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Metal Gear Solid HD Collection review

Excellent
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AT A GLANCE
  • Playing them on a big screen
  • Has better controls for Peace Walker
  • Snake’s Liberty missions included
  • Liberty’s dated camera
  • No competitive online modes
  • Peace still lacks checkpoints

Much like record companies in the late-’80s, game publishers have realized that they can mine their back catalogs by sprucing up a couple classics and putting them out in a single package. While some of these are obvious cash grabs, even those are often worth it for people who missed the included games the first time around. Such is the case with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which pairs 2001’s Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2004’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and last year’s Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. For anyone who’s already played all three games repeatedly, HD Collection isn’t worth your hard-earned ducats. Sure, seeing these games in hi-def is cool – as with the God of War: Origins Collection, Bluepoint has done an impressive job upgrading these games’ visuals – but since they just have better looking versions of the original graphics, not new HD graphics, it’s hard to justify the double-dip.

However if you’ve missed any of these games, even just one, or you really want to play any of them again, this is totally worth it. All three hold up well, in large part because they were ahead of their time when they first came out. Of the three, the most dated is Liberty, because it employs an archaic fixed camera. Admittedly, anyone who hates these kinds of controls won’t be convinced otherwise by playing this game, in which Solid Snake’s routine recon mission goes awry, and his replacement, Raiden, has to clean up the resulting mess years later. Those who don’t mind or are willing to put in the time to get used to the controls will quickly understand why this is still one of the more inventive stealth action games ever made. Not only does it have a diverse cast of characters and scenarios, but it has an equally varied set of weapons, tools, and actions you can use to complete your mission.

Faring better, the prequel Snake Eater has Solid Snake’s poppa, Big Boss, on a mission to a Russian jungle during the Cold War. While this prequel wasn’t as gripping, either narratively or mechanically, as Liberty, it did add some interesting camouflage and eating mechanics to the already impressive sneaking action. What’s important about the version included here is that it’s the one from Subsistence, which added the far more intuitive player-controlled cameras (though masochists - we mean purists - can still opt for the fixed camera approach if they want).

The game that’s dated the least, naturally, Peace Walker once again casts you as Big Boss, who’s on a mission to lead a band of mercs into the Costa Rican jungles to take out another group of mercenaries. Which is easier to do here than it was on the PSP thanks to the PS3’s and 360’s dual thumbsticks. This game also boasts the most contemporary controls and camera set-ups, as well as such modern conveniences as optional auto-targeting and aim assistance. While this prequel is still a sneaky good time, it’s actually the least enjoyable of the three games. Not only does it have the least interesting story, but it’s also unnecessarily frustrating, since a lack of reasonable checkpoints requires you to completely restart a mission you’ve failed, while enemies are inconsistently resistant to bullets and tranquilizer darts.

Besides the three games, Konami has also included some of the extras from the special editions of Liberty and Eater. From the former’s Substance edition comes “Snake Tales,” a series of missions for Solid Snake, while the latter’s Subsistence version gives us the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. That said, this is hardly complete, as some extras from those special editions are annoyingly MIA. Eater, for instance, is missing the competitive online modes included in the Subsistence edition, an omission aggravated by the fact that those same kinds of modes are also missing from Peace Walker. Most egregiously (unless you’re a member of PETVA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Virtual Animals), Eater doesn’t have the hilarious “Snake vs Monkey” minigame in which Snake uses stun grenades and a stun gun to rescue the monkeys from the Ape Escape games.

Even without these modes, and Liberty’s less-than-intuitive controls, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is still a great value, even if you only plan to play one of the three games. That it has three you might want to play, plus a bunch of fun extras, just cements this as the best multi-game compilation since 2007’s Orange Box. 

More Info

Available Platforms: PS Vita, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Kojima Productions
Franchise: Metal Gear
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

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26 comments

  • chrisat928 - November 8, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    Buying.
  • Darkhawk - November 8, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    It would have been pretty easy - and way cool on Kojima's part - to release this as a Complete collection at the same cost. Add in a download code for the PSone classic on the PSN, and a re-rezzed Portable Ops (which admittedly would have been more work), and you'd have: Metal Gear Metal Gear: Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid) MGS 2: Sons of Liberty MGS 3: Snake Eater MGS: Portable Ops) MGS: Peace Walker Since MGS4 is already a PS3 game, it wouldn't have to be included to justify the "complete" name.
  • badgraphix1 - November 8, 2011 noon

    Why not Twin Snakes? It would've made sense for this collection.
  • MyCoolWhiteLies - November 8, 2011 1:44 p.m.

    Yeah, that would have been great. But I believe that one was published by Nintendo.
  • Gex4212 - November 8, 2011 2:29 p.m.

    because twin snakes was made by a different developer for Nintendo. It all boils down to IP/ copyright/ contract issues. Thats why you get the same game but different names like Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Sigma and Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid:Twin Snakes.
  • Burdmayn - November 8, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    You're not asking for too much or anything... Do you want a collection that's affordable or comprehensive?
  • Darkhawk - November 8, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    Holy f**K why can't I format my replies. There's supposed to be a list there<br>there<br>there<br>testing<br>
  • bigwill1221 - November 8, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    Peace walker needs checkpoints what?...
  • shawksta - November 8, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Another HD port thats worth it for the amount thats in it.
  • jackthemenace - November 8, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    So psyched now for March, when it gets released in Europe. The lack of Snake Vs. monkey is a little disappointing, but the fact that it includes Metal Gear 1 and 2 more than makes up for it, especially with Subsistence's Player Controlled camera. Also, if it IS the Subsistence version, does that mean it includes the Special 3-hour movie, which is, in essence, just all the cutscenes from #3 jammed together? Cos that'd be BAWS. Anyway, I'm definitely buying it, even if it is just old games with slightly better graphics. MGS 2 and 3 are still two of my favourite games, and I really want the chance to play through the Snake section of MGS2, which I never did
  • soranamineforever - November 8, 2011 1 p.m.

    Someone please explain to me why publishers insist on dooming their HD Collections due to release date? This came out on the SAME DAY as MW3, a game that's going to end up selling 10 billion units during its first 10 minutes of release. The Sly Collection did this last year, sandwiched between Black Ops and Assassin's Creed, and this game is doing it with MW3, Uncharted 3, and Skyrim. Good JOOOB, Konami. Thank God I'm not stupid, or I would've totally missed this.
  • ZiltoidTheOmniscient - November 8, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    To be honest, most people who are interested in buying this will be completely disinterested in buying MW3 and vice versa. As for the other games, this just tends to be the time of year all the big games come out in time for Christmas, so it's understandable.
  • Fuzunga - November 8, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    How the HELL is no competitive multiplayer a con? It's not meant for that. I'm getting pretty damn sick of people reviewing things for what they're not.
  • keltar93 - November 8, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    There was competitive multiplayer in Subsistence, the version included in the set, in the original release.
  • Burdmayn - November 8, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    What Keltar93 said... They essentially took that feature out which makes it a con.
  • mothbanquet - November 10, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    Indeed, and to be honest I was kind of looking forward to trying out Peace Walker's online features with the kind of user base that XBL/PSN has. If they didn't have it to begin with and didn't invent it for the collection then it would've been fine but to have it and then omit it...yeah, that's a con.
  • bl00dyvalen7ine - November 8, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    I think you misunderstand, the original Subsistance came with it and it was pretty fun. Also a big part of what made Peace Walker fun WAS multiplayer and I personally don't see the point of Peace Waker if there is no multiplayer. It does kind of piss me off that it was removed because it was one of the main reasons I was gonna get it so i can play PW with my cousins.
  • Zepaw - November 8, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    On its way from Gamefly now. Will be my first Metal Gear experience unless you generously include Smash Brothers.
  • MkLangley - November 8, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    Liberty's camera was perfect. Not once in that game i ran into bugs or dead angles.
  • avantguardian - November 9, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    "While this prequel wasn’t as gripping, either narratively or mechanically, as Liberty" i'm gonna have to disagree there. MGS3 ran laps around MGS2 in every way that mattered imo. MGS2's story was actually one of its weaker aspects for me, whereas the story of big boss and his mentor affected me in an emotional way that few games have ever matched, or even come close to, really. that said, anyone who missed out on these games really owes it to themselves to pick them up when they've tired of this season's cornucopia of gaming greatness.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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