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The Metal Gear Solid franchise is one which many hold dear to their hearts, particularly video game geeks like myself. I myself dropped in and out of the series since an early age, only taking the opportunity in recent months to truly play what many consider some of the best games of all time. Finally putting my Playstation Vita to good use, I decided to download this HD collection off of Sony's Playsattion network. To make this clear, this collection only includes HD remakes of MGS 2: Sons of Liberty and MGS 3: Snake Eater. Instantly I put a black mark against the game because of the absence of the first game in the series, annoyingly anyone wanting to play the series from the start will have to purchase the original PS1 version which is also available to download from the Playstation Network. With that initial bug bear out of the way let's delve into what makes this collection special.
The Metal Gear franchise was created by Hideo Kojima, a man who is now commonly referred to as a genius because of these games. Many of you reading this will laugh at this and say "He can't be that good" and to you I say, he is. The themes Kojima brings to light as a result of these games highlight real problems within society, and considering when the games were made (2001 and 2005) Kojima seems to have seen the problems of today a long time before they came to light. The games are both highly cinematic and the gameplay is fairly difficult to master, but extremely rewarding once you come to terms with the rather awkward and clunky control scheme. I suppose I should also quickly outline the premise of the the games without spoiling them, MGS 2 follows the story of Raiden: a government secret agent investigating the take over of an oil rig by terrorists. It takes an absolute stealth approach to the gameplay, with 'running and gunning' being mostly out of the question if you want to survive. MGS 3 follows the tale of Snake, an operative tasked with infiltrating a jungle compound run by an old Communist Russian splinter group. This game takes place before MGS 2 and also features more complex gameplay, as you are essentially a lone operative in hostile territory you must employ a variety of Guerrilla tactics to achieve your goals. These can include applying camouflage to your face and clothes to make it harder for enemies to spot you, as well as using the wildlife around you to distract guards. As you can see, talking about two games is a momentous task, especially with MGS.
I will now talk about both games in more depth, beginning with MGS 2. First of all the use of HD on this game certainly isn't wasted and makes the game easier to play in the modern world, and playing on the PS Vita is simply a joy. It seems the developer worked hard on making the controls comfortable on the handheld, making use of the devices touchscreen to allow the quick swapping of items without delving into menus. Unfortuanetly there is only so much you can change I suppose, as the controls are still fairly clunky (especially when aiming your gun which takes you into a first person perspective) but you should get used to them fairly quickly.
Now onto MGS 3 which once again benefits from the new coat of HD paint, making it look good even if the locales in the game are fairly muddy to begin with. The controls are very similar to MGS 2 but with added mechanics, such as the use of camouflage and a hunger meter. The introduction of the hunger meter makes Snake Eater a lot more tense, this is because without food Snake will begin to falter, missing shots that he would otherwise make. Luckily you are in a jungle full of animals ripe for the eating, hence the name Snake Eater ( no it isn't just because of that but you'll have to play to find out). The introduction of these echanics made it more enjoyable for me personally as it puts a bigger emphasis on survival which is something I love in games.
Both games also feature a few side modes and one even includes the original Metal Gear games ( these were on the NES I believe) and it is interesting to play these and see how the series has evolved over time. Not to mention some training 'Virtual reality' challenges which really test your skills (or maybe I'm just awful) which help to extend the amount of time you will spend with the collection and therefore give you more value for money. Also something to bare in mind is that this game is not all serious, it has its fair share of crazy moments which should make you laugh. The collection is up for download from Sony for £19.99 but I'm sure the physical version can be found elsewhere for a smaller price, but I think it's nice to have it on your Vita at all times but that is just personal preference.
Overall, I would recommend this collection to anyone who hasn't played the games yet and even those who simply want to replay the series again with a HD coat of paint.