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Developer(s): Bluepoint Studios/Kojima Productions
Platforms: PS Vita
Release Date: US – June 12th, EU – June 29th
Genre: Third-Person Stealth/Action
It’s just over ten years since I eagerly queued up to purchase my copy of Metal Gear Solid 2. I didn’t care about the recent revelation that series hero Solid Snake was to be cast aside for some nancy looking blonde guy, I just wanted what I referred to as ‘my game’.
Yet even after all those years Metal Gear Solid 2 and it’s sequel Metal Gear Solid 3 have wowed me yet again but this time in the portable space. As you can probably tell I am a very eager Metal Gear Solid fan and while the series has some major flaws it is unique in it’s execution. After owning the excellent Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for PS3 (also available for Xbox 360) I did wonder just how could such a grand scale game like MGS be truly transported to a handheld system? It took about 10 seconds for me to realise how.
Both games look better than ever and they really pop up nicely on Vita’s gorgeous OLED screen. While there are some minor slowdown issues here and there for the most part with rose tinted spectacles on it makes the game feel like the Metal Gear’s you used to play. Although I’m still trying to get my head around the fact I can now play such classics while sitting on the train – or perhaps it’s a sign that I’m just getting old? Either way it’s a marvellous execution of bringing a console experience to handheld.
The obvious omission from the console version however is Peace Walker. Considering it was released for PSP Peace Walker would have been a perfect fit for Vita. It is a bit of a blow to not have the latest MGS on Vita, we still have two of the greatest games ever made now available on the go with all the added extras you ever wanted.
While both games are held in high regard and they’re appearance on the Vita is grateful there are a few control issues, especially with Metal Gear Solid 2. As with the latest console iteration of the game the controls are very old style and could be difficult to grasp for new players. Although most gamers will naturally get used to the iffy controls it could take a while to master. A lack of movement when going into first person is one and using the left stick as opposed to the now universally used right stick when controlling first person could confuse at first.
While the lack of L2 and R2 buttons make for limited button inputs, the touch screen has been used in both games to control item selection, it functions ok but it’s a long way behind actual buttons to flick through your available guns and rations.
There’s also no real tutorial for the new touch screen controls which could be unnerving for new players. Of course instructions are in the (cleverly called) instruction manual but usually in a game as demanding as these two the controls are usually explained early on. Of course the old control scheme is mentioned but no touch functionality is explained. It took me a good while to work out how to get some of the trophies that required touch features.
MGS3 also suffers from some of the control issue’s that MGS2 has but thanks to it’s later arrival originally some of it’s issues are less severe thanks to a better control system overall. Of the two games 3 is the tip of the MGS iceberg and a game that will commonly appear in my all-time list. It’s takes what made 2 so great and built upon it with more of a survival feel.
If you’ve been thinking of getting involved in the MGS series for a while but just haven’t had the chance now is a better time than any to jump in. And as a bonus, if you have the need to switch between the console version of the collection and the handheld you can take your game on the go with the ‘transfar’ saving system. Yes you will need to buy both copies of the game but the option is there should you so desire. Considering you can pick up both copies for around £20 each, not having at least one version would be a crime.
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With two games comes two trophy lists and boy do they differ greatly in difficulty. On the plus side we have MGS3 with an obtainable one-playthough platinum. Although it will require an extensive guide as there are trophies for catching all available animals and collection all face paints and camp options.
MGS2 on the other hand is a grind. All Dog Tags on all available difficulty levels must be collected as well as defeating all 500 VR missions. Anyone who grabs the MGS2 plat is certainly worthy of praise.