Review: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Xbox 360)
The Metal Gear Solid games are regarded as some of the best of all time and the series is notable for having huge success while managing to hold onto its cult status. This collection brings together Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Meta Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and covers them in HD goodness.
Something you might expect from HD versions of most old games, which weren’t intended to be played in HD, is for the visuals to be a jarring mess. The truth is, and this owes a great deal to the talented artists who worked on the series, these three games look good. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll never compete with Battlefield 3 in a beauty competition, but they are far from being ugly ducklings.
In most other stories your character, Snake, would be the odd guy, the guy who makes everyone else feel uneasy, but in Metal Gear Solid the reverse is often true – Snake is the most well-adjusted and believable character around. The conversations you have with other characters can be interesting to say the least. One minute your commander, Zero, is giving you vital information on the mission at hand and the next he is talking about his love of James Bond and offering dating advice. It’s ridiculous, of course, but it’s often funny and helps break the tension which can build from attempting to avoid guards.
By far the biggest flaw in the MGS games are the cut-scenes which often feel as though they’ll never end. At one point in MGS3 there is a cut-scene which lasts around 15 minutes, filled with cringe-worthy dialogue, which did absolutely nothing to advance the story. This is unfortunate as it does detract a little from games which are solid (no pun intended) in most other areas.
Peace Walker was the one MGS title in this collection which I had not played, having never owned a Sony PSP, and it proved to be a pleasant surprise. An animated comic-book style is used for cut-scenes and the art in these sections is satisfyingly gritty. Some of the cut-scenes are interactive, with on-screen prompts, and this helps break up what is usually a long drawn out affair in MGS games.
I did not expect Peace Walker to be my favourite game in this collection but the fact it was developed for the PSP, with a back-to-basics approach, has resulted in everything being so neat and tidy. The comic-book cut-scenes are beautiful, the menu system is flawless, and the controls are superior to the comparatively clunky MGS3. Not to mention the addition of managing a team of mercenaries (although Snake would stab me in the neck for calling them that) and side missions which let you choose individual mercs and level up their abilities. If I had known there was so much to Peace Walker it might have convinced me to buy a PSP ages ago – that’s how much I like this game.
MGS2 is a very good game while MGS3 and MGS Peace Walker are truly great games. If someone managed to combine MGS3′s wide variety of visuals including its comparatively expansive environment with Peace Walker’s tidy menus and control scheme, stylish comic-book cut-scenes, and team management, my head might well explode with excitement. These three games are the main focus in this collection but the early Metal Gear games, which are surprisingly solid after all these years, are a really nice bonus. This is one of the shortest reviews I have written, which might seem odd as it’s for a collection of three games, and this is partly because I feel as though I’m preaching to the converted. There’s a good chance you have played at least one Metal Gear Solid game and even if you haven’t this collection has bargain written all over it.
Metal Gear Solid fans should own this collection because it’s a nice package and the games are worth playing in HD. If you have never played a Metal Gear Solid game, but enjoy stealth games like Thief and Splinter Cell, please do yourself a favour and buy this collection. Amazing.