PS3 Reviews: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review

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Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review

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Graphics:

 

9.3

Gameplay:

 

9.0

Sound:

 

9.2

Control:

 

8.7

Replay Value:

 

9.5

Online Gameplay:

 

9.0

Overall Rating:       9.1

Metal Gear Solid is an iconic franchise in video game history. There is no better candidate for a high-definition collection, where both veteran followers and younger audiences can revel in a glossier depiction of three amazing entries in the critically acclaimed series. Some may complain that Konami didn’t take the opportunity to overhaul the admittedly outdated controls in MGS2 and MGS3, but hey, those who want authentic depictions should be happy.

Graphically, there are three titles to consider, and in my eyes, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater came out looking the best; the enhanced detail and fantastic frame rate makes for a stunning visual presentation and in fact, perhaps one of the best HD overhauls of the generation. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty benefited as well, but on a smaller scale, I believe, while Peace Walker graduates from the handheld realm and revels in the shiny veneer of console high-def.

The sound hasn’t changed much, but we still get those amazing, sweeping orchestral soundtracks that have always been a critical part of the MGS experience. The voice acting gets better with each successive installment in my opinion, and the sound effects also go through various stages of clarity and fine-tuning. All of that is part of the progression of the franchise, though; I’m not sure how much of what I’m hearing is a result of this revisiting. Let’s just say the audio has always been excellent.

Let’s try to approach this from a chronological viewpoint; it’s easier for me and makes more sense for the reader/consumer. So we start with MGS2, which incited a ton of conversation and argument when it originally launched on the PS2 back in late 2001. It was only one of many amazing titles that year, but some skeptics called out Kojima’s latest for being too confusing and for having extremely lengthy cut-scenes. Strangely, it’s also my least favorite of the series, although I don’t have a problem with the story.

Here, my feelings don’t change much, because MGS2 already looked incredible back in the day, and this high-def upgrade helps, but doesn’t entirely change the experience. Everything remains beautifully smooth from a gameplay standpoint and I have no doubt that huge fans of the game will be satisfied. The game just hasn’t changed much; of course they’re gonna love it. Don’t change classics, right? But then there’s MGS3, which is still my favorite…Konami must’ve known, because this one looks downright awesome. Kojima would be proud.

For some reason, seeing Snake Eater in high-definition was a heady experience for me. It’s the added sharpness of the detail that does it; the environments were bigger and more diverse in MGS3 (as compared to its predecessor), so maybe that’s why a high-def overhaul is so damn stunning. The game doesn’t let the cut-scenes dominate, either, and it features more inspired gameplay. As you would expect, all of that is still here, and all of it is still mesmerizing.

Now, believe it or not, the portable entry actually has the most stuff crammed into it. Even though it was designed for the PSP, this generation has seen an explosion of content and Peace Walker was no exception. Plus, Blueprint took the time to adapt the handheld controls to the PS3, which was a great idea. They’ve even thrown in true online play – as opposed to the more limited AdHoc option – and that’s a gigantic bonus, because perhaps surprisingly, this game is oodles of fun with friends. Add brilliant HD and this is easily the best version.

Finally, if you’ve been playing Peace Walker on the PSP but would like to upgrade to the PS3 with this Collection, you’re not out of luck. Or, if you have both versions and you’d like to continue your adventure on the go, the interchangeable save file feature is glorious. You just have to make a few allowances for the fact that we’re looking at a PSP game, so the high-definition gloss doesn’t have quite the same effect. It’s a little tough to describe; you sorta have to see it to understand.

Now, nothing is without its flaws (unfortunately). In this case, I think developer Blueprint Games missed an opportunity to at least provide the option of upgraded controls. Up until MGS4, I always said the controls in MGS were needlessly complex and awkward, and always took too much adaptation on the part of the player. I maintain that the games are pinnacles of interactive entertainment, despite that adaptation, but updated control schemes could’ve been offered. Oh, and some of the bonus features from MGS2 and MGS3 aren’t here, either, which is kinda disappointing.

But aside from that, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is exactly what the die-hard fans crave. It’s everything they’ve known and loved in a prettier package, with almost zero fiddling with mechanics and style. No, every last title is MGS to the core, with all the fantastic storytelling, memorable characters, and intense, singular boss fights that have always been staples of the franchise. I still say this was a missed opportunity to present new fans with an upgraded control option, and I’ve never been sold on MGS2, but those are minor complaints.

All in all, and as you might’ve expected, we have to recommend that you add this to your library. Rapidly.

The Good: Spirit and style of the series remains intact. Peace Walker’s true online multiplayer and MGS3’s visual upgrade are highlights. Plenty of content. All the great elements (audio, boss fights, story, etc.) are even better.

The Bad: Could’ve tried upgraded controls for MGS2 and MGS3. Bonus goodies from original iterations aren’t included.

The Ugly: “You’ve gotta be kidding. This is MGS. No ugly. Anywhere.”

12/5/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 9:55:29 PM
Reply

Apologies for not getting this done earlier, but it released at a horrid time and I was swamped.

Sadly, games like MW3 (which launched on the same day) had to take priority. ...the harsh reality. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:17:06 PM

You shouldn't have said that last part ;)

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 12:42:50 PM

I don't even have the HD collection yet but still on my wishlist. Still always good to see high scores for an awesome series.

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Red 5
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:40:16 PM
Reply

Hi:

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, a true MUST HAVE. Already have it and the HD Treatment is like you said. Playing Metal Gear Solid 3 - Snake Eater.
Red 5.

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duomaxwell007
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:44:42 PM
Reply

yup getting int in a few weeks.. just for peace walker really.. dont care about MGs2 and 3 as my ps2 copies of those games work just fine... but i might platinum it just to add more trophies to my count lol

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Jawknee
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:46:57 PM
Reply

I really hate the controls in MGS2 and 3. They really should have ported the Peace Walker controls over or updated them as you said. To Snake Eater at least since they added the over the shoulder camera view some time ago. They were fine when the games came out but they feel so archaic now. Not game breaking, I just have a hard time adjusting to them. They never feel right now after MGS4 and Peace Walker.



Last edited by Jawknee on 12/5/2011 10:50:18 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:53:10 PM

Archaic would've been okay, but those controls were always crazy, IMO. They'd work great if you practice long enough, but yeah, this was a chance to upgrade the one aspect of those ingenious titles that fell short of perfection.

People always hated me for saying it, but when I first played Splinter Cell, I said it had the fluid, accessible, realistic controls MGS SHOULD'VE had.

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Jawknee
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 11:11:12 PM

Yea I never cared for the controls either. I was ecstatic when Ryan Payton got Kojima to change the controls in MGS4. For me, no matter how much I played the old hames, I always made stupid mistakes like pressing the wrong button in intense moments. I started playing MGS3 when I got the collection but the controls frustrated me and I got Zelda so I stopped. Haha, I'll get back to when I get to Cali in January. Apparently Snake Eater 3DS does have updated controls. So well see how that one works out.

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 5:35:38 AM

Ihave to say I disagree, The one thing I disliked most about MGS4 was that it adapted the over the shoulder gameplay mechanic for aiming and shooting, I am sick of seeing it in every game now. In MGS 2 & 3 (and MGS1) You could run and gun, which would come in handy if you need to escape and alert phase.

I have never had an issue with the controls of MGS, Other than Peace Walker, I am hoping this release will make the game playable. My complaint of MGS3's gameplay is the camo index, i'd be 95%+ and a gaurd would still see me. What's worse is that you have to pause the menu and change camo every 10 seconds of the game, MGS4's octocamo solved this problem big time.

Ben, I have a question, does MGS3's cutscenes run smoothly, I don't know about the NTSC version, but the PAL version of MGS3 had horrific framerate issues in some of the cutscenes. I would be so happy if they sorted it out for this version, almost as happy as the games actually being in 16:9

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fatelementality
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 6:36:43 AM

Smooth as butta my friend.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 9:17:30 AM

Everything is smooth. Just like MGS4's controls are a hundred times smoother than the controls in MGS2 and MGS3.

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 10:57:56 AM

@ultima

I trhought the camo index worked pretty well. I rarely got spotted at 95%. If it did happen it was usually becuase of a mistake I made. Also, it's not supposed to work like stealth camo. If an enemy walks right up on you out in the open then you can be spotted. That seems fair to me. If you are lying in grass at 95% then the enemy has to literaly trip over you to spot you.

As for the controls it would have been nice to at least have the OPTION for a control set up similar to the controls for Peace Walker. I love the over the shoulder mechanic. It just seems more natural and fluid when compared to MGS2 or MGS3.

I was pleasently surprised with Peace Walker. So much so I would not mind seeing a folluw up on it. I really liked the Motherbase concept, and the rpg like elements that were blended in. The fulton recovery system is one of the coolest ideas I have seen in a videogame. Slap it on a dazed enemy and BOOM...instant party recruitment. The only things I found myself missing was the ability to crawl, and the traditional types of bosses found in MGS games. Otherwise, very impressive and surprisingly deep for a handheld based game.

MGS3 is my favorite game in the series mainly due to the fantastic and lush settings. The boss battles were great as well. The sniper rifle duel with The End was fantastic. MGS2 is my least favorite in the series becuase of its dull settings, and the bait and switch that was pulled with Snake. I know Hideo is a genious, but I thought that was a very questionable choice back in the day. Not a worthy follow up to the epic MGS1 in my opinion.

By the way, thank you very much for reviewing this collection Ben. I think I requested it at least a couple of times, and I am thrilled you decided to do it.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/6/2011 11:05:10 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 11:44:08 AM

I hated the RPG elements put in Peace Walker, it just got in the way of the core gameplay and story for me. I am intending to play through it fully this time though I'll make up my overall mind afterwards. Still it was far beyond anything of Portable Ops, if we dare even mention that game anymore...

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TheCanadianGuy
Friday, April 06, 2012 @ 2:22:22 PM

i don't really mind the controls there old school like me. i wish MGS2 had the over the shoulder view though after having it with MGS 3 & 4 going back to the fixed camera is hard

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SolidFantasy
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 10:57:48 PM
Reply

You said some of the bonus features are no there. Can I still play metal gear 1 and 2?

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Jawknee
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 11:11:52 PM

Yea, he's talking about the bonus features that came with the PS2 versions.

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 5:38:40 AM

Yeah I would like more of an insight on this, if we get MG1 & MG2 do we not get all the other things like Snake VS Monkey, Theater Gallery Boss Battle Mode? & What about MGS2, do we get the VR missions and extras Substance brought to it?

I won't lie, it won't stop me from buying this anyway. But I am curious.

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fatelementality
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 6:37:24 AM

Yes, all of the extra's are included.

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BigBoss4ever
Monday, December 05, 2011 @ 11:50:23 PM
Reply

this is the best PS3 HD revamped collection so far, to have my favorite MGS3 in awesome HD is like a blessing in heaven. Best MGS installment with my favorite character of the entire franchise The Boss.

Salute again from Big Boss, your name lives on forever in the heart of the Snakes.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 12/5/2011 11:55:19 PM

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___________
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 1:24:19 AM
Reply

was going to get this till they decided to shun EU till next year.
fine konami, thats how you treat your fans you dont get our money!

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 5:39:43 AM

Yes I am rather grouchy about that too, I saw an import in store today for £45... As temtped as I am I cant, I could get Sonic Gens and Uncharted 3 for that price atm.

+ I don have MGS2:Substance + MGS3: Subsistance & Peace Walker anyway, I'll pick it up when it drops to around £20.

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 12/6/2011 5:40:49 AM

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 2:33:14 AM
Reply

Aww... Psyched! Can't wait till this drops, hopefully, in February. Speaking of... Vita, MGS Collection, TM, Binary Domain, maybe Reckoning, SSX and Asura's Wrath. I need to start putting some money away. 0.0

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spiderboi
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 10:03:20 AM
Reply

I just got my holiday bonus. I'll be getting this for sure!

..then afterwards a new PS3 to play it on. Bring it!

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saintaqua
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 12:49:57 PM
Reply

I'm thinking about waiting for the Vita version.

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Xra897
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 4:57:12 PM

There's a vita version? or is it just rumors?

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TheUglyBassist
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 @ 1:02:43 PM
Reply

I've been playing this for a few weeks now. Once school's out for the semester, I'll probably stop leaving my room lol

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WigSplasher
Saturday, December 17, 2011 @ 3:26:12 AM
Reply

Great review BUT I've got a minor nitpick: it's BluePOINT games... Not BluePRINT games. Other than that... Great read!

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JC1225
Saturday, March 17, 2012 @ 4:32:46 AM
Reply

Just got this game... flippen amazing

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TheCanadianGuy
Friday, April 06, 2012 @ 2:18:14 PM
Reply

of all these HD collections this is by far the best. this is the ultimate Metal Gear Solid collection for both new fans just getting into the franchise or the die hard veteran fans like me who have loved this series sense 1998.

all its missing is a voucher to download MGS1 free that would have been perfect.

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