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March 13, 2012
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
16/2/2012MindscapeKonamiKojima Prod. (original)
Bluepoint (MGS2/3 HD)
Genki (MGSPW HD)
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Holding and enemy up at gunpoint.
To any gamer the Metal Gear Solid franchise should need no introduction. It's a juggernaut that gets maximum press and coverage whenever there is a release and as such Hideo Kojima and his development team are now, for many, household names. It has been almost four years since Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released on PS3, and with a "proper" fifth title seemingly a few years away games will be looking at this HD Collection to tie them over.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection includes both the PS2 titles - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater and the PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. We won't go into the storylines for these games, indeed with each one you could write an entire novel - as a starter! Needless to say though each of these games have massive, lengthy cut-scenes that detail the convoluted plotlines and unravel the details of Snake, Big Boss, Raiden, Ocelot, Big Shell, Olga and much more. Fans of the franchise will know the overview, and newcomers, well just need to sit through the hours and hours of cut-scenes!

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Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 - in HD on PS3.
The ports of these games have actually been handled by different companies. BluePoint Games have handled MGS2 and MGS3, Genki have handled MGS Peace Walker while Aspect Co have handled Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (these latter two games being small bonuses of the original MSX2 games). It's fair to say that the quality of the conversions is supreme across the board and we're sure Hideo Kojima observed and gave each his stamp of approval.

Looking at the games both Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater remain the slickest in terms of gameplay and presentation as they were released on PS2. The ports are nigh on perfect and the gameplay, while feeling a little dated in todayís era is still engrossing when you get used to it. While both games are very close Snake Eater, being a few years newer looks slightly better, has a few more options and pushes the system a little further.

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Metal Gear Solid games are legendary.
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, having been originally released on the PSP, is the most restrained in terms of scope, locations and visuals, however it's not a bad game by a long shot and the inclusion of the second analogue stick on the Dual Shock 3 controller for camera controls frees the gameplay up considerably. Peace Walker is also designed for and includes online multiplayer for yourself and friends and also includes the Monster Hunter Mission and includes a "Transfarring" which allows you to copy your save file from PSP to PS3 and vice versa.

In terms of the changes to this MGS HD Collection, besides the visual upgrade (which we'll get to soon), each of the games now has Trophy Support (something we wish they would update and add into the PS3 game, Metal Gear Solid 4) so fanatics will spend plenty of time unlocking all these trophies. Sadly Metal Gear Online has been dropped from this release however as we indicated in the developer list above the original pre-PlayStation games, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 have been included.

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A screen from MGS Peace Walker in HD.
Naturally being direct ports of the original games all the positives and negatives of those titles are transferred here with no alterations made to the actual game content. Positives are the brilliant cut-scenes which are produced with Hollywood production values, the superb gameplay and stunning attention detail. On the negative side there are still stupidly long, and often boring, codec conversations where you're looking at a small radio while two or more people converse for lengthy periods of time. So annoying that looks even worse in this day and era. Also the control scheme has always been a bit fiddly but it seems to be more outdated now that we have some pretty slick control schemes on modern controllers.

We do have another fairly large gripe with this release and that's to do with the price. Admittedly this is an industry-wide issue - however Metal Gear Solid HD Collection has a SRP in Australia of $79.95. Given the Australian dollar is $US1.07 at the moment - thatís about $US85.50. In America this game sells for $39.95 RRP and even allowing for taxes, they're paying about half the price that we are.

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A shot from Metal Gear Solid 2 - in HD.
The final disappointments is that the set, while brilliant, would feel a lot more complete if it included a port of the original PS3 game Metal Gear Solid from PSOne. Surely the title could have been included - perhaps as an "unlockable" bonus, or even as a non-HD upgraded title.

When a title is branded "HD Collection" it seems obvious the biggest improvement to the game would come in the visuals, and that is certainly the case here. This collection has seen the visuals bumped up to a decent 720p resolution and running at a solid 60fps. The developers haven't reworked the models, nor the textures, nor the animations or cut-scenes but what you can see is the amount of attention to detail that was paid in the first place as even today, the results are very impressive - fans of the franchise will love to see the improvements made simply with the upgrade in resolution.

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A screen from MGS Peace Walker in HD.
Sonically the Metal Gear Solid games have always been fantastic, and as they have been ported from DVD/UMD the audio quality here on the PS3 is also quite spectacular. Naturally David Hayter is superb as the voice of Snake while other voice actors play their parts very well although some dialogue seems a little corny at times. The audio for Peace Walker has been a bit of a boost in audio quality to meet the expectations of PS3 gamers - it's not groundbreaking but ensures that the PSP title doesn't feel out of place in the collection.

Another aspect of this franchise that can't be overlooked is the stunning musical score from Harry Gregson-Williams which is now the stuff of legend in video games which set a benchmark for the period, and still holds up superbly today.

Fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise will be pleased to see this HD update get a release, but some question has to be asked about the price point here in Australia especially if you own the originals. Still, technically this is a very polished release with perfect port of some of the greatest games of all time.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSThey're old games given HD remakes, the increased resolution is good, as is the solid frame rate.
SOUNDThe Metal Gear Solid games have always had great audio, and that's no different here.
GAMEPLAYWhile gameplay has evolved over the last decade these are still tremendous titles.
VALUEThree of the biggest games of all time with HD visuals and in one bundle for $79.95. Fantastic value which would be better if we in Australia weren't being ripped off compared to America.
OVERALLMetal Gear Solid HD Collection brings together the best of the series and puts it in a nice bundle with updated visuals. Fans of the series would do well to add this to their collection while newcomers should check this out as well.

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