METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION VITA REVIEW
... Personally I play with my Snake in private.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Sep 14, 2012 14:27 (Sep 14, 2012 14:27)
Written by: Alex
Vita HD Collection:
To any gamer the name Hideo Kojima paints an immediate image of high polish gameplay and bizarre winding story. Marking the zenith of his creative talents is the Metal Gear Solid series.
Each game in the series delivers a mix of stealth combat and cinematic action unlike any game preceding them, and they remains unchallenged in the genre. Konami’s release of the "Metal Gear Solid HD Collection" therefore comes as no surprise, especially with the recent trend to cash in on people's nostalgia. But will the Vita HD Collection measure to the home console versions, or will it lose something in translation?
Lengthy, verbose and cinematic, Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 remain some of the best-known (but least understood) stories in gaming. The best I can offer here is a fleeting overview of their complexity; a small fraction of the tapestry Kojima has created over the franchise’s history.
MGS2 follows Snake, and Raiden, as they fight an elite mercenary group known as FoxHound
through a vast industrial plant (basically an oilrig). Boss fights, sneaking and an incomprehensible story about secret societies make up the backbone of the game’s appeal.
For me however it is the strange fourth wall breaking elements that see really make the second game stand out. While in-game characters commonly talk about the controls in a very overt fashion throughout the series, MGS2 takes it to a new level as Raiden’s constructed psychology begins to break down as his training become undone. While for some MGS2 is regarded as the weakest of the series (partly due to not casting Snake in a staring role), it none the less builds many characters of the ‘modern’ MGS timeline's lore.
MGS3 takes things back to the 60’s, and sets up the franchises back-story, taking place even before even the original 8-bit Metal Gear games. Despite using the same engine as 2 it's outdoor Jungle setting for much better. This prequel title establishes the origins of the huge mobile-nuke-platforms (the ‘Metal Gears’) and provides back-story to a few notable characters, including Solid Snake’s genetic source Snake (AKA Big Boss). With some truly outstanding boss fights (including one where the character will die of old age if left alone long enough) and equipment in keeping with the era, MGS3 introduced some interesting twists to the formula of previous MGS titles.
But each game’s over plot fades in comparison to the style with which they are presented. Long fully voiced radio conversations and cut-scenes that go on for hours (literally) create an investment that gives more meaning to the onscreen action than is usually expected in a game.
In terms of control MGS 2 and 3 are very similar, but the backdrop of their different environments and time periods manage to greatly alter how they function. Both games retain their awkward and slightly outdated mechanics; even the implementation of the Vita’s touch screen did little to alleviate my desire for an extra thumb as I played. The complication of input is built on by fixed camera angles, ‘tank’ controls and a first person view that seems to activate at the game’s discretion, which can be distracting when trying to follow enemy movements.
MGS2 is certainly the simpler of the two games in its implementation of control. Seeing Raiden running around the huge industrial complex there is little subtlety in technique to the hiding. Ducking between cover points and using high tech equipment to track anyone in the area, it is almost possible to focus on the mini-map and turn the whole thing into a slow-paced, technically complex, game of Pac-Man.
MGS3 with its jungle setting on the other hand has Snake using far less advanced monitoring equipment and a variety of camouflage to aid in his infiltration. Radar and basic motion trackers play a part in this, but the older tech drains battery and has far more limited functionality than in 2. This makes line of sight and planning every move far more important, all of which takes time to master thanks to the control and camera issues. On top of this the story of MGS3 takes place over a far more extended period of time than 2, requiring Snake heal and survive off what he finds in the environment (such as snakes) to keep his health and stamina up.