Metal Gear Solid has given us nothing for the last few years, and now it’s giving us everything all at once. You’d be forgiven for needing a minute to pick your face up off the floor.
The legendary espionage franchise has long been a staple not only of stealthy gameplay and bizarro narratives, but of gaming itself in the era of Pizza Hut demo discs and curtain-closed button-mashing marathons. The franchise’s dormancy and disconnect from Konami’s own Metal Gear weapon Hideo Kojima has left a cold cavern where there was once a thundering brain powering the adventures of Snake, no matter how solid or naked he may be. It’s been some time since we’ve taken to the tall grass, and the absence of Snake has been felt.
And now, it’s like he’s making his arrival all over again. As Konami gears up to introduce the first full MGS remake in Snake Eater, Konami has offered fans and new players alike the chance to experience the sometimes elusive, always iconic first three Metal Gear Solid games on modern hardware.
And though fans would have taken scraps, Konami has leapt through hoops to ensure the wait has been worth it.
Funs of the Patriots
The first thing that you’ll notice about The Metal Gear Solid Collection Vol 1 is the sheer volume (forgive the pun) of everything laid in front of you. Issued even in the physical version of the game is an individual game hub for each of the three core titles, an option for both Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 from the series’ inception, and an all-new option holding the game’s special features. Laying things out this way (even though the games themselves are available for purchase alone), makes you realise just how much there is to do here, and just how extensive these missing titles are as a collective.
Jumping into each game feels like a comfortable revisiting of the franchise, different moments in time giving players the next generation of espionage-themed gameplay. The titles are, of course, in the technical state that you’d expect them to be – but each game runs and flows effortlessly.
When looking back at something like The Master Chief Collection, a summation of the Halo franchise that managed to muddy textures of the once atmospheric game into a grey sludge with little character, it’s refreshing to turn to a port of classic games (especially ones of such importance) that doesn’t waste its time trying to improve what is put in front of them. There’s no fiddling with the titles here, and for new players especially, everything feels as fresh as the moment the games launched. Konami knows what you want, and they’re not poking around looking for improvements.
Living up to Libertations
There are a few complaints from core fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, though, that could come to impact returning fans’ enjoyment – most notably that some feel that the port of Metal Gear Solid 3 is a mere replication of an existing port that players felt was subpar. This much might be true, but it’s undetectable for new players to such a degree that this isn’t a problem at all.
It’s safe to presume that the bonus featured involved in the package, from the original Metal Gear titles running with perfect ports to the scripts and comic books buried in the series’ past, will be more than enough of a draw for those miffed about the minor differences, and the series alone will be equally as thrilling for those who have been waiting for a chance to take Snake’s adventures for a spin.
There are such few discrepancies buried in the Master Collection Vol 1 that the only noticeable frustration lies with the key art-laden border of Metal Gear Solid that doesn’t reappear in either of the other major titles or the Metal Gear games. There was, admittedly, a crash in Metal Gear Solid 3 when transitioning from docked to handheld mode on the Switch at the end of our time with the package, but it would be of no surprise to see this issue ironed out before it debuts on the market.
There may be some minor points that the dedicated Diamond Dogs are going to take issue with, and so be it – after all, they’ve played the games since day dot, and have found the games in their natural environments. That doesn’t mean that the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection’s first volume isn’t a breath of fresh air for the series, though, and the perfect place for newcomers to start.
The sheer volume of features crammed into the little cartridge on Switch is more than enough to talk players around to its formats of the original series, and the mere notion of taking the espionage series on the go is alluring enough in itself even when you discount how much there is to do in the package.
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Volume 1 is a blistering start, and if its implied second volume is as all-encompassing as this, then we’ve found the perfect way to experience the games in one place. Snake is officially back, and he’s easier to reach than ever.