PS2 REVIEW: METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SUBSISTENCE

Snake sheds his skin and comes out on top. This director's cut is a must play for any self-respecting MGS fanatic, even if you've played MGS3 to death. by Darwin C.

March 20, 2006 - Some gamers don't need any excuse to replay great games such as Metal Gear Solid 3. But here's an offer that you can't refuse. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence is a re-issue of sorts that features an updated single-player mode with some new features but most importantly, an all new online experience with five different multi-modes. All of this at a discount price. How can you just sit there? Get off your arse and get this game now.

All of the core gameplay of the single-player mode has been preserved. So why should play it again? Because new things have been added to make the experience even better than it was the first time around. For instance, one of the biggest additions is the new, controllable camera. You're not restricted to a top-down view. By pushing on the analog stick you can bring the camera down to an eye-level, third-person perspective and move it around from there. It not only brings you face-to-face with Snake, but it brings you in closer to the action. It's also nice to be able to switch back to the isometric view to give you a better view of your surroundings and see where enemies may be hiding.

MGS 3 chronicles the origin of the MGS series. It's here we see Big Boss discuss the overview of the missions with an eager and younger Snake who is a highly-trained special operative of the military sent out to Russia to investigate an organization involved in manufacturing dangerous nuclear weapons. Snake acts a little different than he does in earlier games but you can tell that he's learning and growing.

There are tons of cutscenes - literally hours of them. These are important to establish not only the storyline but to immerse you in the world of MGS which is uniquely intense and alternately peculiar with its sense of humor. The characters are very well developed and while there may be the odd hackneyed dialog exchange, watching these numerous scenes is extremely entertaining, not to mention that you are listening for clues and any other information that will help you with upcoming missions. All of these cutscenes have been combined on one separate disk and presented as a Metal Gear Solid 3 movie. It's available on the Limited Edition version of the game which is ten bucks more than the standard game which is value priced at thirty bucks. If you don't decide it's worth it, since all of the cutscenes are still included in the standard version anyway, you can look forward to being entertained by the hilarious parodies of the serious cutscenes in the Secret Theater mode which you will be able to unlock. These re-mixed scenes poke fun at the serious tone of the storyline but instead of appearing like a separate comedy entity like MAD TV doing a lampoon, it all seems like an organic outgrowth of the MGS universe.

The missions include stealth, shooting and puzzle-solving, all of which is extremely well embedded into the gameplay with the right amount of depth. In other words, there are no tile sliding puzzles. Nothing in this game feels tacked on. There is such good variety in the mission, weapons, moves and gadgets that you'll never be in danger of getting bored. And that's just the single-player mode.

The online modes take MGS in a new direction. It goes beyond the standard frag fests by incorporating many of the moves, weapons and gadgets from the single-player mode. It even includes the manual camera in third-person perspective. You can hide in cardboard boxes or with the aid of camouflage outfits, hide in the bush or grass and try to pick off enemies with your sniper rifle.

There are five modes online which allow you to play as any of three organizations. To once again illustrate the game's sense of humor you will have to "capture the frog" in the Capture mode in which each team attempts to keep the frog in their possession the longest. In the Rescue mode, one team defends a rubber ducky while the other team tries to snatch it from them.

Up to eight players can be accommodated online. It's easy to register online and the lobby offers features such as a buddy list for those you want to play with again and a blacklist for those that you don't. Getting into quick-play games is a snap and there are different levels for players of varying skills, so beginners will be very well taken care of. The games run smooth with no lag and displays the same quality graphics and animations that made the 2004 version an instant classic.

Subsistence is a high-quality game all the way. The only reason that the overall score is lower than you might expect is because the single-player mode is just upgraded and not a completely new game.

Features:

  • Duel Mode - Battle boss enemies in succession from MGS3.
  • Demo Theater Mode - Watch All In-Game Movies from MGS3 similar to a theatrical movie.
  • Includes the Original MSX games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake.
  • New Levels of the Mini Game Snake vs. Monkey.
  • Game connectivity to MGA 2 for the PSP- players can export photographs taken in Subsistence into MGA2 and then view them in 3D
  • MGS3 Snake Eater camera system is refined to a free roaming 3rd person view; players can control the camera according to their preference
  • Additional Face Paint for more Camouflage Variety
  • New Multiplayer Online Modes:
  • Sneaking Mission One player will take the part of Snake in this on-line mode. Snake will be the victor if that player manages to procure something that is guarded by the other players. Even if the enemy soldiers are killed, they can re-spawn if they have a life ticket. 1 player vs. 7 players online.
  • Team Death Match Players are divided into teams to play a VS. game in a set time limit. The team with the most remaining life tickets will be declared the winner.
  • Death Match Battle royal type of match where it is a free-for-all. The rules can be set-up such that there is a time limit with the winner being the ones with the most kills or the player with the most life tickets remaining.
  • Capture Mission Players are divided into teams to capture a frog piggy bank and deliver it back to their base. Players will be able to re-spawn as long as there are life tickets remaining.
  • Cargo Rescue Teams will be divided into 2 with one side being the defender of 'cargo piggy bank' while the other team will try to destroy it. The defenders will try to deliver the cargo to a certain location. The rules differ here in that the players that are killed cannot re-spawn and will turn into ghosts.

By Darwin C.
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)
4.5
Graphics
Excellent high resolution graphics, even when the areas are dark. The new camera angles affords us an unprecedented look at the all of the environments.
5.0

Control
Incredibly responsive commands from the control system. Lot of weapons, moves and gadgets to explore and exploit.

4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voiceacting is good and the cutscenes are so well produced they are available in the Limited Edition package as a three-and-a-half hour movie.
5.0
Play Value
It's the online mode that rocks this game. It bring the MGS series to a whole other level.
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
Preview by Vaughn

With the advent of director's cuts playing a big part in extra DVD sales above and beyond the original releases distributed for home entertainment purposes, it's no surprise that the videogame industry wants a piece of that lucrative pie too.

Heck, it's not even a new idea for the gaming industry. Anyone remember the Resident Evil Director's Cut debacle a few years back on the PSone? It was supposed to feature a violent intro scene that was originally cut from the first game. The only problem was, someone at Capcom forgot to include it in the Director's Cut. Man oh man I can't even begin to imagine the amount of fingerpointing and scapegoating that mistake would have unleashed.

"I thought that was Yahiro's job!"

"Liar! This is all your fault because of your fondness for large American sandwiches and lazy work ethic!"

Yes, I translated the original text from Japanese to English because that' s just the kind of dude I am.

Anyway, that sure was a long way to stretch an intro to Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which is developer Hideo Kojima's "director's cut" of Snake Eater which appeared on PS2 systems last Fall. Of course we know that Hideo Kojima likes to milk his creations for all their worth and let's face it, he has every right too. The games he helms tend to be pretty important to the industry and like all perfectionists, he is never happy with the finished product. Like most sensitive artistes I'm sure he relishes being given the opportunity to go back and add levels, mechanics, cinemas or other minute details that were cut due to the original deadline.

Lot's of extras are planned for Subsistence, not the least of which is actual online play where you can battle other Snake's online or have one Snake versus a gaggle of enemies (all played by human gamers). We were also told that cooperative play will be available but have yet to find out if it's net based or split screen. MGS3 fans can also look forward to new camo, weapons and items as well as the ability to manipulate the camera during cutscenes. Check out the pic of Eva crawling around....we're sure this is the only reason to include this newfound camera ability.

Perhaps the biggest and most exciting alteration to the original game is the behind the shoulder third person perspective which divided Metal Gear fans into two camps. Those who tolerated it and those who hated it. If you were the one dude or dudine (which is the actual correct term for a female dude...you learn something everyday!) who liked the aerial view of Snake Eater, you can rest easy because Kojima will be offering that as well.

Last but not least is the inclusion of the first two Metal Gear games originally released on the Japanese MSX system and which recently appeared as cellphone games in Japan. The second game, Solid Snake never saw the light of day in North America. Instead we were treated to a complete abomination developed solely for the North American market which ripped the heart and soul out the Metal Gear series and replaced it with pathetic side scrolling action and boss battles with dudes named Higharolla Kockamamie....yeah, you read that correctly. Snake's Revenge on the NES is considered way out there and is generally not included in the history of Metal Gear games.

Kojima's newly christened Kojima Productions (Houston I think we have an ego problem....) is heading up development of Subsistence and will ship for the PS2 later this year. Unfortunately the news isn't good for Xbox owners as Kojima's team doesn't plan to port this to their favorite system. It's PS2 all the way. Boo Hiss!

My final thought on Subsistence is one of wonder - as in, I wonder why anybody would buy these Metal Gear Solid games the moment they arrive on storeshelves if they know a better version will be along shortly after which addresses all of the problems inherent in the original? I'm wise to this whole thing now. I didn't buy MGS3; I'll spend my money on the "upgraded" version. How did I know that there would be an upgraded version, you might ask? Just smart I guess.

Stay tuned for more screens and info as it rolls in.

Click For Media
System: PS2
Dev: Kojima Production
Pub: Konami
Release: Mar 2006
Players: 1 - 8
Review By Darwin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best