By Jenni . March 11, 2012 . 5:10pm
I’m going to come right out and say it — I’ve never played a Metal Gear game before. I have no idea how it happened, but it did and it’s an issue I’ve always hoped to rectify. I even bought a copy of Metal Gear Solid used a few years ago, but stuff happened and my shame of never playing this heralded series continued, until I recently played Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
A stressful situation is brewing during the Cold War. The USSR is developing the Shagohod, a nuclear tank, to use against the US. This tank would be a devastating force if actually used, so it has to be destroyed. Even its creator, Nikolai Sokolov, knew it was too dangerous to exist and tried to leave the Soviet Union and defect to the US. Political stuff happened and Sokolov was forced to return to the USSR and start completing the Shagohod.
That’s where the CIA, the FOX Unit and Naked Snake come into play. Snake is going to be sent into the Tselinoyarsk jungle to infiltrate and rescue Sokolov while also sabotaging the Shagohod. Of course, no mission goes exactly as planned, especially since Snake has to use what he has around him and doesn’t know exactly what to expect.
The story is an important part of Snake Eater and it’s told very well via cutscenes with major characters and radio conversations between Snake, Major Tom, Para-Medic, Sigint and The Boss. While some people might be a little put off by how many cutscenes there are and how long they can be, I appreciated each one. They’re gorgeous, with subtle 3D effects and good voice acting. They look especially fantastic on the 3DS. I was really impressed with the radio call-ins as well, as they convey a lot of helpful information while still being interesting to listen to. It’s especially nice that bios and photos of the people you’re talking to appear and you can sort through them. I also appreciated the occasional interjection of a humor, as it wasn’t something I was expecting. There are plenty of cut-scenes and radio segments to enjoy, which means everything is well explained and thoughtfully presented so players aren’t left wondering what’s happening next.
Metal Gear Solid is a game that focuses on stealth and survival. You want to get objectives done without Snake being seen, using only the items on hand. That means keeping Snake well fed with fresh food that won’t make him sick to keep his stamina up, finding medical supplies in case he gets hurt or breaks a bone, constantly adjusting his outfit and face paint to blend in with the environment, tracking enemies, and keeping track of surroundings. You have to patient if you want to play Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. I also liked the challenges that this kind of gameplay presents. You have to be constantly aware of Snake’s resources on hand and know how different enemies are going to react.
Most people playing Metal Gear Solid are used to control schemes with two analog sticks. I’m sure a lot of people haven’t gotten around to picking up a 3DS circle pad yet so rest assured that this game is completely playable without one. Sure, it may take a few areas before you adjust to the A, B, X, and Y buttons being used as camera controls and the D-pad being used as crouching and inventory controls. The circle nub is used for moving Snake, of course, and the L and R buttons for attacking/shooting. I’ll admit, I was a tad disoriented my first play session. It’s easy to adapt, though, so the next time I picked Snake Eater 3D up I was going along without any trouble. Snake was walking, crawling and slithering around environments unseen with no problems on my part.
There is something that will occasionally come up. At certain moments, say when Snake sneaks up on an enemy to attack from behind, the frame rate suffers. There’s just some minor lag. It doesn’t happen often and even sometimes I snuck up on soldiers without any noticeable hiccups, but it might happen sometimes.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D has a number of alterations for this iteration. When Snake’s walking on branches or thin walkways, the gyroscopic controls come in and you must slightly move the 3DS left and right to help him keep his balance. 3D effects have also been implemented, and in a way where they feel natural. They offer a sense of depth and perspective that make it easier to gauge distance from enemies and proper cover.
The only new feature I didn’t care for in Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was the ability to use the 3DS cameras to take photos to create a new camoflage option. The ones already included cover every situation pretty perfectly and it’s not often you find the right kind of images and scenes to photograph for new ensembles.
Food for Thought
1. I’d highly recommend playing with the 3D on. It isn’t necessary, but it makes Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D look loads better.
2. I like how it’s very easy to see how well hidden Snake is at a glance thanks to the percentage figure. You’ll know immediately if you’re blending enough.
3. Keep an eye out for the hidden Yoshis. It’s a nice little easter egg for observant gamers. I still feel conflicted and guilty about shooting them. If you shoot ’em all, you get a title of "Yoshi."
4. The only "magazines" I’ve seen are copies of Nintendo Power or fake ones.
5. The circle pad accessory isn’t really necessary. I tried playing with and without one and it wasn’t too difficult to adjust to either.
6. You only get one save slot.