Titles getting the remade in HD and thrown into a collection with extra bells and whistles is something of an epidemic in gaming this year. Splinter Cell, Halo: Combat Evolved, and God of War all received makeovers, but the arguably one of the most anticipated releases was the Metal Gear Solid HD collection which featured not only Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, but also the previously only available on the Sony PSP handheld, Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker.
Originally released 10 years ago for the PlayStation 2, MGS 2 was a launch title that showed the power that the PS2 could push out and even to this day it is an impressive looking game that looks even better with its HD upgrade. While there aren’t many additional changes made to the game other than the graphics getting an overhaul, all the features from the original are still here, along with the awkward controls still intact. For those that never got to experience MGS 2 or any of the other iterations of it, the game starts with Solid Snake infiltrating an ocean liner that holds a Metal Gear that is procured by the US Marines. After it gets taken by Revolver Ocelot and the Liner sinks, the story fast forwards and players are then in control of Raiden, the protagonist that turned the gaming world on its head so many years ago. Besides the singleplayer campaign, the game also features the Snake Tales and Alternative missions that are found in the “Substance” version of the game.
Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater was the next MGS title released and took place years before the previous game, during the cold war and featured Snakes introduction to key characters in the series, namely Revolver Ocelot and The Boss. Originally released in 2004 also for the PlayStation 2, it was widely heralded as the definitive Metal Gear game, although the controls were about as wonky and confusing as possible. Thankfully the HD release is based off the re-release subtitled “Subsistence”, and gives you different options for the controls, as well as the camera controls which was another issue that was prevalent in the original release. Much like MGS 2, Snake Eater was a great looking game at the time of its original release and the HD upgrade certainly doesn’t do it any disservice.
The real prize of the HD collection however is the release of Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker. Originally released on the handheld Sony PSP, the game has been upgraded visually and been fixed for use with dual sticks that the PSP lacked. Unlike the other MGS games, Peacewalker is structured in bite-sized missions that allow you to choose your load out before each, as well, during each mission you can save hostages that can then be recruited and placed on teams to help you in varying divisions such as medical, research and so forth.
While every other MGS game features incredibly long codec conversations to keep the story rolling, Peacewalker features truly beautiful and unique motion comic stylized scenes that progress and explain the story. Like MGS 3, Peacewalker offers different control options, including one that is more attune to more modern shooter games. Unlike the previous games however, the exact opposite actually, you cannot move while in prone position, but you can while crouched. Switching up the movement abilities from the other two games can get a little confusing when jumping in one right after another.
With the inclusion of the 3 Metal Gear games, 2 & 3 on one disc and Peacewalker on its own, the HD collection is a gathering of great games that are widely thought of as some of the best ever created. While that praise may not hold up as well as it did in the past, there’s no denying that MGS titles are unlike anything else and are well worth experiencing if you haven’t in the past. The hours of cut scene and codec dialogues are still here as are the wacky and offbeat and often hidden Kojima gaffs that will make you burst out laughing when you happen across them.
The price of the collection is cheaper than most AAA titles and given the amount of content that is included in the collection, it is well worth the money. Having 2 of the best Metal Gear games in their full and updated glory on an Xbox 360 is something not many gamers ever imagined would happen. If only the collection included the original Metal Gear Solid, even in its original state, this collection would be a must have. For now however, it is easily one of the best HD collections released this year and if you haven’t experienced the games included previously, you owe it to yourself to give them a try and see what make the Metal Gear franchise one of the most loved series in all of gaming history.
Title: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Developer: Kojima Productions
Release Date: November 8th 2011
Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
Game provided for review