Almost every full-fledged Vita game retails for $40 USD. Very few of them are worth the price of admission. Almost three years since its initial release, Metal Gear Solid HD is still worth every single penny and then some. Hideo Kojima and Konami (with the help of Bluepoint) return to bring the highly acclaimed and controversial Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 in Substance and Subsistence releases in HD, and the result is simply amazing.
Metal Gear Solid 2 gives you control of Solid Snake and Raiden (hence the controversy) as you attempt to take down Metal Gear Ray and stop the destruction of earth from a possible nuclear attack. Metal Gear Solid 3 throws you into the shoes of Big Boss (the one responsible for Solid Snake) during the Cold War to save the world from turning into a burning wasteland. On the surface, the superficial storylines may seem weak, but in typical Kojima fashion, that’s hardly the case. The story will chew you up, spit you out and will have you begging for more.
These PlayStation 2 classics do an incredible job of integrating gameplay with the story. As always, the Metal Gear Solid games use stealth as the corner stone of gameplay. Sure, you can go in guns blazing and kill everything you see, but where’s the fun in that? It takes away from the intense moments of staying hidden, using silenced weapons and choke holds to continue saving the world. With that being said, the transition to the Vita is flawless. You can play the game with the face and shoulder buttons like its PS3 brother or you can use the special touch controls – such as zooming with the touch screen or slitting a throat with the rear touchpad. Another great example of the touch controls is using the touch screen to choose your weapons. In the pre-Vita days, you would need to hold weapon select button and scroll through your options. This alone is worth the price of admission. The use of any combination of these controls not only gives it the special touch (no pun intended), but possibly gives it the edge over the PS3 version.
The HD port is fantastic and well made. While there are some issues such as small framerate dips and some textures that are flat and straight out of the PS2 era. Regardless, this is still one of the best looking Vita games out right now. Everything is as you remember with the addition of clearer graphics for both games and looks fantastic on both OLED and LCD Vitas. The sound is largely left untouched as the codec sounds and the trademark “!” alert is as clear as you remember. David Hayter and the rest of the cast deliver a great performance that complements the excellent soundtrack.
The Metal Gear Solid HD collection is jammed pack with content as you get the VR missions and Snake Tales in MGS2 and the origin of Big Boss and the MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. The one glaring omission though and possibly the only flaw in this release is the omission of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. While it was included in the PS3 version, it’s nowhere to be found for the Vita. There are several theories on why it’s not included, but it’s my personal opinion that it was not included because it is a PSP release and is on sale on PSN. Maybe Sony and Konami didn’t want to cannibalize sales that it can still sell for a few bucks less than this release, but who knows?
In addition, Metal Gear Solid HD features cross-save functionality. You can get your stealth on the go and finish off on your PS3 when you get home. The transfer is flawless and welcomed for those of you who like to double dip.
Hideo Kojima takes great pride in every game he attaches his name to and this Vita port is no exception. There is tons of content in both games to keep everyone busy in addition to the 15-20 hour length that each game has to offer. Whether you are a returning veteran or a newcomer ready to experience the beauty that is Metal Gear Solid, you will not be disappointed.