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Do not be seen. You will figure this out not too long after beginning Metal Gear Solid. You are Solid Snake – a polygonal Action Man who likes the smell of the floor. The opening credits won’t have even finished before you are killed for the first time. The Game Over screen flashes before it’s even begun but you click Continue nevertheless. Synthetic and eerie music plays slowly as you crawl beneath empty shipping containers. It quietens when you rip through a puddle and it deafens you when guards hear your echoing footsteps. With a sound somewhere between chip-tune and orchestral, this never seems out of place in a pixel-textured military sci-fi world.
This was my first taste of the Metal Gear franchise, I should add, and I was already hooked.
Armed with little more than a pair of binoculars. a pack of smokes and a re-purposed Amazon box, Snake is forced out of retirement to face-off against old comrades. You probably already know the score (unless you’ve been living in a box your whole life as I have).
He’ll light cigarettes in dingy ventilation shafts and inconspicuously hide himself beneath cardboard boxes. In the midst of rearing his head outside a nuclear-armed terrorist base, he’s going to brazenly flirt with each female character he can. A slither of James Bond’s gentlemanly would be welcome here, and something tells me this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the “expressions and themes which may be considered outdated” that Konami’s disclaimer warns of.
The first game in the collection, Metal Gear Solid, was originally a PS1 game. Despite my wealth of love for the console, MGS certainly plays like an old game. It’s slow, clunky, and awkward. You’ll try and turn a corner but end up pressing your back up against a wall instead. Just to your luck, a guard will blindly walk past and somehow miss you in the corner of their eyes. Originally released in 1998 you should expect this remaster to feel quite aged at times. You’ll notice it most when you’re trying to aim your pistol, or shift between standing and crawling when you most need it.
Yet – despite all of the obvious pain points with the game’s mechanics, everything seems to work just fine. Metal Gear Solid is by no means an easy game to play, but if it’s a little taster of what’s to come for the series then I’m all in.
The few issues with the game include various bugs, though post-launch patches promised by Konami look to solve these. Alongside those, extended screen options are coming too. Although, I was irked by the fact that there were no 60FPS options on the PS5, while the Steam version of the game has this feature. This is certainly something to consider if you’re looking for the most well-optimised MGS experience, though it’s not a deal-breaker for me.
You might also be slightly miffed off by the the awkward packaging of the game and all of it’s downloadable content. There’s five different game launchers in this collection: Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (as one), Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and then Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Bonus Content Vol. 1. Sifting through these for what you actually need can be pretty annoying, though forgivable in the end.
I don’t think much needs to be said about the Metal Gear franchise’s corny charm. Even before I had played the game, I’d already heard of Revolver Ocelot, Big Boss and more. Their caricature names complement absurdly militarised designs, and before long I was pretty engrossed in the Metal Gear world. Engrossed enough, in fact, that I forgot about the fast approaching release date. With a review code that’s set to self-destruct then – the little taste of the remasters I’ve been teased with has convinced me to pick up a copy of the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection for myself.