GAME NAME: Metal Gear Solid 3D
DEVELOPER(S): Kojima Productions
GENRE(S): Stealth, Action, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 March 2012
The best bit of Metal Gear Solid 3D is boring. Snake climbs a ladder for four minutes while facing a wall. Seriously. You press up on the analogue stick and – this is the good bit – a lady starts singing the Snake Eater anthem really quietly. It’s tedious. It’s hypnotic. It’s Hideo Kojima expressing just why he’s one of the greatest minds in world of gaming.
The fact that you’ve just fought a 2-hour boss battle, which has rattled your nerves, stretched your concentration and teased your reflexes until you’re an eye-twitching mess reduced to monosyllabic grunts of relief enhances that experience. We are not joking – it’s EPIC! Snake Eater is full of moments like this that manipulate your emotions with skilful contrasts. One minute you are shooting choppers with automated gun emplacements in mountains, the next you are using hives of bees to surprise your foes. One misplaced shot and stealth becomes gung ho combat in a heartbeat. Murky jungle becomes jagged caves. Faceless caves become ornate office. Waffling cut scenes become tense motorbike battles with 100 foot mobile tanks… you get the picture. If you think of war games like Modern Warfare and Battlefield as a collection of singles then MGS3 is a symphony. It’s meant to be enjoyed as a whole and not in bite-size chunks… wait what?
Yes, Kojima Productions have ported the classic to Nintendo’s three-dimensional handheld. At most you’ll get three to four hours of battery life, which means that this game will need to be recharged and played in a minimum of five sessions. Realistically you’re looking at at least ten sessions and there are some LONG cut scenes in this game. Look past the fact that you’ll be running for your charger once the red light of death flashes and scares the crap out of you and you’ll find that MGS 3D is just about flawless.
If you own the Circle Pad Pro, and we recommend you purchase it if you have not yet done so, this is the complete Metal Gear package. Using the shoulder buttons to aim, shoot and select your weapons or items comes naturally. The D-pad helps you select CQC actions on the fly. The left analogue stick moves Snake and the right stick is used to pan the camera. Moving Snake is made that much easier as you can now move about in a crouched position instead of reverting to an automatic crawl when crouching on previous MGS3 games. That small element alone is a massive improvement on the formula.
All the face buttons are in places any Metal Gear veteran would expect, but it is the touchscreen that makes life much easier on the 3DS. No more pressing Start followed by D-pad selections to select Food, Cure, Backpack or Camouflage options from the menu – it’s all available at your fingertips on the touchscreen. Your health and stamina bars are not in the way. Instead it’s tucked away on the bottom screen and requires a mere glance away from the action to catch up with your current status. Should you be ‘old school’ and not into touchscreen interaction you are still welcome to use buttons.
The 3DS gyroscope has been utilised when balancing Snake when passing over bridges or logs (similar to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune) and feels a bit gimmicky but taking camera shots of patterns, people, dogs, landscapes and whatever else you can think of to use as camouflage in the actual game in is anything but a publicity stunt.
Metal Gear Solid 3D has transferred exceptionally well to Nintendo’s platform and though frame-rate and forgettable voice acting issues that plagued the PS2 version remain this is by far the best version (of MGS3) if you’re planning on only playing one. There is much we’ve left unsaid about MGS3D as it would be a sin to spoil it for newcomers. Stop shunting cars at breakneck speeds in Forza and Gran Turismo or shooting hordes of faceless goons in Battlefield or Modern Warfare and prepare for a truly memorable experience – alone with your thoughts facing a brick wall… in 3D.