Review by BeefieCheesie

"The Fan Service is Great, But the Online is Not Enough"

This review covers the complete package of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. 18 months ago, I reviewed MGS3. My thoughts about that game still remain true. The new camera is a great addition, but if you have already played through the game it offerers little to the experience. The camera is still pretty far back in it's default stage, and seeing ahead isn't much of a concern until later in the game, when you have already become accustomed to using the First Person view to scout ahead. Also, each area of the jungle is separated into little "rooms" so the need for a full tilt camera is a nice addition, but nothing more.

Subsistence comes on two discs. The first one being the actual game with the added "Subsistence" in the title, and the new 3D camera. The second one being Persistence which is where the bulk of the package resides. There is also a Limited Edition of Subsistence with a 3rd disc entitled Existence which is MGS3's cutscene's re cut in to a 4 hour movie.

The Persistence disc contains the new Metal Gear Online feature, the Snake vs Monkey minigames, emulated versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. It is rounded off with Secret Theatre, which contains funny cutscenes using the series characters.

Metal Gear Online is a free online service that has your standard online match choices. You have Sneaking which is a team of 6 or 7 gaurds vs Snake, who is after some micro-film placed in the level. The guards must protect the microfilm and keep Snake from getting the microfilm back to a base. The person who kills Snake gets to be Snake in the next round. There is Capture, which is essentially CTF with a frog doll. There is Rescue where one team controls a frog/item and the other team is tasked with taking the item and returning it to their base. Then there is deathmatch and team deathmatch.

While the MGS series has some pretty tight controls for the main game. These controls don't translate well to the online at all. Compound this with basically having two fighting choices. First Person View headshot, or auto-aim. This eliminates any skill that you could obtain. You can literally walk around with any weapon and if your enemy is in range, basically kill them from any distance. Some of the maps are so small that you can kill people from across the map, and this requires little to no skill on the players part.

The control issues continue and are very noticeable because most of the maps are really small. Most resemble small boxes or figure 8's. While this may help keep the lag down, certain matches just turn in to "run up and pound on the fire button" death buffets. You will also find yourself getting stuck on a corner or unable to successfully switch weapons before you get killed by someone. Player movement is clunky and the characters just never seem to get enough speed going. Turning around to return fire can also be a huge pain as there is no quick turning is MGS3, after you finally get your tank of a character turned around you will probably wind up dead. You can adjust the 3D camera speed, and even switch to where every time you shoot the camera automatically settles behind you, but this doesn't help the game get any better.

Fortunately, MGO has plenty of servers, and players. There are some lag issues in some of the servers with a lot of players, such as a glitch where if two people spawn in the same spot, one dies. Another if you have too much lag, you could find yourself in a long line of random deaths. For the most part though, lag is not an issue for MGO.

Metal Gear Online right now feels like an experiment, and hopefully Kojima and co. will use this as a learning tool and make MGS4's online component work much better than this. While finally answering the howls for online, the transition from "Tactical Espionage Action" to "Fluid Online Play" just didn't happen.

The MSX games are here in all their glory. They both have new translations, and in the case of MG 2: SS has some new character art. The emulation is good, if sometimes a little spotty. And you might want to have a FAQ handy if you want to tackle these games.

The Limited Edition bonus disc Existence is MGS3 recut as a movie. While the Metal Gear Solid series has been acclaimed as movie-like in it's presentation the idea of a MGS movie sounds great, on paper. But in execution, it leaves something to be desired. The "movie" is long. It tries to cram as much of the 15 hour game in as possible, and still make it entertaining. And it falls flat. The movie, just like the game takes it sweet time getting started and getting to the good stuff. There is a narrator that is prevalent from the beginning, then he disappears for a large chunk of the movie, then returns towards the end. The movie switches scenes around for what could be perceived as dramatic effect, but it makes the movie drag on for too long. The boss battles are 5 minute watch Snake jerk around with the in game camera then switch to the boss death scene. If you did not get the Limited Edition, you are not missing anything by having this.

For 30 dollars this is the ultimate in fan service. It raises the bar on rereleases, and adds more content that the price tag should allow. The content, such as MGO is still a work in progress, but make the package a little more worth it if you have played before. Since there are no changes to the main game, save the camera, the online is the only thing worth getting on board for. The MSX games will tickle the old school gamers old timey button. Finally the Limited Edition, while a real treat for true Metal Gear fans, is only that, and nothing more.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/20/06

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