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first time; but it’s there – an uneasy blend of rose-tinted muscle memory and a jarring array of old fashioned, vastly outdated controls.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.[drop2]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.[boxout]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.
- 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
- 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.