Review by neonreaper
The enemies drop tons of ammo!
I've never played the original Metal Gear Sold 3 game, so I can't quite comment on the upgrades to the gameplay or how the extra features and content really play into things. I do know that the fixed camera of previous MGS games was a bit of a burden, and without the mini-map in the top right corner, I imagine MGS3 could only be described as torture. But if you hate yourself, you can click the right analog stick to change to the bad camera.
MGS3 does a lot right. If you want to sneak around, tranquilizing enemies, avoiding detection, hiding unconscious bodies, and in general trying to apply tactical spy tactics, well, that's mostly what the game was built for. You're aided by a few items which help you detect enemies and plot your next moves. You also have a camouflage system added with this game, and you can change your facepaint and camo to suit your current environment. There is a camo index on the screen which displays how difficult you will be to see. Moving around, running, bad camo choices... that gets you caught pretty quickly. Sitting still, in cover, with appropriate camo... the enemies have to pretty much trip over you to see you. You'll probably spend most of your time somewhere in between, looking to maximize how stealthy you are until it's simply too late for the bad guys. That is, if you want to be sneaky.
If you want to shoot everything, well, the game allows for that, too. It's not going to play as crisp as other action games in this regard, but it's still a good time. If you're not focused on avoiding alerts and kills, then you can romp through the game with a shotgun and pick up ammo from victims. You'll spend a lot of time waiting out alert phases so you can actually get through the game, and I think Caution phases are a bit too long, but that's worth it to clear out a couple dozen bad guys from some bunker! This all is an improvement from other MGS games, where Rambo style was really not an option. Stealth choking was great and it has a solid place in MGS3 as well, but having a major arsenal of weapons most of the time no longer just a hassle to sort through... you can use everything at your disposal, pick up tons of ammo. You still do need a bit of stealth, because you can get killed off, but after picking your battles, the battles are excellent. And sniping in MGS3 isn't a horrible disaster like it was in previous games. It's beautiful now - Snake doesn't jerk around frantically and you don't need medicine to minimize the effect. Nope, he's a smooth triggerman, and only hunger can make him a bit shaky.
Snake regenerates life automatically, you just have to keep him well fed. As well as packaged foods. You don't have to worry about this element so much - there is a ton of food so it's easy to keep up. You can get a bonus for eating everything in the game, if you want. Eating affects Snake's stamina, which goes down slowly and steadily as he performs actions. Stamina can affect Snake's aim and cause his stomach to growl, as well as his ability to hold onto ledges and hold his breath. Like I said, it's easy to keep his stamina full so it's never really an issue.
There's also a cure menu for major injuries - Snake will get bullets stuck in him, broken bones, leeches, etc., and he will need to heal himself. This is a tedious gameplay element that doesn't really have any upside, but isn't a major nuisance.
Swimming is kept to a minimum, the escort mission in this game isn't as bad as previous ones (probably very tough if you're trying to avoid all alerts - I wouldn't know!), and they've stripped out the "tap O wicked fast" torture portion, so some of the major complaints about previous games have been reduced. The third person camera helps a lot - you don't feel like you always need to know a room ahead of time to succeed. It's easier to adapt and react to an area than before. Crouching and crawling still don't feel as refined as they should for being the third installment in the series.
So overall, a blast to play, with a few options to how you can play it. It's challenging, but the areas are mostly well thought-out and with the new camera, you don't need trial and error as a critical gameplay element. Bosses aren't quite as lively as other games, but there aren't really any low points either. Oh and the story...
The story is awesome. It's straightforward for the most part during the game, with a few twists and turns - you play as Big Boss, back then known as Naked Snake. The characters he meets and interacts with are extremely well done, the emotion of the game's events is conveyed particularly well, and the story isn't overly convoluted like in previous MGS games, most notably MGS2. Here you can feel safe to feel emotionally attached to the characters and storyline and the major twists will be rewarding and excellent. Effective storytelling in a video game at its finest. The aesthetics for the finale and ending are top tier, a treat for the invested gamer to say the least.
Cutscenes can run a little long and you can't pause them, so make sure you save and/or have sometime put aside where you don't have to do anything else. It's not too bad but there are a couple long ones.
If the boss fights had a little more charm to them, the crouching/crawling mechanic was cleaned up, and they ditched the Cure menu, this would probably move to a 10. An amazing game.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (US, 03/14/06)
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