“Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection” is a treasure chest of awesome

By Glenn Battishill

Back in the day (seven years ago) a teenage Glenn Battishill would have answered the “what’s your favorite video game?” question with an easy “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.”

Things change and the PS2 went away and slowly MGS3 began to fade out of the popular eye, mostly because the stealth game genre began to disappear.

Since rereleasing things in HD is the cool thing to do and since there hasn’t been a stealth game made in years it was high time that everyone remembered and began to miss MGS.

So here it is. The “Metal Gear Solid HD Collection” that includes “Metal Gear Solid 2,” “Metal Gear Solid 3” and the newly released PSP game, “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” all for the discount price of $50 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Since there are three games, I’ll split this up into three little mini reviews.

Metal Gear Solid 2:Sons of Liberty

MGS2 HD is operating off of the “Substance” version of MGS2 which include boatloads of in-game extras and hundreds of VR missions.

The story of MGS2 follows Solid Snake’s attempts to bring the government’s secret work on a next generation nuclear attack system by sneaking onto a tanker transporting the weapon. Crap hits the fan, the tanker sinks, the weapon is stolen by an unknown party and the world’s greatest hero is presumed dead.

The rest (and bulk) of the game follows rookie FOXHOUND agent, Raiden, as he attempts to unravel a conspiracy involving the abduction of the president and the aforementioned nuclear attack system.

Wow, what a plot.

Series creator and writer, Hideo Kojima, has always been great at layering his stories with twists and depth, and while MGS2 is considered a classic by many, the story is full of quirks, nonsense plot points and some really awkward dialogue.

The gameplay has made a beautiful step into HD and overall the presentation of the game is excellent. All of the sneaking feels tense and the boss fights are still a blast.

Easily the best part of the game though is the inclusion of the VR missions. After beating the first chapter of the game, I took a little break and checked out the VR missions, and what I discovered is some of the most well designed gameplay puzzles I’ve ever done.

Offering missions based in stealth, weapons training, bomb disposal and special variety modes, the VR missions will easily draw in players for dozens of hours.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Set in 1964 as a prequel to the whole series the player assumes control of Naked Snake, the best operative the CIA has to offer as he drops deep behind USSR borders in order to rescue a nuclear scientist and gather intelligence on Russia’s nuclear program.

The story is much more coherent than its’ predecessor and offers a James Bond-like adventure loaded with feme-fatales, deformed spies, sprawling battles and excellent plot twists.

The factor that sets “Snake Eater” apart is the camouflage system. Basically, players have to pick which camo to wear based on where they are; green-leaf pattern camo will stick out in a desert and the bright sand camo will shine brightly at night. This system forces the player to carefully plan out their route though the game based on what camo is available to them. The satisfaction of being a foot away from an enemy soldier without them seeing you because you blend in perfectly with a tree is exhilarating and very satisfying.

MGS3 continues to offer some of the greatest boss fights in video game history, with each boss being able to be defeated in multiple ways.

As in all “Metal Gear” games, stealth will always be rewarded over killing your way through the game but those rewards were usually cosmetic and had no bearing on the game. However in MGS3 the truly original and excellent boss fight with “The Sorrow” is difficult only if the player has killed any enemies.

It’s easily the nicest looking game out of the three and handles the best.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Set in 1974, “Peace Walker” continues the story of Naked Snake, now known as “Big Boss,” as he leads a mercenary army on a mission to repel a secret invasion of Costa Rico. The game is a port of a recently release PSP game so the graphics are a little rougher in this game but are still overall excellent.

The missions in this game are clearly designed for a handheld console because each mission only takes a few minutes and the army management mini-game can get a little tedious.

The cutscenes in PW are all delivered in the style of a comic book and they look awesome in HD.

The controls have got an update too, with the game offering multiple control schemes to choice from.

The big selling point of “Peace Walker” is the online multiplayer, with multiple game modes and ways to play. While I would have preferred the stealth based multiplayer of “Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence” the team based gameplay of “Peace Walker” is a nice reprieve from modern first person shooters and is very addicting.

All three games have gotten a coat of HD polish and the controls have been updated to fit a more modern controller and it really shows: the sprawling stealth areas of MGS3 look fantastic, the fluid look of MGS2 is beautiful and the more colorful areas of MGS:PW are very fun to look at and play in.

Also included in the “Metal Gear Solid HD Collection” is the original “Metal Gear” and “Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake” and while they are fun for a laugh the Nintendo era controls are frustrating and the game is very confusing.

Overall it’s a great buy and will leave fans satisfied. For people who never played the series, I’d strongly recommend you check out the games that got people thinking and began the “post-modern” video game movement.