Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Review
Developer: Kojima Productions
Available on: Nintendo 3DS only
Unless you’ve been living under a snake covered rock recently, you will know that Metal Gear Solid is having quite a reemergence as of late. With the release of the HD collection, which we scored a “Solid” 10/10, MGS fans would’ve been extremely happy to have these classic titles available to them on the current handheld consoles. You would assume that any fan would’ve wanted the original MGS to have a full HD conversion via the Nintendo Gamecube release, “The Twin Snakes”. But you would be wrong because instead, Konami and Kojima Productions listened to the majority of fans and decided to port arguably the best MGS game of them all onto a handheld console, and so was the birth of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
Although this title is available to play on the HD collection, the fact that you can now play Snake Eater in full on the Nintendo 3DS is a very exciting prospect, allowing you to have some MGS action wherever you desire to play it. Snake on the Bus, Snake on the plane, Snake in the park, the possibilities are endless. But have they successfully ported the title onto the 3DS and is the new 3D aspect any good?
STORY: If you are a fan of the MGS series you will probably already know the storyline to Snake Eater, which had one of the most in depth and enthralling storylines of the series, with it’s classic MGS style and a James Bond-esque story thrown in for good measure. However, if you are still a little hazy with the story, here is a reminder:
Snake Eater is set just after the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962, with the Cold War in full swing. The threat of an all out nuclear war is ever present, with America and the Soviet Union undergoing some intense negotiations. The Russians move their nuclear missiles out of Cuba, which seemingly has allowed humanity to survive a nuclear holocaust, but there was a secret condition that really put an end to the crisis, and that was for America to return a Soviet Rocket Scientist called Nikolai Sokolov, who had only recently defected. America complied with this condition, only to then find out that Sokolov had been designing some kind of nightmarish weapons that could tip the scales of the Cold War in favor of the Russians. Now with Sokolov back in Soviet hands, he can continue to build this weapon and should it be completed, it will mark a new age of fear.
Realizing the urgency of the situation, the CIA hatch a plan to recapture Sokolov and dispatch the covert FOX unit to his research facility located south of the Soviet fortress of Groznyj Grad. Led by former SAS member Major Zero, the FOX unit specialize in covert intelligence and solo sneaking missions and, aided by the mother of the USA’s special forces, codename The Boss, there is only one man that can successfully complete the mission. He will have to roam this hostile land, survive an onslaught of enemies and re-secure Sokolov; a man with the code name of Naked Snake.
The whole story is in this new port and it is still as good today as when it was when it was released back in 2004. They have had to change some of the dialogue during the game to incorporate the Nintendo 3DS features, thankfully with success. The beginning is still quite long winded and takes a while to get going which may be the reason why some people stopped playing these titles but if you pay attention and go with it, you will find that this is one of the best stories ever told in a video game. There are still cheesy bits which are quite funny in a way and the whole thing has that Japanese feel to it but it is still an absolutely banging story and can recommend that anyone who left this title out because of the long introduction to reconsider and give this title a real good go.
GRAPHICS: Snake Eater was quite a graphical achievement when it was first released and now with the release of the 3DS version, you can tell that the graphics have aged a little. It’s not terrible but if you are a graphics junkie and only prefer to play in HD you may be a little disappointed. If, however, you prefer the original graphics for that retro feel then you will be happy with the results. The 3D, it has to be said, is phenomenal, as when you turn the slider up and you see the world before burst into 3D is an amazing achievement.
The gameplay 3D doesn’t slow down and now judging how far an enemy is away has never been so much fun, and having a lush jungle with all of its inhabitants, human or animal, in full on 3D is astounding. Occasionally you are distracted by the 3D and can find yourself in a pickle, making you panic slightly and in doing so you may find yourself not looking directly at the screen which then makes it go all blurry, but with enough practise and being methodical in your approach to things will stop this from happening. The FMV’s do suffer a little unfortunately, even though the 3D is still great there seems to be a slight frame rate issue as it all seems like everyone is moving a little juddery. It certainly isn’t a game breaker but it is noticeable and takes a little of the shine off of this great remake.
SOUND: The original score is still there, which captures the essence and the feel of the game fantastically, although the Snake Eater theme tune is still a little different to how this reviewer remembers, and the Star Sailor song during the end credits is still a fantastic choice to the ending with regards to the storyline. In the original game you had the little frogs to shoot to help with getting special items at the end of the title, but this, being on a Nintendo console, has been changed, now you will see little Yoshi’s dotting around and shooting them will result in hearing a familiar noise to those who have played games with Yoshi in.
The sound effects are original and are as you would expect them to be. The original voices tracks are used, with the original voice actors being used for the changes in the radio dialogue. The voice acting is still as weird as ever, but it is still entertaining and well acted.
GAMEPLAY: As there are not as many buttons on the Nintendo 3DS, the controls had to be remapped. The analogue stick is for movement as you would expect and the D-Pad is now used for many things. Up is essentially now the action buttons and the down button is now Snake’s stances (standing, crouching and laying down), with left and right allowing you to quick equip your selected weapon and item. The face buttons are the camera directions and the L bumper is now aim and the R bumper is now shoot. To change your shooting view, you can use the touch pad to select auto aim, first person or third person which opens up a lot of new attacking options. If you are in a battle, using the auto aim or third person is great for putting down multiple enemies quickly, and first person is ideal for sniping or sneaking around, silently taking out enemies.
On the touch screen you have the aforementioned view change when aiming your weapon, as well as a map of the area, which shows enemy positions, if you have the motion detector selected as an item. You also have the options for your survival viewer i.e. backpack, cure, food, radio, full map view and camouflage. Simply pressing which one you want to go to will take you to that part of the survival viewer instantly. However by pressing select you can go to the survival viewer in full as well and change whatever you want without going back to the game. Another cool aspect is the use of the Nintendo 3DS camera or in game camera and the camouflage option. If you take pictures with your 3DS camera before you start the game or use the in game camera, you can use those photo’s to make your own camouflage to help you get that 100% rating and successfully stay hidden from the enemy.
The original gameplay is there in full effect and still plays brilliantly, with your approach to the game being the most enjoyable. You can go in guns blazing or be methodical in taking out enemies or just avoid them altogether. It really depends on how you like to play to get the most enjoyment out of it. The only problem with the gameplay really is the camera direction buttons, using the face buttons to move the camera can make aiming a tad more difficult. This is because you can have difficulty fine tuning your aim, which is needed when you need to take an enemy down quickly so others aren’t alerted. You can cancel this out by purchasing a Circle Pad Pro, but if you begrudge spending money for one, or simply don’t want to buy the peripheral, you will need to get some aiming practise in.
LONGEVITY: To complete Snake Eater the first time around can take you anywhere between 10-20 hours depending on how fast you play or how much exploring/taking out enemies you do. Missing out the cut scenes and screaming through headshots galore will have this completed in no time, but to really savour the game you need to take in the story and imagine yourself as a bad ass super spy/soldier. That is where the major appeal comes in and you will happily play through this for 20 hours. The fact that the game is abundant with many secrets to find as well as additional items, ratings and extra story on repeat playthroughs give this title a massive replay factor, and with this being on a handheld console will allow you to casually go through the game at your own leisure, because there is always more than one way to do things in this or any other MGS title.
VERDICT: Snake Eater was always a fantastic game and thankfully with this new port, you will be able to play it on a handheld device wherever you desire. The 3D is fantastic and the game still holds up graphically as well as its gameplay. There are a few problems that do take the edge off this fantastic title but like anything that you do, plenty of practise and a willingness to watch and playthrough a great story will have you playing Snake Eater for many moons to come.
Will the other MGS titles be ported to the Nintendo 3DS such as the previously mentioned “Twin Snakes”? Only time and Mr. Kojima will tell on that, but with Revengeance on the horizon and talks of MGS 5 for 2013/2014, we at least have this fantastic port and the HD collection to keep us going until Snake and company come riding onto our gaming devices once again; and I for one cannot wait.
Writer for GodisaGeek.com, I contribute News, Previews and Reviews for the site as well as the Video Producer (Console), bringing you the latest footage for GodisaGeek.com's First Look.