It was way back in the last century, 1998 to be precise, that KONAMI introduced us to SOLID SNAKE and his sneaking about and killing people shenanigans. Yes the good old PLAYSTATION ONE was the best thing around at the time and the best game on that platform was METAL GEAR SOLID. This game is arguably one of the best and most influential games ever created, and is responsible for the popularity of the STEALTH type genre of gaming. I fondly remember playing this game back in the day on my PLAYSTATION ONE sneaking about and solving puzzles, whilst taking out enemies in a stealthy way. Unfortunately that's where the relationship ended for me. I was lured away by the better graphics of other great titles such as RED FACTION and CRASH BANDICOOT and never really thought about poor old SNAKE ever again.
That was until this game landed on my doormat last week. SOLID SNAKE is back all HD, up and raring to go in METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION. The collection consists of three METAL GEAR SOLID classics; MGS 2: SONS OF LIBERTY, MGS 3: SNAKE EATER and MGS: PEACE WALKER. All great games in their time, but the question is do they hold up to the sophisticated expectations of today's gamers?
Well I think the jury is out on this one. KONAMI are obviously trying to bring the franchise up to date with this release and I am sure there are many fans out there. But would they even pay for a game that they already have? OK, so it's in HD, but all that does is make the games look even more dated. Alright they have added an on-line element to MGS 3, but like the recent HALO CE, do we really want to play a game we already completed and moved on from?
It is a nice introduction to players who have never played these games before, but the usual fiddly controls and bland graphics will soon bore many gamers who are used to better. Don't get me wrong though, they are a bit of a challenge. When you do play, it quickly becomes apparent why the franchise became so popular. Plus they are all on XBOX360 for the first time.
METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY was one of the biggest games of 2001. Released on The PLAYSTATION 2, at the time it revolutionised the way these kind of games were made. Great effort was put into creating a real feel for the characters with proper storylines and interesting content. They really cranked up the tech on this outing with better movement and control than the previous versions.
METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER released in 2004, again exclusively on PLAYSTATION 2, was the third outing for SNAKE. Learning the lessons from its predecessors kept the long winded cut scenes and Codec conversations to a minimum and concentrated on the action. But they had to keep the complex story line, which has been the trade mark of the franchise. The graphics and backgrounds don't impress much compared to the games of today, but all that aside it is still a fun game to play. Plus there is the added on-line play, which is appealing.
METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER, originally on PLAYSTATION PORTABLE (PSP), released in 2010. This version is probably the better of the three in visual and gameplay with much more interesting things to do. Unfortunately the graphics don't look as good on a 40" screen as they do on the PSP screen, so don't expect to be blown away by them.
Again the game play is interesting and can be challengin. If you are a follower of the story, then this game ties up a lot of loose ends about the character. The controls have been simplified and there are more interesting moves and weapons available as well as some interesting developments like capturing enemies and adding them to your squadron as you build up your own army.
Ok so some of you purists out there will be jumping up and down with excitement at this release. There is no denying the contribution HIDEO KOJIMA (Japans master game creator) and KOMANI have made to the gaming world, this franchise was the biggest thing on the gaming planet at one time, and has introduced ground breaking ideas in to the gaming industry.
The release of METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION is a great celebration of those great games of the past. If its retro gameplay your after, or just interested in what all the fuss was about, then please dive in and enjoy a piece of gaming histor. If you are looking for an experience that is on a par with today's games, then you will be let down as these games do look dated even if they are in HD. On a plus side, this is the first time they have been available on XBOX 360, so maybe it is worth a punt just for that. Ten years ago I would have given these games at least 9 out of 10, but compared to today's offerings I can only give it an 8 out of 10. They look dated, but can still be fun.
- Metal Gear Solid the HD Collection
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Kojima productions
- Genre: Action/stealth/RPG Compilation
- Release date: 3rd february 2012
- Age rating: 15
- Xbox 360
- Playstation 3
- Playstation Vita