Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Review

The excellence of the games included make Metal Gear Solid HD Collection a compilation no Vita owner should be without.

Konami has gone to great lengths to ensure that no man or woman misses the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear series, reviving classic entries on every current platform with the exception of PCs. Its latest nostalgic stroke is Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the PlayStation Vita, formulated to the handheld's unique qualities. There are small issues with the new control schemes, but they are minor in the grand scheme of things. The PlayStation 2 games translate beautifully to the Vita's crisp display, and the amount of content within will warm any Metal Gear fan's heart. All told, this collection is worth every penny, and these iconic games will satiate the cravings of game-starved Vita owners in need of quality software.

Overcast and wet; perfect conditions for infiltration.

Barring the unique rendition of Snake Eater on the 3DS, these are the premier handheld appearances for all four included games: Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, and ports of the first two Metal Gear games, based on the enhanced mobile phone versions of the classic MSX2 games. The Vita version of the collection carries the unfortunate stigma of omitting Peace Walker, the PSP Metal Gear game included in the equally priced console collections. Truthfully, there's a plethora of Metal Gear content in the Vita version, and any perception of a lesser product quickly diminishes.

The Metal Gear series chronicles the careers of Solid Snake and Big Boss, two soldiers with ties to military operations within and without the US government. The often complex storyline spans all four games, beginning with Metal Gear Solid 3, followed by Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, and Metal Gear Solid 2. Metal Gear games have always emphasized stealth over action, but the military setting ensures you'll reload your clip from time to time, though you can make do with minimal use of firearms. Part of the beauty of the series is the variety of ways you can complete objectives and the accompanying rewards that entice you to do so.

You could tranquilize that guard, but nothing satisfies like a frosty choke-out.

The other half of the Metal Gear love potion is the charming dialogue and the uniquely self-aware approach to storytelling. There are a number of self-references that will fly over the heads of non-fans, but the occasional moments of quirkiness are unavoidable and do a fine job of breaking up the weight of the heavy narratives at hand. There is a distinct personality and style to Metal Gear and once you see it, you can't un-see it. The mix of serious tones and silly easter-eggs might not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's nothing like it among Metal Gear's contemporaries.

As you'd expect, there are new inputs to take advantage of the Vita hardware as well as to compensate for the missing second pair of shoulder buttons. The Vita-specific controls are generally competent and intuitive, with the occasional exception. The main touch-screen functions are mirrored between Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, allowing you to peek around corners with a swipe and camera-zoom during cutscenes by maintaining a single point of contact. You can also zoom when looking through weapon scopes or binoculars by swiping up or down. Most importantly, the touch screen acts as the input for switching and toggling equipment, a feature that works flawlessly in lieu of additional shoulder buttons.

Why do I get the feeling there's something sinister waiting for me on the other side?

The rear touch pad has specific functions for each of the MGS games, only some of which are documented in the manual. Within first-person perspective in MGS2, swiping to the left or the right temporarily moves your character one step in the respective direction. If you pinch outward, also in first-person view, Snake or Raiden stands on tiptoe. When hanging, you can swipe down with two fingers to initiate a pull-up (used to level up your character's grip strength) and swipe left or right to shimmy in either direction.

MGS3 exhibits one Vita-specific input that gets it wrong. When a knife is equipped, touching the rear touch screen initiates a thrust attack. It works well enough, but the problem is the means of input. If you fancy a blade as your primary weapon, be wary of the back of your Vita, as the lightest tap from either hand initiates a potentially unwanted attack. Avoiding contact with the rear panel is challenging while maintaining a solid grip on the system, and there are no options to alter in-game inputs. This design decision is a blemish on the otherwise excellent Vita control scheme.

The colors in Metal Gear Solid 2 truly pop on the Vita's vibrant screen.

The other inherent issues are the clunky methods required to return to the game select screen. To do so within MGS3, you need to exit the game in progress, enter the title screen menu, and choose "return to game select." It's a roundabout way of accomplishing something that could have been tucked away in the in-game pause menu. MGS2 makes backing out even harder. Since there is no in-game pause menu, you have to back out to the Vita home screen and restart the HD Collection to switch games. Again, this seems like an obvious design oversight.

Controls and menu navigation aside, the Vita ports of the Metal Gear Solid games are sharp and vibrant, rivaling their bigger HD brothers. This is in part due to the quality and pixel density of the Vita's OLED display, but the in-game models, textures, and frame rates are top notch on their own. These are games from a bygone generation, but they positively shine on the Vita.

Every time a security bell rings, a Metal Gear gets its wings.

Though the dated graphics have aged well, the same design problems from the original releases persist. Modern third-person action games emphasize shooting while in motion, but this is something Metal Gear has traditionally shied away from. This, along with seemingly endless dialogue sequences, may bother players who have never experienced this style of "action" game. The same can be said for the lack of movement while crouched, a problem that was fixed in the 3DS version of Snake Eater. That release dipped its toes into remake territory, while this version is primarily a port, but it still would have been nice to have the same fix implemented here.

One handy feature added to the Vita port is "transfarring," the ability to share saved games with the PlayStation 3 version of the HD Collection. Similar to Peace Walker on the PSP, the HD Collection can share saves by connecting the Vita via USB. Now, the difference is the added ability to upload saves to the cloud, making the process even easier. This bridging of the platform gap is still fairly uncommon among games, which is too bad, because it extends the value of each system's version.

What's a Japanese Flying Squirrel doing in Soviet territory? Something super-secret, no doubt.

In the case of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, not only are we treated to excellent ports of timeless gaming gems, but the added features are, for the most part, justifiable and unique enough to warrant yet another purchase of these games you've likely played or owned in the past. The omission of Peace Walker is unfortunate, but the four games and their additional content easily warrant the $40 asking price. Among the current Vita lineup, this collection glimmers like a diamond in the rough.

The Good
Remastered graphics shine on the Vita's bright, high-density display.
Impressive amount of content.
Every game in the collection is high caliber.
Transfarring option extends the value of the product.
The Bad
Vita-specific controls lack refinement.
No Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
8.5
Great
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9 comments
Zevvion
Zevvion

I'm not sure why this got such a high score. I remember loving MGS2 when it came out, but that game hasn't held up at all. Nowadays, that gameplay system just doesn't work. 

The view is so limited and awkward that you can't see a guy 5 meters away from you. Back then I thought it was fine, because I'd just scout, get spotted, reload and then I knew where the guys would be. 

That's a system that worked back then, but today I expect I can play a game on skill, not trial and error and determination.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

They totally censored the Metal gear Solid 2 hd version. the Ps2 version had more blood, you could paint enemies red with bullets, in the HD remake you just see blood spray on walls but not the body.

NTM23
NTM23

It says there's a review for all three systems, but there really isn't. I wish there was a review for the PS3 version, at least. I just started playing Peace Walker again (because still no Bioshock Infinite, and of the MGS5 news), and it is a really great entry. At times I feel like there's too much doing of one thing, like upgrading guns or doing side missions to get more soldiers for the base, but that may just be because I'm playing that way to get through it with ease. 

You don't have to do that if you don't care to though, but you'll potentially get a worse score at the end of a stage, which means less goodies. I don't usually like to go through games that have you grind (in a sense), but when I started playing this again, I got through a section easily when I kind of gave up originally; not because I died a lot, but because I felt like I wouldn't be able to get through if I hadn't upgraded; I was wrong. If you play Peace Walker, don't give up, and push through because it is good.

Something that I love is, while there's a lot of goofiness in some of the story bits for audio tapes (which I do like), there's also things you'll learn from each character, not only about them, but history of the places you're going, some fake which you can figure out for yourself, and a lot that's real. One thing that I kind of laughed at, but ultimately was conflicted about is a moment where Miller is describing a name in Japanese as he correlates it with a French characters name, and he comes up with 'Kojima is God'. It was a little much. He's done it in the past, but not like it was here.

I really wish they remake all the games; not necessarily from a graphical perspective (though that'd be amazing), but from a camera perspective. Now, I don't mind the camera view of when you're just running around, but shooting to me should be over the shoulder instead of the auto-aim of the older MGS games. They're fine, but when you go from MGS4 or Peace Walker back to MGS2 or three in this collection, they just feel dated. I think they should all control like MGS4 at least, that was fantastic for a game like it. 

Something that's great about Peace Walker is that, while it's still heavy on story, it actually has a lot of gameplay and story bits are held until after stage is over, which I feel the previous entries somewhat lacked even though they played well in my opinion and the cutscenes are always interesting.

ss77
ss77

just got this for xmas and it does have Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake + over 100 VR missions

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

People need to stop bi*****g about Peace Walker not being included. Be happy MGS2 was included. Hell, the 3DS only got Snake Eater...

mrwallydrag
mrwallydrag

one of the best vita games so far along gravity rush , hopefully MGS4 will make it's way to vita i can dream can't I.

ZacKxFaiR
ZacKxFaiR

Well watch out snake will come

b0sse
b0sse

Why didn't they include MGS1 in the collection?

It's not really a collection without it.

juiceair
juiceair

"The Vita version of the collection carries the unfortunate stigma of omitting Peace Walker, the PSP Metal Gear game included in the equally priced console collections. Truthfully, there's a plethora of Metal Gear content in the Vita version, and any perception of a lesser product quickly diminishes."

 

This is only true if the price of the Vita version was less than the console's.  Either way, if Peace Walker was going to be left out, then they should have made up for by including Metal Gear Solid (PS).

DaRadRussian
DaRadRussian

I really like this game. I never got the chance to play the originals. The controls definitely did not age well. The game would be perfect if the controls and shooting mechanics were updated.

Riz_81
Riz_81

"Hey wat's the box?" ;)

Playing MGS 1 again would've definitely been a joyful trip down the memory lane. Too bad not included in this!

jordan119
jordan119

would have bought it if it had MGS1 in just for the childhood nostalgia but it doesn't so i don't think its worth it.

NTM23
NTM23

I'd say if you have a PS3 and a Vita, just get the HD collection on PS3, I mean, I don't have a Vita (yet) but I'm pretty sure that statement is true.

will3k3
will3k3

wheres peace walker dam it! i just been ripped off!

termadoyle
termadoyle

I am on the fence for this one. I've played the original MGS2 and 3 on the PS2 multiple times but never tried any of the HD versions. hmm...

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

Hmmmm I do not know whats happening to PS vita, seems likes its dying out quick!!! Sony, where are the games? you have been out for almost 6 months, that is half a year!!! but yet every games your releasing is not good at all. First of all they seem like filler games for us to buy and waste money on. Second if you cannot release games please pull the plug before more of us waste out hard earned cash!!!. Seems like people spent a fortune to play a PS2 remake of solid, because as of now this is the only good game out. MK and UMA is good to but really? thats it? I am really considering selling my vita for a 3ds XL

 

124C1
124C1

Pure gold)

 

To Redley911: At least, knowing Kojima, I can say they at least work to make a good port/re-issue.

Silent Hill developers just upscaled everything for their collection, so it looks, at least, bad.

Redley911
Redley911

A really good game but sony must not start this bad habit that nintendo has of polishing old games and bring them to the new console, so far wasn't really impress with the 2 systems.

shimon1290
shimon1290

Love these games. Still waiting on a remake of the original. Probably wont happen :(

frunklindoodle
frunklindoodle

Snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!  Metal Gear Solid will always be my most beloved game in the series.

Andrecosta13
Andrecosta13

Hey guys! I NEED HELP! I downloaded the game via PSSTORE, and in the middle of MGS2 a "Corrupt Game" message appeared!What should I do? :S Is there any way to get the save file so I don't have to pass the game again?

 

 

Gliave
Gliave

Vita is the shiiizniiiiit...

 

hadlee73
hadlee73

I'll be selling my 3DS version after getting this one. So much nicer to play on the larger Vita display.

crisnoopdogg
crisnoopdogg

Isso sim é que é um jogo!

www.eckoweb.com.br

naf456
naf456

 @d21lewis 

Hmm... why do people seems to think these games can be made in a weekend, with £20 in the bank.

The reason why you have to pay £23 is because Konami had to hire developers - ranging from 15k - 30k PA to build your stupid games.

they don't just press a button an "ya 'know the games plays just like that!"

they had to upscale all the textures (which is may 10,000's) - recode the input engine to support PSVita control scheme (again 10,000 of lines of code) - cross compile all the Libraries (pretty easy actually), hire game testers to test for bugs - debug any problems, then pay Sony ridiculous amounts of money just to get the game in the store.

 

Plus, more games you buy , the more money konami gets - the better the games they can make in the future. It's a business 1st, Game Design studio 2nd.

 

if you think Konami should give you the games for free just because you bought the old games at a bargin bin in gamestation for £1.98 - you have another thing coming.

 

 

pqwoei
pqwoei

I was hoping they'd implement the crouch problem with the Vita version of Snake Eater just like in the 3DS, guess I was wrong

SuperB56
SuperB56

He complains that Peace Walker isn't in there but he says nothing about there not being Metal Gear Solid, the game that pretty much started it all? Really?

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@Zevvion I disagree, I just played through all of the original MGS games and they were all a blast! I wish they made more games as good as MGS1, MGS2, and MGS3 substance on PS2. The HD collection versions are bad, MGS2 is censored and MGS3 is missing snakes nightmare.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@NTM23 Peace walker was too disneyish for me. Going from MGS2 and 3 and than peacwaler is a letdown. I miss all the blood from MGs2 and 3. they made peacewalker a T rated game for some reason. Maybe to make it more PEACEFUL!

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@DiverseGamer peace Walker is included, and the MSS2 that is included is censored(cut out the ability to paint NPC's red with bullets) like the PS2 Substance version.

NTM23
NTM23

@mrwallydrag Oh yeah, it was supposed to come out there wasn't it? Whatever happened to it? That's rhetorical, I can find out elsewhere :).

SolidAlexz
SolidAlexz

 @b0sse

 the metal gear slolid company said that it would take too long to master  the graphics since the game is so old. plus they couldn't have met the deadline for the game release

Arkan119
Arkan119

 @Cozm1kaos six months is nothing. The PS3 and the 360 were both out for nearly a year before any big blockbusters came out.Some  launch titles for new platforms can be fun to play, but in comparison to other games, they are mediocre at best. the 3ds XL is a total waste of money. It's just a pimped-up version of the 7 year old regular Nintendo ds, which can be had on Ebay for a tenth of the price.

Hodge996
Hodge996

 @naf456 LOL! Gamers these days baffle me.  "I like their games so they should give me free stuff and design the game how I want it".  "Oh and don't kill that character, I like them" etcPeople forget, like you just said, games companies are businesses - if they don't make money, they disappear... who wins in that scenario?

n0matter
n0matter

 @d21lewis This is such a long bitchfest that you couldn't stop yourself from complaining about things that have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAME REVIEWED.  PS1 Support?  MGS1?  Peacewalker?  No analogue support for Peacewalker?  What the hell are you talking about?  Focus.

 

As for the gameplay, I just finished MGS2 and had NO issues whatsoever with the controls.  Actually, I remember having more issues with the dog tags on the PS2 than I do on the Vita.  It's no one's fault but your own if you can't figure out how to master game mechanics.  Why don't you just return the game?  You're obviously disappointed with it.  But I have a feeling that you're probably playing it right now, still complaining about your dog tag count and inability to shake down guards. 

Leir_Bag
Leir_Bag

 @pqwoei This wasn't a remake, just a port of the original HD collection.

icegbear19
icegbear19

 @SuperB56 This game you speak of doesn't even support a wide aspect ratio....

normpap
normpap

 @SuperB56 He only complains about Peace Walker because it's a game that's included in the console iterations of HD Collection, however Metal Gear Solid isn't included in any versions of this package.

Blinded_Colony
Blinded_Colony

 @SuperB56 The Peace Walk isn't included in the collection because it is already available on the PSN and it works with dual sticks, which is the biggest consern for most Vita gamers and the space on the Vita gamecards is limited. Though, if Konami had included Peace Walker in the HD Collection for Vita, they would had made a lot of work for little gain. It is already out there. Go and buy it.

SamuriChamploo
SamuriChamploo

 @SuperB56 I wish there was a remastered version of MGS1 as well, but that was for the GameCube :( Curses. I never even owned a GameCube back in the day...I was always a Sony kid

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @SuperB56 Well the complaint about Peace walker is pretty much excusable since Peace Walker was for PSP and is also downloadable for the Vita on PSN

The reason they left out Peace Walker is either out of space on the card o our of pure greediness to make some more money

NTM23
NTM23

@Dredcrumb9 The game is nothing like Disney, though if you're saying that only due to the lack of blood then... OK. There's still blood, but not that much; there's more depending on the gun you use. I came on here to say that if anyone goes through the credits, don't stop there 'cause there's still more to go, and one of the characters goes bad, to say the least. 

I think the lack of blood being a negative in the game is kind of a petty, and immature complaint. Peace Walker in many respects, and others not so much, plays better than MGS2 and three. The most important part is that it's an important part of the MGS story, and is probably a game you should play through if you're interested in playing the new MGS games coming out.

Don't forget to do the Zadornov missions either, to finish off Metal Gear Zeke. The whole 'V' thing for MGSV will make more sense then too.

BrianMX34
BrianMX34

 @SolidAlexz  @b0sse Too long to master the graphics? They already did a version of MGS1 with updated graphics, MGS: The Twin Snakes.

Toews1987
Toews1987

 @Darnasian I think the Japanese version of the PS3 collection only sold HD MGS 2 and 3 together and HD MGS PW seperately, I think thats why Vita has only MGS 2 and 3

 @SuperB56 MGS never got the HD treatment so thats why its not on there besides you can just buy it on the PS Store  

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@NTM23 @Dredcrumb9 the story to MGS peace walker was good and the upgrading was addictive, but the game wasn't nearly as good as MGS1, 2, and 3. Call me immature, but the lack of blood in MGS peace walker really does bring the game down. And you are wrong, Peace Walker has 0 blood, just red hit markers that look really ugly and cheap. If you call that blood, than you have low standards, MGS1 on the PS1 has better looking blood effects.

NTM23
NTM23

@BrianMX34 If they ever had put Twin Snakes in, I would hope they gave you the option to keep those visuals, but make it so the music and voice acting from the original were attainable. There was also something about Twin Snakes' visuals that I thought made it look a bit worse than two, and it was a blur effect, or something like that.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection More Info

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  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Xbox 360
    Metal Gear Solid HD Collection brings back a handful of the most popular Metal Gear Solid titles from the past in true HD format for the first time ever.
    9.2
    Average User RatingOut of 984 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
    Developed by:
    Bluepoint Games, Genki, Armature Studio
    Published by:
    Konami
    Genres:
    Compilation
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Animated Blood, Animated Violence, Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes