Konami has rolled out the much-anticipated Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, but does it do enough to earn some of your hard-earned cash?
In gaming, much like in the film and music industries, developers and publishers are not shy of going back to their trusted success stories for a quick buck. But rarely if ever has there been such hype and so much anticipation for a re-mastered edition as there has been for the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection.
This is an illustration of the spell that Metal Gear Solid holds over such a huge portion of gamers. The franchise appeals on so many different levels, and the mixture of socio-political commentary and high-octane action that unravels as you progress, results in one of the most compelling stories ever told in a series of video games.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: Features
Specifically, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection brings together Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and a console-ported version of the PSP's Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
And we're not just talking Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, oh no. We're talking Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. That means you get all the added virtual reality missions, all the bonus missions and the manual third-person camera into the bargain.
Also hidden away on the Snake Eater disc are console versions of both the original MSX2 games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. This is a pretty definitive collection, and is only missing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which presumably, was deemed to not really need a makeover.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: Graphics
Graphically the games on the three main discs are certainly nicer looking then the originals, and it's obvious that this is not just a knock-off collection of quickly assembled upgrades. Metal Gear Solid Project Leader Hideo Kojima, and parent company Konami have made a genuine effort to do the prized series justice.
The updated graphics are sharpened and very nice in comparison to the originals, but don't expect these games to suddenly look like they were developed yesterday.
That said, while the game mechanics remain the same, everything just feels a little bit sharper. Aiming feels more natural now and the updated graphics fit perfectly alongside Hideo Kojima's famed attention to detail.
These are small changes, individually unnoticeable, but together they often make the game feel like a new experience.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: Gameplay
You'll be (un)surprised to know that the series that pioneered the stealth game genre is still mostly about stealth. The controls and features are also largely what you would expect had you played the previous games.
The core of the game is simply about not being seen, and making your way through areas without alerting the guards to your whereabouts, occasionally using weaponry or close-combat to incapacitate. Such is the life of a Special Forces operative.
If a guard sees you, he'll call in back-up immediately and follow your position. Shoot a guard's radio and you'll disable it, giving yourself time to incapacitate him before he can call in reinforcements.
Metal Gear has made distracting and taking out guards into a thing of beauty, and as you explore your options throughout the game, you realise how much liberty the game grants you to tackle it as you wish.
Ultimately, the juxtaposition between the rigid storyline and the freedom you have in progressing through it is what fascinates throughout the series.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: Verdict
The HD Collection is a giant candy store for sweet-toothed Metal Gear fans. And for those who have never played through the Metal Gear series before, there is no better time to do it than now.
Whether you're buying this collection as a trip down memory lane or a new experience, the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection is absolutely worth buying in both respects. We would even argue that those who have played through the game before will find new enjoyment in playing the remastered versions.
This is 100% Metal Gear Solid, but better than ever before.