This year, Konami re-released an upgraded version of the renowned Metal Gear Solid series. The improved adaptation sees the combination of MGS 2: Sons of Liberty, MGS 3: Snake Eater and the previous PSP exclusive Peaceswalker, in Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Two of the games, namely MGS3 and MGS Peacewalker do not contain the main protagonist from the original game. The third game chronologically, MGS2, only has him as the playable character for the first chapter. MGS3 and MGS Peacewalker have Naked Snake, who genes where used to make a clone of himself called Solid Snake the main character in the first game.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the first in the chronological timeline and is in most part one of the best stealth games I have ever played; it’s also the most focused game in the series and really pulls the story together. The Snake Eater story line is set 40 years before the first game of the series and tells the story of Naked Snake and the relationship he has with his mentor ‘The Boss’, who recently defected to the soviet union, with no explanation. The beginning of the game has a lot of cut scenes in comparison to the gameplay, but as soon the story is in place the game almost leaves you alone, with very few interruptions.
With the new high definition visuals in place, using the first person view point as an example the MK22 Iron Sights you will find aiming a great deal easier. As you can probably imagine back when high definition was still to be discovered we had to contend with pixilation’s which made aiming a struggle. High definition upgrades normally don’t affect gameplay, but Snake Eater really benefits from the clearer view while crawling through the grass.
MGS3 stealth game play has what I feel some of the best mechanics to date; the version in the high definition collection is based on the subsistence edition allowing full camera control with the right analogue stick. MGS 3 introduces camouflage to your equipment package, which aids you in manoeuvring around a well-lit jungle. Stealth is needed here as there is little in the way of objects to hide behind, which will leave you face first in the dirt and blending in with the environment. Just don’t forget to change your camouflage to suit your environment; blending in the mud doesn’t quite help you out in a grassy area, as I discovered.
A large part of MGS 3 is set around its boss fights; the bosses in MGS3 are larger and more amazing than the last. My favourite boss fight in the game has to be the sniper duel in the jungle. Using camouflage you must strike the enemy from grass verges and from behind trees, all the while trying to spot the just as well hidden enemy sniper.
The second game in the timeline from this collection is Peacewalker; a game which was originally exclusive to the PSP. At first the game seems a derivative of the modern shooter controls of MGS 4, the simplicity of MGS 2 and the aesthetic outdoor locations from MSG 3. The result of the combinations is swifter game play which comprises of dozens of missions for bite sized game play.
Throughout the game you abduct enemy soldiers and prisoners of war to recruit to your own private militia. All of them provided with their own stats, they can be placed in Research and Development, the mess hall or even engage in combat via a light turn based strategy game between missions. Levelling up your different departments will grant you access to new weapons and gear; this gives the game an RPG element.
Unfortunately, Peacewalker lacks the marvellous bosses that the series has been known for. Rather than enhanced super soldiers, that requires creative use of your equipment and stealth techniques, the bosses just require you to run around dodging their attacks and shooting or firing rockets until the inevitable defeat.
Visually Peacewalker looks so much better on a HDTV, but it still keeps it’s block like polygons in comparison to games built for the console originally.
Finally, the last game in the timeline is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. This deviates from the character codenamed Snake completely; the Snake from the first game is played during the prologue and is quickly switched out for the character Raiden.
Sons of Liberty doesn’t stop there with its obscurities; early on in the story a villain from the previous game has his arm possessed by someone’s evil twin brother and you face a military weapon that resembles a giant mechanical lizard (roar included). You also have Raiden’s girlfriend as your mission control contact and have to witness her going on about their relationship while on active missions.
MGS 2 graphics even with the High Definition upgrade are still not one of the series’ strong points, but its audio fills in where the visuals lack.
Controls in MGS2 are stiff and the camera angles make it difficult to see enemies in the distance, however the game makes up for this with a helpful radar and near sighted enemies; certainly help keep the difficulty fair.
Overall the High Definition Collection has some of the best games in the series; however I still wish they put the original on the disk as it is still one of my favourite and also one of the games I sat through at a young age and completed more than once.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.