Metal Gear Solid 3DS Review
A review for Snake Eater 3DS
*Disclaimer: Some images may not be from 3DS version
The Nintendo 3DS has been out for quite some time now, and is finally getting the much needed library of titles to truly takeoff. With Hideo Kojima’s epic Metal Gear Solid 3 now finding a home on its Three-Dimensional mantle, does it breathe some life into the 3DS, or does it leave a rotten taste in your mouth?
Snake Eater acts as a prequel to the events of all other Metal Gear Games, starring Big Boss as the protagonist.
It is the Cold War era of the 1960’s- a war of espionage and information. A soldier known by the codename Naked Snake is dropped into enemy territory to rescue a Russian scientist by the name of Sokolov. Things go smoothly until Snake’s former mentor The Boss betrays the United States and joins her former COBRA unit, alongside Colonel Volgin- a ruthless and sadistic threat to Nikita Khruschev’s regime. After abducting Sokolov, The Boss throws Snake into a river nearly killing him. Using a nuclear missile given to him by The Boss, Volgin destroys Sokolov’s research lab, killing many KGB soldiers along with it.
America is blamed for the attack, and now, Naked Snake must return to Russia and kill The Boss to prove America’s innocence, as well as destroy a Nuclear weapon called the Shagohod. If he fails, it will mean World War III.
The timeless tale of Kojima’s classic PS2 title remains true to its origins. None of the story has been changed for the sake of the new format. The story told results in a truly enthralling tale of espionage, betrayal, redemption, and sacrifice. There are few words that can go into how well the unforgettable story is created.
All of the original elements of the feature title are in place, along with several extras.
First and foremost, the most important aspect of Metal Gear Solid- Stealth.
The game utilizes a camouflage system that will determine your visibility in front of enemy soldiers. Players can equip different fatigues and facepaints to maximize their invisibility, which can be measured by the camouflage index at the top of the bottom screen.
Unique to the 3DS version of Snake Eater is Photo-Camo. Using the 3DS camera, players can take a photo of a texture or pattern in the real world and use the design on their fatigues for custom appearances. For the first time in my life, my camouflage index reached 100%. This game-breaking element was extremely fun to use but also managed to severely cut the difficulty of the title.
Another aspect of Stealth is your movement. In the Metal Gear Solid titles, there were generally three positions: Standing, Crouching, and Prone. In past titles, attempting to move when crouched would force the player into a crawling prone position. This has been severely changed for Snake Eater 3DS. Utilizing the control scheme of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, players can now walk around while crouched. This is a HUGE benefit to the ease of controls and made sneaking around quickly highly accessible to players.
The behavior of the enemy has not changed. If you are spotted by the enemy, the classic “!” along with its sound effect will trigger an alert status in which you must escape or engage the enemy. Following this are two lower levels of alertness in which guards will look for any signs of intrusion. Avoiding detection is the ultimate goal in a stealth game, and doing so results in a very successful end result.
Weapons are procured on sight in the game, and each new weapon can be assigned to one of several slots in your inventory to be cycled through at your will. Your weapon types range from a tranquilizer gun all the way to an RPG-7, with plenty of grenades, rifles and machine guns to choose from in between. When aiming your weapons, the 3DS version also allows for a Third Person Camera when firing in addition to the traditional First Person shooting. Aside from the weapons, players also have access to several items that can help Snake avoid detection or find prey, such as the classic Cardboard Box and Motion Detector.
Generally speaking, the fewer people killed in gameplay, the higher your rating will be in the endgame. It is completely possible to complete the game without killing a single person outside of cutscenes. This method will often earn players bonuses such as enemy camouflage and additional items. You may engage your enemies with guns or with CQC- Closed Quarters Combat- a style that allows you to disengage your enemies with brute force, as well as interrogate them or kill them on the spot.
At the peak of each chapter of the game, players must defeat a boss. The strategy of staying hidden generally changes up to also playing offensively resulting in some truly great experiences.
One of the biggest aspects of gameplay is Snake’s stamina and overall health. Due to the conditions of the mission, Snake must acquire his own food. This is done in the form of hunting and gathering the local plants and animals. Being mindful of your stamina gauge is very important. Your grumbling stomach could reveal your location to the enemy. At the same time, players must be wary of poisonous foods that could do more harm than good. Any injuries acquired to Snake’s body must also be treated personally. Fortunately, Snake has some backup in that department thanks to the doctor on his team, Para-Medic, who details his food sources and injuries if the player calls her.
The radio is a device used to contact Snake’s team. Players can try any frequency they want in hopes of making contact. Some stations reach Snake’s team for information, tips, and most importantly- saving, while others are radio stations. Some frequencies can even be lifted off of guards in order to call off alerts or call in air-strikes. It’s interesting to note that the Game-Notes feature of the 3DS was very useful for writing down these additional unlisted codes.
Another notable change to gameplay are the use of the built in gyrometer for balancing on limbs.
Veterans will also notice the switch from the classic Kerotan frog to Nintendo’s Yoshi, and the overall portable format of the title, carrying all data over between saves so that the player can try something new on any difficulty.
The game looks pretty good on the 3DS. While you won’t be seeing any Metal Gear Solid 4 level graphics, the title translated extremely well to the 3DS. Some textures are blocky and some models are visibly polygonal, and upposedly the foliage in the trees has been reduced, yet the game maintains extremely well designed characters, notable Snake… all while being available in 3D.
Attempting to use 3D in gameplay would often force the screen to grow slightly out of place as I moved the 3DS. Generally speaking, any attempt to move the 3DS around AND maintain the 3D focus is ultimately futile no matter what game you are playing. The use of 3D was generally best suited for cutscenes. Fortunately, this game is chock full of them.
Easily the biggest issue with the graphics was the framerate. Generally, the game looked and played very well. Once the action picked up however, the framerate slowed and the game itself came to a slight crawl at the sight of an explosion or fire.
The Sounds of Snake Eater are exceptionally put together. From a sound effect stand point, keeping in mind every little noise you make is imperative as a soldier and when the game does so much to encourage silence, the noises you do end up making and hearing stick out, be it your footsteps, your weapons, or your own stomach growling. From bird calls to hissing snakes, the animals are very alive as well. Indeed, Snake is in the jungle.
The most important aspect of the game’s sound however comes from its unforgettable themes and score. Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, the music of Metal Gear Solid 3 is truly unforgettable, and with Cynthia Harrell’s opening theme Snake Eater, the music of this title lives on in the mind of the player long after the game is put down.
The game has much to offer in terms of replayability. The initial playthrough is good to get a feel for the mechanics and overall story. The subsequent playthroughs are used for personal experimentation and challenges. Trying to unlock all of the 27 emblems is no doubt a great endeavor, considering I managed to only get two in my first run of 13 or so hours (Pigeon and Scorpion, No Kills FTW!).
There is a lot of information to be learned from your support team. Para-Medic offers both animal and plant knowledge as well as an extensive background in movies and culture. Sigint provides endless details about your weaponry and equipment. The amount of research put into the elements of Snake Eater are truly astounding.
There are also several ways the player can alter the timeline of their experience, such as killing certain enemies before they are meant to fight you. This is coincidentally tied to one of the greatest bosses of all time, The End.
Completionists of the most hardcore variety will also find themselves trying to find and shoot all of the Yoshi dolls in order to earn the associated title and rewards.
Aside from everything mentioned above, there are plenty of noteworthy easter eggs that will keep players coming back.
It is a bit of a disappointment to say that the nightmare sequence easter egg from the Groznyj Grad prison is no longer in the game., along with the Snake vs Monkey Mini-Game.
One of the greatest aspects of the Metal Gear franchise is that the games themselves are timeless. I bought MGS3 back in the days of PS2. Here I am in 2012 playing it yet again, feeling the same emotional journey I am embarking on with my favorite character of all time, Naked Snake (Big Boss). Now being old enough to understand EVERYTHING going on, the game is now even more important to me. It teaches a message about the threats of nuclear warfare, and portrays a section of history in an interesting light.
For fans of the series, this is a must have. For newcomers, it might be overwhelming to get used to the stealth gameplay. For fans of stories, this is at least a rent. For the First Person Shooter Junky, it is better that you buy a Vita and play something on that handheld instead.
Snake Eater is as good as ever on the 3DS. With the updated controls and portable format, I don’t have to wait for my PS2 to load up ever again. With the success of this title, I can only wonder what titles can come to the 3DS next.
- Awesome Story
- Optimized Controls
- Excellent gameplay
- Great Use of 3DS exclusive functions
- Lot's to do for the completionists out there
- Learning curve for new players
- Framerate issues cannot be ignored
- 3D hard to use in certain situations
The game balances on the rent/buy line. It would not be a bad idea to download the free demo on the 3DS e-shop.