Is Metal Gear Solid HD The Perfect Vita Game?

Tanker Top.

To some, Konami’s Metal Gear series is the apex of game design. I’m a fan, but I’m not blind to the issues that the earlier games in the Solid lineage had and have since been slowly stripped away in later games; going back to Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater requires the player to rewire their muscle memories to wipe off the last decade of gaming.

Snake controls oddly, that much is as objective as anything I’ve ever written. Not badly, because once you’re an hour or so in the whole thing glides along and it starts to click back into place, but there are definite oddities in the lack of movement, swinging cameras and an adroitness to the stubborn lack of consistence.

[drop2]But that’s the way things are, and the publisher isn’t going to change the fundamentals of the game for Vita, especially after not making any concessions for the console version of this HD remastering which we reviewed back in February.

There’s little point going back over old ground in that respect, so let’s concentrate on what’s new for the portable.

First off, I’m happy to report that the visuals have remained intact. Largely. The difference here on Vita is that the frame rate isn’t stable, it flicks between super smooth sixty (as per the original and HD versions) and half of that whenever there’s stuff going on, like an enemy or two. It’s jarring and frustrating, especially given the apparent power of the machine.

There are resolution issues too – again this is a game that isn’t running at the Vita’s native resolution. The UI looks nice and sharp, mind, which helps enormously with the overall aesthetics, but the action itself can look a tiny little bit blurry.

Other Vita changes include some intelligent touch screen use (especially in the way weapons and items are selected, with intuitive stacking scrollers that react nicely to dragging motions) and the ability to transfer your save games back and forth between this and the PS3 version, with even trophies syncing across.

Sadly though, the sublime Peace Walker is completely missing, despite its twin-stick update already being locked down for the console version of this Collection. Sure, the original MSX Metal Gear titles are here, but a duo of eight-bit retro games isn’t any substitute for one of the best in the series, and there’s still no original Metal Gear Solid, either.

What you’re left with, really, is two Metal Gear Solid games that have aged somewhat poorly in terms of controls and suffered a little bit visually. It’s a cut-down collection from what the PS3 and Xbox 360 got a few months ago, and doesn’t do much to entice newcomers to the saga whilst providing little that’s new to old hats.

[drop]A poor choice, then? Well, no, because – as we said in our review back in February – these two games are absolutely brilliant. They are, they still are, and no amount of moaning about resolutions or load times will change the fact that they still play perfectly well and still offer days of top class entertainment.

The Vita’s desperate for some lengthy adventure games, and although Gravity Rush fills the gap nicely there’s just something about Kojima’s brand of stealthy action that really sets the Solid series apart from everything else.

It’s so meticulous, so clinical and so precise that every single pixel seems like it’s placed by hand.

And once you’ve got over the controls and start to play the games how they’re meant to be played (nobody’s wanting you to run and gun here, remember) the quality just starts to shine through. I’m a bigger fan of Two than Three – I loved Raiden and thought his inclusion was a genius master-stroke.

Here’s the truth, then: if you like the games included in this bundle and want to play them on the move, this is perfect for you – it’s a decent port, staying faithful to the originals and between them the two games will provide a huge amount of gaming. If you don’t like the games, this will do nothing to change your mind.

Like most HD remasters, the Metal Gear Solid Collection appeals to those with pre-loaded nostalgia. It’s not perfect, no, but for Vita fans it’s great value (it’s available for around £25) and absolutely warrants your attention when it’s released over here in Europe at the end of the month.


  1. To contradict my earlier comments about ports on the vita being a bad thing, I actually want this (only because I have never played a MGS game)

    • Dude, start from the beginning, it helps in terms of the plot :)
      Good to hear the game is praiseworthy! I’m not sure I’d get it if I could scrape together the pennies for a Vita, not when the games are still expensive and there’s plenty of other big new titles to try first.

      • It makes no difference tbh as long as you start from number 2 the game makes sense. I have never ever played mgs1 & I know the story well. Kojima does so well in story telling you get involved easily

      • There’s a recap of previous events anyway.

      • Aye, there is the recap, but I reckon the similarities between 1 and 4 are easy to miss if you haven’t sunk your teeth into number 1. Plus the tongue in cheek moments in the rest of the games become more obvious and endearing.
        I suppose its like watching the Bond films from Roger Moore onwards, you won’t be totally out of the loop, but you will have missed something worth seeing.

    • You cant get MGS1 from the store if you want to. I would reccommend playng it. It’s just as gripping and etertaining now as it was 10 years ago, I regularly still play it on my PS3 with pals. It will also make your experience of MGS HD Collection notably better in my honest opinion. So many little references in both MGS 2 and 3 to MGS1.

    • Yeah I think whizzing through mgs1 will help u. So much of the 2nd games story is based on similarities between the first and 2nd. Most of the events in sons of liberty are actually parallels to shadow Moses (1st game). I believe kojima intentionally designed the game this way.

  2. Good read & I agree with you about living Mgs 2, raiden was a refreshing character in the series. Cannot wait for this, pre ordered it from amazon way back.

    • Loved MGS2. Despite not being as strong as the other games in the series, it’s strangely the one I’ve played the most.

      • Same here I don’t know how many times I played that game. The intro just had me smiling ‘Hudson River’ fell in love with the voice, then he starts running down the bridge & I fell in love right there & there.

        Then raiden, I liked how if you didn’t have a memory card, Rose would ask you if you remember what day it is lol

  3. At least its no longer the O button to continue from the start menu, i remember pressing the start button for 10 mins trying to get past the title screen on MGS3 when it was the O button. I think Japanese game designers used the O button in the place if western designers used X

    • Yeah I have an Asian PSP and in xmb it’s O to select but when I’m playing a western game it’s X. I get confused each and every time!

      • My debug Vita let me switch. I much prefer O for ‘yes’.

    • On the PS2, I completed half of the Tank Chapter in one sitting. To then realise that I’d been pressing X instead of O to save. Had to redo it all, aha.

  4. The lack of Peace Walker has put me off this, it’s the only one I haven’t played.

    • I’ve sunk 80 hours into Peace Walker HD, not even touched 2 or 3 yet and already the collection has definitely been worth the money :)

      • Peace Walker can be downloaded from the PSP section of the store, and works flawlessly.
        Only difference is no HD or trophies (although perhaps ‘transfarring’ may help in this regard? Not sure, I don’t have it, beat it on PSP with a UMD).

      • How do u put 80 hours in? My mother base got full quite quickly so I’m just playing the main ops….

  5. Got the special edition of the HD collection for my birthday recently (for the 360 mind you). I’d forgotten how insanely good these games were/are. Really shows you how much better games were last gen

  6. never played 2 or 3. Didnt get along well with 1. Enjoyed the first chapter of 4. I’m gonna get this. Can play it on the plane to vegas ;) then when i’ve finished them, I can start 4 again :)

    • Or you can trade it all in for chips when you run out of cash :P

  7. Looks like I’ll go for the fully fledged version then on the PS3, it’s a little disappointing how regularly I’m thinking that these days, I read yesterday that Lego Batman 2 Vita is a port of the DS version rather than the console version. Gits.

    • That news really annoyed me. I’m more than sure that the Vita could easily handle the open world. It’s just lazy devs

  8. All in all this sounds a bit shit – I love the mgs series, I agree about the ageing of the games, particularly the control schemes and lack of consistency.

    Story-wise both games are belters, with MGS2 being the best for me with a truly mind blowing end sequence, making you question the real world and how history is shaped.

    Its probably down to Konami, but dropping peacewalker, or not offering MGS1 in its place is criminal, and with all the hoo ha about cross platform gaming, owners of the ps3 version should be able to get this free of charge, especially when you consider that probably the majority of the sales are likely to be the same people who bought the originals and all the hardware many years ago.

    Poor show overall and it has quelled my thirst for a Vita for now, shame.

    • Yeah, no Peacewalker and MGS1? I’ve played through MGS3 already so I’d be only getting a new experience out of MGS2.
      Maybe they will update the collection someday. I’m not that much of a MGS fan so I have no problem skipping this. I got more than enough games that keep me occupied until the next wave of Vita games hit the (digital) shelves.

  9. I will definitely be picking this one up when it’s released. I haven’t played them for years and nostalgia is getting the better of me

  10. Alex have you tried moving saves across from your vita to ps3? If so i just want to know if a USA copy for the vita would work with a pal ps3 copy of the game?

    • No, sorry, I only have the 360 version.

      • ok thanks been searching for an answer on the net but not having any luck. wanted to get the vita version early so i could play it on a flight when i go on holiday.

      • I tried transfarring between my PAL PSP copy of Peace Walker and my NTSC PS3 copy. Did NOT work. I don’t see any reason why the other games would work either.

        Also, transfarring does not work between Vita and PS3 copies of Peace Walker, no matter what region.

    • I highly doubt you’ll be able to transfar saves between different regions.

      The process itself is pretty simple. However, you can’t gain trophies if you transfar your old saves from the HD Collection prior to the latest patch. You have to start the games fresh again in order to unlock that ability. It’s similar to what Peace Walker does when transfarring from PSP to PS3. It’s most likely to prevent people from getting easy access to trophies by just downloading saves. It sucks, but it’s kinda understandable.

      I got over my bitterness of having to start over and it’s pretty cool. I just use the cloud storage and my stuff can be played on either console in a matter of seconds. Technology.

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