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Customer Review

103 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PS2 and PSP era MGS in glorious HD., 3 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Metal Gear Solid HD - Collection (PS3) (Video Game)
This is something I've been waiting a long, long time for. Honestly, the delay for the UK version was like a knife twisting in my gut. The PS2 era was my era for gaming, so the series of 'HD Collections' of PS2 era games for the PS3, updated to be played in HD with higher frame rates, have been a godsend for me.

In this HD Collection, we get Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and, for the first time on a 'big' console, MGS Peace Walker - a PSP title updated for the big screen. Some fans have bemoaned the lack of MGS1, the first game in the 'Solid' era that really brought the series to the attention of the Western world, but I consider this a wise decision. Apparently they explored the possibility of including it but found that a PSX era game could not be upconverted to anything vaguely resembling high definition. Rumour has it that Hideo Kojima has designs on bringing a completely remade version of MGS1 to us at a later date, likely coinciding with an anniversary of some kind. This will be far better in my opinion. In the meantime, for those yet to experience it, the original MGS1 title is available to purchase on PSN for a tiny fee, and for those with an old PSX copy of the game knocking around, you can play it on your PS3 (it was only PS2 backwards compatibility that was sacrificed in later PS3 hardware revisions, so all PS3's play PSX games)

As regards the updated graphics, well they can certainly hold their own now on a modern HD display. I played MGS2 a couple of years ago on my PS2 and it really did suffer on a modern HD display, but now in pure 720p both PS2 games can really hold their heads high. Of course they cannot rival a game such as Uncharted, that was only ever conceived with HD in mind, but for an upconversion job you will be hugely impressed. HD displays tend to fudge the graphics of PS2 games, and I often found it difficult to spot animals and items in the jungle and other shadowy parts of the MGS3 levels. Not so now, the increase in clarity gives you a much better command of your environment. Another great feature is that the games now play in 16:9 widescreen instead of full screen 4:3, and I mean REAL widescreen, not just zoomed and cropped, so we have more side of screen information than we saw in the PS2 versions. For those with the equipment to decode it, audio is full surround sound now, too. Not just in the cut scenes like the originals, but while you're actually playing the levels. This adds a welcome element of reality, as you can hear the direction the enemies are approaching you from.

Words cannot describe how happy I am that they gave us the fully controllable 3rd person camera from MGS3 Subsistence. I always believed that Subsistence turned the vanilla 'Snake Eater' version of the game from merely a good, to a brilliant game. Obviously the technology given to the player has to reflect the period in history concerned, so MGS3 being set in the cold war era 1960's could not have had the state of the art radar system of MGS 1 and 2. All fair and well, until you realise that keeping the overhead camera of the previous games while taking away the radar never made for fluid game-play. The gamer often found himself running into the field of vision of guards and soldiers that you could not yet see in your own field of vision. This led to many tiresome instances of you hiding behind a bush or a rock until the guards had stopped looking for you and your alert level had come down. The only way to avoid this in the vanilla Snake Eater is to stop every few paces and scout the area for enemies with use of the first person perspective button, which takes a lot of fluidity out of the game. Thankfully, this was something that Kojima and team were willing to address for Subsistence. The result is a fully controllable camera, that sits behind the character in a more traditional position, akin to a modern 3rd person game, and can be panned a full 360 degrees to better survey the surrounding territory. It isn't that it makes the game easier, just more fluid. Had they not given us the Subsistence version of MGS3 in this collection, it would definitely have been a deal breaker for me. Of course fans more familiar with the vanilla Snake Eater camera can click a button and play it the old way instead. MGS2 plays as it ever did, which for me is great because if it isn't broke, you don't fix it. Peace Walker plays differently of course, owing to the controls being adapted for the PS3 pad. By most accounts this has improved the game, as we now have a second analogue stick to control the camera, which makes for a more modern feel, or so I'm told.

I have only dipped my toes into Peace Walker as of yet, so I'm far from an authority. Especially so as I never owned a PSP. However, I am pleased with what I see. On the graphics side of things, it doesn't quite shine as much as its two older brothers, but this is of course understandable as it was made for a smaller screen. Anti-aliasing has been applied in spades with the upconversion and, while it does have the higher definition textures, AND gets rid of the jaggies from the PSP version, the anti-aliasing blends and obscures some of the more intricate details I see in screenshots of the original PSP title. However, playing the game in HD on a big screen with a proper control pad is more than worth that sacrifice. I hear that this game is absolutely HUGE, with more hours game play than any incarnation of the series yet. Which is kind of odd considering it was originally made for the smallest system. The comrade system used in the previous PSP title 'Portable Ops' is dropped this time, in favour of a more traditional Co-operative mode, and this forms a BIG part of the game by all accounts. I believe at several points, many gamers feel it is almost mandatory that they receive the help of another player. Of course for this you will need to be connected to the internet. From what I can tell so far, the story is far less bizarre and more straightforward than usual, and is helped along by beautifully rendered graphic novel style cut scenes.

You will also be pleased to hear that they have given us the best of the extra features from the 'Substance' and 'Subsistence' versions of MGS 2 & 3. Most of the immediately noticeable omissions, from memory, seem to be from Subsistence, so there's no Metal Gear Online, as that has been superseded with the online game from MGS4. The Duel Mode and Snake vs Monkey mode also appear to be missing. The skateboarding game from MGS2 Substance isn't here either. But yes, we DO get the most important and anticipated features - the original two 'Metal Gear' era titles that were previously only available on the Japanese MSX home computer system. These are pixel perfect, English language ports and are really good games for their era. They will prove FAR more than a novelty to hardcore fans of the series. We also get the 'Alternative Missions', 'VR Missions' and 'Snake Tales', that all came with MGS2 Subsistence. 'Casting Theater' and 'Boss Survival' modes also become available after completing MGS2 on any difficulty setting.

All in all there is enough Metal Gear Solid here for fans to bathe in for months, and I for one will be putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the door a good many times in the foreseeable future. If you are unfamiliar with the PS2 and PSP eras of the franchise and have only come to the series by way of PS3's MGS4, you really do owe it to yourself to experience these unmissable slices of MGS history. And at this price point, the games have never been cheaper.

*EDIT*: It has come to my attention that to play the game with DTS audio instead of Dolby Digital, you have to untick the Dolby Digital option in the sound settings of your PS3's XMB. This was obviously an oversight on the developer's part, and if you have both the Dolby Digital and DTS options ticked in the PS3's settings, the game will default to Dolby Digital instead of the far superior DTS format. I will inform Konami of this and hopefully they can patch it. Just don't forget to re-tick the Dolby setting afterwards, as it will mess you about with other games, DVD's and Blu-rays if you forget. Another [MAJOR] annoyance I found was that owing to the difference in ratio between the PSP's screen and our 16:9 HDTV's, the default display settings on Peace Walker have a fair bit of text and edge of screen icons seemingly cut off. The in-game pause menu settings have no way to overcome this, and many players have simply put up with the annoyance. However, there is an initial title menu screen in Peace Walker where you start/load your game that is very easy to overlook or skip past (use up and down to select). It has several categories; ranging from deleting save files, changing the in-game language, 'Transfarring' (the ability to use PSP save files on PS3 and visa versa), and finally, hidden away under the 'Extras' category, the ability to adjust the screen to your display. I found that adjusting it so the arrows in the corner barely fit your screen, meaning a tiny amount of black to give you a buffer, is by far the best compromise... but you might want to have a good old tinker with this setting and see what suits your TV best.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Feb 2012 16:46:57 GMT
Nick.D says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 3 Feb 2012 16:54:29 GMT
Hi Bertie, thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable and detailed review. I'm due to receive mine tomorrow and I just wondered what you thought about playing the games in chronological order to match the timeline of the games. i.e. Snake Eater / Peace Walker / MGS2 so as to maintain continuity in terms of technology Snake uses and character development such as Revolver Ocelot. Any thoughts? Thanks, John.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2012 17:06:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Feb 2012 18:15:51 GMT
James - if you don't like the review, write one of your own or STFU, frankly. And sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Some people like a detailed review. But if you prefer "dis game is da bomb, you rly need to buy it... and Xbox sucks da big one", then please... by all means, give it a few days and your wishes will no doubt be well catered for.

Hi, John.

Thanks for the kind words. I guess it is up to you, mate. I decided to play them in the order of how long it is since I played them (in respect of the two PS2 games), but that went out of the window and I've dipped into all three. But playing them in technological order makes sense to me, and would be good to see the evolution, as you say. I'm sure whichever way you choose, you'll have lots of fun. The franchise is pure class, and it is clear it is a labour of love for those who make it.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012 01:44:06 GMT
Here's a few screenshot comparisons, for those as yet undecided (the image can be expanded):

I love how the widescreen ratio gives it a film like quality.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012 02:03:02 GMT
B. Kersey says:
Just saying, Snake Tales is a completely new thing, and wasn't on substance before. Still a good review thought.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2012 02:46:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2012 02:59:00 GMT
Hi, actually you're wrong there... but thanks for the compliment on the review. Here's Snake Tales being discussed in the original IGN review of MGS2: Substance, and on the Metal Gear wiki:

'Snake Tales'
"The other major addition to Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is a mode labelled Snake Tales. I'm sure more than a couple of you were disappointed when you realized you couldn't play Snake any more. Well, these levels are for you. Unlike the VR or Alternative missions, the five Snake Tales are story based, and though the story elements use characters and environments from the Sons of Liberty game, they are unrelated to the main storyline."

And from the Metal Gear Wiki:

'Snake Tales'
"Snake Tales are a set of missions in the game Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, where the player controls Solid Snake through a variety of themes and environments."

Add to this that I own an original copy of MGS2: Substance, and just sparked it up as I thought I was going mad... and there they are in all their glory.


Posted on 4 Feb 2012 10:40:31 GMT
r4tune says:
Having played Peacewalker on the PSP I can tell you that it lasts for at least 40 hours and that's not even completing every single side mission. Storywise it's not nearly as long but if you do most of the side missions it will keep you busy for a very long time.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012 13:17:54 GMT
Marco says:
>and for those with an old PSX copy of the game knocking around, you can play it on your PS3

Yup, but it looks like crap on a flat tv panel. :(
I don't think that Kojima is going to develop a brand new version of MGS1 at the moment. Silicon Knights already developed MGS: The Twin Snakes which could be brought to attention again. And the new home console generation is going to be unveiled between 2012 and 2013, making our PS3s and Xbox 360s hardly worth of such an effort.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2012 14:31:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2012 14:33:55 GMT
One of the best and most ambitious PS2 games ever (Shadow of the Colossus) released when PS3 had already been out a while. The coming of PS4 won't stand in the way of this if that is what he has in mind. It would sell buckets.

Posted on 5 Feb 2012 11:58:56 GMT
B. cherry says:
thanks you convinced me to buy
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