Review by gigahurtzhutman
"Yet another Masterpiece from Kojima..."
I can't put into words how good this game truly is - but I'm going to give it a shot.
The only reason that this didn't get ten out of ten is that sometimes the camera angle is a bit frustrating, apart from that minor hiccup the game is flawless. The new jungle setting intensifies the action and really builds on the realism. With the natural setting it feels as if you're actually there. There are also lots of new gameplay features that expand on those used in previous Metal Gear Solid games.
-CQC for one, Close Quaters Combat lets you take care of enemy soldiers quick and efficiently, nothing beats the feeling when you first pull this off!
-The new stamina system, you have to eat to survive. This really adds to the feeling that you're in the jungle and the way that it's integrated into the game is amazing.
-Camouflage, this adds a whole new layer to the stealth aspect. Now with the right clothes and face paint you can become basically invisble while pushed up against a tree or laying down in long grass.
Now that I think about it there are so many more, like the ability to fix yourself up if you injure yourself. So if you break a leg from a high fall, you'll have to set the bone, brace it with a splint and bandage yourself up. Like Metal Gear Solid 2 before it, Metal Gear Solid 3 features a tremendous amount of detail in its gameplay, but most of it is purely optional, and so subtle that you might never notice it unless you look for it. There's tons of stuff you can do in this gameworld, such as catch poisonous snakes and fling them at your unsuspecting enemies, shoot beehives out of trees and cause them to drop on hapless victims below, contract a bad stomach virus from eating spoiled food, and even fake your own death. Many previous Metal Gear Solid gameplay elements, such as the ability to stick up a guard with a gun to his back, shoot out his radio to prevent him from signaling for reinforcements, and sneak around while hiding in an inconspicuous cardboard box, are also intact.
All of these add towards making it such a life like expereince, even more lifelike is the very jungle that Snake gets dropped into. Critters scurry around, snakes slither, and each and every blade of grass is done individually. Like the rest of the game, the look of the jungle is lush with an incredible amount of detail. Animals make the grass rustle as they move through it, as does Snake, and when shots are fired over the grass all of the blades in the path of the bullets will rustle as well. When taking shots from an off-screen enemy it's possible to find the source just by following the moving grass.
The story takes place in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, and involves Snake's attempts to rescue a brilliant Russian weapons specialist--someone who's developed a machine so dangerous that it could disrupt the Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, and shift the balance of power squarely into the hands of people like Colonel Volgin. Snake's mission is ostensibly to rescue the scientist, but if you've played previous Metal Gear Solids, then you'll rightly expect that his mission won't be so cut-and-dried. At any rate, Snake's encounters behind enemy lines will take him through everything from dense jungles, leech-infested swamps, and quicksand to heavily guarded military complexes. The game's setting is cohesive and believable, and it offers a good amount of variety and plenty of tactical opportunity. In the jungle, Snake is forced to be a survivalist and use the environment to his advantage. This leads to the game's new elements of play.
Giving the story a ten out of ten is an understatement, and yes I realise that doesn't make any sense. The story is that damn good. Without spoiling to much it reaches epic conclusions and it wouldn't be MGS without a Metal Gear and a few freaks as bosses now would it? One boss in particular is simply put the most fun I have had, ever. Once you play the game you'll know who I'm talking about.
The story is truly epic and the climax after the final battle is simply stunning. Some of the scenes are so well thought out and so well produced that you'll begin to wonder how the hell they came up with it. To me it's the perfect balance between the overly lengthy MGS2 story and the original MGS's story. There is a lot to it and it may take time to get your head around it, it's complicated and deals with serious issues, filled with some shocking scenes of graphic violence, and a helping of strong language and sexual references for good measure. You've never seen any game pull off some of the stunts that this one does. Fairly early on, the high stakes of Snake's mission are plainly exposed. You're introduced to the game's central villain, a sadomasochistic Russian colonel named Volgin, and you also catch a glimpse of the Cobras, a gaggle of bizarre military commandos whom you'll face one by one in some of the game's biggest showdowns. These characters make pretty good foes, but with maybe a couple of exceptions, they're just straightforward comic book bad guys. It's Metal Gear Solid 3's other key characters (and the events they manage to stir up) that are especially interesting.
The graphics really are good. They are realistic and great to look at. They definately don't let the game down one bit. The PS2 has the least power of the current systems, but the Metal Gear team really shows us that it's the developers that count, not the system. All the areas of the game, the people and characters look stunning. The graphics truly help to deliver the cinematic and epic feel that is MGS3.
With an epic score and a few sets of music as patriotic as the National Anthem the sound is great. Amazing voice acting as ever, in some cases out classing even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters.
The sounds outside in the jungle create a perfect forest ambiance. As you sneak through the grass, hearing the rustling of leaves, a bird shoots into the air, screeching as it passes over head. Bullets zip past you, and collide with trees and crates, making firefights seem all the more frantic and furied. As with almost every part of the game it helps create that epic feel.
After playing through the entire game there was just one single urge that came to mind: the burning desire to start the game over right away.
With Snake vs Moneky and the option of replaying the campaign on harder difficulties the replayability is great. It could have done with a bit more, even the European version which comes with the usual European Extreme, Boss Battle and Theatre extras.
There are a few unlockables, mainly different camos and face paints but also some hidden easter eggs, quite a few to do with the radio. If you get the game do me one favour, equip a box and call 'Sigint'.
If you're looking for an epic game, a great and well told story with great gameplay then this is the game for you. In all honesty this is probably the greatest game I've ever played. he storyline plays out like a twist-filled spy novel and the rest of the characters and action fit well into this earlier version of the Metal Gear universe. With so much going on this is a game that will easily please fans of the series and help to woo back those who were dismayed by MGS2.
The only thing that is minutely annoying is still the camera, the jungle environment doesn't fit the top down view and it shows. While in the regular view it's possible to move the camera around with the right analog stick and lock it in place with the R3 button and this is a huge help, but it's still a drag to not have the option to move around with a first-person or third-person perspective.
Like a bit of an unruly pet on a leash, the camera system can be tamed pretty easily and with so much other good, no, fantastic, stuff in the game it can be forgiven. So much so that beating the game once is just the beginning. As an extra bonus for the game, there is a little frog statue in each and every area of the game that has an uncanny resemblance to Kermit the Frog. He can be found behind rocks, underwater, up on ledges and several other places and by finding all of them and shooting those players will get something very cool.
With a beautiful graphical style and dozens upon dozens of things to try out in this highly detailed game playing it once just isn't enough. There are still issues with the camera system that can become frustrating, but with the general level of excellence everywhere else and considering the limitations of the PS2 this is still an amazing game. This is a true return to form and a hell of a way for the series to wrap up several plot lines in an exciting way. They don't get much better than this.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/13/06
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