GAME NAME: Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection
DEVELOPER(S): Kojima Productions
GENRE(S): Action, Stealth
RELEASE DATE(S): September 13th, 2013
You never fully realize the impact a game’s legacy can have until it’s staring you right in the face and you’re playing each game in order once again, reliving those same moments for the umpteenth time. This is the Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection; a series so iconic that diehard fans are willing to spend more money buying a collection that contains everything they probably already own, and then they can use to coerce people who’ve never touched them, to play a video game series that spans 26 years.
It’s humbling knowing that the first game, Metal Gear, is 2 years older than I am and that Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake came out when I was one years old. Having no nostalgia for the first two games, I can only imagine what some of the older gamers had to think, replaying them on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and now with the Legacy Edition. For me, the nostalgia kicked in when I started to play Metal Gear Solid and the subsequent games. Each game holds so many memories, so many journeys and so many hours spent playing as Solid Snake, Raiden and Naked Snake. That’s the very essence of this Legacy Edition, it plays off from the feeling of nostalgia; it feeds off our hunger to return to the past, to return to what brought us to the series, to reunite us with that explosive rush after beating the crap out of Liquid in the first game. However nostalgic the games are, once beating all of them, right after each other, you’ll start to think you live in that world.
The Legacy Edition is exactly what you’d expect, it contains every game from the Metal Gear main series, which is a grand total of eight games: Metal Gear; Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake; Metal Gear Solid; Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions; Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Substance); Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistence); Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. If you add up all the game time, you’re looking at about 80 hours of gaming, and considering the price tag on this puppy, that is value for money.
And that’s not all; the edition also comes packed with two digital graphic novels, similar to the graphic novel cut scenes in Peace Walker. The two graphic novels are more like movies and re-tell the stories of Metal Gear Solid and Sons of Liberty. The “movies” average at about 2 and a half hours each and are near perfect adaptations from their game counterpart. These two movies are living proof of how cinematic each of Hideo Kojima’s games really are.
Also included in the pack is the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Book, a collection of promotional material, cover art, posters and other miscellaneous artworks as an all in one beautiful book, further adding to the nostalgic vibes of the collection.
If you haven’t played any of the games, fear not, I won’t go into detail about each game, just the bare essentials, but before I do that, I need to point out something that’s annoyed me right from the start.
Other than the two graphic novels, there’s nothing new being added to the collection. There are two discs in the collection; the first disc is for Metal Gear Solid 4 only (the updated version, so there’s no need to download that absurdly large update) and the second disc, which is, essentially, the MGS HD Collection. While this is probably something small, I was irritated to see that the name on the dashboard comes up as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and not Metal Gear Solid Legacy Edition Disc 1 and Disc 2. It sounds small, but people pay for the Legacy Edition and not MGS4 and MGS HD with a new sticker on top. Even the loading screen on MGS HD says it’s the HD Collection and not the Legacy Edition. This to me is a little lazy. Also, it would make more sense if the HD Collection was the first disc, not the second, but that’s just me being pedantic.
Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Like I said before, it’s humbling playing a game that’s older than I am, but that doesn’t make them any less worth playing. Metal Gear, the first and shortest in the series, is a great introduction to the series. You play Solid Snake, a rookie member of Foxhound, a Special Forces unit tasked with completing covert missions. He is tasked with infiltrating a heavily guarded compound called Outer Heaven to rescue another member of his unit and investigating a new weapon called Metal Gear. The game is very old and so is the graphics and controls. I found it very frustrating at first, but realized the poor controls added to the atmosphere of the game. The game is very quick, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll be running around a lot, so it’s a good idea to look up a walkthrough every now and again. This game averages at about 3 hours in total and isn’t as movie centric as the later games.
In Metal Gear 2 you return as Solid Snake, but this time he’s a vet and a retired Foxhound member. This time he’s sent on a trip to Zanzibar Land (a fictional fortified state in Central Asia) to rescue a kidnapped biologist. This biologist was kidnapped because he created a type of algae that can produce petroleum. This game is visually similar to the first game, but it’s improved on many levels. The controls aren’t improved, but it’s still a great game to play. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fix some of the issues the first game had, like backtracking the backtracking and getting lost. You can find these two games on the Second Disc in the special features section of Snake Eater.
Metal Gear Solid
For most people, the series really kicks off with this game. Once again you take charge of Solid Snake, this time he’s a retired everything and wants to live on his own. His mission begins when a Nuclear Disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island, off the coast of Alaska, is “hijacked” by a group of misfits from Foxhound. The terrorist group, led by main baddie, Liquid Snake, is threatening to launch nuclear missiles, unless the US government give them the remains of *censored*. It’s Solid Snake’s job to infiltrate Shadow Moses Island, rescue two high profile people, Kenneth Baker and Donald Anderson, find out if the terrorists are bluffing and to stop the nuclear threat if they’re not. The game is easily the best of the lot and is still a fan favourite, but it has aged and might be off putting to new comers. The good thing is, the graphic novel movie tells the story so well, you can actually forgo the game and still get the necessary info. The game itself is not included on the discs, but you do get a download code for the digital version. MGS Special Missions is a collection of VR training missions that you can complete, but the controls are still from PS1 and might be off putting to new comers and may only appeal to die hard fans.
Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Peace Walker
To prevent this from becoming a tl;dr (which it probably is) take a look at Dawid’s review for the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
The last game in the Legacy series is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Once again, you take control of Solid Snake, but this time, Snake’s body has become a ticking time bomb. Inexplicably, Snake’s body began ageing rapidly, but before he can be laid to rest, he’s sent on his final mission to track down and eliminate Liquid Ocelot from commandeering a powerful AI called Sons of the Patriots. The final instalment is the longest game in the series and in a way it needs to be. It ties up a lot of loose ends and tries to summarize the events of the previous games, as this one’s story progresses. It’s a visual masterpiece and given that it’s about 5 years old, it still manages to hold its own by today’s standards. In terms of improvements, there’s the built in update and you no longer have to install each act. It’s a once off install that takes about 16 minutes. The voice acting is top notch and really delivers on story telling. Most importantly, it’s a nod to all fans of the series. The game itself is a perfect reflection of what the boxset is, nostalgia in box.
This boxset is an absolute must have for anyone who’d like to play the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5, it’s worth the asking price and you’ll get far more than what you bargained for. For diehard fans, this is a tough call; you’re pretty much buying everything over again. My advice, get a nice price for your MGS4 and HD Collection and use that money to fund this collection. You won’t lose anything, the Legacy Collection picks up the same save files so you don’t have to worry about that. Small hiccups aside, the Legacy Collection is proof that if a game is powerful, it can stand the test of time.
Scoring this edition is very difficult as each game is a vast improvement from the next. However, I did try to average it out by using a number I would’ve used to score it might have gotten at the time.