It's kind of funny.
I remember back in 2001/2002 when this game was coming out originally, and how pissed off I was it wasn't being released on the PSX (I having bought and beat MGS1 just prior). It would be months before I was actually be able to play the game, not having the money to be able to get a PS2, and I would have to listen to my ***hole friends rave about how awesome the game was until then. Well, now I have a PS2, and now I can decide for myself whether the game is any good, or if thousands of critics, VGnerds and my friends were all horribly wrong in their disposition.
Who was I kidding.
Right from the beginning, I was immersed in the game's noirish yet futuristic storyline, sort of forming a hard-boiled sci-fi drama. The story was so twisty and convoluted (in the best way, of course), leaving my head spinning, and me dying to find out what was to happen next. And I can say I wasn't disappointed...if not a little confused. It wouldn't be until I played MGS 1, 2, and 3 that the storylines would begin to make a little more sense to me, but that didn't make it any less enthralling: from the explosion on the tanker, to the battle of Raiden vs. the Rays, and the final epic sword battle with Solidus, my eyes were glued to the screen. I don't think I ate too much that week; that would involve leaving the TV.
That being said though, there were some mild complaints. Very mild complaints, though. The first would be the overall length. The game overall, only took about 15 hours (give or take) to beat on the first time through, which isn't as epic as i was hoping. But that's where the extras come in: of course after beating it the first time, you'll want to beat it through again, to find the extra stuff (ie. dog tags) and screw around, finding any easter eggs you may have missed. The other complaint, however, was the lack of Snake. Raiden wasn't bad (though a little creepy in that skin tight FOXhound suit), but he's just not the same as Snake. Not as cynical, badass, or downbeat: he is the antihero everyone cheers for. But at least he was in the story throughout, if not the main character.
One thing I have no complaints about, though, is the gameplay and graphics. The fluidity, and smooth controls made the game play like a dream. Story and graphics are always important to a game, but from the player's POV, it's a real piss-off when the controls are weak. Fortunately, there were no problems there, whether that be in a gun-, fist-, sword-, or knifefight. And that just makes the overall package even better.
In total, I was amazed by the game. I know by now, five years after its initial release, everyone's already seen it, played it, and beat it, several times over, as they await the release of Guns of the Patriots, but I thought I would just say it again to all those who already know it: play it again, and watch the spectacle of MGS2. And when you're done, what the hell, give MGS3 another go.