I have to admit that up until this version I had never played any of the Metal Gear Solid games. Well that’s slightly inaccurate… I played about 5 minutes each of Portable Ops on PSP and the PSone classic MGS1. Now that I’ve admitted my short comings I have to concede that I was a fool for never getting around to playing them.
The Vita version of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection provides for your gaming pleasure Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Unlike the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions however, it does not include the HD port of the highly praised PSP game MGS: Peacewalker. You might wonder why, but then you might realise how much money Konami stand to make by forcing Vita owners to buy the PSP game $30 on top of the $50 for the HD Collection. Don’t hate them for it though because you still definitely get your money’s worth with MGS 2 & 3.
For those of you who are like me and have never played a Metal Gear Solid game before I will offer a short summary of what the hell they actually are. MGS games are third-person stealth/action shooters. That was easy wasn’t it? MGS 2 is set in 2009 and you play as the protagonist Raiden with the mission to stop a terrorist group named the Sons Of Liberty who have taken hostages including the US President at a clean-up facility they have taken control of. MGS 3 takes you back to 1964 where you play as Naked Snake in some jungles in the USSR on a mission to rescue a defecting Soviet scientist. Pretty simple right? Don’t worry, Kojima Productions do a great job of telling you the story during the countless cut scenes in the games. Oh by the way if you don’t like cut scenes you should probably avoid this.
Now to the important stuff: touch screen controls. Seriously though, the MGS Collection doesn’t do too badly with implementing the Vita hardware features. The best use of touch in the game is without a doubt the ability to select weapons and items by touching icons in the bottom left or right corners of the screen and just dragging to select. The game also allows you to use touch to look around corners, zoom, and stab. The MGS HD Collection also supports cloud saving under the name of Transfarring. This allows you to transfer your saves with the PS3 version of the game, and also allows you to get two of each trophy if you are into that kind of thing as the Vita and PS3 games share the same save but are separate. That means that if you unlock a trophy on the Vita then “transfar” your save to the PS3 then the trophy will immediately pop on your console.
The transfarring is particularly handy though because the Vita is unfortunately not the best way to play these games. Although it is excellent and you could definitely enjoy them both the whole way through on the Vita nothing compares to the control you get with a full Dualshock controller and a big screen. The problem comes down to the need for stealth which means you need to make very finely controlled movements and see things with great detail which unfortunately doesn’t compare with the Vita over the TV. Like I said though the game can still be played through and enjoyed entirely on the Vita if you don’t want to fork out an extra $50 for the PS3 version, and the upside is that you get to play the game on the go which is always excellent.
On top of the two main games you will also find a large number of VR and Alternative missions inside both MGS 2 & 3 which are great for both learning to play the game as well as to challenge yourself with time trials and things like that. You also get the Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake games from the classic MSX2 platform (which you have probably never heard of) which are the original beginnings of this classic series. All these things are nice bonuses which are in both the PS3 and Vita versions.
You get what you would expect graphically from this collection since it is an HD remastering of PS2 games but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an outstanding game. Despite the shortcomings of the control and accuracy with the Vita it is still definitely worth picking up if you have never played the Metal Gear Solid games, and if you have then you might appreciate playing through them again on a portable device.