I can already hear dozens of folks screaming at Konami now. “What did you do with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker?! Why wasn’t it included?” And by that I mean I’m referring to Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on the PlayStation Vita, a package that only comes with two of the three ingredients that the original PS3 and Xbox 360 releases had. Those two games, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, are certainly enough by their own merits, but you know folks are going to complain about the lack of Peace Walker. But is it really that much of a deal breaker? No.
If you’ve never played the Metal Gear Solid games before, you should expect nothing short of great stealth based action, with a solo soldier – either Solid Snake or Big Boss – sent in to infiltrate some fiendish plot involving a slew of interesting characters. This isn’t one of those run and gun compilations, but rather games where, the less an enemy knows of your presence, the better off you are. That said, you’ll still need to contend with these weird characters in epic boss battles, especially in Snake Eater, where every move you make really does make a difference.
If you’re a fan of Metal Gear, you already know what to expect, and the good news is the HD Collection keeps most of this gameplay intact. We had no trouble sneaking around and taking out enemies, while also finding new items and, occasionally, running into a ridiculous segment, like guiding a naked Raiden dude around a ship. The only complaint comes in the form of selecting inventory. Instead of using the Vita’s shoulder buttons, you’re tapping icons on the touch screen. Not the worst move out there, but it feels unnecessary.
Most of Metal Gear’s presentation remains intact with the HD Collection’s move to portable. Though there are very slight frame rate issues, the attention to detail is quite good, especially when you’re in the first person view, aiming your gun at a preferred target. Snake Eater is the better looking of the two, though, with its outstanding environments. Either way, you’ve got a good looker on your hands. The audio is just as packed with quality, thanks to decent voicework (on the Metal Gear level) and well-timed musical cues. And yes, the “Snake Eater” theme song is here. Rejoice.