Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Review by sarevokmb
"One Of The Greatest Games Ever Created"
It is 1964. Rival nations are secretly developing weapons that could threaten the future of mankind. Deep in the jungle, an elite soldier must combine stealth with survival to infiltrate the enemy and stop a weapon of mass destruction from triggering the largest full-scale war the world has ever seen. It may sound like the trailer for an action-adventure film, but it is actually the description on the back of the box of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a video game created by Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear Solid 3 is a prequel to the other four Metal Gear games, and the story explains how Snake, the villain of the series and the hero of this game, ended up becoming a terrorist. To tell the story, the game relies on five hours of movie-like cut scenes and three hours of radio conversations, which is unusual for a video game. Most video games have simple plots, their programmers and designers focusing mainly on the game play. The stories are unrealistic and bland, but the action of the game keeps the player interested enough to finish it. Other video games have good plots, but the game play and graphics are so poor that the game is virtually unplayable, examples of this being most of the video games based on currently popular children's films. But Kojima, trying to create the ultimate tactical espionage action game, combined exciting game play with superb graphics, and a movie-like plot with realistic cut-scenes, to create one of the best video games ever, a game that people will want to play over and over again.
The gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 3, improves upon many of the features of the original games in the series, while still remaining loyal to the basics. Several new features have been added to give the game a more realistic feel. The game takes place almost entirely in the jungle, instead of in the interior environments of the previous games. The radar, which in previous Metal Gear games would show the player the exact location of all enemies in the area, making it easy to sneak by patrolling guards, has been completely removed from this installment. Surprisingly, the absence of radar makes this game more enjoyable, forcing the player to constantly scan the environment around him and to be well hidden at all times. Faced with this urgent need to stay out of sight, because or the absence of radar and the greatly improved Artificial Intelligence of the enemies, it is necessary to make use of the game's new camouflage system. This new system allows Snake to wear different outfits and put on face-paint to blend in with the environments, enabling him to hide from enemies who search almost every inch of the area if they find so much as a hint of his presence and call in backup if cornered. Choosing what camouflage outfit to wear might seem like a daunting task, since everything, including the terrain, the weather, and the time of day effect how visible Snake will be to enemies, but the task is simplified by a camouflage display, which constantly monitors Snake's visibility. If the system is not used correctly, and the guards spot Snake, there are two options. The player can either run from the enemy and attempt to find a new place to hide, or confront the enemy with the game's wide assortment of weapons and new Close Quarters Combat system. Close Quarters Combat is based on a real form of martial arts used by the U.S. military, and can be used to pull off dozens of new moves on the enemies, that were not available in the other games. Also added to the game, is the eating system, which adds even more realism by making the player search for animals and plants to eat in order to keep Snake's stamina up. The system seems unimportant at first, until it is revealed through a radio conversation with a member of Snake's support team, that his stamina will effect nearly all of his actions and bodily functions. Without eating regularly, Snake's wounds won't heal, his aiming will be off, he won't be able to run, his strength will diminish, his eyesight will fade, and eventually, he will starve. If Snake gets injured, the recovery system lets players treat all of his injuries. Snake can do simple things such as remove leeches with a cigar, or he can treat major injuries such as gunshot wounds, which require removing the bullet, sterilizing the wound, suturing it, and bandaging it. In order to teach the players how to use this new feature, a member of Snake's support team is incorporated into the game to guide them through a few of the surgeries. All of these features add to the realism of the game play, without changing the things that made the original Metal Gear games so popular.
Overall Gameplay score: 10 / 10
Metal Gear Solid 3's graphics are just as impressive as its game play, and it still looks better than more newly released games on the Playstation 2, two years after its release. Everything in the jungle looks amazing, especially the trees and grass. The jungle is dense with trees, giving the player the feeling that it goes on forever, and each blade of grass is modeled individually, allowing for incredible details, such as rustling when small animals or characters walk through. The detail is not just restricted to the natural things in the environment either- the man-made things in the game are just as detailed. Individual ropes from rope bridges can be shot out, and shelters and storage areas for weapons and food made by the enemies, can be stolen from and destroyed. But, the most impressive part of the graphics, by far, are the characters. Even characters with minor roles in the game, such as individual enemies, have a distinct look and personality. Another example of the quality of the graphics, is the fact that there is no slowdown as Snake moves throughout the jungle. In most video games with good graphics, as you walk throughout the environment, the game play becomes choppy, due to slowing of the frame rates. In this game, the programmers overcame this problem to make one of the smoothest running, best looking games ever created for the Playstation 2.
Overall Graphics score: 10 / 10
Not only does the game have excellent game play and graphics, but it also has a captivating story. It starts out simply, with a generic spy movie theme, but after a few hours, the plot takes a serious change with a series of shocking twists, that keep the player guessing what will happen through the rest of the fifteen hour game. You truly feel bad for Snake, as he is constantly betrayed and tricked by his superiors, eventually leading to his distrust for the U.S. government and his transformation into a terrorist. The plot is revealed through the use of cut-scenes, which play like movies, and show what happens in between the game play portions. The cut-scenes take up over fifteen hours of the game, while only seven hours are devoted to actual game play. The characters look realistic in the game and even more realistic in these cut-scenes. Radio conversations, in which Snake talks to the members of his support team, are also important, giving details on his mission and what other characters are doing. The talented voice actors, who are used for all the scenes, and the music, consisting of vocal and orchestrated tracks composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, the composer of the music from the films, The Chronicles of Narnia, Shrek, and Armageddon, give the cut-scenes their movie-like feel. In fact, the cut-scenes were so well liked, that in Japan, they released a movie, with scenes taken directly from the game, to theaters. The DVD version was released later, along with a remake of the game, called Metal Gear Solid 3 Substance and a documentary on the making of the game.
Overall story score: 10 / 10
It is rare to find another game that so effectively combines all the elements of what makes a great game, like Metal Gear Solid 3 does. This game will go down in history as a classic, along with games such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, Metroid, and Pokémon. After playing it through for the first time, players are rewarded with a Snake vs. Monkey mini game. It is also fun to play the game again to find missed items, such as hidden frogs (which unlock a famous item from the original Metal Gear Solid- the optic camo) and the special reward for uncovering them all, and to experience the story again. Metal Gear Solid 3 is a game that is definitely worth getting.
Overall score: 10 / 10
A note by the author of this review:
This is an evaluation essay that I am writting for my college English class. I'm posting it here on GameFAQs to see if it is too boring to be submitted as a review, and if it would get a good grade from my English teacher.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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