"Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, maybe the greatest game of all time..."

After the release of Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons of Liberty, fans hailed it as a instant classic in gaming, and arguarbly the greatest game of all time. Years passed, the times changed, and so did the opinions of the ones who made these claims. They then changed their opinions and called the game a convulted mess, a "movie" instead of game, and one of the most confusing unappealing storylines in video game history.

So when Metal Gear Solid 3 : Snake Eater was announced, many scoffed at its presentation, being that it would take place roughly forty years before MGS2. People wondered how the creator of the series, Hideo Kojima, would rap up all the loose ends formed in MGS2, seeing as the game isn't really a continuation, but more of a followup. Furthermore, how would the creators freshen up the all ready "copied" gameplay, and make it seem fresh as MGS2 was. Well after completing the game, its safe to say that MGS3 doesn't dissapoint, instead it goes far beyond expectations that weren't set forth by the gaming public, and allows itself to become a true gem in video game history.

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater sets itself apart from its predecessors by taking place in a jungle eviroment, which is almost the complete opposite of urban enviroments in its predecessors. Konami took a full year to create the jungle enviroment in MGS3, and all that time and work really shows.

Many times while I was playing, I felt truly like I was really in a living breathing jungle. Not only is the jungle lush in sound effects, and image, but is also full of creatures, animals and anything you'd expect in this type of enviroment. The enviroment is always different in layout, and requires the player to constantly plan out his next move. Instead of long hallways, and buildings, the jungle in MGS3 is ever changing, never allowing the player to have the "been there done that" feeling.

To match the jungle setting, MGS3 has employed a camoflauge system, allowing the player to blend in with his surroundings. This leads for extremley instense situations, where you hope your enemy can see you, when they're only four feet in front of you. You can wear different color camoflauge, and face paint to raise your camo level. The higher the percentage of camoflauge, the lesser chance of the enemy detecting you. But the enemy isn't dumb, so using the same tactics over and over won't always work.

MGS3 also has CQC, or Close Quarters Combat. CQC is a way to disable your enemy whenever your in close range of them. By equipping a CQC enabled weapon, like a combat knife, or pistol combat knife combination, you can effectivly take down your enemy thats right in front of you. When CQC is succefully done, you can either thrown down your enemy to knock them out, holding them as hostage, or slice their throat for an instant kill. CQC allows the gameplay to remain fresh, and allows for many different ways to play the game.

Another interesting element to MGS3 is the cure system, and stamina system. First I'll explain the stamina system. Everything you do in MGS3 requires a little bit of stamina. From running through the jungle, to stalking your enemy, even shooting your gun requires stamina or "energy". As you make your way through the game, you stamina meter goes down, which affects your peformance. The lower it is, the harder it is to peform various actions. To keep your stamina high, you need to eat anything that's consumable in the enviroment. Such as snakes, mushrooms, plants, animals, anything that gives you energy. What's genious about this system is that it isn't a chore, but just makes the game more intersesting. The stamina system doesn't come off as annoying, but instead adds realism.

The cure system further enables the realism found in MGS3. Whenever your shot, cut, burned, fractured, you have to heal your wounds. So you go into the cure menu, and stitch up your cut, disenfect it, etc. This makes the game a little bit more enjoyable, and allows consequences for barging in on the enemy instead of stealth. Now, the cure system doesn't become annoying, as your character is flexible in what he does. But being careful is a easy solution to not having to always go into the cure menu to patch yourself up. Again, the cure system is there as a added element, but isn't the main focus of the game, which is very good.

The graphics in MGS3 put other games for the PS2 to shame. Lighting effects, weather effects, fire, water, character models, enviroments are all done with a large amount of detail. The characters are well animated, and move fluidly in cinema cut scenes and while in gameplay. MGS3's graphics have execeeded what people thought was possible on PS2, and achieves a look that many times I thought I was playing a XBOX game, seriously, the graphics are that good.

In the MGS series, the storyline has always been a major focus. MGS3 exceeds in telling a beautiful storyline, rich in character devolopment and focus. Not once was the storyline boring or dry, but was always fresh with new plot twists, but not to many of them. The story in MGS3 flows perfectly, adding elements of actions, epsionage, love, hate, sadness, betrayel, the list goes on. After the first twenty minutes in the game, the storyline has had more elements of drama than most games ever try to have. To go along with the exciting plot, is the incredible voice acting, which goes far beyond games of this genre.

Many times in the game will your jaw drop in disbelief. The twists that the games have will surprise hardcore fans, and newcomers alike. Drama that is seen in MGS3 hasn't been executed as well until now, making the game at times feel better than a movie or game.

To say MGS3 is great is a understatment. Gameplay, graphics, storyline, music all come together to form a true classic. This game will keep you on your toes from its gameplay, and its dazzling storyline. It's attention to detail is truly tremendous, and will keep many gamers talking for years. If there is any faults in this game it's the camera, but this fault is only minor, and is shadowed out of existance by the games countless strengths.

No video gamer should miss out on this masterpiece of gaming. MGS3 shows what video games can encompass if given the time. Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater will be truly remembered for years to come when other games will be forgotten.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/22/04

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