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I waited a long time for this game. I have loved the Metal Gear games since playing the Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation. I got a demo of it on a disc with a Playstation magazine and I spent hours and hours playing and re-playing the first part of the game, repeatedly, as I loved it so much and found it so different to anything I had played prior to this moment. The game was a revelation to me and I eagerly awaited the full game release, saving my pocket money so I could afford to buy it ASAP!
Since then, I have owned and played all of the main MGS games on PS2/PS3 and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Needless to say, when I discovered one was coming to my new Nintendo 3DS system, I was very excited. I suppose I only set myself up to be disappointed, because of the excitement, anticipation and hype I allowed myself to feel, leading up to the game's release date.
So, on to the game itself..
It starts off very well, the usual Konami flair and cinematic intro, setting up the player for something special and building the gamer's tension and excitement as they set off on a new, top secret mission full of stealthy espionage. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, after playing for a short time, things start to get a little frustrating, due mainly to the controls and the 3DS hardware. This is a game that requires good timing, patience, and a comfortable controller. I found the game very hard to play with the standard 3DS combination of a single analogue stick and 4 buttons. For this reason, I used the optional Circle Pad Pro attachment, which gave me dual analogue sticks and a couple of extra triggers. This felt great at first, but soon grew tiresome as I realised my hands are just too large to hold the 3DS comfortably for any real length of time, even with the Cirle Pad Pro. Trying to use the actual controls (especially the triggers) became very annoying and uncomfortable after a short while, and I yearned for a lovely dual shock controller instead.
Again, the game sets itself up well, with the promise that the player is in for a real treat. Unfortunately, again, the game is flawed. It's not a total deal-breaker, but it bugged me enough to not play more than half the game. MGS 3DS feels like a rushed release. It does not take long to realise its short-comings, when there are regular, ugly graphical elements and textures, camera issues and bugs. These little annoyances really ruined the gaming experience for me, and that's just unacceptable with a game of this ilk. These games, for me, are about becoming engrossed, feeling a part of the story and BEING Solid Snake. On the 3DS, this just did not feel possible. I suppose this is due, in part, to the size of the 3DS display, compared to playing on a large TV, but you can't argue with the fact that gameplay issues, jagged textures and a general feeling of a lack of attention to detail, really ruin what could have been a brilliant game. And, of course, the control issues and discomfort of longer gaming sessions on the 3DS, even with the Circle Pad attachment, which costs another £15 on top of the game.
The AI is a bit hit or miss, but it's not something to complain about too much. Sometimes you are spotted when you were certain that you were totally hidden, and other times you can be right next to someone and they won't even bat an eyelid!
What I DID Like:
The new touches made to the original release, to take advantage of the Nintendo hardware, are quite nice, and usually work well. The 3D is, as usual, very good and does do at least a little to help you feel more 'involved'.
The way Snake can crawl through the grass in 1st person is fun and exciting at first, but can also be annoying when ugly pixelated blades of grass are stopping you from seeing what you need to see, and I'd you move around too much to try and get a proper look, you're spotted and you feel like a complete stealth failure.
The camera implementation is quite cool with this title, allowing the player to photograph a texture or pattern and use it as your camouflage outfit in the game, prompting you to try and find the best texture to make you as invisible as possible in different situations. This is fun and works pretty well!
The story is good, as you'd already know anyway if you played Metal Gear Solid 3 on PS2. It's a great game but unfortunately this release is flawed and although it's not just a quick port, it certainly feels like one. And a rushed one at that.
This game is a tough one to review. It has good points, but also lots of bad ones. There are moments of excitement and genuine pleasure while playing through, but control issues and gameplay problems present it from being what it could, and should, have been. I waited. Long time for this release and feel generally disappointed. So far I have only played about half - two thirds of the game, due to the issues mentioned above. It's a real shame, but if I were to recommend a Metal Gear Solod game to someone, it wouldn't be this one. Youd be much better off spending your money on the MGS HD collection for PS3/X360, as you're getting WAY more content for your money, and the games are much nicer to play, and easier to control.
However, if you don't have large hands, or an HD games console, then the 3DS version might be for you! If you aren't put off by a few quirks then the game can still be enjoyed and does offer some entertainment. Just not enough for me, personally.