Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Vita) -
So I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit in favor of writing and (hopefully) selling some short stories, but I’ve still found time to check out Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on my Vita. I’ve been waiting quite a while for this one, and so far it’s certainly given me good reason to remain glued to my Vita for the last couple of weeks.
Now, I didn’t finish either MGS 2 or MGS 3 during their original runs so I was super excited to have an excuse to go through both of them. The exclusion of the first MGS was a little upsetting, especially considering that the Vita still can’t play PS1 games, but with the original two MSX Metal Gear games still included it remains a very full package.
There seems to be some confusion in the gaming world over what exactly an “HD Collection” really is. It is not a remake. It is the original assets displayed in higher resolution. What this means is that the games aren’t going to look much better than in their original forms; they’re going to look sharper, but textures that were originally badly done will still look bad.
MGS 2 was quite an experience to say the least. In traditional Metal Gear fashion, the story crumbled into a mess of philosophy, crazy monologues, and lengthy boss battles. It was memorable, but got a little crazy. The controls were insufferable to say the least, and the shoehorned back touch controls made things even more frustrating. Although the game itself is well worth putting up with the control scheme, it made me put it down several times.
The inventory management was also revamped to be controlled with the front touch screen. To do this they grouped similar items into a sub-menu which tends to bury items that you don’t use all the time, and caused me to forget about many of them when the time to use them rolled around. Obviously the age old complaint that you play as Raiden for most of the game is still there, and it really wouldn’t be as frustrating if Raiden wasn’t voice acted so badly. If you’ve never played either game be sure to play this one first, because while it’s a fun experience, MGS 3 is the real gem in this package.
Now I’m still not quite done with MGS 3, but so far it’s been one hell of a ride. The music, the much improved voice acting, and most of all the controls all make it a shining example in the series. The villains are a little less intriguing than in the previous title, but they do provide some excellent battles. Naked Snake himself (Big Boss if you prefer) feels like a much more relatable version of Solid Snake. The entire game has a much more gung-ho guns blazing feel to it, and I’ve found myself shooting my way through some sections just because it was more fun. I wouldn’t say that you can play either way, but stealth isn’t as necessary as in previous games. That flexibility combined with the survival mechanics really come together to make something special.
Overall, even without the addition of Peace Walker, which the PS3 version had, it’s still quite a package. If you’re looking for something to kill a good thirty hours (or many many more if you play all the bonus content) then this is the title to get. The games themselves look damn good on the Vita’s screen, and being able to take what many consider the best entry in the entire Metal Gear series with me wherever I go feels great.