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Metal Gear Solid HD Collection review (PlayStation Vita)

Let’s just get the bad news out of the way right now.  If you’re purchasing Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on the PlayStation Vita expecting the exact same amount of content you got out of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version, you’re going to notice something’s missing right off the bat.  For some unexplained reason, the portable edition is missing Peace Walker, one of the most cherished entries in the series to date.  We even threw Konami an email asking why the game didn’t make the cut, as its multiplayer probably would’ve been welcomed on the Vita front.

Okay, so we’ve gotten that disappointment aside.  Does that mean that Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a failure as a result?  Not at all.  In fact, the port accomplishes quite a bit in its own regard, thanks to two classic MGS titles that haven’t skipped a beat, even years after their release.  Some notable extras help too.

 

The package contains two main games, both which originally appeared on the PlayStation 2 ages ago.  Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty returns Solid Snake to active duty, while also peculiarly bringing Raiden into the mix.  Then you’ve got Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, an epic sequel in its own right, taking place years before with Big Boss making the rounds, trying to keep America safe from a heinous plot involving — what else — Metal Gears.

Both stories are intact from previous releases, complete with weird situations and the occasional awkward moment with Snake.  But, c’mon, it’s Metal Gear, did we really expect anything less?

For the most part, Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater play very well on the Vita.  You’ll have no problem playing through the stealth scenarios, knocking out guards and completing objectives while taking part in epic boss battles, especially through Snake Eater.  However, there is an interesting, and not quite effective, change with inventory controls.  Rather than using your shoulder buttons to switch items, you actually use icons on the touch screen.  It’s hardly a broken system, but we wonder why Konami didn’t include a traditional set-up.  Oh well, it’s still Snake-infused fun.

As for the presentation, Konami has held up its HD end of the bargain rather well.  Though there are times the awkward camera angle or frame rate issue arises, both games look great on the Vita screen, complete with detailed animations and beautiful environments, especially in Snake Eater.  The switch to first-person view is still pretty swift too, though it can be jarring if you’re not prepared for it.  We also like the sound, between the quality Metal Gear voice acting we’ve come to expect (and we mean quality by Metal Gear standards, natch) and great musical cues.  Yes, the “Snake Eater” theme is still intact.  Revel in it.

While Metal Gear Solid HD Collection doesn’t offer the greatest of extras, there are a few worth digging into here.  The VR missions make the trip, as well as the first two MSX Metal Gear games, showing you just how far Snake has come over the years.  Oddly enough, some of the Subsistence pack-ins are missing, along with — yep — Peace Walker.  We honestly would’ve taken that over Sons of Liberty, given the choice.

If you already own Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on a console and can live without taking it on the go, you aren’t missing much.  However, if you’re seeking a stealthy companion for on-the-go play, this package is still quite sufficient, despite missing additives.  The action remains as grandeur as ever, and the presentation didn’t lose much in the transition.  Now if we can just get Konami to work on a few more handheld HD collections.  BUT NOT SILENT HILL.

 

Good

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Robert Workman
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