In recent years, the videogame market has been literally invaded by HD Collections, collections that include various chapters of some sagas (more or less famous), presenting them with a more avant-garde graphic design. Whether these initiatives are welcomed or seen as mere commercial gimmicks that enable good sales with limited efforts, it cannot be denied that the market response has been quite positive. In light of this, the arrival of Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on the shelves of stores was almost inevitable, entrusted with the task of bringing a substantial slice of the tactical espionage game experience to Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Playstation Vita. brought Hideo Kojima to the Olympus of developers. The challenge, when it comes to this type of product, begins even before inserting the disc: we are faced with the attempt to "exploit" an imposing fanbase like that of Metal Gear or the one we find in our hands is the opportunity to add pearls from the previous generation to our playroom?
Tested versions: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
Conflict and Vittoria are my parents
Analyzing the contents on the disc in order of release on the market, the first title of the collection is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, present in its Substance version (even if purged of the Skateboarding modes, a sort of Evolution Skateboarding demo that allowed you to explore the Big Shell while delighting in performing stunts on the board, and the Document mode, a making-of of the interactive game). Of all the playful video iterations of the series, this is certainly the most discussed and controversial, able to literally split both users and critics in two (just think that among the numerous awards won by the game also ranks second in the ranking of the "most overrated games of all time" by Gamespy). The title is set two years after the events of the first Metal Gear Solid, and initially sees us as a Snake aboard an oil tanker, intent on investigating a new Metal Gear model, the RAY. This first part of the game actually acts as an introduction, and with the continuation of the plot (which evolves by alternating playable sections with more or less long films, often very "cinematic" and definitely full of dialogue) the player will take control of another character, Raiden, with whom he will have to interact for most of the story. From the player's point of view, a reasoned and "rational" approach is certainly encouraged, and therefore rather than throwing oneself into the action by holding one of the weapons that are obtained by continuing with the adventure, it is preferable to advance more slowly and without attracting too much the be careful, deciding from time to time if it is worth facing the guards in the area or if it is better to hide (for example inside some locker, inside the classic cardboard boxes or "hanging" from a balustrade). Both Snake and Raiden have a fair range of possibilities with which to knock out the various enemies: for example, it is possible to attract the attention of these by "knocking" on a wall, or sneak up to strangle them, or even threaten them by aiming them a gun and forcing them to hand over in-game items like ammo and rations. What is most striking about Sons of Liberty is the level of interaction with the enemies and with the scenario, which responds in a realistic way to the actions performed by the player (the most obvious example is when walking on dirty or wet surfaces, on which footprints will remain that if seen by the guards will trigger the alarm and arrive other enemies as reinforcement), aspect that certainly increases the level of immersion and plays in favor of the stealth aspect of the title. The last necessary observation that must be made concerns the almost Orwellian “message” and the themes that are touched upon in recounting the events: if these were the subject of criticism at the exit, after eleven years they appear decidedly current. Ultimately, although we are faced with an "old" title and sometimes the weight of the past years makes the commands appear a bit woody, we would like to say that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has acquired even more thickness thanks to the time passed since the release.
I will get off my bike just to fall in love or to die
If Sons of Liberty is the title of the series that has attracted the most criticism, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (re-proposed in this collection in the Subsistence version, also here "castrated" of some content such as the online features and the Ape Escape minigame) it is the one generally most appreciated by fans. The game ranks temporally before all the other chapters of the saga, bringing us into the middle of the Cold War and putting us in control of Naked Snake, a member of the FOX unit, a military group affiliated with the CIA. The protagonist's goals are to eliminate his mentor, The Boss, who recently deserted to go to the side of the enemy and bring back to American soil Nikolai Sokolov, a scientist who mainly deals with missiles and who was brought to his motherland to create a bipedal tank capable of launching nuclear warheads on the United States directly from the Soviet Union. The main setting is that of the Russian taiga, which will alternate in some places with other more "closed" locations such as military bases or caves. And it is precisely the setting (both at a "logistical" and temporal level) that makes a fundamental contribution at the level of gameplay: being set chronologically before all the other chapters, the technologies on which Naked Snake can rely are more "primitive", with the classic radar that is eliminated in favor of other instruments (such as the AP sensor, which vibrates more and more strongly with the approach of enemies, or the active sonar) which however run on batteries and therefore discharge when they are used. Another difference compared to the old chapters is the presence of various camouflage and face paints that can be used, which are not limited to a simple aesthetic issue but are an active part of the game thanks to a camouflage system that indicates on the screen the percentage of "camouflage" in time. real, calculated based on the surrounding environment and the camouflage (and face paint) in use. Self the temporal setting takes the stealth component of the title to an even higher level, the geographical setting involves the addition of mechanics never explored before within the series, with the introduction of a survival component that sees us forced to do everything possible to survive inside the Russian forest, from eating the most various animals who "live" in it (among other rats, frogs and snakes, sometimes even poisonous or harmful to the protagonist) to medicate themselves after firefights or particularly unpleasant falls, extracting bullets with a knife and dressing wounds. All these aspects make Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in terms of gameplay the most successful and fun of the titles proposed in this collection. Of note is the presence among the extras of the first two chapters of the series, namely Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, released on MSX respectively in 1987 and 1990.
Ruler of peace
The latest title to be analyzed is Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, originally released on Playstation Portable and a direct follow-up to Snake Eater. Once again in the role of Naked Snake (who still refuses to be called the Big Boss, given to him by the President of the United States), we will be hired together with the Militaires Sans Frontières to face CIA mercenaries intent on entering Costa Rica, nation without an army. Compared to the "original" counterpart of the title, the version included in Metal Gear Solid HD Collection benefits from a new control system designed to take full advantage of the controllers of the "home" consoles, which makes the experience more usable. However, it must be said that it is still a conversion of a title designed for a different device, and where some choices do not weigh particularly from this point of view (such as the mission structure, originally designed with a wink to portability and use "on the move") others, such as alternating within the cutscenes of real movies and their own and comic "clips", do not adapt very well to the use on screens of more generous dimensions than that of the old Sony laptop. Also from a technical point of view Peace Walker pays for its nature of conversion, with textures not always up to par and an annoying pop-up effect that makes some objects appear on the screen almost suddenly. Net of these defects, however, it remains an overall valid and decidedly important title from the point of view of the plot, especially in light of the recent announcements related to Metal Gear Solid V. Among the various goodies present, the secondary missions taken from the Monster Hunter series must absolutely be mentioned. that allow you to face some monsters taken from this and a creature created for the occasion, the Gear Rex.
Is the operation virtuous also on PS Vita?
The Playstation Vita version of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is technically virtually identical to its domestic counterpart, also offering some extra features in terms of controls using the touchscreen and rear touchpad. These improvements are more appreciated within the menus, offering a more immediate and comfortable navigation, but they are a bit limping from the point of view of the actual gameplay (in Snake Eater, for example, it is possible to cut the throat of enemies taken at shoulders using the rear touchpad, but in this sense the immediacy of the physical keys is definitely another thing). Ultimately these are ancillary controls that do not introduce anything transcendental. Different speech for the cross-save features implemented between this version and that for Playstation 3, which allow you to start the adventure on one of the two platforms and continue it on the other without problems, in addition to automatically unlocking the trophies taken on the other console when the saves are synchronized. Unfortunately the two versions are not identical in terms of content, with Peace Walker being inexplicably absent in the collection for PS Vita and must be purchased separately, an absolutely questionable choice (especially since being designed for a portable console here it would have given its best) which in fact impoverishes the offer and moves the needle in favor of the purchase on other platforms . On balance, the portable version of this collection is recommended for those who want to enjoy the genius of Hideo Kojima even out of the house, especially if they also have the version for Playstation 3 given the possibility of using the same save on the two consoles.Verdict 8.5 / 10 All (or almost) Kojima's touch in a single disc Comment From the point of view of the contents, except for the absence of Peace Walker in the PS Vita version, in Metal Gear Solid HD Collection he certainly did not skimp, offering in addition to the three chapters advertised also the first two adventures of Solid Snake (in fact only the first chapter and the fourth of the “Solid” series are missing to be able to talk about a complete collection). Answering the question asked at the beginning, then Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is a great opportunity both for those who have never approached the series and for long-time fans of Hideo Kojima's creature, keeping in mind that we are talking about excellent titles but with a few years behind. Pros and cons ✓ So much Hideo Kojima in one collection
✓ Cross-save between Playstation 3 and PS Vita
✓ The PS Vita version is virtually indistinguishable from the others
✓ Peace Walker's new controls enhance the experience ... x ... But we're still talking about a portable console port
x In some situations the weight of the years is felt
x On Playstation Vita Peace Walker must be purchased separately