Review by Lionheart Wave

"You'll Eat It Up"

Well, this is it. I'm finally going to review a Blockbuster hit. Normally, I would review some no name games that no one has ever heard of, but after seeing that Metal Gear Solid 3 only had 1500 words (or at least, right now it does), I decided to give it a try. Besides, Metal Gear Solid 3 is such a beautiful, unique, and incredible experience, it would be an insult to not even try to tell the world what a great game this is.

I was so excited when I picked up Metal Gear Solid 3. It had been my most anticipated game of the year. Nothing even came close to how much I wanted to play this game. I was familiar with Hideo Kojima's work so I knew what to expect; Great stealth game play, a deep yet confusing story line, awesome music, and creative bosses. Let me rephrase that; I thought I knew what to expect. Hideo Kojima surprised me in just about every way possible. It has, wait! Why am I telling you all this up here! Read on down to find out what a glorious master piece Metal Gear Solid 3 really is.

GAME PLAY

In the past Metal Gear Solids, you would usually be sneaking around in a military base and industrial settings (such as tankers and Military bases) through out the whole game.
Kiss that good bye! Metal Gear Solid 3 goes out back into where the series started; the jungle. And you'll be going through forest, caves, and mountains as well. You'll still get chances to infiltrate bases as well so for those of you who don't like play out outdoors, even in a video game can't quit crying. Most Metal Gear Solid fans will also be happy to know that Snake is the main character again (Hurry!).

Another thing that they've improved drastically from the past Metal Gear Solids is the enemy A.I. If you ever played that the Metal Gear Solid remake for the Nintendo Gamecube (Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes), you'll understand how much starter they have gotten. In the past Metal Gear Solid games, all you had to do was run up to the enemy from behind when he wasn't looking and knock him out unconscious to get past him. This time around, I dare you to try that. Now that you're in an outdoor environment, you'll have plenty of those little noise makers to avoid. I'm talking about leaves, sticks, mud, or just plain solid ground. Now your enemy will actually look back when he hears a noise behind him. Expect the same improvements if you get caught by one. Like the past Metal Gear Solids, is an enemy sees you, he'll call for help on his radio and swarms of enemy guards will come and they've got a few new tricks up their sleeves. Unlike in the last game, where your enemy rarely threw grenades at you, they will do it quite a bit this time around, so you can't just stand around and shoot. You're going to have to move! And this time around, if you get too close to the enemy they'll stab you with a knife instead of just standing back, waiting to take the hit. While we're on the subject of taking hits, I'd like to point out that the enemies can take about twice damage in this game than they can in any of the other installments. Just the way the enemies are set up is difficult. Near each enemy there is another one only a few yards away so beware if your gun isn't silenced. This is actually realistic for Soldiers to be in formations like this. They also do keep there old tactics such as calling for help if they find a dead comrade or notice your gun bullet hit them. Even so, they still do have their brain dead moments such as not noticing a tranquillizer dart just hit them (although some will notice this, most won't).

Luckily for you, they aren't the only ones with a few new tricks up there sleeves. You might have been wondering “but with the enemy this smart, how can we get through the game without getting caught?” The answer, my friend, is camouflage and stalking. These are 2 new great features in the game which will help you even the odds with the enemy. You can choose from a number of camouflage types, such as tiger stripes, olive drab, and leaf (You can also choose to go around with no shirt on, but you'll stick out like a sore thumb). In the upper right corner there is an indicator that tells you in percentage how well you are camouflage with the environment. You also have to apply face paint if you want it even higher. Throughout the game you'll learn when and where to switch to the right type of camouflage. If you don't, you're going to either die a lot or spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for you health to go up. The new stalking feature lets you move around very quietly, so quiet that the enemy won't hear you even if you're directly behind them. But this comes at a price. In order to move very quietly, you will need to move very slowly (but you'll still walk fast enough to catch up with walking guards) and it will use up your stamina (No, not your health like in some games. I'm just about to explain that) kind of quickly, but it's worth it if you know how to use it. These new stealth elements are simply amazing.

Another new feature in the game is the stamina meter. It is right below your health meter. Your stamina is important because without it you'd have things like shaky aim and/or won't recover as fast. Your stamina meter goes down over time but it will go down faster if you're in cold weather, get shot, throw up, etc. In order to recover stamina, you're going to have to eat food. Since you're in the jungle you aren't going to find a Burger King restaurant anywhere close so you're going to have to eat the wild life all around you just as the name hinted. Besides snakes, you'll also eat animals such as birds, Crocodiles, crabs, frogs, and bats, though there are plenty more in the game with different types of them. Are you a vegetarian who is against eating meat even in a video game? Don't worry because you can also find mushrooms, mango, and even beehives to eat. Different types of food will recover different amounts of stamina. Snake will even make a comment on how well it tasted. But watch out! Some food is poisonous, but if this happens to you, don't worry. The games new recovery system will cure you in an instant.

If something happens like you get stabbed with a knife or get covered in leaches, bad things will happen. For example, you can't recover fully or your health will automatically go down. You will need to go to the cure menu and apply the right types of medicines and first aids to heal yourself. Here's an example; you've just been in a huge fire fight and you've got a bullet stuck in your body. You will have to use the knife to take out the bullet, some disinfection to well, disinfect it. Then you will need to apply a Styptic pad to stop the bleeding and a bandage to treat it. If this sounds complicated to you, don't worry. It really isn't. Really all you do is go to a menu, it tells you what items need to be applied and you apply them. If you are running low on the items needed there are other ways to cure them. Cuts will heal over time and you can throw up to eject the poison out of your body. Some people will find this a burden, but I personally don't mind.

In the last 2 Metal Gear Solids, you would communicate with something called namo communication. Since this game takes place before those times it's a little lacking of technology so you instead have a radio which, like namo communication, you can call if you're lost, want some game tips, or want to save. Unlike the last Metal Gear Solids, the conversations that you have on these are interesting enough that you won't be wishing that they would just shut up and let you play the game. I know some people will want to just fight there way through the game (which is understandable because even though this is a stealth game, combat is about as much fun as most action games out there), but I strongly suggest you don't because the game offers some nice rewards for staying out of sight. The new Close Quarters Combat (CQC) system is my personal favorite.

To pull of the Close Quarters Combat feature, you must approach an enemy with either you're hands, knife, or a gun that only requires one hand, and press the circle button and then you grab onto the enemy and do a number of things such as slit his throat, use hit as a human shield, or interrogate him. It makes combat a lot more interesting. I don't want to spoil everything for you (especially the boss battles) so I'll just stop right there. Everything else in the game is just as great. My only minor gripe is that sometimes it can be annoying to have to pause the game to switch to different camouflage each time you go on a different terrain, but that's nitpicking. Overall, the game play is one of a kind and well executed.

Overall: 10/10

Story

I'll get this out of the way first; Unlike Metal Gear Solid 2, the plot actually makes sense this time! I really don't want to spoil any of the storyline for you, but for those of you who must know, here's the start: Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov is a scientist who invented the rocket for the soviets. Shortly after his rocket creation he defected to the west but was sent back by the U.S. in exchange for the Soviet to withdraw their missiles from Cuba. The U.S. has sent Snake to rescue this man and bring him back to America. That's the beginning and that's all that I'm going to tell you. The story is incredible, quite possibly the best I've ever heard in a video game. It has a well rounded combination of action, drama, and romance (some moments literally got me teary eyed). Overall, it's unforgettable.

Overall: 10/10

Graphics: Lots of people underestimate the PS2's power and this game proves it. These are probably the best graphics on the PS2 (only Ico rivals it). You'll immediately notice large amounts of detail the second you step into the game's massive world. Extraordinary amounts on vegetation, incredible lighting effects, beautiful environments, amazing animations, and stunning character models is what this game has to offer. I Swear! This looks like an Xbox game! When you see the game's water fall for the first time, you will be a believer. Even with this beauty, you don't have to worry about slowdown. Throughout the whole game, I never encountered slow down once, even with multiply enemies, animals, and objects on screen. I can't think of a single problem with them. Overall, the graphics are breathtaking!

Overall: 10/10

Sound

As good as the sound was in the first two games, I have to say that the sound in this game puts it to shame. Every tune fits the mood of what ever is going on. Get spotted by an enemy in the jungle and an incredible tune comes on that makes you really feel like your in the middle of something big. It also brings back the main theme of the Metal Gear Solid series which has been remixed with the addition of some new instruments. I'm guessing that Konami went out and got real animal sound for this game because if they didn't, I sure can't tell the difference. You really do feel like you're in the wilderness when you hear crickets and birds chirping and frogs croak in the background. My only gripe is that sometimes the voiceovers sound pretty cheesy, as if they're reading right from the script but that gripe is minor and besides, it doesn't happen too often. Overall, the sound is best in the series.

Overall: 10/10

Game Length, Difficulty, and Replay Value

One of the only problems with the last 2 Metal Gear Solids is that they were a bit short; each one only lasted about 13 hours long. This one will take you about twice as long to finish, and that's not even counting the side quest, secrets, and mini games which add a lot of replay value to the game. This is actually the most repayable Metal Gear Solid around. One of them is an awesome side game that Konami included called “Snake vs. Monkey. In this kid friendly game, Snake must stun and capture all of the monkeys (who are the same monkeys from the ape escape series) in the areas. Konami included this as something for the kids (though up to age players will enjoy it as well). The difficultly is completely your choice. You can pick from very easy, easy, normal, hard, and later extreme. Overall, this game is going to keep you busy for a long time.

Game Length: Long
Difficulty: Variable
Replay Value: High

Overall

This is by far the best game in the series! It's probably the best PS2 game as well. I don't care if you didn't like the last Metal Gears, or if you don't like stealth games! You must play this game! I suggest you get up and go and buy it right now! Just make sure you have an open schedule.

Final Score: 10/10

It lives up to the hype.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/13/05


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