Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – PS2
Release Date (NA): November 17, 2004
Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10
When it comes to video games that have the ability to stir emotions, there haven’t been many that succeed as well as Metal Gear Solid. This one, in particular, caused this adult to lose his shit. I’m not even hiding the fact that I cried like a child who just watched his family board a plane and witnessed it exploding during take-off. It’s that touching. I’m not trying to spoil anything, but the final battle is so deep and mind-blowing that if you don’t at least produce extra moisture in your tear glands, you have no heart inside of your chest cavity, and you work for the devil. Metal Gear Solid 3 is awesome.
One of the things I’ve always liked about the MGS series is that they have always had a great story and they are so innovative. The biggest innovative example is from Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation when you battled Psycho Mantis. He could “read your thoughts” and predict your every move (Name the games you like based on what is saved on your memory card and dodge any attacks you make). The only way to defeat him is to connect your controller to the 2nd controller port. I mean, c’mon, who would think to do that?? Luckily, I had a friend who told me about that when I was bitching that it was impossible to beat him. In Snake Eater, the innovation isn’t that strong, but it’s still there. With the introduction of real-time camouflage and more complex injury systems, this game still shines, in that respect.
Moving on, the basic synopsis of MGS3 starts out with Naked Snake performing a mission, set during the Cold War in 1964, to rescue a defecting Soviet scientist, named Sokolov, whom has created this insanely high tech nuclear tank, called the Shagohod. Plot twists and spoilers occur, and now you have to start over with a new mission; destroy the Shagohod. This is as summed up as possible. When playing, you will understand from the never-ending movies that play.
This brings me to my one serious issue with the Metal Gear series, as a whole. You are left watching an epic movie with minor amounts of actual gameplay. The plus side to this, the story has a chance to shine. They have so many movie sequences with so much info being pushed into your mind that you are basically forced into growing an emotional connection with the characters. The major con to this, you sit around like a chump just waiting for the scenes to finish so you can actually play the damn game. My first playthrough was a little over 18 hours. This is taken up by almost 5 hours of cut scenes (4:58 to be exact)!! That is an excessive amount of time to not be playing, but I also think it helps to engage the player. While being the biggest flaw for the gamer inside me, the sissy emotional girly-girl inside me, loves it.
Then the controls come into play (literally, hehe). The backwards confirmation has always thrown me off if I haven’t played in a while, meaning that “O” is used to make a selection in the menu instead of the usual “X” in most PlayStation games. Once you play for a little while, you adapt and this is of no concern. Moving around is pretty straightforward and smooth. Using camouflage is awesome. There is a real-time camo index in the top right corner of the screen that lets you know how well you are blended in with the current surroundings. You can switch between a number of camos that you already have, or find some during gameplay. Camo you earn from bosses usually have a special trait, such as silenced footsteps, taming of bees, and the inability to become set on fire, amongst others. This definitely adds to the re-playabilty factor.
Performing the newly added close-quarters-combat (CQC) moves is quite fun and fairly easy to do. This is one of the most enjoyable additions to an already amazing franchise. Pressure sensitive control scenarios arise when you sneak up and grab a dude and choke-hold him. In the first 2, you would have to press square repeatedly to break a neck, only a few to knock them out, and these were your only options. Now, if you have no weapon equipped, or a small firearm, you can grab an unsuspecting guard with “O” and choke him repeatedly until you break his neck, or hold “O” with a lot of pressure to slit his throat. You can also slam them to the ground and knock them unconscious, or throw them from a choke-hold onto the ground and then stick ’em up for some items or intel. I could go on, but I don’t feel like it.
I do feel like mentioning the musical score…the opening sequence is by far the gayest thing I’ve ever heard from a video game, BUT I LOVE IT. Not really sure what that says about me, but the “theme song” for MGS3 is really overdone. I like how it is extremely Bond-esque, but the lyrics are embarrassing, and it’s too over-the-top. Witness below:
Otherwise, the music is pretty good, when it’s actually there. There is a lot of quiet jungle sound throughout the game, mostly. It gives you more of a feel like you’re really out in the wilderness trying to survive, and shit.
The graphics are pretty sweet, for a PS2 game. There is much more detail than in the preceding 2 Metal Gears. This is a bit of a catch 22, though, causing the frame rate to drop down to 30FPS, from MGS2’s 60. Although there is a bit of a slowdown (HALF!), it isn’t noticeable. The 30FPS is fairly solid so it doesn’t bog down any more than that. They did a pretty decent job with making this game look real nice.
There are tons of things I could go on to explain, but I’d rather not spoil them. This game was wonderfully crafted to make you engage yourself into the world of Hideo Kojima (the creator of almost every Metal Gear). He is a nut, always has been, and this game is more proof that he is exactly that. Compared to all of the other Metal Gears, before and after this one, it stands out as his finest work. I’ve been a fan of these since the first one (on PlayStation, never played the first 2 on NES) and they are truly remarkable pieces of art. If you ever wanted to try Metal Gear, Snake Eater is the one to go for, first.
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