Ah, Metal Gear Solid. Everyone and their brothers have heard of this game series. It’s loved by many and will go down as one of the most influential series in the gaming industry. One of the best MGS games in the series is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, released back in 2004. Now, in 2012, Naked Snake appears in another version of Snake Eater on the 3DS. Does the game hold up while still bringing some new 3D action to the table?
For those of you who don’t know (and if you don’t, you should be ashamed of yourself), Snake Eater is the prequel to Metal Gear Solid. You play as Solid Snake’s “father” Naked Snake in 1964, on a mission to rescue a scientist that’s being held captive by the Soviet Union. He is betrayed by his mentor and superior, The Boss, and is left for dead. Now, it’s up to Snake to stop his betrayer and bring down the Soviet’s secret weapon, the Shagohod, before the Cold War jumps into a full on nuclear war.
Now, I know most of you reading this review will know all about MGS3 both in story and game play. I want to talk about what exactly has changed for the 3DS version. Keep in mind; I did not use the Circle Pad Pro, so I can’t comment on how well the game plays with this in place. Obviously, the controls are changed up to suit the 3DS. It reminds me of how Peace Walker controlled on the PSP. You can move with the analog stick and control the camera with the face buttons. Truth be told, this can get tedious, especially during fast moving boss fights. The touch screen serves as a menu, map, and somewhat of a quick guide for those not wanting to use a full on menu. Still, after fumbling with it for a few hours, I found myself using the full menu and steering away from the touch screen controls. The D-Pad serves partly as an action button and your stance change, as well as your quick menu for weapon and item selection.
One huge improvement is the inclusion of the crouch walk from MGS4. This helps out a ton when trying to deal with the wonky controls. Another big change is the inclusion of a first person mode for aiming better while still being able to walk around. The game also uses the 3DS’ gyroscope to implement balancing in certain situations, like when crossing a rope bridge. Sure, it works well, but when you need to keep your eyes at a certain angle if you want to enjoy the 3D, it just makes it cumbersome.
I found that doing almost every action while playing the game was either too complicated or too clunky for the 3DS. This is not the game’s fault, really. It’s just the truth for when it comes to playing it on the 3DS.
The 3D aspect of the game is nice. It’s not overly invasive on the action and game play and looks really good. I have to say, graphically, the game looks amazing, as good as the HD Collection version. The downfall is the performance issues when in hectic situations. The frame-rate will chug at times.
The only other problem I had with the game was the fact that Metal Gear doesn’t translate well into a portable game. When you spend 5-7 minutes in a cut scene just to do 2 minutes of game play, the portability is just not there. Metal Gear games have always been a game to play in large chunks, not in 5-10 minute spurts.
I hate to say it, but this version of MGS3 is really only for the people who have no other way of playing it. I know there are a few good improvements to the game play, but there are also many downfalls. For the same price as this single game, you can pick up the MGS Collection that comes not only with Snake Eater, but two other games as well. Still, if you only have a 3DS, and no other way to play Snake Eater, then you should give this game a shot.
I know I seem to be really negative in this review. Please don’t take this the wrong way. As far as the game goes, it’s Snake Eater through and through. It is one of the best games to come out in the PS2 days and definitely one of the best in the MGS series. The set pieces are there, the voice acting is fantastic, and the really long, detailed cut scenes are all here completely in 3D. So, as everyone can tell, the game is great. I just find that the way it controls and how the game play is implemented on the 3DS hinders this fantastic game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.