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... Personally I play with my Snake in private.

Posted by Staff on Sep 14, 2012 14:27 (Sep 14, 2012 14:27)

Make no mistake that both these games were made in the PS2 era. Their new HD textures go some way to making up for this, but their 32-bit roots are clear. That isn’t to say they look bad, the MGS games have always pushed the platforms they grace to their limits, but high-resolution textures are not enough to bridge the gap between the present crop and last generation.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection screenshot #3
That said I was often surprised by the amount of detail in the world, and the Vita small screen size creates a crispness not present on the home console HD collection purely by virtue of scale. Though I could never ignore either game’s more notable failings in visual fidelity, I am shocked at how well they have stood the tests of time.
As I previously said, the smaller screen covers some of the graphical shortcomings of the collection’s performance when placed along side the home console version. It portability is also allows it to be played on the go, a massive bonus for some players. But despite these positives, not every change is for the better.
The handheld’s form factor has requires some clear allowances made to the control scheme. Though some of these function well (replacing buttons with onscreen touch elements) they take away from the authenticity of the experience. Equally while I appreciate being able to take your games with you anywhere is an advantage, the MGS series is perhaps the epitome of an experience that should be watched on a home cinema system with time to spare, not between train stops. Incredibly long cut scenes will often demand pauses as you reach a destination (luckily the Vita’s standby function is fantastic), which significantly damages the flow of the story. It is no exaggeration to say that as you begin MGS3 there is a 30 min intro with no gameplay, and that is just a taster of the rest of the game’s pace. As a port its perfect, but is not a natural fit for the platform.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection screenshot #4
All of which makes the final concession for the Vita version all the more notable, the omission of MGS: Peace Walker from the 360 and PS3 HD collections. This PSP title was highly regarded by developer Hideo Kojima, who thought of it almost as MGS5, and a chronological sequel to MGS3. The reason for the absence is clear, space. While the 360 version could spread across two DVDs, and the PS3 had all the capacity of Bluray at its disposal, the Vita, with its expensive solid state memory, did not allow enough (affordable) space for all three video/voice heavy games.
This is a real shame as Peace Walker is probably the most overlooked of the franchise and is also designed for play on the go, with shorter missions designed for piecemeal gaming. I can’t help but feel that Peace Walker would have been a better fit than MGS2 for the Vita collection because of its portable design philosophy, and its strong narrative ties to MGS3.
Make no mistake the "Metal Gear Solid HD Collection" brings together two classic titles in a single package. They look better than ever, control well and remain some of the most intriguing and iconic stories in gaming. They have dated, and if you have played both before their value is dependent on your own nostalgia, but for younger gamers they are a fine addition to their Vita library.
However the real question is if the Vita version is worth getting over the PS3 or 360 versions, and here the answer is a resounding ‘No’. A smaller price tag may make up for some of the limitations, but ultimately sat at home with the spare time to fully enjoy the story remains the best way to experience Metal Gear Solid.
+ Portable
+ Fantastic voice acting
+ Visual touch up of the classics
- Long cut-scenes not a good fit for handheld
- No Peace Walker
- Different controls rob some authenticity
 Our Rating for Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Vita Review
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