Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 PS5 Review – After the fallout with Hideo Kojima leaving Konami, seeing anything released from the Metal Gear franchise, even remasters, bodes well for the franchise. The legacy might be over, but the franchise isn’t.
With that said, Konami’s first post-Kojima release is the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1, putting together the three big PS1 and PS2 games that cemented the legacy of the franchise. Apart from some neat menus, this re-release lacks the same heart of its compiled titles on account of a lack technical ambition.
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 PS5 Review – A Thrown-Together Collection For A Classic Franchise
Of the bunch, the original Metal Gear Solid is the hardest to swallow, strictly due to its visuals and controls. They are dated, no doubt about it. The game responds as it always has, but its aged aspects take longer to acclimate.
The very limited button customization misses out on an opportunity to maximize the controller how you wish. Instead, only the face buttons can be interchanged. You could change your Action or First Person to the Square button, but R1 and L1 are off the table. Since this menu is an overlay of the original game, the opportunity to add customization is sorely missed.
The most unique part of this collection is that this game now has Trophy support. For those to whom this matters, you can also get the Platinum on both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol.1.
Naturally, the same goes for all of the games in this bundle. The only outlier is a shared Platinum between Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Still, you can go after it twice over the two versions to maximise your trophy chasing.
The PS2 Dynamic Duo
I will never get sick of running around in Metal Gear Solid 2. Even on PS2, the thoughtful fixed camera with the butter smooth frame rate makes it an absolute dream to play even now. The cinematography stands out as well, making significant leaps over the first game.
Of course, while character bodies move a lot more, they still feature rigid faces and blocky hands. You feel the lack of animation in the hindsight of modern gaming, but the voice work and overall choreography keeps everything on point.
As the most recent of the lot, Metal Gear Solid 3 features the most refined controls, gameplay, and animations. In particular, facial animations and hands express more naturally, upping the overall quality. Exactly like the release on the PS3, the camera options from both the original game and from Subsistence are available to use.
The other point is how the franchise grew with the hardware. It doesn’t necessarily mean much now, but seeing how Kojima Productions managed to channel sophisticated cinematography and expand gameplay elements on limited hardware, it still deserves praise here – even in 2023.
This is by far the most frustrating part of this package. Don’t get me wrong, there is still quite a bit of great content here, such as the complete graphic novelizations of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2. Both are available in comic form, but the Metal Gear Solid 2 graphic novel has never been made available this way before.
What makes this frustrating is all of the content in the Bonus Content section, outside of the selected soundtrack list and some menu-based manuals, needs to be downloaded from the store. It’s undeniably a good thing that these novels are available in this bundle, since they all cost quite a bit to get on their own.
Still, considering my review comes from a code, why not set it so that everything downloads at the same time. Loading up the game just to download some more content just feels lazy. Is it likely to be popular content? No. Equally so, those who want the bonus content will likely want all of it.
Cluttering The Home Screen
One significant topic of interest is how this collection does not bundle its games together on the PS5 home screen. Instead of having one app to launch and load into whichever title you wish, an app loads up for each title in the collection, including another app for the bonus features.
If you want to play only one game, you only need to install that game. This lets you save some space on your hard drive. However, if you love these games and plan to play all of them, you need to hop between apps to do so. Conversely, the collection released on PS3 loaded up from the disc into a game selection menu.
The lack of a singular launcher on modern consoles may put off some players. It’s abundantly clear that Konami wants to maximize income potential by selling each game separately as well as all of them in one purchase.
On a couple of personal notes, I fully intend to play all of these games again on both the PS4 and PS5 versions. Also, I now have an entire home screen of nothing but Metal Gear Solid titles. As much as I love this in the early moments, fishing through all the games installed on my PS5 will make extra work for me. I will do it simply due to how much I love these games, but even thinking about it proves cumbersome.
Still A Great Batch Of Classic Games
No matter how you slice it, any opportunity to play the Metal Gear Solid games is a good opportunity. They showcase how a team maximized what they had to make the games it wanted, creating a timeless collection based on style and presentation alone. The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 missed several opportunities to pay true homage to the franchise, including control customization, menu layout, managing additional downloads and of course, applying visual updates to these much older titles.
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol.1 is out now on PS4 and PS5.
Review code kindly provided by PR.