Review by alexg1989
"MGS3... Almost perfect on every level..."
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a perfect hybrid between cinema and video game. The game's scenes suck you into Snake Eater's story, while in between scenes you play out your mission in vast jungles, buildings, maintain terrains and a large, supposedly impregnable fortress.
Following the movie-like introduction, you're dropped off in a jungle via Halo Jump. Your mission is to find Dr. Sokolov and bring him back to the United States safely. As your mission wines down, you're confronted and betrayed by your former mentor and mother figure of ten years. This confrontation sets into motion a sequence of events that lead to the beginning of your new assignment; Operation Snake Eater. To kill The Boss; a World War 2 Hero who defected to the Soviet Union, taking with her two Davey Crockets, and the person who unleashed a nuclear catastrophe on Russia.
During the beginning of the game, in what is called the Virtuous Mission, you will find yourself in a vast jungle crawling with small animals. As you move forward, you will begin to notice enemy sentries standing watch and patrolling several areas. Getting by some of these guys can be tricky if you're a newcomer. You will often find yourself lying in wait for an opportunity to either 1.) proceed without being detected by using your surroundings for cover or 2.) dispatch of sentries by sneaking up on them and slitting their throats, putting them in a chokehold until they pass out, or using your mk22 to tranquilize them from afar. To get by an area without alerting any guard, it's best to lay low and keep to the ground by crawling through grass and changing your Camo to blend in with your immediate surroundings and lower the probability of detection. Move forward only when the enemy is looking elsewhere, obviously.
Personally, I get a kick out of being able to sneak through heavily guarded areas, and Snake Eater gives you all the tools you'd need to get the job done. By using the Dpad you will walk very slowly, eliminating sounds emanating from your footsteps. This is great for sneaking up behind enemies without arousing their suspicion. If you try to sneak up on guards using the analog stick, they will hear you once you're within range and unless you manage to take them out quickly, the alarm will be sounded and the soldiers will go into Red Alert. When in Red Alert mode, the enemy will actively pursue you. A seemingly endless hoard of bad guys will continously spawn until you are either killed, or find a good hiding spot where you aren't discovered for the remainder of the Red Alert and the subsequent Caution Mode, which lasts for quite a while. You can try to fend them off with your weapons, but I find that it sort of kills the whole theme of the game, which is to sneak through without being seen. If I am caught, I usually just let them kill me and then attempt to re-do the area without alerting anyone. While you're crawling you can press the R1 button to enter First Person View mode and get a better view of area in front of you. If need-be, you can also press and hold the R2 and L2 buttons, while simultaneously holding the R1 button to have Snake poke his head out to get an even clearer view. When you're crawling and happen to move into some tall grass, you will automatically enter First Person View mode, or rather, Intrusion View mode. In this mode you will only be able to see what's in front of you. Some may say that it gives the game a sense of realism, but to me it ended up being nothing more than a needless con that shouldn't have been added.
Snake Eater's Health System:
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater features one of the most complex health systems I've seen in any video game. To the top left of the screen is your health bar. If that drains down to nothing, obviously you die. So try not to let that happen. Directly below the health, you will find your Stamina Gauge. The further your stamina goes down, the less precise your actions will be. For example, your aim will be shakey and your CQC moves will lose strength. To keep your stamina gauge at a manageable level, be sure to hunt for animals and kill them using your hunting knife or any guns you have. There's a variety of animals, or rather meals that you will encounter during your time in the jungle. They are: Crabs, different types of Snakes, Alligators, Rabbits, Markhors and plenty of others. You will also come across bagged foods called Instant Noodles and Rations. Don't be fooled by the name. Rations don't work the same way in Snake Eater as they do in other games in the Metal Gear franchise. You won't automatically regain health if your Life Bar runs out by having Rations equipped, plus they're incredibly hard to come by and you won't really them until later in the game. Life Meds take the place of Rations in Snake Eater by slightly recovering your health, but if your life bar runs out, you will die even if you equip them. If you keep captured food for too long without eating it, it will rot. Never fear though. Just because it's rotten doesn't necessarily mean that you will have to throw it away. You can still eat it and recover you stamina, but you will contract a stomach virus. If left untreated, this infection will quickly zap your stamina. So if you find yourself with no other option but to eat rotten food, do so and then immediately press Start and select Cure.
Snake Eater's Cure System:
Often times you will be forced to go to the Cure screen to heal a stomach virus, remove leeches, bullets, arrows or heal burns and other things. Doing so may at first appear complicated, but it's actually quite easy. You press the L2 or R2 buttons to see your medical items. To cycle through them, simply use the analog stick. Press X to choose the Hunting Knife if you need to remove a bullet, or the Ointment to treat a cut. The Health and Cure systems both work incredibly well together to give you the feeling that you really are in a jungle environment, where survival is essential.
Snake Eater's Bosses:
In your mission you will encounter various foes, most of whom are part of your former mentor's elite group of soldiers called The Cobras; The Pain , The Fear, The End, The Fury, The Joy and one more. I'll let you find out who that is for yourself. The first Cobra member you encounter is easy enough to dispose of, but the 2nd proved to be a bit of a challenge. However, there is one extremely easy way to kill him, but I'd go as far a labeling it a cheat even if it isn't technically one. The End is well. You will just have to find out for yourself. He's this extremely old man who also happens to be a legendary Sniper, and you have to kill him before he kills you in what is quite possibly the best boss battle in video game history. I cannot tell you how amped I was fighting against The End. Rather than being quick, this Boss requires you to take things slowly and be patient. Instead of running around, it's best to crawl and try to avoid being seen. The Fury was incredibly difficult, but I managed to finally eliminate him. The battle against the Shagohod takes place on a street. You're on a motorbike and that behemoth is chasing you. Imagine that. This epic scene couldn't be more cooler. Well, that wraps it up for the Bosses. I intentionally left a few of them out as to not spoil too much. Let's get moving.
Snake Eater's Items and Weapons:
You will come across many valuable items and weapons in your journey across the jungle, so be sure not to miss any of them. I can just imagine how grueling the fight against The Fury would've been if I hadn't had the Night Vision Goggles and Thermal Goggles. The Thermal Goggles also came in handy for locating food toward the last stretch of the game where I was extremely low on food supplies (I had none) and had to keep not only my own, but a certain someone else's stamina from completely draining. All the while we were being hunted through a jungle by aggressive soldiers. The Mic will also prove useful in locating your adversary during one of the game's most impressive boss battles; the Sniper Duel against Cobra member, The End. From the start of the game, you will have a set of default items including a Sound Radar that pings when enemies or animals are nearby. Snake Eater features a decent amount of weaponry, though it pales in comparison to Peace Walker's weapon choices. You have the mk22 Tranquilizer handgun that comes equipped with a suppressor. Don't get too excited though, the suppressor wears out with usage and will eventually break. When that happens, you will have to find another one. So be sure to remove your mk22s suppressor when using it to hunt alligators and other large prey. You also get a handgun with lethal rounds, an M37 shotgun, an SVD Sniper Rifle, a Rocket Launcher and oh so many other dangerous play things.
Snake Eater controls remarkably well, minus a few hiccups like the forced Intrusion View, but it's mostly a game you can immerse yourself in through it's gameplay, and most of all, it's story and cinematics.
The Story & Cinematics:
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater's tale is one that definitely tugs at your heart strings and makes you feel for the protagonist. To be with someone, to love her, train with her, live with her and consider her family, and then be forced to kill her. It's something that really just kills you inside. At the end of the game, once you've neared the end of Operation Snake Eater, you will be asked to pull the trigger and kill The Boss. I, and I'm sure many other gamers couldn't do it. I paused for too long and eventually the game took over and finished the job. It's only a game, but I can honestly say that no film, let alone video game, has ever struck me as deeply as the story of Big Boss and The Boss. Well, enough of the waterworks, let's continue. During the Virtuous Mission, Big Boss learns of a new type of nuclear strike enabled weapon called the Shaghohod. I guess you can consider it Snake Eater's Metal Gear, although it isn't technically a Metal Gear. It's a large Tank that can accelerate to 300 mph and launch a nuclear missile to anywhere in the United States. We also find out who the original mastermind behind the Metal Gear project was, and get a short glimpse of Huey Emmerich. Hmm I may have already spoiled too much of the story, so let me just stop and move on. Snake Eater's cut scenes are incredible, and I do mean incredible. I cannot tell you which one is my favorite; Do I choose the one where Big Boss singlehandedly dispatches of a certain handgun virtuoso's entire brigade, or the one where The Boss takes down Big Boss and Snake Eater's main villain at the same time? Perhaps one of the many scenes where Eva bends over for us in her underwear? But I digress Snake Eater's scenes were done in real time, so the Big Boss you see while playing is the same Big Boss you see during the cinematics, which to me is a plus. I detest watching beautifully rendered characters in cutscenes, and then playing downgraded versions of them. So in Snake Eater it all flows very well, especially so since the in-game graphics are beautiful anyway.
To conclude this review, I have to say that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is unmatched. It's definitely my top 1 game of all time and I doubt any other game will surpass it. Hideo Kojima out-did himself here.
Cons: Not much that would deter from enjoying the game. The only thing I really disliked was the forced intrusion view when crawling through tall grass.
Pros: EVERYTHING! I want MOOOAR!
Cecile Cosima Caminades . uuuuhh that's a Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker reference. Only PW players who actually bothered to listen to Cecile's tapes would know what it means.
Kojima Is God, truly. All praise be Kojima!
Note* Metal Gear Solid 3 is being re-released for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo 3DS and Sony's upcoming portable, the PS Vita. The Xbox, PS3 and PS Vita will get MGS3 in a special HD Collection set that also includes MGS2, and the 2 original MSX Metal Gear games. An upgraded port of Snake Eater will be released for the Nintendo 3DS next year. So be sure to look out for it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/01/11
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (US, 03/14/06)
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