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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.3 / 10

Hideo Kojima is a fascinating person to talk about, isn't he? Over the last 30 years he has successfully carved out a niche for himself that is unlike that of just about any other video game creator in history. He makes games that tackle challenging and often harrowing subjects like nuclear war, child soldiers, genetic manipulation, war propaganda, and various other political and philosophical themes through stories that are often poignant and heartbreaking in equal measure. And then, he follows them up with some of the most inane and childish moments in video game history, causing such tonal whiplash to leave players guessing whether he's a genius, insane, or both. At this point, it's just something people have come to accept as part of his games' weird charm.

As far as I'm concerned, Kojima's best work to date is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. This was the game where his most eccentric tendencies were at least somewhat kept in check, and as a result the story doesn't get overly convoluted and the characters' motivations remain clear and understandable throughout. The poignant moments are genuinely earned, and the silliness never gets too ridiculous, feeling more like added flavour that give the game a bit of levity. Part of the reason for this may have been the fact that it's a prequel to the rest of the MGS series, meaning that many of the franchise's weirder elements weren't weighing it down yet, and the game was just allowed to tell its story without  too much convoluted nonsense. Naturally, it still features Kojima's trademark style, but not to its own detriment. This is, in my opinion, Kojima's true masterpiece, which none of his other works have quite matched in effectiveness and overall quality.