Developer: Konami / Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment / Played On: 3DS / Price: $39.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes]
If you’re waffling on Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater, odds are you’ve already made up your mind and just don’t know it. While the game adapts to the 3DS’ controls remarkably well and the 3D visuals give the game a little kick, you’re still going to play the exact same game. Those that never played the original should jump in with both feet, but returning vets might want to dip a toe first.
GAMEPLAY, CONTROL, AND VISUALS
I’ve already dropped some subtle hints implying this, but Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater is nearly identical to the original PS2 game with a few differences: controls, graphical updates, and the titular 3D. None of these features make the experience different enough to warrant a re-play of the game in their own right, but they succeed in varying degree to freshen the experience a little.
The first and biggest update are the controls, which feel a little awkward at first, but succeed in making MGS3 fully playable on a portable device. As my circle pad pro is still backordered at Gamestop, I played the entire game without, and it wasn’t nearly the headache I was expecting.
Essentially the A, B, X, Y buttons on the right side of the 3DS double as a second analogue stick, controlling the camera. The left slider controls Snake, the D-pad equips items and weapons with left and right, up is your conditional “action” button, and down changes your stance. L and R ready and fire weapons respectively.
Given that MGS3 gobbled up every button and stick the Dual Shock could offer, it’s a minor miracle that the game was successfully condensed to the 3DS. They’ve even added different aiming options — you can pick from over-the-shoulder, first person, or auto lock-on — which helps you hit your target whether you’re crawling around in grass or hanging from a tree. There are a ton of smart decisions in the control adaptation, but the end result is that you can still play the game. It’s one of those “if they hadn’t done it, it’d be terrible” type deals.
The visual revamps to Metal Gear Solid 3D are welcomed, but again don’t change the game so much as to alter your experience with it. Snake’s mug has been stuffed with more polygons, and some additional filters give the jungle a hazier, more engrossing vibe. 3D helps out with that too, especially when the game switches to first person when you’re crawling around in the grass. 3D fits MGS3 like a glove, enhancing the experience but not so much as to justify buying the game all over again for that alone.
The game’s prettiness comes at a price though. While the frame rate is usually very playable (I’d guess in the mid-20s), it can chug during some of the cutscenes, most noticably when The Pain is shooting bees everywhere.
The original audio from Metal Gear Solid 3D sounds amazing through the 3DS, especially since it’s way easier to play with noise-cancelling headphones on the 3DS than on a PS2. The original voice acting returns as well and has maintained its quality. Some of the VO had to be re-done though to reference the 3DS-specific controls and it sticks out like a sore thumb. The audio quality, delivery, and tone of those lines is noticeably different, which is a bit jarring when the rest of the game fits together so well.
Your interest in this game will be entirely dependent on whether you already played the original, or if you’re rearin’ to play it again. Metal Gear Solid 3D is a great showcase of what the 3DS can do and what kind of experience it can offer, I just wish that showcase didn’t retread old ground.