What a welcome disappointment.
Since the HD collection in 2011, most Metal Gear games have been relegated to 7th generation consoles. Thankfully, Konami has finally realized that porting these games is just free money; however, this is Konami, and while we all expected them to do this on the cheap, this is still a really disappointing ‘collection’.
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What Do You Get?
Before we start, if you have never played these games before and are looking at this from a standpoint of owning most of them in one convenient location. Should you buy this? If you have no access to a past gen console or a PC, then sure. But for everyone else, this is a rip-off.
“Collection” is a bit of a misnomer; there’s no Metal Gear Solid 4, there are none of the portable games, and there is no Metal Gear Rising. For $60 you get: Metal Gear 1&2 (as well as their NES versions), Metal Gear Solid 1, 2 & 3, and a bunch of miscellaneous goodies that you would expect from a collection, such as scans of the scripts for each game along with graphic novels depicting Metal Gear 1 & 2 for those of us who don’t want to contend with the archaic controls in a series that already has famously niche controls.
It’s important to note that these aren’t ground-up remasters. There is no extra polish here; the Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 ports are just straight copies of the 2011 HD collection (to the point where the title screen still says “2011”). Same goes for Metal Gear 1 & 2. The only thing that’s here which wasn’t in the HD collection is Metal Gear Solid 1. This is just a barebones 30fps copy of what I guess is just the PS3 port.
The only new thing addition that I’ve actually been able to notice is that you can now pause cutscenes. Which is nice. It’s a welcome addition to not have to lock myself to my seat when Liquid goes on another diatribe, or try to keep the game in ear shot when I have to run and answer the door.
Thankfully there’s no censorship or truncation, so all the Kojima weirdness is right where he left it (but I imagine the games were left as is because going through them would require some effort on Konami’s part). Konami didn’t even originally remaster 2 & 3, that’s an accolade that goes to Bluepoint Games.
Preservation Over Presentation
The layout of the in-game menus are fine. The layout of the collection is absurd. When you get the collection, you don’t get a single app which allows you to switch between or browse each game; instead, you get a separate app for EVERY game, as well an app for the bonus content. This creates such an unmanageable clutter on the homescreen and on the trophy list that it just feels like no one ever actually tested this.
As if to one up themselves on their lack of presentation, during my playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 3, there were some instances where either music cues or voice lines weren’t correctly synced with the animations. Now, the animations in these games are comparatively basic, but you can still feel when the rhythm is off. If these problems were in the 2011 collection, then I’d at least be understanding, but no, they are exclusive to THIS version. So there’s a second definitively new thing.
To be fair, Konami has stated that these issues will be ironed out in a coming patch; however, it was Konami who said it, so that’s still up in the air. And these are problems that were never meant to be there in the first place, it’s not as though they’re going to completely override the construction or the content of the collection based on user feedback. They got their money, and they got mine.
Thankfully, you can at least buy each of the games for $19.99 apiece. For this price you can either get Metal Gear Solid 2 or 3, or you can get Metal Gear Solid 1 along with the ports of Metal Gear 1&2. If you’re doing the calculation in your head, yes that is 2 cents cheaper than the collection. I guess that’s for the bonus content, which is about what I’d pay for it.
My Trophy Soapbox
If you couldn’t care less about trophies, then please skip to the end.
Shockingly, the trophy lists for Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 are different than their PS3 counterparts. This is shocking because this was the last thing I expected Konami to bother changing. 2 is ever so slightly easier and 3 is a good bit harder. Thank god.
Metal Gear Solid 1 also has not just trophies, but a platinum of its own. At last, I can finally finish my mural. My mural that sits on the lock-screen of my phone like it were a picture of my kids. My wonderfully weird, Japanese kids.
Should you buy this collection? No. This is my favourite game series of all time and I’m saying no. Like I said before, if you have no other option and PS4/PS5 is your only system, then sure, but that’s it.
If you are just looking to pick them up again or are like me and will buy any new release of this neglected series which Konami seems to keep locked up in their archives, then at the very least, just buy the game(s) you’re interested in. Either that, or wait for a sale. This is an absurdly lazy collection. $60 for Volume 1.
Oh, and that’s right, Volume 2 isn’t out yet, and it will likely have the only non-PS3 version of Metal Gear Solid 4 on it. Probably for $60, or who knows, game prices may have increased again by the time it releases. So you could be paying $130+ for ten or so 15-40 year old games.
- At least it exists.
- Ability to pause cutscenes.
- Absurd price.
- Brand new bugs.
- Horribly compartmentalized.
- Barebones MGS 1 port.