Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Three Masterpieces In One Package

It’s a good time to be a Metal Gear fan who owns a PS3. With the release of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, seven entire Metal Gear titles are now available on the console, and nabbing all of them won’t break your bank account. (The original MGS is cheap on PSN, MGS4 is a bargain bin purchase these days, and the HD Collection adds five more titles to that list for a budget price.) Of course, the HD collection is also available on the 360, but for me, Snake belongs on a PlayStation console. Playing Metal Gear on Xbox would feel a bit dirty, like playing Halo on a PS3. But if Xbox is your only option, that shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying this trilogy (well, quintet, actually) of video game masterpieces.

Now, bear in mind that these games are relics from a past age, and this fact is going to be pretty obvious from the get-go. The first thing you’ll have to get used to is the lengthy cutscenes. Sometimes it’s hard to sit through entire half hour stretches where you don’t have to touch the controller once, but this is just how Metal Gear Solid has always told its stories. And if you actually pay attention, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Screenshot

Also, MGS 2 and 3 have antiquated control schemes that may have felt alright in the PS2 era, but they’re a little hard to get used to now. This fact becomes especially obvious when playing the first-person VR missions in MGS2, then comparing that to Peace Walker’s more intuitive controls. In fact, Peace Walker actually feels like a modern game, with dual-stick movement/camera controls closer to those of current gen hits like Uncharted 3 and Gears of War 3 than the PS2 Metal Gear titles on this disc. Since the PS3 has two analog sticks instead of the PSP’s single stick, the PS3 version of Peace Walker has greatly benefited from the HD translation. I do have one issue with Peace Walker’s controls, though: aiming a weapon without the assistance of the auto-aim feature is just plain awkward.

Now, even though these games are remastered in high-definition and looking better than ever, the low polygon counts of the character models become even more apparent when the visuals are in HD. Low-res textures, as well, often show the age of these titles, and the low-quality water effects of MGS2 wouldn’t be tolerated in a modern game. Personally, I think Peace Walker suffers the worst for this fact, as its images weren’t originally intended for viewing on TVs. Even so, this is obviously a visual upgrade, and considering the age of these titles, they’re looking better than we would have dreamed possible when they originally came out.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Screenshot

Aside from the enhanced visual quality and Peace Walker’s upgraded control scheme, the only real addition to these titles is trophy/achievement support. Now, normally, HD remakes suffer from poorly implemented trophies, since the games were never designed with them in mind. Shadow of the Colossus, for example, was a great game, but aside from what you earn by bringing down each of the sixteen colossi, the trophies in the HD re-release didn’t feel all that meaningful. Metal Gear Solid, on the other hand, has always been a series filled with Easter eggs; the trophies almost feel like they were meant to be here. For example, MGS2 awards you the “Kissing Booth” trophy for kissing a poster while hiding inside a locker, and MGS3 awards you with the “Snake Eater” trophy for actually eating a snake. These particular examples are pretty simple to earn and encourage you to try out things you may not have thought of on your own. And some of the trophies even play off the adult humor that seems to always underlie the Metal Gear games. (There’s a trophy called “Snake Beater.” I’ll leave the interpretation of that title up to you.)

What about the audio? Well, Metal Gear Solid was never about super realistic sound effects. Don’t expect to find the meaty sounds of bullets hitting flesh you’d expect of a Call of Duty game; MGS takes a more stylized approach. But Metal Gear’s sounds are iconic. The exclamation sound of a guard discovering your whereabouts, the distinctive ring whenever Snake’s companions page him on his radio, and Snake’s echoing death cry are unmistakably Metal Gear. The music in the game is equally as iconic; at this point, you simply wouldn’t mistake the Metal Gear theme for anything else. And the voice acting is phenomenal. Mind you, these games come out of an era in which video game voiceovers were expected to sound fairly bad. David Hayter, though, is Snake, and his raspy voice portrays the character as a hardened, well-trained killing machine, yet one who also has some personality.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Screenshot

What you’re really paying for here, though, are the stories. These games have exceptional storylines filled with unexpected twists and turns, as well as anime-style over-the-top details. Revolver Ocelot having Liquid Snake’s arm grafted onto him, allowing Liquid to possess his body? Yup. That’s Metal Gear. Now, many have called the Metal Gear stories convoluted and hard to follow—some going as far as to say nonsensical—and I guess those are fair accusations. But that doesn’t mean these plotlines aren’t incredibly well-written, or that they won’t entertain you from start to finish.

The big question now: “What’s in the box?”

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Screenshot

Well, for starters, the HD Collection comes with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. MGS 2 and 3 are the Substance and Subsistence editions, respectively, meaning each is bursting at the seams with extras. In fact, MGS2 alone comes with enough content to justify the $50 price tag. It includes the entire Sons of Liberty story, more than 350 alternate and VR missions, and Snake Tales, a non-canonical series of side stories for Solid Snake that attempt to make up for his diminutive role in the main story. MGS3 isn’t as beefy, but it includes the original two MSX Metal Gear titles: Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

Peace Walker is the skimpiest here, but it does include co-op missions and a deathmatch-style versus mode. However, considering this collection launched the same day as Modern Warfare 3, and just a week after Uncharted 3, it’s going to be pretty hard to enjoy Peace Walker’s multiplayer. It’s nice that it was included, but it’s a far cry from any of the other multiplayer offerings on the shelf right now.

The bottom line: If you’ve never played these classics, you owe it to yourself to run out and pick up a copy this instant. If you’ve played them before, this is a budget-priced return to some of the most influential video games ever made. Either way, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is $50 you won’t regret spending.

You’ll tell just by looking at them that these games are from a past era. But they look much better than the original versions, and Peace Walker’s comic book cutscenes look fantastic. 3.5 Control
The controls are sadly outdated. Peace Walker feels more modern, but suffers from some awkward aiming. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent. The Metal Gear sounds we know and love, great voice acting, and an iconic score. 4.9 Play Value
Five entire games and heaps of extras. How much more could you possibly fit on one disc? 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The MGS franchise is one of the most important game series of all time with multi-million unit sales globally, and countless awards honoring the vision of Hideo Kojima, a true video game icon.
  • The first time these groundbreaking MGS titles are availablein full High-Definition with revamped graphics, menu systems, and much more.
  • Play as a new fan or a veteran of the Metal Gear Solid universe and experience some of the greatest gaming design, storytelling, and presentation of all-time.
  • Three full Metal Gear Solid games featuring endless hours of gameplay within the single-player campaigns.
  • Online multiplayer modes featured in MGS Peace Walker for even greater replay value to extend the experience further. Go online in multiplayer modes, as well as Co-Op mode.
  • Enjoy smooth, precise controls with right analog stick formatting and Force Feedback.
  • See the games like you never have before, with the frame rate boosted to 60 fps and graphics enhanced to 720p.

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