As inevitable as a long winded codex conversation, the Metal Gear Solid series finally arrives on the PlayStation Vita. But even though it is a smaller package than the PlayStation 3 version, is it still worth your time?
We will start with the bad as this may well be a large factor when deciding which version to purchase. Being given the name Metal Gear Solid HD Collection there are a couple of vital games missing here, the largest being the surprising omission when comparing the Vita to the PS3 release, the lack of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Though fear not handheld fans as for a reasonable cost you can download the PSP version direct from the PlayStation Store. The original PlayStation version of Metal Gear Solid is also absent from the list and whilst for completionist’s this will be a negative, you still are getting two of the best games to be released on the PlayStation 2 in one package.
So what do we get in this collection; Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty takes us back to the 2001 release and straight from the off the game messes with you head, controlling Raiden rather than Snake himself. As part of FOXHOUND, he is tasked with infiltrating and rescuing the US President on an off shore rig called the Big Shell, which turns out to be part of a much larger conspiracy. This is a scaled down version of the Substance version that came out shortly after the original, so you also get loads of VR missions and the Snakes Tales mini missions included in the game.
With Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater we are again getting a modified version of the Subsistence release, with most extras and controls staying in tact but the removal of online play. For newcomers this really should be your first game to play as this is essentially a prequel of sorts, allowing you to take part in the tale of Naked Snake, the man who later became Big Boss. The Metal Gear Solid gameplay of stealth being paramount has been upped considerably in this game with the inclusion of survival, with camouflage becoming a vital element to gameplay as Naked Snake works his way through the Soviet jungles.
In addition, the original Metal Gear 1 and 2 games from the MSX are also included. I have to admit that I did wonder where these could be found at first, however I soon located them lying in the menus of Metal Gear Solid 3. These titles are not in HD, so you will be playing them as originally intended. If nothing else it will give you a look at just how far gaming has come in such a short space of time, although they are pretty good time fillers for nostalgia’s sake.
Both Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 are certainly getting on a bit, so the fact that Kojima has decided to remaster these for Vita is certainly a boost for both fans of the series and the handheld alike. Thankfully, despite the content that is missing, the games which are included both look fantastic on the Vita’s lovely screen. I don’t remember a great deal about Metal Gear Solid 2 from the past; however it certainly looks like Kojima and his studio have worked hard to bring it up to date. The same can be said of Metal Gear Solid 3, which looks wonderful. The greens of the jungle and the reworked sound effects will have you desperately dashing to your Metal Gear loving friends to show them just how great this classic looks on your shiny portable screen.
Kojima has also utilised some of the Vita’s unique functions in this collection, allowing you to use the touchscreen for zooming when using binoculars or use a portion of the screen in place of the L2 and R2 buttons, which in turn will allow you to select weapons and equipment. The latter is a pretty impressive replacement for the L2 and R2 buttons, as the game will pause and you simple hold onto the box and slide between each item in your inventory, you’ll also be greeted with a description for each item.
Though I can’t see the logic of owning more than one copy of these games, if you have the PlayStation 3 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection you are also able to link this to the Vita, swapping saves that allows you to continue your game on the big screen and also sharing trophies.
As you would expect from the Metal Gear Solid series, you will probably wear your battery out just by watching the cutscenes, something that turned many gamers away from the originals, saying that though, the games will provide you with hours of fun. Sure it would have been nice to have an HD version of Metal Gear Solid and more so, Peace Walker, however, for the content included and the price at which Konami are asking, it’s hard to complain really.
Rating: Excellent Review Policy (version tested: PS Vita)
You can order here from ShopTo for just under £23.