Review by linkofhyrule523

"Sure the headline is cliched, but what else could be said except that it's an excellent game!"

Metal Gear Solid, is a series where people love it, or don't like it. Or they have never played (or heard) of it. I happen to be a big fan of the series and I'll have much to say about the game in my review.

If you are unfamiliar with the series, you play as a lone soldier codenamed Snake and your purpose is to infiltrate a base to stop the giant walking battle tank called “Metal Gear.” In MGS1 you play as the clone of the original soldier Jack. In MGS3, the game is taken back to August of 1964 when you play as the original Snake. Now the storyline in these games is the key part of the series so when you are playing you will want to play close attention to the many cut scenes and everything else related to the intense storyline. If you play the game your first time and skip all of the cut scenes, it just won't be as good.

Speaking of cut scenes, the game is chockfull of them. There is a joke that states you play for five minutes, then watch a five hour long cutscene and while that joke is not true, a large portion of the game is watching these interactive scenes making it equivalent to a movie.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a stealth game so the objective is to be sneaky and unnoticed. The game can be incredibly realistic and has both smart and dumb enemy AI depending on what difficulty you set it on. When your playing you want to choose your weapon wisely. If you pull out an AK-47 and start shooting a guard, even if you're hidden an enemy is destined to hear you if they are nearby then they will call headquarters for backup and they will come and search the area you are in making it harder for you to find an escape route without being scene. Another example is when you are sneaking behind a guard and you want to interrogate them to get some useful information. You shouldn't run up behind them or else they will hear you obviously and then you will be in trouble. Instead, you will use the useful D-Pad to creep up behind them and then you will have a good opportunity to perform your interrogation.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater also brings a handful of new ideas to the series. First off, you will be in a jungle setting throughout most of the game. In previous MGS games you are usually infiltrating some type of facility, plant, or ship but in MGS3 you will spend most of your time out in a jungle. Since realism is another part of this game besides the wacko bosses you will need to hunt for food and use camouflage to survive and remain well hidden. To hunt for food, you simply shoot an animal and grab it. For animals to remain fresh longer just tranquilize them instead of killing them or else they will give you food poisoning, a stomach ache or other negative effects to your stamina bar which is placed underneath your life bar. The stamina bar, as you would think shows you how much stamina you have and you want to keep it as high as possible or else you will have much worse aim on your weapons, get tired, etc. The hunting plays a major role in the game along with the camouflage.

To equip camouflage, you find it in hidden areas. Some you'll have from the start but most of them you'll have to find on your own. There is a percentage meter in the top right corner of the screen and the higher the percentage, the more well hidden you are. You will not be hidden if you are standing out in the open, you must be against a wall, lying down or lying in a grassy patch, log or other out-of-sight area. So when your lying in the grass you'll want a green camouflage, not a neon pink one. Go into your start menu and equip the best suited camouflage for the area you are in. The camouflage selection menu tells you if it will help you or not help you in the area that you are in. There is also face paint you start with (and find) that is used and has the same effects as the camouflage system.

Something that connects with all of the stealth is another addition to the series-Close Quartered Combat. (CQC) Originally, Snake learns CQC from his master (I'm not going to give out any spoilers to the storyline!) and he is now very good on it. Actually whether you are very good at it in the game depends on if you know what your doing. CQC is not necessarily sneaking up behind an enemy and punching them repeatedly in the back, but instead you must pull of quick maneuvers involving your legs, feet, arms, and hands and a lot of times involves choking them or knocking them over. You can probably complete the full game without using CQC, but it is definitely a worthy addition.

There is also a cure system where whenever you are injured, you go to the cure sub-screen and heal all of your injured parts. You'll start with a wide variety of medicines/serums/bandages, etc. but you can also find them spread out around the game. Sometimes I forget about the cure system and notice that my stamina keeps running lower. That can get annoying.

As I said before, there is a difficulty selection that you can only get to by starting a new file so if you're playing for the first time and you select Hard and you just can't do it then your only choice is to start anew. It would've been a lot more helpful if their was a difficulty selection in the options or the start menu, unfortunately if you have this problem then you must start over. The game in length is about 15-20 hours your first time. 20 hours if you are fresh and new to the series but if you've been playing the series for as long as you can remember, you could beat it in 13 hours easily. Keep in mind, that is cut scenes included so if you subtract the cut scenes from your total, or simply skip all of them you could complete with a total play time of 9-10 hours but in doing this, especially on your first time through the game you are throwing away one of the strongest points of the game-the storyline and cut scenes so you will definitely NOT want to do that!

The sound is just wonderful in all of it's aspects. MGS 3 probably has the best voice acting I have ever experienced in a game. I am yet to find a game with better voice acting. Each voice perfectly suits each character, and you will love most of the character's voices. They are all serious and these days you'll find lots of games that are so good but get crumbled by atrocious voice acting. Fortunately, Metal Gear Solid 3 is not one of those games. Snake's voice is done by a man named David Hayter and while he may not be famous in the movie world, he does an excellent job in voicing Snake and I'm glad he's been voicing Snake since MGS1 on the original Playstation back in 1998. This man does a fantastic job along with nearly everyone else in the game. If I had one gripe about the voice acting it would be that all of the guards sound the same.

When Snake, or anyone else pulls out any type of gun (even the silenced ones) they will make realistic effects in which a real life gun would. Silenced guns and tranquilizers usually make clicks while the bigger guns make the sound effects that those guns in real life sound like. Grenade explosions sound great along with the explosions caused by the RPG rocket launcher. Even movement sounds realistic and you can hear all the footsteps and the clanking against the metals and the movement of the vehicles.

The music is also very great. The intro sequence has a pretty cheesy song with equally cheesy lyrics but it was pretty entertaining to just laugh at it and how weird it was to add a song like it to MGS3. There isn't really that much for other music except in intense battle sequences when the enemy has spotted you and it starts playing, when your fighting bosses sometimes music will begin to play and even that cheesy intro song with begin to play in certain parts and areas throughout that game.

The graphics are very good and while they contain some flaws they are right up there with the best on the Playstation 2. The frame rate moves pretty smoothly. There is an occasional slowdown but altogether it moves very smoothly with little flaws. The cut scenes look just amazing, and I was amazed of how good they are especially because it is all in real-time. There is amazing detail in the environments. It's all in the jungle and the plants, trees, grass, mud, etc. is all so detailed! The character models look great but the translation of the voice acting is flawed. The mouth movement is off sometime and when you pay close attention to that fact it can become bothersome. Put that flaw aside, and everything looks great. The explosions, the guns, the bosses are all brimming with excellent creativity and characteristics. The guards mostly do look the same but you never really see their faces because they are all covered up so who knows. Hideo Kojima probably did that to try and cover up such a common flaw and for the most of the part, it worked.

In conclusion, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a game that everyone should look into. It's not just a cookie-cutter sequel, it's like a whole new game with all of the new features but at the same time it's the Metal Gear Solid we all know and love. (Or don't love.) This game ranks with the best games of all time for me and I hope you share some of those thoughts.

Overall Score: 9.6/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/28/06

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