Published by Konami
Developed by Konami
Few games compilations can match the level of excellence and value for money that you'll find in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Sure, not everyone appreciates the series and its idiosyncrasies but I don't think anyone could argue that most of the games in the series have been defining moments in the history of gaming. The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection includes HD remakes of: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. In addition you're also getting Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake which were released for the MSX 25 years ago. The only thing which prevents this HD Collection from being absolutely perfect is the disappointing absence of the original Metal Gear Solid game.
It's always tricky taking a look back at games that were classics of their time. It's all too easy to nit-pick on minor issues and unfairly make comparisons with games that have followed. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater were true classics of their time and deserve to be treated as such. Below you'll find our reviews of the original PlayStation 2 versions of both games and both are still wholeheartedly recommended even if some aspects of their respective gameplay feels rather cumbersome when compared to more recent games.
Both games benefit from the HD reworking treatment and look really sharp, although Metal Gear Solid 3 is clearly the more visually impressive of the two in terms of graphical quality and texture detail. The camouflage system really adds another dimension to the stealth experience and you'll find the controls and the action itself more compelling than what was on offer in Sons of Liberty. That said, both are truly memorable games and upon their release represented the pinnacle of their genre.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was originally released as a PSP game of course and the challenge of taking a game that was on a far inferior system and putting that on the PlayStation 3 must have been greater. Thankfully the developers have done a great job of making this handheld title feel at home on the PlayStation 3. With well over a hundred missions for you to tackle, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is a game that will keep you occupied for months. It's a game where you're in charge of an army without a nation and are asked to support a nation without an army, Costa Rica. You have your own HQ and the ability to recruit your own private army. There are some RPG aspects here too, and you'll want to develop and level-up your forces to make them as formidable as you possibly can. You might think that the control scheme may be hampered with the original game being on the PSP but that isn't the case at all. Care and attention have been given to give the game a satisfactory control scheme with the ability to manipulate the camera angle being mapped intuitively to the right analogue stick. It's also the only game out of the main three in this compilation where you can move and shoot at the same time.
Peace Walker has a lot going for it but that doesn't stop it from being the weakest game in this compilation. The storyline isn't anywhere near as impressive as in Metal Gear Solid 2 or 3 and there are no memorable boss fights. The graphic novel style cut scenes aren't as polished as those cut scenes you usually encounter in Metal Gear Solid games and even the ability to interact with them doesn't really make up for their lack of quality. There is online co-op play to be had however and for some this will make it a welcome inclusion into the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
The presentation of the compilation is excellent. The main menu makes you aware of where each game falls in the series' storyline (which surprisingly isn't the order in which the games were released). In terms of the storyline Metal Gear Solid 3 comes first followed by Peace Walker and then Metal Gear Solid 2. You can fall back to the main menu from any of the games and switch to a different game without having to quit out of the game completely, something many recent game compilations forget to include. Each of the games has trophies too, which gives you a wonderful reason to play through the games again if you've already played their original releases. There are some inherent problems with MGS 2 and MGS 3 in that the action is broken up quite a bit by dialogue which can be tedious at times but even if you're not interested in the dialogue it's worth enduring for the excellent gameplay that's on offer. Some may also have wanted the option to have used Peace Walker's control scheme in both MGS 2 & MGS 3 (whose control schemes can seem a little unintuitive at first). It certainly would have been welcome and would have made the games more accessible for those who are new to them.
The games in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection are subtitled and you'll be able to follow the games' story lines without any real problems. There are no real obstacles here although with these being stealth games it stands to reason that deaf gamers are going to find the games slightly trickier after all, being aware of how audible your character is (and thus having a greater chance of alerting a guard) really helps. You're made aware when alarms are ringing out and of any important countdowns before an alarm will cease to ring. There are some comments that are subtitled (of no real importance) but for the most part there are no serious problems here. Peace Walker also has a mission where you need to listen for a bird call to locate an agent. Thankfully you can still find the agent (by exploring) without the aid of the call but it is slightly more difficult. Whilst there are a few problems here then, there are no real obstacles.
The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a phenomenal package that fans of the series or fans of stealth games in general will really appreciate. Not all of the games in the package are first class but for Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 alone it's easily worth the asking price. It's a shame that the original Metal Gear Solid hasn't been included however (particularly for those who only have access to the Xbox 360 version as PlayStation 3 owners can purchase the PlayStation version from the PlayStation Network) but that doesn't stop this from being a top-notch compilation.