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Review

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review

Raiden the archives.

Metal Gear Solid: Confliction. Not something I expected as the game booted up for the first time; but it’s there – an uneasy blend of rose-tinted muscle memory and a jarring array of old fashioned, vastly outdated controls.  Underlying everything, of course, is the fact that these are still utterly brilliant videogames, yet unchanged over the years to accommodate modern gaming mechanics.

HD Collections shouldn’t alter the status quo, of course, that’s not the point, but the first time you raise your weapon in first person mode and find out that a) you can’t move and b) aiming’s on the same stick as the one you did just move with the game slams to a halt.  It’s not difficult to overcome, especially for the collection’s target audience of core Metal Gear fans, but it’s still something that brings home the age of the games.

Peace Walker, curiously enough, is the one that bends mostly to modern expectations in that respect.

But then there’s the latent foreshadowing of what’s to come.  Sons of Liberty’s brilliant, fanboy destroying switch-a-roo at around a third of the way in; Snake Eater’s deliciously stealthy camouflage system and Peace Walker’s retro styling and ending that neatly rounds up the series.  It’s all magical, superlative story-telling, leading the player gently whilst padding out what are deeply infectious plots.


Iconic imagery abound, with Snake still such a strong character.
You’ll know the exposition inside out, of course, from the first time you see that cloaked figure running along the Hudson Bridge, everything is present and correct barring a couple of tiny omissions (Evolution Skateboarding is out, as is the dream sequence from Snake Eater) even though these are the rather more ‘complete’ Substance and Subsistence packages.

Likewise, the PS3 version offers the ability to use your PSP save for Peace Walker and – ultimately – the option to duplicate your progress onto the upcoming Vita version.  Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions (the latter of which comes on two disks) offer Trophies and Achievements, respectively.

In terms of the port, the HD upgrade is welcome but inconsistent.  Sons of Liberty looks nice and crisp but this is a direct conversion and some of the effects (like the rain on the tanker) no longer impress as they once did.  The models are all as they were too, Bluepoint haven’t touched the fidelity beyond the resolution, but this isn’t necessarily as negative as you might think – the games haven’t aged that badly even though they’re clearly last gen.

And so to whether or not this is worth your money.  The confliction, as you’d expect, is still there – the games are undoubtably brilliant, but then you’ve probably already got them and beaten them multiple times if you’re a fan of the series.  If not, the lack of the first Metal Gear Solid will probably pass you by unnoticed, the three games in the package suitably enough value.

Info:
  • Released today, 3rd of February 2012
  • Should be around £30 in most retailers
  • Available on PS3 and 360, with Vita to follow
For the rest of us, whilst this isn’t quite the tender reconditioning of a triple of classics we might have hoped it would have been, you simply can’t escape the fact that there’s an extraordinary amount of game here, and these are rightly considered to be classics across the industry.  They work fine, they play fine (once you’ve adjusted from what you’re used to) and look good enough.

But all that isn’t really the point of such a collection.  You have to try to disregard the notion that these games are being sold to you again, rather that they’re here and better than ever before, and thus judge them as they stand right now, if that’s your will.  With that in mind, these are brilliant slices of entertainment, and – if they come packaged again a generation down the line in 4K – they’ll still be just as good.

Pros:

  • Three of the best games from the last few years
  • Sublime story-telling if you have time to invest
  • Great value for money, shouldn’t cost more than £30

Cons:

  • Little has been done beyond boosting the resolution and framerate
  • No stereoscopic 3D, which would have been a nice touch
  • Controls haven’t aged well, especially in MGS 2

Hardcore Metal Gear Solid fans will either have this ordered or imported already, the eager customer base a ready market.  Everyone else can rest easy in the knowledge that this is a solid package containing plenty of gameplay that’ll last you much longer than most of the fluff that peppers the store shelves these days.  Conflicts aside, I can’t help but think that everyone should have this collection, but maybe that’s just me.

Score: 9/10

40 Comments
  1. elpablo79
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    My first MGS experience was No. 4 (loved it!) and I picked up the first one recently from the store, so looking forward to this collection. I may wait for it to come down in price a little, mainly due to having too much to play as it is.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:13.
  2. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Good review, thanks! It is brilliant and everyone should own it! One thing that struck me straight away is the lack of faffing from launching the game to being at the menu to pick 2, 3 or Peace Walker. I’ve only tried Peace Walker so far and its pretty good, I imported my PSP save and went straight into the Pupa battle with no idea which buttons did what but its all fairly sensible and makes aiming as easy as you’d expect. I’m looking forward to playing all of the games in order now, but thats going to have to wait until exams are out of the way. Grrrr!

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:16.
  3. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    It’s been out since September here and while it /is/ an excellent collection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the idea of playing the classics than actually playing them (in most cases). Same with Team Ico and Resident Evil 4.

    It’s obviously different if I’ve never played them before and as a result I had a blast with the Sly Cooper collection if I have, It’s safer to keep them as memories.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:17.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Well said Sir .

      Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 18:38.
    • skibadee
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      but on the flip side people who have played them enjoy them to so win win really if you want to keep memories just do not play them.

      Comment posted on 04/02/2012 at 02:45.
  4. colossalblue
    Team TSA: Editor
    Since: Forever

    I never finished Snake Eater… in fact, I barely started it.
    Might need to set that straight with this.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:22.
    • stueeeee
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Many people do consider it as the best one because it got back to basics after mgs2. After the first hour or two it really hits its stride.

      Comment posted on 04/02/2012 at 10:49.
  5. Youles
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    I think my copy arrived on Tuesday. I may well start PeaceWalker this weekend, its brilliant! :)

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:26.
  6. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I’ll definitely pick it up at some stage as i’ve never played Peacewalker and would enjoy playing the others again but it was €49.99 in GameStop today – more than i’m prepared to pay so i’ll wait for a discount or possibly get them from psn at some point.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:29.
  7. Kivi95
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    Will be waiting for the psvita version if I will buy it.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:34.
  8. blackredyellow
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    Never played these beauties, which is a crime in itself. I’ll rectify it at some point with this collection. But not before I Platinum Jak and Daxter!

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:36.
  9. TheDemocrodile
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    if Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress would allow me to play something else ill happily pick these up, snake eater being my personal favourite MGS but unfortunately neither game is a permissive jailer.

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:42.
  10. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    I’m glad that they have done a decent job. But to be fair, Snake Eater didn’t need much work done on the graphics as it was designed for the PS3 but instead was released on the PS2.

    I am disappointed that they took out the dream sequence in MGS3 but are the cutscenes assicated with that still in the game?

    I shall pick it this up at some point. I wonder if they upped the frequency of the animations of Snake eating a certain animals and him tending to his wounds? I had hoped they would sort out MGS3′s CQC as it’s a bit tricky to use. :-/

    Comment posted on 03/02/2012 at 17:49.

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