Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review
Though the saga essentially “wrapped up” with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4 a little while back, we knew that the Hideo Kojima-produced franchise was far from retirement. Metal Gear Solid: Rising is bound to appear on a few radars sometime in 2012 (and with motion controls, no doubt), and for now, we have this celebration of some of the series’ better games with Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. While it’s not quite the complete, essential get-together of games we would’ve preferred, there’s still more than enough great value here.
So let’s break down what the package includes. You get Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, a game that got great notoriety on the PS2, even with its wonky controls and its questionable content (like a naked Raiden); you’ve got Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the quintessential sequel that’s actually a prequel, taking place back in the 70’s; and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the PSP release that is considered one of the best releases for the portable system. On top of that, MGS 3 is the Subsistence edition, so you also get the MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which are different from the NES versions, but still worth a look. Oh, and you get additional content as well, including the VR Missions for both Snake and Raiden, as well as the side Snake Tales missions.
Now, what’s missing? Well, oddly enough, the original Metal Gear Solid didn’t make the cut. There was probably a question of retranslating the game to high definition standards, which might’ve pushed its release into 2012 – or even beyond. Still, those looking to get into the story will be missing a chunk of it because this game isn’t here. Portable Ops is also conspicuously absent, and the multiplayer portion of Snake Eater, which many fans still love, is a no-show.
Now you know what’s included. To be honest, it’s still a terrific package, especially for the lowered $50 price tag. (Well, $80 if you get the collector’s edition.) The gameplay of these Metal Gear games is compelling, to say the least. They’re not for the impatient gamer, but rather someone who enjoys sneaking around and getting the best of guards when they aren’t looking. The games also introduce some excellent boss battles, especially Snake Eater, which has one of the better endings you’ll see in this generation. (And yes, we mean the new one, not the PS2 generation – it still holds up.) The VR Missions can also help train you if you’re a bit rusty, offering arcade-style challenges with a countdown clock and plenty of virtual rooms to run through.
And there is multiplayer. Though Snake Eater’s didn’t make the cut, Peace Walker still has co-op and versus to spare, and there’s lots of action to be found here. Though it’s not as addictive as, say, Modern Warfare 3, you’ll find your fair share of dedicated players who want to be on the same page as you – and we’ll take them over the n00bs any time we can.
Bluepoint Games, the same team that’s worked on God of War: Origins Collection for PS3, does some standout work with the visuals. Though Metal Gear Solid 2 still shows its age, Snake Eater and Peace Walker have never looked better, with their much-enhanced environments and their slick animations. The cinemas are rock solid too, and well worth revisiting, even if you know the story by heart. The menus are great, too. You can tell that they simply reek of that divine Kojima aroma. (And no, I don’t mean a bad smell. Jeez.)
As for the audio, it’s mostly unchanged. So, yeah, some of the dialogue is corny, in that Snake style. The music, though, is still top-notch, and the sound effects, right down to the “!” noises over guards, will bring back plenty of nostalgia.
If you’re someone who likes your action quick and meaty, stick with Battlefield or Modern Warfare, because they have you covered. However, if you prefer the stealthier way to play, no one does it like Snake (or Big Boss). And even with the missing ingredients, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a superb way to celebrate the series’ legacy.
[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]