Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Review
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D
3rd Person Stealth Action
It is hard not to become invested in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. What is arguably one of the most well-told stories in the history of gaming draws you in with its memorable characters, exciting cutscenes, and crisply-delivered dialogue. Newcomers to the game will be eager to continue playing and to delve deeper into the story. Veterans will undoubtedly enjoy taking the journey again. Unfortunately, the narrative is marred by deficiencies of a mechanical nature that bog down the actual gameplay experience.
First and foremost, the 3DS iteration of Snake Eater borderline requires the player to purchase and make use of Nintendo’s dual-analog peripheral, the Circle Pad Pro- a twenty dollar investment. Without it, aiming is left to the face buttons of the system. Many shooters on the PlayStation Portable made use of a similar scheme, and somewhat successfully, but MGS3 in particular suffers even more thanks to clunky, imprecise aiming and camera control. Even with the employment of the Circle Pad Pro, players may often find it difficult to line up a target. There is an auto-aim feature, which is of particular benefit in a certain boss battle where the enemy leaps from tree to tree. But even that feature proves to be finicky at times, locking onto unintended targets or none at all. The bulk of the frustration that the game can induce stems directly from these issues.
The most frustrating thing of all is that the gameplay is not bad by any stretch of the imagination; it is simply ruined by these unfortunate mechanical issues. MGS3 provides a wide variety of gameplay elements ranging from multiple ways to tackle an infiltration, to hunting and gathering food to recover stamina, treating and caring for wounds in the field and to unique boss fights. The game has it all, and it is never boring. There is also plenty of exploration to lengthen the experience, as players are free to track down new camo and items if they so choose. The 3DS also introduces a few new features, most notably the ability to make your own camo using the 3DS Camera. Oftentimes, homemade camouflage is the most effective, which adds to the satisfaction of seeing Snake run around with your face on his back.
Visually, this iteration is hit or miss. It is obvious that the game is a remake and was not built from the ground up for the system, meaning it cannot hold a candle to the likes of Capcom’s Resident Evil: Revelations. However, it is still impressive in its own right; the entire PlayStation 2 classic is intact, with a fresh coat of paint, detailed character models and a well-implemented 3D effect. Nothing was sacrificed in the jump to the handheld system. What is most stunning about this iteration is the 3D effect. The cutscenes in particular have been built for some amazing “3D moments”, and they will certainly have players cranking up the 3D. That said, it is not perfect. The game suffers from odd framerate issues during gameplay, often compounded by the 3D effect. Sometimes it feels like everything is moving in slow motion while cutscenes can be jittery.
The game really shines when it comes to the narrative itself. The story is expertly crafted, paying homage to spy films of the 80’s and 90’s- James Bond himself is even mentioned in passing, as Snake dismisses him as fantasy. The characters are all unique and memorable- made even more so thanks to top-notch voice acting. The dialogue is uncompressed, crisp, clear, well-delivered, and adds an unbelievable element to the story-telling. Players will find themselves calling up various characters on the radio just to delve more into the relationships between them. The sheer amount of dialogue can put just about any other game to shame, and hopefully it will inspire more 3DS developers to pursue that avenue in their story-telling. The cutscenes, while lengthy at times, are very to-the-point and do a great job of moving the story along. And, as aforementioned, they are quite stunning in stereoscopic 3D.
What makes Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D so bittersweet is that the wonderful story is difficult to enjoy. The unfortunate control schemes, imprecise aiming, and wonky cameras can provide many stumbling blocks for the players as they move from chapter to chapter. The gameplay itself is packed with potential, but these shortcomings take away the fun and replace it with frustration. Were it not for the gripping nature of the story, many players would find themselves turning the game off unfinished.