Review by SR71halo
"When it comes to perfection, you can't get much closer than this fantastic addition to the MGS series"
What else is there to be said about this legendary series? The Metal Gear Solid games have been known for the perfect blend of stealth and action with an engrossing story to boot. As good as the rest of the series is, no game does it better than Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. With nearly perfect gameplay and one of the best stories told in gaming history, MGS3 is one experience that you will remember for years to come.
In spite of the last game, this game leaves us hanging and brings us back to 1964. We start off with our hero, Naked Snake (aka Big Boss, but not til later), as he is lands in the jungles of Tselinoyarsk in USSR on a mission to rescue a defecting scientist named Sokolov, who is working on a new project called "The Shagohad". With the help of Major Zero, Para-medic, and his former mentor (The Boss), Snake sneaks his way through the jungle until he reaches the base and finds Sokolov. On the way out, everything is going smoothly until The Boss defects and she, along with her Cobra unit, captures Sokolov once more and leaves Snake for dead. Her new leader, Colonel Volgin, is provided with a stolen Davy Crockett which he uses to blow up a nearby base to cover up the theft.
With that detonation, a new problem arises. The Soviet Union holds the United States responsible for the attack and threatens to declare war. Lyndon Johnson denies our involvement, so Nikita Khrushchev (the leader at the time) gives the U.S. one chance to its innocence by destroying the Shagohad, stopping Volgin and his men, and killing the defector herself, The Boss. Who do they call on to accomplish all of this? That's right, Snake. All of this is just the beginning and the plot gets much deeper than this. With such unexpected twists and turns, as well as one of the most emotional endings ever, this story is engaging and one of the best you'll find in any game. I won't spoil any more but this is one plot you won't soon forget.
The Metal Gear Solid games have always pushed consoles to their limits to give you some of the most gorgeous visuals and this game is no exception. For its time, especially on the PS2, the environments look superb and the detail was like nothing we had seen before. The lip synching is a bit off during the cut scenes but that might be because it was made in Japan. Still, the game looks gorgeous and the interaction with the environment (like leaves ruffling when touched) is spot on.
You control Snake from the normal top-down view like other games before it (or you can switch to a third person view if you have Subsistence). Unlike previous games where you are normally sneaking around a base, this game puts you in a more unique environment; the jungle. This adds a new sense of immersion as you must use this jungle to your advantage while progressing. By this I mean using camouflage plays a big part in the game as you switch between different outfits in order to blend in with your surroundings and become invisible to your enemies. How hidden you are is decided on a number in the top right corner as a percentage, this tells you how well the guards will see you. If it is a lower percentage, you might want to find a new outfit and face paint. Using different outfits is an excellent idea that only adds to the already excellent stealth formula and the jungle alone is one of the best environments for a sneaking game, even if it isn't the entire game.
You can attack guards head on if you want, but like the other games, sneaking is usually recommended or the guards will come at you in large numbers in order to take you down. If you do get spotted, it is best to escape from them by hiding. This will get them off your trail but they will still be looking for you until the evasion status reaches 0. Don't think that you are defenseless though, for you will have many weapons at your disposal. Well, you start off with only an MK22 which only stuns the enemy when shot but you will find many more rifles, pistols, SMG's, sniper rifles and more as you explore the game. If you are to shoot someone, whether they be stunned or killed, it is a good idea to hide the body in tall grass or leaves so his friends won't find them and get suspicious. Even then, your shots might be heard, but this can be helped when you attach silence suppressors to the gun but you will lose that suppressor after a certain amount of shots and you'll have to attach another one so use them wisely. Of course, probably the quietest way to take them down is CQC; punch them out or grab them by the neck and slit their throats with your knife. If you've played other games in the series, you'll be familiar with this formula but it works just as well here. Stealth is much heavier here than it was in two as the enemies will spot you easier and you must use your surroundings to sneak which makes this game even more fun than other entries, an expansion on the already exceptional gameplay.
Every now and then throughout the game, you'll encounter a boss. Pretty much all of the bosses are made up of the Cobra Unit including The Boss herself. Each member gets more and more challenging as you go and each one feels more fresh than the last. You can take them down but killing them with more lethal weapons or you can tranquilize them which usually rewards you with a new special outfit (each with an extra benefit). These boss fights are fun, challenging and satisfying when beaten, as boss fights in the MGS series usually are.
Spite the 10 I've given it, there is an annoyance that keeps this game from reaching perfection. That would be switching through the inventory in your back pack for your camouflage, food and treating your wounds. Through the game you'll find animals and plants (snakes, birds, rabbits, mushrooms, fruit, and much more) in the jungle which you need to shoot and capture in order to keep your stamina up. Your stamina is an extra bar under your health bar that runs out over time unless you refill it by eating whatever you have, usually animals or fruits. This is the least annoying since you don't have to keep doing it very often and some food heals so much stamina that you don't need to worry. The worst is healing. When you are fired on or whatever may happen in the game (or story), there may be times when you need to tend to your wounds. You do this by choosing your backpack through the pause menu and treating gun shots, leeches, broken bones, burns and other wounds with various medicines and bandages depending on the wound. This is especially tiresome during boss fights as that's when they happen most often. Truth be told I like these additions as they add to the survival theme the game is going for, but pausing just to switch to them can grow tiresome.
However, that is only a minor annoyance and it doesn't stop the fact that this game is truly a masterpiece. From the unique expansion on the gameplay we all know and love to one of the best stories told in gaming, there is almost nothing Metal Gear Solid 3 can't do. From the minute you start playing you feel immersed in the jungle environment surrounding you and you are instantly hooked on this fantastic game. If you are a fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise or stealth action games in general, then look no further than Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Though I recommend Subsistence more if you can find it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/20/11
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (US, 11/17/04)
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