Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection Review (PS3)

Among the numerous titles released during the life of the PlayStation 2 were the popular sequels to 1998’s stealth-action game Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, as well as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. These along with the 2010 release for the PSP, Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, have been ported from their original platforms onto the PS3, bundled together in a handy collection, and have been remastered to allow them to support modern HD TV’s.

Released in 2001, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty(MGS2) follows the events of the first Metal Gear Solid (MGS), and reintroduces players to several familiar characters, as well as introductions to a number of new ones. The story follows the events of the previous game, dealing with the fallout of the events of the Shadow Moses Incident (which took place in MGS), as well as with an emerging conspiracy. While the story may prove to be initially confusing for those who have not played MGS, the key parts of the plot are recapped to lessen confusion for new players.

Where MGS2 is a sequel, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (MGS3) serves as a prequel to the other titles in the series, and details the events that lead to the rise of Big Boss, and foreshadows significant events that occur in the other titles. In MGS3 Snake must track down and confront his mentor, the legendary soldier known as The Boss, when she defects to the enemy’s side. And finally Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker (MGS:PW) bridges the gap in the story between MGS3 and MGS, and deals with the founding of Big Boss’ military state Outer Heaven, which plays an important part in the franchise’s overall story.

The gameplay of all three remains largely unchanged from the original versions, with the emphasis being placed on sneaking past, or subduing enemies quickly and quietly, rather than charging in with guns blazing. Almost every enemy you encounter is equipped with a radio, which they use to call for backup if they spot you. While this might not seem particularly troubling, the backup is almost always well armed, and equipped with body armor or riot shields making encounters with them particularly dangerous.

In order to avoid the guards, players are given a number of tricks for distracting, or dispatching them without causing an alert. Equipment such as the radar, and a personnel sensor are invaluable for finding the location of enemy sentries, and once you have found one, it becomes that much easier to deal with them quickly and silently without being spotted.

Between the three titles your options for dispatching foes vary slightly, and ranges from sneaking up behind the enemy and knocking him out with your fists, to sticking a gun in his back and holding him up for valuable items and ammo. You can also take an enemy as a human shield in MGS3 making his friends less likely to shoot you, or use a knife to interrogate him for potentially useful information, such as the weaknesses of an upcoming boss, or the radio frequency to cancel an alert status. There are also far more subtle options available, such as hiding beneath a cardboard box to avoid the enemy’s sight, or tapping on a wall and throwing an empty ammo magazine to draw them from their post, allowing you to attack them or sneak past.

In the event that you do get spotted, the game strongly encourages you to run and hide. Most of the time fighting back is more futile than productive, and fleeing the enemy and waiting is almost always the safest way to proceed. When they spot you, enemies will often take cover and attempt to keep you pinned down until backup arrives, at which point they will sweep in and attempt to flank you. Even if you manage to escape, or kill the guards, you will still need to remain cautious, as guards will more actively search for you, searching and clearing out the nooks and crannies that you might otherwise have hidden in.

The biggest changes are in the controls of MGS:PW, that have been changed in order to be played easily on a PS3 controller, rather than on the PSP which the game was originally released on. It also contains a feature called ‘transfarring’ which lets you transfer your save file to and from your PSP, letting you continue the same game regardless of which console you are playing on at the time. As well as this, all three games feature trophies/achievements, for completing tasks such as finding easter eggs, completing various parts of the main story, or completing other tasks.

While all three titles have been remastered for HD the visuals in MGS2 and MGS3 show their age, with some frame rate issues in one or two places, along with some blurred textures. While these problems are fairly small, they really show in the various cut scenes, which make up a considerable portion of the storytelling of both titles.

Fans of the series will find this collection to be an enjoyable nostalgia trip, reliving some of the more exhilarating and memorable moments (Such as Snake’s final confrontation with Boss, or Raiden fighting off a small army of METAL GEAR RAY) while delving back in to the overarching conspiracy that spans the entire Metal Gear series, and the set piece gun battles. While newcomers will likely enjoy the thrill of rushing to take down a guard before he can call for back up, the cut scenes and radio calls which too frequently interrupt the action may prove particularly frustrating for those who are not used to, or expecting them, or are simply interested in getting to the action.

Its minor issues aside, the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection is bound to keep almost everyone entertained, with its stealth-action, memorable moments, and quirky humor.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

About the Author

I'm a student who, like many, spends more time studying games than my coursework. Games are a bit like food. You need to try as many different types as you can, otherwise you might miss out on something that you didn't even know that you liked.