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Game Over Online ~ Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

GameOver Game Reviews - Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (c) Konami, Reviewed by - Russell Garbutt

Game & Publisher Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (c) Konami
System Requirements PlayStation 3
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 03:46 PM

Divider Left By: Russell Garbutt Divider Right

Only a few games deserve to live beyond the generation in which they were released, and fewer titles still that deserve immortality. Although critics like Roger Ebert can blather on and on about how video games are not art, all one needs to do is sample the few titles that fit into this latter category to understand, much like a film historian understands, how important it is to preserve these experiences for later generations. This review will not go into the played-out argument over what is art and what is not, but it will, however, take an aggressive stance by saying right off the bat that the Metal Gear Solid series deserves not only preservation, but the aforementioned immortality as well.

It will be easy for readers to dismiss the above statement as fanboy rattle. After all, how can a series of titles based on the adventures of a gravel-throated, governmentally controlled sociopath be anything but silly, temporary diversions?

For the same reasons the James Bond franchise has been a viable theatrical entity since 1962, and for the same reasons it was deemed necessary to reinvent it for today’s audiences.

The Metal Gear Solid series has always had an underlying point. Beneath the guns, machinery and orange crates have lied some of the most fascinating and, for those who choose to let it, poignant themes of any art form, let alone a video game. Kojima’s views on life, love, family and the dangers of totalitarianism to mankind as a whole permeate the entire series’ thematic elements.

Three titles are contained in Metal Gear Solid HD collection. Two of them were released originally on the PS2, while the third was released for the PSP. The eldest title in this collection was released in November of 2001, just after the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. All three titles have been given visual facelifts and their execution on today’s gaming systems is excellent.

Since all of these titles have been reviewed previously, it would be redundant to review the games themselves here in this collection. (This reviewer will, however, point out that Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (the dir cut of MGS3: Snake Eater) was the first and only title thus far that he felt deserved a 100% score). Instead, this review will focus on the package as a whole, focusing on the care in which these legendary games were brought to today’s consoles.

For starters, every title has been scaled up to HD resolutions; 720p/60fps. They look as gorgeous as they are ever going to. Some of the cutscenes (those that were pre-rendered) in MGS2 show some artifacts, but for the most part the game maintains its original, breathtaking look, handling the transition from standard to high definition with grace. The content of each game is pretty much complete, with the online mode of MGS3 being the only exception. The main title menu allows players to select between any title they wish, whenever they wish and feels much like any menu screen you would come across in a Metal Gear Solid game. The execution of each title remains pure to the time in which they were released, so if certain aspects of the game annoyed you a decade ago they will annoy you today. If this is your first foray into the world of Big Boss, Solid & Liquid, Revolver Ocelot and the whole gang of less-than-merry mercenaries, you will likely find the last-generation style a bit plodding, as the MGS series is known to be more of an interactive theatrical experience than a straight-up third person shooter.

Peace Walker, being the “newest” of the lot, contains some flat looking character models and textures; its origin as a PSP game is a bit evident. It does, however, contain a full translation of the multiplayer mode, offering PS3 network play with anyone in the country. The control schemes for all titles have been either translated perfectly or, in the case of Peace Walker, revamped to the PS3’s dual shock in an intuitive manner befitting the package.

If possible, this reviewer recommends players experience the even older title, Metal Gear Solid, before embarking on this package (especially if you are new to the whole series). The boss battle against Psycho Mantis alone will educate you in a hurry as to why these titles deserve such care and preservation. Kojima and his merry band really pushed the limits and broke many barriers, setting the bar for what gamers call “standard” in today’s gaming experiences.

Side Note Solid: This reviewer was evaluating MGS2 from this package on November 21, 2011. In researching this article, his old PS2 memory card was dug out. It turns out that yours truly, the sort to rarely play through a game twice, was playing MGS2 during the exact same week in 2001, exactly a decade ago. Oooh… creepy!

Side Note Subsistence: The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s exhibition titled, “The Art of Video Games” will feature Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 from March 16 to September 30, 2012.


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