Developers: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Designer: Hideo Kojima
Hideo Kojima is back with his lovely Metal Gear series. This time, it is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which I will review right now. Since I haven’t player other Metal Gear games, I certainly will not compare it to other games in the series.
When the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater DVD is in your hands, you begin to tremble. The box art and the description behind will make you hungry. And you can be sure – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will not disappoint you.
Unlike other games in the series, MGS3 is set in the past – in the 1960s. The game kick-starts with a thirty-five minute long cutscene, when you crash land in a forest in Russia. The gameplay is very little in the beginning. There’s hardly any shooting and grappling. Just moving around, trying to search for your lost bag hanging on a tree. Since controls are not specified to you, it’ll take time to figure ’em out even in the beginning of the game.
The game as an innovative feature to converse with your seniors and advisors who are known only by their codenames – Major Zero, Para-medic, The Boss and Signit to name a few. The radio. You need to press the Select button and access the radio. You can dial various frequencies and make contact with them. Take tips from them, ask how to go about the current mission objective, what food you can eat, how good the weapon you’re using is, etc. You can even dial a frequency to save the game record mission details. Funnily enough, the game saves only in the Japanese PS2 Memory Card (the one with a silver sticker behind it), and not in the Chinese one (the one with a blue sticker behind it.)
What impresses you about the game is the sheer detailing. The sound you make while rustling grass, the recoil of weapons, your character’s flying hair, all catch your fancy immediately.
To the story now: it really can get confusing. It looks more like an army movie from Hollywood, cashing in on the evergreen concept of America-Russia battles. Its all about a scientist kidnapped by the Russians to create a mobile nuclear device to launch nuclear weapons. Based on post-World War II scenario, the story kinda takes time to unfold, but a superb script with some amazing gameplay and characters keep you on the edge of the seat. Oops. I meant controller. I really don’t want to reveal the plot now – it’ll spoil all the fun.
The graphics in the game are outstanding. Its probably because the game was due for realease for the PlayStation 3, but released for it predecessor, as the former ran into launch delays. Shadows, reflections and textures are all brilliantly done. Especially in the cinematic cutscenes, which may run upto nearly twenty-five minutes in time, the graphics and camerawork are beyond explaination. You just have to see for yourself and admire the technical prowess of the designers. A splendid experience indeed. You’d be watching cutscenes from time to time, but never get bored of them, if you follow the story.
Music it superb. Especially in the title track. You’ll always feel like a part of the game, when a suspenseful music runs in the background.
Your character is Naked Snake. That doesn’t mean he’s naked in any way. Its just his codename. There are other characters too: EVA, The Boss, Major Zero, Volgin, Ocelot and Sokolov, just to name a few. You’ll have a lot of fun playing around with the nice environment set in the 1960s in the forests of Russia. There’s hiding behind trees, glancing, grappling enemies, killing them with no sound, etc. The coolest part, however, is the camouflage. Snake can camouflage with the environment by wearing different clothes. Different outfits are effective for different environments, such as against a tree bark, in the night, crawling on the grass and hidden in a building. There’s face paint as well. To top it all, there’s an awesome cure feature to treat your wounds surgically. Like removing a bullet with a knife, and treating it with a disinfectant, and wrapping it up with a bandage.
The weapons are plenty, and pretty cool. They offer just the right kind of recoil, and have a perfect sense of controller vibration. Firing a tranquilizer gun hardly vibrates the controller, while firing the M63 for a long time increases the intensity of vibration. Excellent.
Now thats the end of all good stuff. Starts the negative. First up, controls. X and O are reversed, so now X is cancel and O is accept. This irritates. The controls are extremely cumbersome. You’ll almost always be fumbling for buttons to press. Travelling on while crouching or laying flat on the ground is extremely difficult when you wish to turn around. The camera angle is a peculiar one; you can move the right analogue stick to pan the camera here and therem but thats all. The lack of 3D camera was sorely missed. You cannot move the camera in a full circle to know whats going on behind you. Even turning around yourself doesn’t help. Often, you end up getting stuck beside a crate or a log. Then you have to get up, and your enemy sees you, and you engage in a battle..
The cure feature mentioned above is good, but what is hard to swallow is the you can cure yourself within a battle! Imagine tackling four soldiers and getting hit by a bullet. And saying, “Stop. I gotta remove that bullet and bandage that sharpenel wound and mend that bone I broke.”
The aforementioned radio conversations are extremely boring in the beginning, leaving little for you but to see what is being said. Of course, you can skip these conversations.
Bottom Line: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is not a game. It is a movie, where you’re the lead role. The story and detail are exceptional, but small flaws spoil the fun. Although it isn’t the best out there, it does prove to be a memorable game, nevertheless.
Detailed Ratings [Out of 10]
Controls: 7 [Scrapped Difficulty bowing to popular demand]