Metal Gear Solid HD Collection review
The main baddie in Metal Gear Solid 2 is your evil (and actually dead) identical twin, whose spirit lives on through the surgically grafted arm of a gun-juggling Russian badass. That sentence essentially crystallises what makes the series’ blend of insane melodrama such a guilty hoot. But what forearm-dwelling siblings can’t convey is how brilliantly Solid Snake’s methodical, super-imaginative stealth has aged.
Well, we say ‘Snake’, but that’s basically a fib. Truth is, the epically mulleted MGS icon only really turns up for an hour-long cameo over the course of the three games offered in this newly purdied-up PS2/PSP bumper package. Instead, you’re plonked in the whiny slippers of polarising Foxhound noob Raiden in MGS2. Meanwhile, Snake’s old man Big Boss stars in MGS3: Snake Eater and the previously PSP-exclusive Peace Walker.
Regardless of whether you’re controlling a legendary Cold War soldier or a blond mophead who looks like a failed X Factor contestant, though, each title overcomes sub-PS3 textures thanks to sheer inventiveness.
Starting with MGS2, what’s immediately striking is just how well its thoughtful gameplay has endured the test of time – despite being a decade old. Unlike the recent Splinter Cell HD offerings, the ’Gear’s approach to sneaking is brilliantly open and improvisational. Rather than forcing you down corridors where cowering in shadows is the only way of staying hidden, it gives you all manner of wonderful toys with which to elude your enemies.
In this gleefully playful, daft world, the most humble of everyday items becomes as useful as any silenced pistol or set of ten-thousand-quid night-vision goggles. Copies of Playboy can be laid down to make horny, highly trained terrorists abandon their duties (namely, making sure you don’t tinker with the Godzilla-sized nuclear robot they’re supposed to be guarding).