Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater HD Edition review
Silly Kojima-san!

The good:

Rich and deep story that will make you think.

Lots of variety in the gameplay to keep you interested throughout.

Good gameplay mechanics and a finely tuned stealth system that now includes camouflage.

The bad:

The fixed camera angles give you a lack of foresight and make it difficult to see exactly what you want to.

Some of the controls are clunky and need to be revamped.

The long-winded radio conversations become boring.


Snake's back.

... Right?

MGS3 is yet another installment in the excellent Metal Gear series. Is it more of the same? Kind of. Is it fun? Yes.

Unlike the other Metal Gear games, that take place in order, MGS3 is a prequel that takes place in the 60's, long before the events of the original Metal Gear game.

MGS2 was a good game, and i did get used to Raiden, but i missed playing as Snake. MGS3 lets you take the role of that gruff-voiced, bandanna-wearing, tough guy we came to love in MGS1. And he rocks.

The biggest change in this game from its predecessors is the heightened necessity of stealth. In the previous MGS games, you could easily run around and cap guys with ease. The radar allowed you to see everything you needed to know. In MGS3, there is no radar. On top of that, most of the game takes place in the thick jungle.

Adding to the difficulty, the enemy AI in MGS3 is vastly improved. They're much more difficult to neutralize and you can't toy with them as much as you could in the previous games. They also have better vision, it seems. You'll be spotted alot if you're careless.

However, you can now utilize camouflage. You can choose different camo uniforms on the fly and depending on your surroundings, your camouflage rating will rise. The higher your rating, the harder it will be for enemies to see you. If you're wearing the grass colored uniform and you're crawling around in some underbrush, you can crawl right up to guys and they won't notice you.

The camouflage is an innovative feature that makes the game much more interesting. It really puts you into the experience of sneaking around.

Speaking of sneaking around, it's much more important this time that you don't get spotted. Since the enemies are smarter, you have to play smarter. Running up to an enemy and hoping to take him down without anyone noticing is an impossibility most of the time. You'll rarely find a guard out in the open all alone, there's always more men around. If one of them spots you, he'll either use his radio to call for backup, or yell for the radio man to do it.

Reinforcements are bad. They come and shoot at you, and you'll either die or take alot of damage if there's no where for you to take cover and wait for the heat to die down.

There are now three stages of enemy alertness. If you're spotted, you go into the alert phase. Soldiers will run around looking for you and shoot at anything they think is moving. After the alert phase diminishes, the evade phase begins. The soldiers will continue searching for you at a cautious pace. After that comes the caution phase. Soldiers aren't on high alert anymore but they're still tense. They know you're around and keep their sense sharp. After the very, very long time it takes to go through all phases, the caution phase will be lifted and the soldiers will return to their normal patrols. Take note that if you're spotted during any of the three phases, it goes back to full alert.

Once you're spotted, you can either go run for cover and wait, or pull out your weapon and smoke em. However in some locations there will be MANY soldiers and alot of reinforcements, so you'll be in a gunfight for a long time and you'll take some serious damage.

Fortunately the combat system has been improved immensely. Now you can utilize CQC (close quarters combat) techniques. The biggest of these is the ability to grab an enemy and hold him up. When you're holding an enemy, you can interrogate him and learn some information, or use him as a human shield while you pick off other hesitant soldiers with your weapon. When you're done with him, you can slit his throat and move on.

You'll have to use the environment to your advantage. If you're going to take down an enemy, you must make sure no other soldiers will see or hear it. When you've taken care of the soldier, you must drag his body to a remote location so the other soldier won't see it.

The environments are gorgeous. The well-crafted jungle environments are alive with swaying foliage and critters and creatures crawling around in the brush. If something is alive, you can kill it. And most likely eat it, too. Another innovation in MGS3 is the inclusion of stamina. As you run around and put stress on your body, your stamina bar will decrease. As it gets lower, your physical ability will decrease and your wounds will heal slower. To replenish your stamina you must find and eat food. Fortunately there are plenty of critters to hack up with your knife for food. Whenever you kill an animal, it turns into food that you can pickup and then eat later. Different animals will taste differently. The better the taste, the more of your stamina will be replenished. Some foods can be poisonous, though. If you get poisoned, you'll have to heal yourself.

Healing yourself is yet another innovation in the game. When you get shot, stabbed, slashed, beaten, or blown up, you'll most likely receive a serious injury. Untreated injuries will continue to eat away at Snake's life bar so you'll have to heal them right away. You're given a wide range of medical supplies for different types of injuries. For example, if you get slashed by an enemy, you'll receive a cut. To treat the cut, you'll have to stitch it up, apply disinfectant, stop the bleeding, and bandage it. This prevents you from simply running around and taking enemy fire. You'll have to play smarter.

While there are many innovations, there are still some lingering gameplay issues that should have been re-vamped for the new game. The biggest problem I had was with the damn camera. You can't rotate the camera or control it any way. You can move the right analog stick around to move the camera a little bit to see what's in your immediate area, but that's it. Since the game mostly takes place in the jungle, this can be a serious problem since you can't see where you're going or where the enemies are. If you want to look around, you'll have to switch into the clunky first person view. Switching into it will not only make you lose your bearings, but it's slow and clunky. Getting down on your belly and crawling around is even clunkier and slower. I got frustrated many times when I needed to get up quickly to run away when I was crawling. I would tap the X button to get up, but this only makes snake move into a crouching position. You then have to hit X again to stand up. If you try to run while getting up, you'll get back down into the crawling position again. In the meantime, you'll probably getting shot to hell by the enemy.

The third person view with the uncontrollable camera and bad camera angles make for an unnecessary difficulty. I know some MGS vets will say "omg u nub u hav to get yoosed to the controwls". I don't want to get used to them, I want to be able to master them quickly so I can use them to my advantage. User friendly controls are the best kind.

Despite the gameplay flaws, the story, as expected, is fantastic. However, it is frequently marred by poor or cheesy voice acting. Some characters sound better than others.

Just read the subtitles and try not to pay attention to the speaker, you should be fine.

The one thing I hate about the intensive storyline is the long-winded radio conversations. Oh no! The enemy has launched a nuke! Let's sit down and talk to the commander on the radio for 30 minutes.

The cut-scenes can also be too long at times. Most of them do well to move the story along, but some of them just seem to be unnecessarily lengthy.

In MGS1 and 2, the boss enemies had a lot of character and personality. When you killed them, they had a little monologue about their deal and who they were. This made you sympathize for them and understand why they were doing what they did so you don't remember them as mere thugs. In MGS3, the boss enemies just come off as evil and twisted. I didn't feel or sympathize for them. The only exception to this is The Boss.

One of the boss fights is a one-on-one sniper duel in the middle of the thick jungle. Not only is your enemy small and quick, he is excellently camouflaged and nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.

I fought him for 1 and a half hours. Yes, a very VERY long time and a very VERY maddening battle. I'm not even going to start ranting about this stupid fightÂ…

Okay I think I've gone into enough detail. Now to recap.

Gameplay: 5. There are so many things for you to and so many ways for you to do them. The enemies are smart and the gameplay is even smarter. Think to survive.

Control: 3. The MGS control scheme is becoming dated. Just like the RE franchise, it's time for some innovation in this category. A real player-controlled camera and tighter control over the character would make this damn near perfect.

Story: 5. Excellent. Simply fantastic. Immerse yourself and try not to get confused, because things get complicated.

Sound: 5. The voice acting is dodgy, but the environment sounds are wonderful. Turn up the volume loud and pay attention to the world around you. The sound track is also simply amazing.

Graphics: 5. Some of the best that the PS2 has to offer. However, it's becoming clear that the PS2 hardware is getting dated.

Lifespan: 4. The game is quite long, and there are many many different ways to do it all. There are also plenty of unlockables and special ranks to achieve.

FunFactor: 5. This game is highly addicting. I played it night and day and I didn't want to stop. When I finally beat the game, I was shocked to see the game timer read over 18 hours.

Despite being a prequel game, I suggest that gamers play MGS1 and then 2 before playing 3. This is how the story is meant to be moved along. However if you just want to play some fun 3rd person espionage, this game is a must play.

The game isn't perfect, but it's damn near close. I give it 4.6 out of 5.

Final score is an average of the 7 above factors.

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