I suppose it would be wrong to say that this collection introduces something brand new to the series that has never been seen before. I also suppose it would be wrong to suggest this game if you are content with your copies of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Peace Walker. However, for those die hard Metal Gear fans, those that may have missed a game or those that have not had the chance to pick up the updated MGS2: Substance or MGS3: Subsistence games, you’ll definitely find some value in buying this HD package that simply does a fantastic job bringing a fantastic series to this generation.
This little package of cardboard boxes and snakes includes Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Being blessed with a collection of not only fantastic games but in their updated forms, this collection would be almost perfect for those that want to relive their old MGS moments or try out Peace Walker if they have not done so yet. However, did this collection really stand the test of time? Let’s look at each of these games individually, shall we?
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
When the HD collection was first announced with MGS2 being on board, I couldn’t really fathom how they could really make this game look better. The environment was more or less bland compared to MGS3 and while that’s not a bad thing, it really does not make the game look any more than a cleaner upscaled glimpse to the past. While I loved playing MGS2 back then, I currently can’t find myself to really sit down and wanting to play it again. It isn’t because the game is bad, it just feels outdated compared to the rest of the collection. The Substance updates also didn’t really add much to the core gameplay but it did introduce a huge variety of VR Missions and five non-canon side stories involving Snake.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
This was something I was really excited for. Being the first Metal Gear game to put you in the shoes of Big Boss before he became big boss, Snake Eater was a game that Subsistence was overall a huge upgrade compared to the original Snake Eater now that it featured a full 360 camera control found in Metal Gear Solid 4. The most disappointing thing to not make the transfer from the original Subsistence was the first iteration of Metal Gear Online, which I found to be more enjoyable compared to MGS4′s Metal Gear Online. Playing the game at 60 FPS just refreshes the experience and refined controls that would bridge the gap between old and new gameplay mechanics still works well to this day. Featuring a huge cornucopia of easter eggs and secrets, Metal Gear Solid 3 is a fantastic game made cleaner and better.
Though, it should be pointed out that Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence also features the original MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake. They were originally included in Subsistence and while they are pretty ancient, including them is a nice novelty.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Originally considered “Metal Gear Solid 5″ by Hideo Kojima, Peace Walker is a game that was made for the portable gamer in mind. Considering that the PSP version ran at what felt like 20 or so FPS, the 60 FPS upgrade really caught me off guard. Peace Walker has always been a game that I really enjoyed playing while waiting in an office or during breaks. The gameplay is amazingly addicting and while it features less in terms of hidden things that make a Metal Gear Solid game so unique, the structured mission setup still deviates itself from time to time. A great addition to Peace Walker on console is the fact that you can now go online and team up with people to tackle the missions. Originally, this was limited to ad-hoc local play with the PSP and god only knows how stupid it is to try to get a game going with someone else. Finally, the addition of a second analog stick just makes this game much easier to enjoy and play. Being able to aim better changes the difficulty quite a bit and overall the game felt easier than the PSP counterpart.
There are a few things to note when it comes to how well things transferred between systems. The PS3 would pretty much be the definitive version of it considering that it has everything from pressure sensitive buttons to that whole Transfarring thing. The 360 version lacks pressure sensitive buttons and requires you to hit the left thumbstick in. This is better in my opinion now that you have precise control as to when you put your gun down and not accidentally shoot the guy. Finally, the 360 version comes in two discs: MGS2/3 in one and Peace Walker in the other.
For those who have missed out on these games, I highly recommend picking them up. While MGS2 might be a hit or miss, MGS3 and Peace Walker are games that many will go back to and play again and again. With Metal Gear Solid: Rising and the newly hinted Metal Gear Solid 5, having this to bridge that gap and catching up on story is a smart choice. Newcomers to the Metal Gear franchise will find this to be a great starting point to the series. However, with Metal Gear Solid 1 omitted from the collection, it only leaves a gaping hole that needs to be filled with a Solid Snake.
Yeah, I went there.
This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on top of many hours of playing the three (technically five) games previous to playing HD Collection. A lot of this also involved me recapturing the first vehicle in Peace Walker again and again… Because I’m cool like that.