Add to this a fantastic emphasis on story, detail, and cinematic scope, and you have a great alternative to the traditional stand ‘em up, knock ‘em down pistol whipper that many of us have become accustomed to.
  26. The biggest sins of the game are that the plot becomes progressively silly as the game progresses, and you only get to play Snake for about an hour before you have to switch to playing Raiden (who is totally uninteresting).
  27. Kojima seems to have recognized that he started running so fast that he forgot to tie his shoes, and thus Substance finally gives players the opportunity to more deeply explore the beautifully nuanced stealth engine that was so sorely undermined by his penchant for melodrama.
  28. The only "improvements" consist of a slew of extra outfits, yawn-inducing training missions, and a handful of bonuses that only the most avid Gear geek could appreciate. If that’s you, fine.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Jun 21, 2011
    Being fair, this game was good, it had good gameplay and an extremely well polished interface system. However the plot line was far to long and involved to the point that I could hardly understand anything that was going on. The story changed direction at so many points, had so many random thing stuffed in it, and tended to be so overly dramatic at some points that it was only moderate at best. It was, however, (putting the story aside) a good game and was rather enjoyable. If you want to play this game, it is good. Just disregard the story (or at least the part in the big shell). Full Review »