Review by Man0nFire_
The collection pairs Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker together in a single package. Crucially, each title retains its original impetus and unique philosophy. The revisions are subtle for the most part. It goes without saying that the visuals have been given a boost. Everything looks great. Yes, some of the animations are a little tired and loose but nonetheless, everything really sings in HD. None of the three show any real signs of aging here and really hold their own. Each game gets trophies and achievements and Peace Walker really benefits from a second analogue stick. PW's controls were limited by the Playstation Portable. The second analogue thumb adds an extra level of fluidity to movement and in the manipulation of the camera that you just couldn't get with the PSP. Peace Walker was meant to be played on a console. With all the cards now on the table, Peace Walker has the most contemporary control scheme of the three and has such has aged the least. Sons of Liberty probably has the stickiest control scheme of the three, mainly down to the lack of free roaming controllable camera but this is a small gripe. Why change something that wasn't a problem ten years ago because we would deem it to be a problem nowadays?
Sons of Liberty is the most indicate of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima's now infamous fondness of prolonged cut-scenes, protracted codec conversations and eccentric bi-polar story telling. Sons of Liberty is a Metal Gear mind f*ck. Hideo took so many risks with this when it originally came out some ten years ago and its more obvious now than ever before. Changing protagonists and introducing an omnipresent unexplainable and downright confusing antagonist in The Patriots, MGS 2 really split the greater Metal Gear fan base. Ten years on, MGS2 can really call itself the most underappreciated Metal Gear of them all. It's an incredible game. The story, though indulgent, oddball and peculiar at its most explainable level, retrospectively really justifies and consolidates Metal Gear's greater story arch. There's some incredible characters in here, touching personal stories and awesome set pieces. MGS2 is a beautiful game that shouldn't be frowned upon. Yes, some of it is pompous and far-fetched, but have you ever played a Modern Warfare game? Russian ultra-nationalists attacking the White House? A vampire who can scale walls is probably more conceivable. The Sons of Liberty HD edition is the Subsistence edition so the package benefits from the extra VR Missions and Snake Tales. This is the definitive version of MGS2.
Snake Eater is considered by many as the greatest Metal Gear game of them all, besting even Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. You go back in time to play Big Boss, Snake's daddy, in a world defined by the ideological tension of the Cold War. It's a fantastic adventure, one that gives us a more focused storyline than MGS2 and gives us some uncomfortable truths about Big Boss, the world he inhabits and the one he will help to forge as per the later Metal Gear games. MGS3 includes the controllable freeform camera as well as an added layer of stealth options with the enhanced camouflage and environment elements. Snake Eater is a real class act from start to finish.
Peace Walker puts us back in the shoes of a very different Big Boss than that of the one we played as in MGS3, an eye patched super solider commissioned to disband a group of mercenaries in the Costa Rican jungle at the helm of his own group of mercenaries that he inherited after disposing of Gene after MGS: Portable Ops. Peace Walker is scaled down by comparison to the previous two games, but provides a wonderfully enthralling origins story of everyone's favourite super solider. Missions are locked so there's no save points as such which can be quite frustrating but it's more of a thinking mans Metal Gear Solid than 2 or 3. There's arguably more of an incentive here to be as stealthy as possible. It has all the hallmarks of a great Metal Gear game, stunning set-pieces, layered characters and consequential actions. The story is told through any number of beautifully rendered artistic cut-scenes and these look incredible on a big screen. Peace Walker also allows you to jump online and adds yet another layer to the experience. There's almost too much here to get through. And I haven't even had a chance to speak about Monster Hunter mode or the inclusion of MSK originals Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2.
The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is the best value game release package we've seen since Half Life 2's: The Orange Box. the MGS HD Collection gives you three phenomenal genre defining games, each with a new contemporary momentum and a host of extras and add on's. It's an incredible release, one that should be picked up by those who haven't played these games before and even those who have. It's essential. Buy it.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/14/11
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (US, 11/08/11)
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