Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review

Crouching in the brush, the soldier readies his sniper rifle and looks in the scope. He scans the area around him, the tension seeping into his every movement. He knows he’s being watched. He knows that it’s fire first or die. Suddenly, a glint of light shines from the brush on the other side of the forest; he’s been spotted. Quickly, he runs for the nearest tree, hoping to get behind it before this hunter becomes the hunted.

Sounds like something straight out of an action movie, doesn’t it? Two men with sniper rifles fighting over a long patch of forest is something out of Rambo. In this situation, however, one of the combatants is over 100 years old, and the other is none other than Naked Snake, also known as Big Boss. Anyone who has played the Metal Gear Solid series knows the scene I’m talking about as the boss fight with The End in Metal Gear Solid 3. Anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about has the ability to remedy this with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

The major question raised when this collection was first announced was simple: Will these games age as well as Konami hopes? Will we see these games in as positive a light as we did when they were first released? In the case of Peace Walker, will the transition from portable to console be a helpful one? I can honestly answer all of these questions with a resounding yes. These games are still as interesting and fun to play as they were when they all first released. Peace Walker actually comes out better from the transition, with an improved online experience and controls that are far more comfortable than the PSP counterpart. This collection is suited for series veterans and newcomers alike: three prime examples of MGS excellence with a fresh coat of paint.

For me, the Metal Gear series was a coming-of-age experience, the catalyst of the maturation of my gaming palette. These games allow me to appreciate a grand story filled with twists, turns, and other plot points that just didn’t make any damn sense. Metal Gear Solid 2 in particular has an ending so hard to describe that I thought I was hallucinating the first time I saw it, having stayed up till 4 AM to finish the game. I found myself becoming emotionally attached to these characters, whether it was pride in Solid Snake’s successes, anger at the actions of Solidus, or annoyance at the whiny Raiden and his girlfriend problems. Not many games had me as emotionally invested as MGS, and being able to relive that which molded me into the gamer I am today is quite a privilege.

Of course, there are things about MGS 2 and 3 that show their age. The control scheme, for starters, feels like going back 10 years to a time when Circle canceled an action and not Square. It took me a good 15 minutes standing on the deck of the tanker in MGS2 to get myself re-acclimated to the controls. This may be the one perk that being fresh to the series will have over long-time fans, as they’ll be learning the controls for the first time. Facial animations, especially during speaking, are notably atrocious even with their HD enhancement. These are lip motion errors on a Godzilla-like level, errors that are both embarrassing and entertaining. Peace Walker doesn’t seem to suffer as much, but that can be attributed to it being a newer game than the other two. Fortunately, these are purely aesthetic issues that should not detract from the experience of these classic games.

The MGS HD Collection is one of the better looks into gaming’s past. The games showcased within are classics, games that have had lasting impressions on this industry. While it’s certainly disappointing that the first game in the series is not included, and that the fourth and final game in the narrative arc will more than likely never be on Xbox 360, these three games should be more than enough to bring new fans into the Metal Gear Solid lore.  If you’ve been looking for a new series and you’re willing to attempt to understand one of the craziest plot lines in gaming history, then there’s no reason why the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection shouldn’t be on your radar.

Just watch out for the Ancient Sniper. In his case, ancient doesn’t mean rusty.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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