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Metal Gear Solid: Essential Collection Review

May 1, 2008

essential collectionJune 12th is fast approaching. For anyone wondering what June 12th is, it’s the release of the “final” Metal Gear Solid entry, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Anxious to catch up on the story of the Metal Gear Solid saga before the final release and never having played the third entry, Snake Eater, I purchased the recent Metal Gear release entitled, Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection.

This collection includes the 1998 release on the PS One, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater/Subsistence (minus the second bonus disc).

It’s funny seeing how “bad” the graphics of the original Metal Gear are 10 years later when at the time they were reviewed to be the best of the time. Despite the aged graphics, the gameplay holds up very well, and the story is easily one of the best video game stories ever written and told. The story pits you as Solid Snake, a former marine who is called upon to investigate whether a terrorist organization has the capabilities to launch nuclear missles or not, and if so, to disable the facility. However, the story takes so many twists and turns along the way and the mission ends up being a whole lot more than that. The MGS series prides itself on it’s boss fights and it’s obvious in this entry as it seems you’re fighting a boss every 30 minutes. Overall, this game is a must play in the series and should take approx. 10-15 hrs to complete if watching the cutscenes.

The next entry, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, actually surprised me because I forgot how great the PS2 graphics still look today. You start the game off playing as Solid Snake on a tanker mission, investigating a new Metal Gear Ray project. This section serves as a bit of a back story for the second half of the game which is played as the character Raiden. As Raiden, you infiltrate an enemy base with the goal of finding out what the terrorists have planned. As a typical Metal Gear game though, there is MUCH more to the story than that, and again, I won’t ruin it for anyone that hasn’t played. The story of this entry was a bit confusing and dragged out in the end. I liked it to an extent but story-wise, it’s easily the weakest of the Three.

Now on to Snake Eater which is set in the past in the 60’s and has you play as Big Boss. Upon popping in Snake Eater, the main changes to the game have been the addition of Camouflage, a Stamina Bar, and a Medical Cure menu. You have a camo index in this game which, depending on what you are wearing, gives you a higher/lower visibility to the enemy. Your stamina bar will deplete over time from tasks, and if you don’t find animals, snakes, rats, etc to eat, you’ll notice big side effects: you won’t heal as fast if at all, your grip gauge will decrease, and most importantly, your aim becomes very shaky. This was a great addition to the game along with Camo as it gave it a more realistic feel. Now, when I first popped in Snake Eater, I’ll be honest, it really frustrated me. I found it very difficult and it took some getting used to having no radar this time around. Once I got over this learning curve, I was once again met with incredible gameplay and another incredible story.

Overall, MGS The Essential Collection was well worth it’s $30 price point in my mind and gave me a total of 45 hours of gametime. If you haven’t played any of the MGS entries, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up and experience one of the greatest video game series ever made. The stories are better than most Hollywood movies and the gameplay is phenomenal. If you HAVE played MGS it’s still worth picking up in my opinion to catch up on the story before the new one comes out. Here’s to waiting until June 12 to see how the story turns out.



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