Review: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

titleFew games have stood the test of time as well as the Metal Gear Solid. When originally released, Metal Gear Solid 2 offered a first taste of the cinematic experience now common in videogames, and 3 expanded on the genre defining ideas the series had already established. These two iconic games look fantastic in high definition, and are just as fun to play now as they were 10 years ago.

01Depending on which system you’re looking at you might be getting a third game in the collection too, and I’m going to talk about both Peace Walker on the consoles and the PS Vita exclusive features in a bit. But first, the core of the collection; Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater In many ways these are the two best Metal Gear games in the series, although it’s certainly contestable. However what’s great about these two specifically is that they compliment each other really well. The gameplay is similar enough for you to play them both simultaneously, and the differences in both story and tone mean that the second you get bored of one you can switch over to the other.

For me personally Sons of Liberty has the greatest story, although I appreciate that it may be a little over the top for some. Snake Eater tells a slightly more down to earth tale (although there’s still some proper crazy moments) but has a few gameplay tweaks that make it slightly more akin to modern games. In particular there’s the issue of camera control in Sons of Liberty, and thankfully Konami included the ‘Subsistence’ version of Metal Gear Solid 3 that fixed the problems which were originally present in Snake Eater.

This was the right decision for so many reasons. Not only does the collection include the best version of Metal Gear Solid 3, but also the hardest to find. These days Subsistence is quite rare, and is fairly expensive to purchase online. Whilst most HD collections package together games from last generation that are essentially worthless, the Metal Gear Solid Collection is actually very good value for money. It’s pretty much the only HD collection that’s cheaper to purchase than the originals would be on PlayStation 2.

03Snake Eater may have the improved camera, but this certainly doesn’t hinder Metal Gear Solid 2 as much as I feared it would. Whilst Sons of Liberty does have a few oldschool mechanics, some smart level design means that it’s still easy to pick up and a lot of fun to play. In many other games (Resident Evil or Dead Rising for instance) I’d usually consider the inability to walk and shoot highly detrimental to gameplay, but Metal Gear Solid gets away with it. I mean it’s a stealth game, so the fact that it’s extremely difficult to shoot your way through scenarios actually works quite well.

02On PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 you also get Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, yet it’s bizzarly missing from the PS Vita game. If anything it should have been the other way around, as whilst Peace Walker was a great game on the PSP it doesn’t look so good on a large television. Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater are superb in High Definition, but Peace Walker looks like crap when upscaled.

On top of this the game had many features, including deliberately short missions, that were specifically designed to be played on a handheld. It’s a game you should definitely play, but enjoy it for the system it was intended for. On the big screen it simply can’t compete with the two other titles, and to me it feels like a disappointing compromise from a developer who couldn’t include Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes in their collection because of copyright restrictions.

Because of this I’d honestly rather have a version with just the two games, and this is exactly what you get on PS Vita. It’s certainly a bit odd that they didn’t include Peace Walker on the handheld, but then again if you want it you can buy it separately on the PSN. I personally don’t want it, and as you’re getting 20+ hours of incredible gameplay for under £20 I don’t see why anyone should be complaining. In fact the reworked controls that assign item and weapon switching to the touch screen remove one of the only faults I have with both Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater. Also they look truly stunning on the smaller screen, and overall I’d recommend the PS Vita as the platform of choice to play the game.

06But whichever version you chose, there’s no denying that you’re getting some of the greatest games ever made for a superb price. The storylines are epic, the gameplay is awesome, and both Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater are well worth a replay for fans of the series. Unlike most PS2 games, Metal Gear Solid is just as good now as it was when released, and this is the definitive version of some of the series’ best titles. Minus one point for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, but on the PS Vita you have two perfect games.



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One response to “Review: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection”

  1. eradican says :

    Good review. I was also really disappointed in the absence of Twin Snakes.

    The first three MGS games were amazing with Snake Eater being the apex.

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