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PlayStation 3 Review: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

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When people think of the Metal Gear series they think back on the several generations of the very popular series that started back with the Nintendo Entertainment Systems and ending with Metal Gear 4 on the PS3 and the upcoming Metal Gear Rising game. Gamers now get a chance to relive one of the most popular series created with an HD facelift.

Out now for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is packed with games from past console generations. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence as well as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Yes, this collection does not include the first Metal Gear nor the first Metal Gear Solid.  However, as a bonus to people who purchased the PS3 version of the game, it comes with the ability to transfer Peace Walker to the PSP or the PlayStation Vita and play that game on the handheld.  The Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection comes with a lot of content no matter what region you get the game for.

The first game that I started was Snake Eater;  is on the same disc as Subsistence.  It was one of the more popular games of the series. When looked at, players who have seen the original will be able to immediately tell the difference between the visual look of it on the PS2 as compared to the PS3. The PS3 version is richer, more vibrant, and has  a better overall look.

From there, I played the games in chronological order to get the same feeling that I would have gotten when I first opened the games for the PS2 generation. What I noticed is that Sons of Liberty, since it was the first release on PS2, seems like more of a test to see what the system could do compared to the later games of the series. The biggest issue that I have with playing Sons of Liberty is the control scheme. They ported the controls over so everything was the exact same. I would have like to see the controls updated with a better button layout or the ability to change the button layout. These features are common in games that are released this generation.

Going back to Snake Eater; it plays better than its predecessor, Sons of Liberty. For starters, Snake Eater, has a more updated control scheme with the use of both analog sticks. However, there is still not the ability to choose the button layout. The gameplay does stay unchanged, which is not a bad thing. The graphics look beautiful, and the textures are really amazing.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was next on my list. It was originally released on the PSP.

Peace Walker is a very different change of pace. Not only does the game have a complete graphic overhaul, but the gameplay is reworked with a better control scheme since the PSP does not have as many buttons and does not have two analog sticks. The inclusion of choosing a control scheme is finally present here. That really helps the gameplay, plus there is a style set up that is very similar to the most recent Metal Gear Solid 4.
The HD upgrade is great for the series. Fans of the classic games will appreciate this experience no matter which console they choose to play it on. Going even further with the extra space and the increasing knowledge of compression, the sounds here are beautifully realized.  In fact, the orchestrated soundtracks are one of the best things about this collection. These games have some of the best soundtracks to have ever appeared in videogames. Beyond that, the sound effects and voice overs are memorable and will stay with you even when the game is finished.

What would have made this collection perfect would have been the Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes (itself an update to the first MGS). The game was originally released on the Nintendo Console. If it was offered either on a disc or through the uses of a downloadable, that would have made this collection complete. However, it is understandable seeing that it was a Nintendo Gamecube exclusive and there could have been a rights issue.
Each of the Metal Gear games included here like they once did. Having played them on the PS2, I knew where I was going and how to defeat most of the bosses as well as how to get past some of the parts of the game that gave me difficulty in the past.

That being said, the games do not give me the same feeling they once did.  Sure, the original releases had their faults, but that did not deter from the story or the world. Now, it does.  This could be due to the fact that in this generation we have several game franchises that put you in a similar role and which have all had Metal Gear Solid off of which to build.

In any case, if you are a fan of the Metal Gear series this is a must have. Or, if you are a newcomer to the series who wants to get into the game, this is a great collection to pick up, no one will be disappointed. For the great price of $39.99 with the number of hours of playtime and the amount of games in this collection it is hard to resist.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.

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