Published on June 24th, 2012 | by Davis Fan0
[Game Review] Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Vita)
Summary: Though a great game and collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is by no means a necessity for gamers, but a luxury. It costs the same as the console counterparts, which are both in 720p and include Peace Walker, and is presented to players with a somewhat flawed control scheme.
As part of the series’ 25th anniversary, Konami has been rereleasing Metal Gear Solid games on just about every platform available today. Some of these opened up the games to both Microsoft and Nintendo faithfuls in the form of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and Snake Eater 3D. With HD Collection’s release on the Vita, it certainly doesn’t reach any broader an audience than the series could have before, but it is still a treat to those who are already hooked on Snake and Raiden’s stories.
Unlike the console counterparts, the portable version of the package doesn’t include Peace Walker, which is a trivial loss once the main components of the package are considered. With both Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 included, gamers will only be one title short of the essential trilogy before the current generation’s Metal Gear Solid 4. Even without the first game, however, Metal Gear Solid 2 provides enough details to fill in players no matter how new they are. Thankfully, extras for both titles including VR missions and the original MSX Metal Gear titles are included to maximize play time.
Metal Gear Solid 2 follows Snake and Raiden through the Big Shell incident, setting up the series’ introduction of the infamous patriots, whereas Metal Gear Solid 3 takes place during the Cold War, following Naked Snake’s transformation into Big Boss. Even though the games have been out so long already and its conspiracies that have left gamers scratching their heads for a whole decade have since been answered, all of the intrigue and deception that the series is known for manages to stay interesting whether players have played through the Metal Gear titles or not.
Despite its age, the collection manages to still look great in HD. Having been remastered, both games look smooth and feature clear, crisp textures. However, switching back and forth between the games, it’s clear that Snake Eater was a stronger graphical beast even in both games’ heyday. A quick look at it will reveal extremely detailed textures, including even minute details like Snake’s facial hair or the patterns in the environments. However, the beauty often comes at a price; load screens are littered throughout and long enough to make any gamer antsy. This is especially annoying when the alerts have been set off, making for sloppy transitions between areas of the map.
Compared to today’s titles, the Metal Gear Solid series has aged reasonably well. While Metal Gear Solid 2 has become a game with predictably exploitable AI, that is not the case for Snake Eater. The corridors and simple patrol patterns are a reminder of how much technology has grown and the complexity of today’s games. However, the wide open jungles of Snake Eater combined with the lack of an easily exploitable radar make for a feeling of uncertainty that provides a challenge that has stood the test of time well. The bosses are no different, proving as difficult today as they were when the games first launched. Though most players know the tricks and workarounds already, it will be a treat for anyone experiencing them for the first time.
Exclusive to the Vita version, the touch based controls are a mixed bag. Without rear triggers to rely on, HD Collection uses the touch screen in place of weapon control. For the most part, it works well enough; however, during aiming or when leaning against walls, the controls are nonexistent due t overlapping controls that use the touchscreen. Players will quickly find ways around this, either by moving themselves from walls or taking the game off first person view before changing and deselecting weapons; however, the overlap was clearly an oversight. The rear touchpad is also a messy affair; attempts to use it were mostly unsuccessful, which leaves the question of whether fault lied with the console or game producer. Transfarring, or the game’s function that allows players to upload their saves to a cloud and access it whether they’re on their PS3 or Vita, is certainly welcome and it means that any time spent on either version is not wasted.
Though a great game and collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is by no means a necessity for gamers, but a luxury. It costs the same as the console counterparts, which are both in 720p and include Peace Walker (however unnecessary I deem it, it still makes for an extra game), and is presented to players with a somewhat flawed control scheme. If players could only purchase one Metal Gear title this year, I would easily recommend either console’s HD Collection over the Vita’s own. However, the transfarring feature is a testament to what this title is; a luxury and opportunity for diehard Metal Gear fans to experience two of its most essential games anywhere they would want.
Available on: Vita; Publisher: Konami; Developer: Armature Studio; Players: 1; Released: June 12, 2012; ESRB: Mature; MSRP: $39.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.