Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Review

Snake Eater 3D faithfully recreates the original and introduces many exclusive improvements, making this the best version of the game available.

by

Nintendo has been stiffed for nearly a decade; the last Kojima Productions game to appear on a Nintendo platform was Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid for the GameCube. Eight years later, Nintendo fans are finally getting another taste of Snake. It's a remake, but it's of arguably one of the best entries in the series. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is based on the PlayStation 2 original released in 2004. Much has changed since then, and Snake Eater has been updated to cater to contemporary expectations. It's very much the same game, but the updated controls and visuals make this remake on the 3DS the best version of the game to date.

Snake has a tendency to err on the side of caution.

For the uninitiated, you play the part of CIA operative Naked Snake (known as "Big Boss" in later games) on a covert mission in Soviet territory. Your mission is to destroy a mobile missile launcher, the Shagohod, capable of firing nuclear payloads at the United States from any terrain. As you maneuver Snake toward his goal, you infiltrate enemy territory using your environment to shield your presence from the watchful gaze of the enemy.

If you're stealthy enough, you can achieve a Zen-like state of sneakiness, for lack of a better word. Should you fail to move undetected, alerting the enemy to your presence initiates a chaotic scramble that destroys any semblance of focus you may have conjured. It's a rewarding and challenging experience that can be handled in numerous ways. Snake has a wide variety of tools at his disposal, and what you do with them defines your experience with Snake Eater. Whether you choose to tiptoe up to your enemies, slit their throats, and store them in lockers, or simply masquerade as a cardboard box on its way to the weapon hangar, is entirely up to you.

Snake Eater is less a clever subtitle than a literal description of the emphasis on survival. Your stamina meter depletes over time, decreasing your aiming capabilities and effectiveness in battle. You dine on flora and fauna to recharge said meter, including mushrooms, rats, fish, and snakes, among others. You're never too far away from food, and you can carry more than your fair share, so thankfully, the hunt is far from a dominant gameplay element. In the same vein, you have to treat wounds with a variety of medical supplies. Broken bones require different treatment than an infection does, so you need to keep track of how to treat the various types of maladies to avoid wasting precious resources. Scouring the environment for food and performing self-surgery keep you grounded in a survival frame of mind, but you perform these tasks within menus, sometimes in the middle of a gunfight. For as much realism as these elements evoke, their implementation ultimately holds them back.

Decisions, decisions.

The militaristic nature of the characters and setting might lead you to believe this is an action game, but it tends to lean farther into the adventure category. You do lots of exploring and sneaking, but there are times when these elements take you too far away from the act of engagement. These moments of stagnation are Snake Eater's biggest letdown. You often find yourself (particularly in the first half of the game) wondering when you'll get to do anything other than briefly avoid detection on your way to the next cutscene. In a lot of ways, the gameplay is often overshadowed by the storytelling segments. Due credit goes to the excellent cinematography and voice acting in the game, but the ratio feels lopsided at times. Boss fights are by far the most engaging sections of Snake Eater, melding action and the often comical exposition from your enemy in a beautiful way.

Snake Eater's controls are adequate. Overall, the game lacks the fluidity found in modern games. Snake's stiff nature is something that takes getting used to, but eventually, you will. Your instincts are reined in by these limitations, but the game calls for very deliberate actions on your part, so this makes sense from a design perspective.

The 3DS presents an interesting canvas for mapping controls designed for the DualShock controller. Without the second analog stick, camera controls are delegated to the standard A, B, X, and Y buttons. The D-pad is used to switch out weapons and items. It's also used to control the crouching/standing mechanic, which now includes the ability to walk while crouched, a little touch found in no other version of the game. For a minor change, it has considerable impact on the way you approach the concept of stealth. Once you get past the initial learning curve, the controls on the 3DS become an afterthought.

A youthful Ocelot makes his debut, sans wispy mustache.

The Circle Pad Pro accessory fleshes out your options, should you own one. Enabling the accessory moves the camera controls to the second stick, and mirrors the crouch mechanic to the B button. It's the preferred way to play the game, but mostly from a comfort standpoint. The standard configuration doesn't hold the game back in the least, and the improved crouch mechanic leaves you with a better impression of the controls than the initial release did in 2004.

Controls aside, the features designed around the 3DS add a lot to the game's appeal. The use of 3D is effective when approximating your position in a given environment. Specific details such as rain, snow, swarming hornets, and the occasional gravel spat from motorcycle tires jump out from the screen without coming across as shallow, depth-of-field tricks. A particular boss fight involving a flamethrower creates an impressive heat distortion effect that's without comparison. It's tastefully done and is one of the best uses of the handheld's flagship feature to date. Snake Eater suffered from frame rate issues when it first debuted, and, regretfully, they persist in this version. There are specific moments when it occurs, such as when you're slitting an enemy's throat and laying him on the ground. Overall, it never affects the gameplay in a meaningful way.

Creating custom camouflage is easy. Whether its effective or not is a whole other story.

Snake Eater also makes use of the built-in camera. You can, for example, take photos in the real world to create custom camouflage for Snake. It's an interesting feature, but the whole photo-taking process takes you so far out of the game that you probably won't get much use out of it. There are also new gyroscope controls that come into play when walking on bridges or narrow branches. Rather than subjecting you to the headaches of tilting the 3DS with 3D enabled, the game thoughtfully reverts to a 2D mode during these sequences. Last but not least, the 64 hidden frogs in the game, known as Kerotans, have been replaced with Yoshis, of Mario fame. It's a thoughtful nod to Nintendo fans, but there's something unnerving about the contrast of Yoshi within the game's drab palette and atmosphere.

The story and array of menacing, superhuman antagonists (the Cobras) have never felt so alive within the slithering, Soviet-era jungle. Superb voice acting and hammy, comic-book-esque dialogue define Snake Eater's style, one that's typical Kojima and unabashedly self-aware. Metal Gear games are always serious affairs, but with a veneer of humor that either makes you smile or breaks the illusion. If this is your first experience with the series, prepare for lots of head-scratching moments and references to previous games that will simply fly over your head. Thankfully, the fan service has subtle charm and doesn't bombard you too often, just enough to remind you that you're playing a Kojima-designed game.

Given the bevy of unlockables and play styles, Snake Eater oozes replayability. The game takes anywhere from 5 to 15 hours to complete depending on your affinity for exploration and cutscenes. Once you've experienced the entire game, replaying it uncovers a world of possibilities. There are unlockable weapons and outfits that are earned by defeating bosses in unorthodox ways, or meeting ambitious conditions such as defeating the game without ever being seen by common sentries. You could never confuse Snake Eater as a sandbox game, but subsequent playthroughs give you a feeling of control and freedom that mimic the same notion of playfulness found in those types of games. Once you are familiar with the maps and the enemies' movement patterns, the game becomes one big playground. The overall length and inherently brief gameplay sections make the game accessible to gamers on the go, without limiting its overall content.

Vietnam era sidecar motorcycle driven by a Bond girl? Check.

Snake Eater 3D is an excellent treatment of a justifiable classic. The story and characters hold up nearly a decade after their introduction, and the improvements to stealth mechanics enhance the entire experience. It's modern enough to appeal to a new audience, and the improvements should draw a lot of series veterans back into the jungle. The 3D is some of the best on the system so far, and the mature tone is a welcome addition to the family-friendly nature that permeates Nintendo's catalog. The game even makes excellent use of the 3DS hardware while avoiding the perils of tacking on new features for the sake of variety. It's an incredibly successful upgrade to an already fantastic game and is easily one of the best games available for the 3DS to date.

The Good
Improved control and mobility
Thoughtful use of 3D
Excellent voice acting and cinematography.
The Bad
Occasional frame rate issues
The first half of the game is dominated by cutscenes
8
Great
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Discussion

145 comments
TheKrustaceox
TheKrustaceox

This is definitely NOT the best version of the game.

toshineon
toshineon

I just got this game yesterday for pretty cheap. I never finished the original on PS2 so I'll get around to it this time. Game looks pretty decent (for 3DS, anyways), better than I remember the PS2 version looking, despite what some comments below might say.

hydrobeast
hydrobeast

"The first half of the game is dominated by cutscenes." well welcome to metal gear

advocacy
advocacy

This and Zelda are the best ports for the 3DS.

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

 @soapman72 Lol! Keepin' it classy, I see.Firstly, I never said it was about spelling; perhaps you're just deluded since you have a nasty habit of reading into messages, an idea that was never there -- too insecure? Of course, I did poke fun of you, but weren't you the one who initially attacked? Please, son, keep up! Don't make this about your issue with spelling. . . fact remains that you attacked a very neutral post that was actually made in agreement with yours. And both times, you've come out defensive -- I'm detecting a pattern. Pfft. I'm a realist. After your response, I abandoned hope for etiquette, so I was just mocking you. Seems fitting since you initiated an attack.

 

But hey, you keep that up if talking down to pixels, icons and names on the internet -- people you don't even bloody know -- makes you feel like a 'wee big boy' in real life, okay? It's all good.

soapman72
soapman72

@KadeStorm It seems that someone is trying to stray away from the topic at hand...this is about a game...not how much you care about spelling in a forum:)

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

@soapman72 Before you blow your stack like a two-year-old addicted to sugar candy, let me clarify. . . I was actually agreeing with your view, and reinforcing it further. And them appealing to you and others that we just accept each game version for what it is. It's called a dialectic. Perhaps you ought to learn its meaning and assimilate it into your vocabulary rather than slinging around the word 'stupid', even at those who are actually backing up your poorly-worded argument. You really are an example of how reading and writing comprehension has gone down the toilet, or rather, taken a back seat to fuming ego. "oo noo... this stoopid noob responded to me i no better than him! hey shut up stoopid u look stoopid." Lol. Classy, dude. Real classy. Keep it up.

tr1n1tr1n1
tr1n1tr1n1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Lunchfriggenbox
Lunchfriggenbox

How is this the best incarnation of the game and it gets a 8.0 and the original (no subsistance) get a 8.7

Ganados0
Ganados0

Best MGS in ages thanks to the improved controls. Oh I could be picky about visuals and lack of gyro aiming but it doesn't affect the gameplay one bit. Awesome game made even better thanks to Nintendo's 3DS.

istuffedsunny
istuffedsunny

It annoys me how people refer to this as a remake. If you want to see a remake, look at Resident Evil for Gamecube. This is nothing but a cash-in port with some added gimmicks. It doesn't even look as good as the PS2 game.

redder1111
redder1111

this device doesn't deserve such a masterpiece.

soapman72
soapman72

@KadeStorm I said the 3ds graphics are amazing are you stupid or something. Everythings you just said i also said so yea try to read what I post before you make yourself look stupid

KadeStorm
KadeStorm

Too many cut-scenes? It's Metal Gear Solid 3, ain't it? Heh. @soapman72 As for this being inferior to the HD collection. Well, from a frame-rate and resolution stand-point, yes. No doubt! But the HD version is simply the same old thing running at a higher native resolution and frame rate. . . which is excellent! Nevertheless, the 3DS remake or whatever, has newer textures and certain in-game features along with some mild improvements in the look of the game that come by way of lower frame rates and other minor compromises. It is theoretically better, but from a pure technical standpoint, the HD version will come out on top by way of higher frame rate and resolution. I just don't see why we can't acknowledge that Snake Eater 3D has some visual improvements (which it does), while the HD version is stronger from an overall perspective (which it is).

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

Actually i really liked the cutscenes at the begining of Snake Eater. So that would be more of a plus for me ;)

soapman72
soapman72

@SheerMadness84 The battery life for the 3ds and vita are close to being the same. They both have terribal battery life. Comparing them is just making you look more like a troll.

soapman72
soapman72

@SheerMadness84 I'm not trying to make the 3ds snake eater look bad. I bought the game and am enjoying it. But saying the 3ds version is better is just wrong...I is not better. The HD collection has trophies, better graphics the frame rate is slow sometimes but no more then 3ds version, and has 5 games in the package for the price of snake eater 3ds. Don't get me wrong I love playing mgs3 on the go on my 3ds. But saying it is better is just kinda stupid.

SheerMadness84
SheerMadness84

@soapman72 actually the only flaw is the slow flame rate and that doesnt bother me it goes on and off at times.... i paid $23.00 for it since I had a gift card.... 60 FPS is not a reason to favor the HD collection over the 3DS remake. I already have MGS2 and MGS3 on PS2 and trophy support and 60 FPS is still not a reason to for me to buy it.....Peacewalker maybe but i can get that for $10 less on the PS store...

soapman72
soapman72

@SheerMadness84 You started your agrument right and then just went down hill...The HD collection looks better then the 3ds version even though the 3ds version is a amazing graphical achivment for the 3ds and anyone saying otherwise is crazy! Please try to make your statements accurate...

soapman72
soapman72

40 bucks seems a bit much for this game...Still have to get it though

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

@ Rhys2SkilleD I had to thumbs you up just for your avatar. Deus Ex rules.

SheerMadness84
SheerMadness84

@eyebrowless man i cant stand peopel on here! the 3DS isnt going to get anymore smaller with the power it has... the 3DS 2 will not come out.... but a redesign will happen in 2 years...by then MGS3D will be $19.99 and you will be in 2015. by then MGS5 will be out.....Also, i got my 3DS with Ocarina of time bundle zelda edition trading in my DS on black friday total $140.00 its worth it to get it now.....the Vita doesnt even the batterylife either you gonna wait until 2017 for that too the VITAGO?

SheerMadness84
SheerMadness84

@Taxonomy Another imbecile. MGS3D is a REMAKE you get FPS with the touch of a button on the 3DS....its not a port.... do your research

SheerMadness84
SheerMadness84

@#Benny_a I am so sick of people like you on gamespot. Coming on a 3DS review and saying "Meh the HD collection is better" apparently you havent seen this http://nintendoeverything.com/81893/metal-gear-solid-3-on-ps2-3ds-and-ps3360/ its the very people like you who have to knock over childrens ice cream cones...I have MGS 2 and 3 on my PS2. I dont need to fork over $40.00 for 3 games (2 is ok but nots amazing i hated raiden) 10 years ago MGS2 was amazing then 3 came out and Peacewalker is a T rated town down game you can get on the PSN store for $29.99 with trophies.....I dont need a sharper port of MGS3 when MGS3D is a complete overhaul....and well...portable I only paid $23.00 for MGS3D and its the best game im playing right now....it looks way better than the HD collection and PS2 version combined....have fun with ONE ported game and another crap port and a a PSP game.

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

@ SapSacPrime "The Bad The first half of the game is dominated by cutscenes. May I remind everyone MGS4 scored a perfect 10 on this very site..." True, MGS 4 may have scored very high in spite of it's cutscenes, but your argument is groundless nonetheless. In fact, I am surprised to see how many people thumbed you up after making such an ignorant statement. It is an oversight on your part, see... Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a console game, to be played at home, in the living room, on a couch. Metal Gear Solid 3DS is a handheld game, to be played on the go. Having long dramatic cutscenes is not very well suited for a handheld game, at least not in the reviewers mind. But long dramatic cutscenes, with which we have become accustomed to with Metal Gear games, were born on the console and are suited for that very purpose. Hence, the two reviews are not irreconcilable and your comparison fails to hold water.

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Benny_a
Benny_a

I think ill get the MGS Collection for 360 or PS3 instead, for same price ill get 3 games. IMO such games are to be played on big screen.

JorgeChC
JorgeChC

@TrueGamingMouth I think it depends on what games. I don't mind to pay 60 dollars or so for a game like Peace Walker, when I know it is top quality and worth replaying for hours, or like God of War. But come on, I have never bought a game like FIFA or PES on a portable since those versions were made just to sell the Name of the title, and not to satisfy the gamers. Year after year they have the same engine, and no innovation to the gameplay.

JorgeChC
JorgeChC

And I didn't feel as a problem the fact of controlling the camera with the face buttons on Peace Walker, you get used to it. It was weirder to control it with the directional buttons and moving with the thumbstick like in Portable Ops.

JorgeChC
JorgeChC

It's interesting the thing about crouch-walk, I would like to test it out some time, but I wouldn't buy it now. I definitely think that the 3d effect makes the cutscenes look better, mostly the lastones on the bike scaping from the shagohod

Taxonomy
Taxonomy

I will not waste my money on something that i paid for years ago instead of reusing something that came out years ago give us something new and not a re-run with some new 3d effect improve on the old to make it truly new again

Orbitz89
Orbitz89

@Col_Kilgore I never fought him when i first played through this game on the Ps2, i killed him with my calendar. this game is a definite must buy.

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

I do wish that the original camera was available in this version. Remember where the camera is set from an overhead style of view? At least that way you wouldn't need to use the face buttons to control the camera. And when you go into aim mode, you should use the left stick to aim rather than the face buttons. What do you need the left stick for in aim mode, anyway? You aren't moving! Wouldn't that make so much more sense?

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

scarletsnake
scarletsnake

If the HD Collection hadn't come out, I'd have to buy a 3DS to play MGS3 again.

Otoribashi
Otoribashi

I got it on PS2 and I'll get the HD collection for Vita and PS3... And when I get a 3DS I'll buy this one. Why? Because it's Metal Gear Solid...

NamelessPlayer
NamelessPlayer

No touchscreen camera/aim (think Metroid Prime: Hunters) as an alternative to buying the Circle Pad Pro? I'm rather disappointed there, but at least everything else seems improved controls-wise. Since I never had a PS2 to play the original game on, I'll definitely look into picking this up...along with a Circle Pad Pro, to take the aiming from "abysmal" to "passable".

eyebrowless
eyebrowless

Can't wait for Nintendo to release the 3DS-2 so i can buy that and this game. im fine with waiting a while yet, but this game makes that difficult

PRANITH002
PRANITH002

im glad they remade this amazing game for another platform... this game gave me the most enjoyable game experience i can ever remember....what a incredible game

Col_Kilgore
Col_Kilgore

The battle with 'The End' is one of the most original and incredible boss fights in gaming history.

cstv
cstv

For those who appreciate story telling at its finest, would not mind the long cut scenes....and i guess it depends on the reviewer, that's why Kevin is the best reviewer on GS.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

@SapSacPrime lol .... so true. That game is ridiculous with cut scenes.

SapSacPrime
SapSacPrime

The Bad The first half of the game is dominated by cutscenes. May I remind everyone MGS4 scored a perfect 10 on this very site...

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

@ Ultra_Taco "I think portable games need to have their prices cut in half to $20. They're just too expensive these days, these are almost as much as a used console game made this year." Console games usually retail for $59.99, while handheld games usually retail for $39.99. Whether or not you think the discrepancy between the two is large enough is a matter of personal opinion, as is your statement that handheld games are too expensive. I personally think that they are reasonable. As handhelds become more and more powerful, the gaming experience becomes more and more akin to what you would experience at home. And on-the-go accessibility adds even more value. If you want to know the truth, each Playstation Vita and Nintendo 3DS cartridge is probably worth about 50 cents in plastic and metal, mass produced with Read-Only Memory burned into them. CD/DVD-ROMs cost merely a fraction of that. So you see, what we end up paying is not what the games are worth, but rather, the games are competitively priced for what the market is willing to pay. In short, don't blame developers/publishers, blame your fellow gamers.

TrueGamingMouth
TrueGamingMouth

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DemonicHaven
DemonicHaven

Considering RE4 was released on the GameCube before the PS2 port.

Uvavooh
Uvavooh

@Taxonomy "Hurr durr, I'm not buying this again"
This comment appears on every port of a game to another system.
There are people who haven't played the original release, you dumb fuck.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D More Info

First Release on Feb 21, 2012
  • 3DS
Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater will let you experience an all-new reinterpretation of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (previously released on the PlayStation 2) in 3D for the first time ever.
8.5
Average User RatingOut of 169 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Kojima Productions
Published by:
Konami
Genres:
3D, Action, Adventure, Open-World
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
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes