Metal Gear Solid HD Collection PS Vita Review

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Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

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Strong proof that MGS works on handhelds, even if Peace Walker isn't on it.

We like

  • Optimized MGS2 and MGS3 ports
  • Transfarring is simple and clean
  • Gameplay as fluid as any console version

We dislike

  • No Peace Walker or Ape Escape mini-game
  • Slight hindrances with specific controls

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Hideo Kojima has seen to it that his Metal Gear Solid games are playable by nearly every possible consumer type. That being said, the only gamer left was the mobile gamer. Though it was remade and released for the Nintendo 3DS, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, as well as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, have made their way to the PlayStation Vita in the form of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. One constant gripe gamers have had on this subject is that it doesn’t include a PS Vita version of Peace Walker. Even though the PlayStation Portable version is compatible on the PS Vita, it’s still a bit frustrating that PS Vita owners can’t have all three MGS powerhouse titles all in one place. However, don’t let this hinder the experience. The entire experience is here, but does it translate well into portable form?

Since these two games have been optimized specifically for the PS Vita, the visuals that once shined on the PlayStation 2 are now on Sony’s handheld in their fully-realized glory. The only things that bring this experience down to Earth are when the games get over encumbered by what they have on screen. Much like the original games, full-on assaults slowed the frame rates a very, very slight amount and those small changes are easier to spot in this version. Don’t be alarmed, since this only occurs with heavy amounts of smoke and vivid interactions with water; ironically enough, the swimming portions of the game aren’t hindered in any way.

The gameplay of both Metal Gear games remains fully intact. The striking differences, however, are in some of the control revamps. In order to accommodate the PS Vita hardware, the analog sticks, the L2 and R2 triggers, and button sensitivity were remapped. For both games, in order to hold up a gun without shooting, you know press down on the D-pad, since the face buttons on the PS Vita aren’t pressure sensitive like the Dualshock controllers. This feature isn’t very well covered in this collection. I spent a good amount of time ignorantly using my item menu in order to let go of square so I wouldn’t shoot my weapons; this was only good for semi-automatic weapons, mind you, since automatics like the AK-74u and the M4 simply let loose after pressing square. I finally explored the control schemes in the control mapping and found out about the D-Pad.

While on the subject of the item menu, both the item and weapon menus are accessed by touching their allotted corners on the front touchscreen. You press the icon on the screen, and then scroll through the options and slide inward to select each weapon or item in each subgroup, such as an M4 or an AK-74u in the automatic weapon section. This control scheme is the very best conceivable way to put all of the input options from the console versions into this PS Vita form, but it comes with a slight hindrance: convenience of speed. I don’t mean to dissuade with this, since it works well on every difficulty below Extreme. On Extreme, however, I hit a major snag in the Metal Gear Ray fight. With the Rays constantly shooting missiles, firing machine guns, and decimating with the water laser—sometimes simultaneously—it’s difficult to manage all of the face buttons to dodge abilities and switch weapons with my right thumb. It would have been better to use the back touch pad to mess with items and weapons, even if randomly pressing the back touchpad would pause the game from time to time.

The touch screen had some better utilization throughout. For instance, when looking around a corner, you can swipe left or right with your right thumb to slide/look left or right, respectively. The back touchpad even has some great usage, including traditional trigger Dualshock functions for first-person view mode. In this mode, you can swipe left to strafe left, swipe right to strafe right, and swipe down on both sides to stand taller.
One of the best changes made to the control scheme is the sneaking mode in MGS3. Instead of using the D-Pad to walk slowly, since the D-pad is mapped for holding up enemies and changing the camera perspective, you now hold the L button while moving ... (continued on next page)

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