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"[GAME] Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection Review"

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Tue 07/02/12 at 12:37
Regular
Posts: 2,781
I should preface this review by stating that I am a supreme skeptic of these so-called “HD collections”. Discounting the initial annoyance that many of them do not feature any PS1-era titles because they are too difficult to port, too often we are left with dissatisfying, lazy upscaled versions of some of our favourite games, rather than an experience which actually justifies throwing down cash for another go.

For the most part, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is worth it. Get past the fact that, yes, they couldn’t be bothered to include the PS1 MGS in the mix – why they didn’t just port The Twin Snakes I have no idea – and you get a package here that certainly represents value-for-money and presents these wonderful games in their most crisp presentation to date.

Picking a best title here is not easy; Metal Gear Solid 2 is sleek and postmodernly disarming, while the third game, Snake Eater, is affecting and supremely intelligent, and Peace Walker – previously only available on the PSP – while lesser known certainly holds its own in this mighty package.

What’s great for purists is that these are not only the most technically superior versions of the titles available, but they are also the most complete; MGS2 is the Substance version, while MGS3 is Subsistence, both added-value counterparts which are now extremely rare and expensive. Peace Walker, meanwhile, benefits hugely from the 360’s dual analogue sticks as opposed the PSP’s singular one, allowing for lithe command of the camera, and a fascinating online multiplayer mode has been added to boot.

I have fond, probably overly nostalgic memories of first playing Sons of Liberty on the PS2, and wandering around the tanker as Solid Snake, at a gorgeous 60FPS. Remastered here, the feeling is for the most part replicated; Snake looks mostly fantastic, though admittedly the facial animations are still sub-par, and the inevitability of pop-in that plagued the PS2-era titles is plenty visible here. Peace Walker, meanwhile, is a product of its time, sure, lacking the truly spectacular look of either of the other games, but the supped-up controls make it easy to forget about its lack of visual grandeur. Simply, the visual nitpicks are minor quibbles when compared to the overall quality of the HD presentation, and indeed, the overpowering quality of the titles themselves.

The only real thing to warn about is that this might not be the smoothest entry point for those looking to get immersed in the MGS universe; the conspicuous absence of what is arguably the PS1’s greatest game is fairly disappointing, though this blow is cushioned by the unexpected inclusion of the two original MSX Metal Gear games, albeit in their native format. It gives fuel to the idea that some HD reimaginings of those games would be grand; after all, who wouldn’t want to play the Snake/Grey Fox minefield fight in glorious HD, after sitting through an appropriately epic cut-scene?
The lack of MGS1 makes the “collection” feel incomplete and a little lazy when a good port of the game is already sitting around out there.

That said, for those who want three of their favourite games to look nice and crisp on their new HDTV, this isn’t a bad way to go; Peace Walker looks noticeably less so than the other titles, but all three games do a service to the fairly questionable notion of “HD remakes”. Like 3D films, it is an interesting concept often misused for the sake of a quick penny, but there’s an uncommon care here for preserving the stylistic consistency of the original games while making them look a little more sleek and shiny. This game is a not only a blast from the past, but a blast straight up.

Pros:
+ MGS2 and MGS3 have never looked better.
+ Super-slick menus make dipping in and out of games a synch
+ Inclusion of the MSX titles for the many that have never touched them.
+ For what you get, it is extremely good value for money and worth plenty more than it is retailing for.

Cons:
- No MGS is a huge letdown.
- Peace Walker feels a bit lacklustre visually compared to the other games.
- No pronounced audio optimisation; one wonders what they could have enhanced here. But the voice work and scores are still amazing.
- New players or those who began on MGS4 may find the controls hard to get to grips with.

Score: 8.5/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer
Tue 07/02/12 at 17:34
Regular
Posts: 34
Brilliant review!, I usually stay away from "best of" or HD collections too but because I'm a huge MGS nut I thought I'd make an exception, like you said though the lack of MGS1 (still the best of the lot) is a big letdown.

Konami could have at least included a code to download it from the Playstation store.
Tue 07/02/12 at 12:37
Regular
Posts: 2,781
I should preface this review by stating that I am a supreme skeptic of these so-called “HD collections”. Discounting the initial annoyance that many of them do not feature any PS1-era titles because they are too difficult to port, too often we are left with dissatisfying, lazy upscaled versions of some of our favourite games, rather than an experience which actually justifies throwing down cash for another go.

For the most part, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is worth it. Get past the fact that, yes, they couldn’t be bothered to include the PS1 MGS in the mix – why they didn’t just port The Twin Snakes I have no idea – and you get a package here that certainly represents value-for-money and presents these wonderful games in their most crisp presentation to date.

Picking a best title here is not easy; Metal Gear Solid 2 is sleek and postmodernly disarming, while the third game, Snake Eater, is affecting and supremely intelligent, and Peace Walker – previously only available on the PSP – while lesser known certainly holds its own in this mighty package.

What’s great for purists is that these are not only the most technically superior versions of the titles available, but they are also the most complete; MGS2 is the Substance version, while MGS3 is Subsistence, both added-value counterparts which are now extremely rare and expensive. Peace Walker, meanwhile, benefits hugely from the 360’s dual analogue sticks as opposed the PSP’s singular one, allowing for lithe command of the camera, and a fascinating online multiplayer mode has been added to boot.

I have fond, probably overly nostalgic memories of first playing Sons of Liberty on the PS2, and wandering around the tanker as Solid Snake, at a gorgeous 60FPS. Remastered here, the feeling is for the most part replicated; Snake looks mostly fantastic, though admittedly the facial animations are still sub-par, and the inevitability of pop-in that plagued the PS2-era titles is plenty visible here. Peace Walker, meanwhile, is a product of its time, sure, lacking the truly spectacular look of either of the other games, but the supped-up controls make it easy to forget about its lack of visual grandeur. Simply, the visual nitpicks are minor quibbles when compared to the overall quality of the HD presentation, and indeed, the overpowering quality of the titles themselves.

The only real thing to warn about is that this might not be the smoothest entry point for those looking to get immersed in the MGS universe; the conspicuous absence of what is arguably the PS1’s greatest game is fairly disappointing, though this blow is cushioned by the unexpected inclusion of the two original MSX Metal Gear games, albeit in their native format. It gives fuel to the idea that some HD reimaginings of those games would be grand; after all, who wouldn’t want to play the Snake/Grey Fox minefield fight in glorious HD, after sitting through an appropriately epic cut-scene?
The lack of MGS1 makes the “collection” feel incomplete and a little lazy when a good port of the game is already sitting around out there.

That said, for those who want three of their favourite games to look nice and crisp on their new HDTV, this isn’t a bad way to go; Peace Walker looks noticeably less so than the other titles, but all three games do a service to the fairly questionable notion of “HD remakes”. Like 3D films, it is an interesting concept often misused for the sake of a quick penny, but there’s an uncommon care here for preserving the stylistic consistency of the original games while making them look a little more sleek and shiny. This game is a not only a blast from the past, but a blast straight up.

Pros:
+ MGS2 and MGS3 have never looked better.
+ Super-slick menus make dipping in and out of games a synch
+ Inclusion of the MSX titles for the many that have never touched them.
+ For what you get, it is extremely good value for money and worth plenty more than it is retailing for.

Cons:
- No MGS is a huge letdown.
- Peace Walker feels a bit lacklustre visually compared to the other games.
- No pronounced audio optimisation; one wonders what they could have enhanced here. But the voice work and scores are still amazing.
- New players or those who began on MGS4 may find the controls hard to get to grips with.

Score: 8.5/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer

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