One recent 3DS release that I think might not be getting a fair glance from a lot of people is Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D. Half of it is sort of the game’s marketing, and half of it is people’s priorities.
Honestly, I don’t give a crap that I can play the game in 3D now. That’s actually one of the last reasons I bought a 3DS in the first place, so I can understand if people just see that this is a version of MGS3 in 3D and skip it. What’s more, Konami released an HD console version of the game not too long ago and are putting out a Vita version that will look nice too. Those people however are missing the real reason why this is one of the game’s best editions: they finally fixed the daggum controls.
If you haven’t played MGS3 in a while, the controls really don’t hold up well at all, not even in the Subsistence version with the improved camera. Actually, I didn’t think the controls were very good back then.
A lot of people dislike Metal Gear Solid for its controls, but I honestly only dislike the third one for this reason. Playing the 8-bit Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake made me realize that MGS1 and 2 still followed that game’s basic design blueprint – a top-down 2D action game, even a decade later, and make a lot more sense when you treat them as such. MGS3 is where Kojima switched up the level design with more open areas, smarter enemies, and a real requirement that the player fully observe his surroundings. This didn’t fit with the older controls in my opinion, and I think the altered camera system in Subsistence was an admission of this on Kojima’s part.
MGS3D is the only version where they’ve gone back and rectified this. Being able to aim over Snake’s shoulder with just the L trigger is much better than having to simultaneously hold three buttons – holding one at half pressure, just to get iron sights. Determining CQC moves with the D pad once Snake has grabbed an enemy is much more intuitive than deciding between interrogation and a slit throat based on button pressure. Being able to walk while crouched is also something of a game changer. The control icon prompts look good too and make things more intuitive. Basically this edition uses the control system of MGS4 and Peace Walker. It wouldn’t fit at all with MSGS1 or 2, but I think it’s perfect for 3. I even played this version without the Circle Pad Pro and liked it, but then again I was able to put up with PW’s controls on the PSP for over 40 hours, I know most people can’t.
Even the touch screen controls make a lot of sense here. You no longer have to go through a bunch of sub menus to reach the cure, food, and camouflage screens. The way the map is displayed on the touch screen – integrated with the radar items, was also very smart.
The only thing that I think sucks about the 3DS version is the frame rate. So yes, I’ll admit that the HD version feels much smoother at 60 frames per second – MGS3 has never been that smooth before, and yes all those extra pixels look very pretty. I will still choose better gameplay over prettier graphics though. Even then, what one defines as “prettier” graphics is subjective in this case.
The HD and upcoming Vita versions have higher image quality, but the 3DS version is the only one where Konami actually improved the base art assets and engine. The cut scenes show off new post-processing effects like depth of field to compliment the 3D now. A lot of the character models look better too with some normal mapping. Though, I wonder if all that was worth the frame rate drop.
Basically the choice regarding MGS3 is this: do you want a higher resolution and frame rate, or better controls and graphics? Ideally we’d have an HD edition with the new controls. If the Vita version ends up having the new controls that would be best, but it would be really great if Konami could somehow patch them into the HD version.
- Dan Bull’s latest rap joint is Mass Effect.
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