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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection

For: PS Vita

Outer Heaven

Product: Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection | Publisher: Konami | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection PS Vita, thumbnail 1
Apart from the occasional "Metal Gear?" and a handful of resentful grunts, series protagonist Snake is a man of few words. So let's follow his lead and cut to the chase...

Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection is a stonking omnibus of two of the finest games ever released. Beautifully remastered in HD, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2) and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (MGS3) remain two of the best examples of stealth gameplay ever created.

Battlefield control

In case you've been living (or should that be hiding?) under a rock for the past decade or so, the series' general gameplay focus is on cunning and patience, though there are plenty of bombastic action sequences as well.

The action is largely viewed from a third-person fixed camera perspective, but holding R shoulder switches to a first-person mode for precision aiming. MGS3 also comes with a free-moving third-person view, first seen in the expanded Subsistence edition of the game.

The analogue sticks are a mite twitchy in comparison to their home console counterparts when you begin playing, but you get used to them with practice. Additional touchscreen inputs compensate for the lack of the L2 and R2 buttons found on the two titles' native platform (the PlayStation 2), but otherwise the controls have been faithfully transposed.

Like a Boss

Your greatest advantage in both games is the environment around you. As you crawl through the lush jungles of MGS3 and hug the walls of MGS2's comparatively claustrophobic corridors, staying hidden is key to your survival.

When you do enter gun fights, you'll be outgunned by just a handful of enemies. While you frantically seek cover and keep a low profile, the enemy AI will attempt to track you down, leading to some truly heart-pounding moments of narrow escape.

Only during boss encounters will you be out in the open for extended periods of time. These range from lengthy sequences of cat and mouse sniper battles to brawls with towering mechs to a fight with an obese man on rollerskates. They're as inventive as they are memorable.

Game design has of course moved on since these titles were first released, and while the majority of each title remains relevant for modern audiences there are a couple of sequences that feel archaic. An awkward escort mission in MGS3 and a bewildering rooftop duel in MGS2 are particularly frustrating, but these moments are few and far between.

Both games boast smooth frame-rates (with very occasional dips when things get hectic) and sharp, vibrant visuals. Character design in the Metal Gear Solid series has always been first class, and here Yoji Shinkawa's creations shine in all their high-resolution glory.

An emotion to carry into battle

Harry Gregson-Williams's emotional and tonally evocative soundtracks are uncompromised, the Vita making light work of the strings and tech symphonies accompanying the proceedings. Gunfire pierces the silence and rattles around you, and the shrill Alert Phase siren that sounds when you're spotted still sends a jolt up your spine.

Once you're done with the lengthy Story modes, there's still plenty to do and see. The challenging VR Missions, kooky 'what if?' scenarios in Snake Tales, and two more full Metal Gear games from the MSX-era make for a bumper package. The comprehensive Trophy set also encourages you to experiment through multiple playthroughs to find every last secret.

Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection is phenomenal value for money, looks stunning, and controls just fine. If you've not experienced either MGS2 or MGS3 yet then this is a perfect opportunity. Metal Gear Solid veterans may notice the occasional dropped frame, or initially baulk at the touchscreen controls, but these are tiny blemishes on an otherwise pristine package.
Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 27 June 2012
Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection contains two of the very best stealth games of the last decade, lavishly updated and jam-packed with extra content
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