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Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PlayStation 2)

92
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Matt Neuteboom (941)
Written on  :  Apr 07, 2006
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars

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Summary

The original trilogy is finally complete...

The Good

Just a mention of the Metal Gear Solid series in a conversation will send any veteran gamer into a frenzy of praises and glorification. By now, if Hideo Kojima isn’t the closest thing to video game demigod, then I don’t know who is. Just as you think Metal Gear Solid couldn’t get any better, it does. And this time, Metal Gear Solid 3 goes full out. In my honest opinion, this version of Metal Gear Solid is probably the best. I love Twin Snakes to death, and the original Metal Gear Solid 3 pushed it. But now, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence has pushed the limits. It has become a deep-heartfelt story, intense action, great cinematic, now combined with old-school gaming, and online action.

The most important aspect of this game is the fact that it completes the package. Solid Snake’s origins have now been perfectly told. The final cherry has been placed on top of the cake, and damn does it do it well. With a combination MGS3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear, and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, plus online mode and enough extra features to qualify as a game themselves, Snake’s original story is now complete. Hideo Kojima also decided to put in the regional face paints, like British flag and America flag face paints, just so we wouldn’t have to download them ourselves. Like I said, it is all about the completeness. It is like what Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith completed the prequel Star Wars series. The Metal Gear Solid prequels have been wrapped up in a perfect package, and nothing has been left untouched. Online mode, theater modes, plus Metal Gear 1 and 2. Nothing is left out. The circle is complete.

That now aside, let us look at some of the great features that every MGS fan not only should have, but needs. If it weren’t enough that they included an online MGS, something any MGS diehard fan would probably kill over, they were graceful enough to let us have the original Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

Now before I delve into how much MGS3 immerses the player into a heartfelt world, and how it is absolute proof that video games are art, I’m going to tell everyone to keep holding their breath, because that is not what I’m doing. No matter how much I want to express how I feel about the game, I can’t do it. If you know me, you know I like to write long comprehensive reviews that do the game complete justice. So let’s face it. A complete review of the original Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence would take pages upon pages. That combined with this review would set a new MobyGames record. But think about that. Take all of the stuff from Metal Gear Solid 3. MGS3 is about 20+ solid hours of game play for anybody that plays it. It offers so many features that you can play it through multiple times just trying to get new rankings and doing new stuff (try capturing every animal or every Kerotan idol, or try not to kill anybody, including bosses. Or do the ultimate MGS challenge and shoot for Big Boss ranking). Now add it on top of all the stuff Subsistence gives us. That is the magnitude of this game.

The original game comes with an all new camera angle option. Think that’s a crappy excuse for an entire game to be included with the release? WRONG! In the original, seeing enemies in front of you was a nightmare, especially with the enemies being extremely intelligent. With the new camera angle, the game is practically reborn. Before, camera angles became a huge problem when it came to aiming and attempting to see enemies in the distance. With the new camera, the game fixes a myriad of camera problems that the other games had. In fact, with the new smooth camera, you’ll look back and wonder why the Hell this didn’t occur back when MGS2 was out! After getting used to the camera system, other games will seem a trifle primitive. Oh well, better late than never I suppose. Trust me when I say this. The new camera is here to stay.

The guys at Kojima Productions could have ended it there. That’s right, they could have just re-released the game with the new camera angle and fans would have gobbled it up. However, as always, the guys at Kojima Productions go above and beyond the call of duty and add even more. In fact, the inclusion of the main game is not even half of the game play.

One of the most anticipated features of this game was the online mode. Online mode uses an ingenious yet simple in-game system to load up servers. And even though it seems like the game has just come out, there are always servers up and running 24 hours a day. The player is allowed to play the basic stuff, with death match and team death match. This is the basic death match that any Socom fan will fall in love with. While it seems like some crappy generic online play, the battles on small maps can get intense. Players can duke it out with everyone around, with either teams or an all out brawl. Players looking for an adrenaline rush will certainly like this mode more. It offers quick kills, easy respawns, and online chaos.

However, for those of you seeking strategic multiplayer, there is plenty to offer for you. Game types that are offered are Capture, where teams are tasked with capturing the Kerotan (the Kermit-looking frog thing found throughout the main game). While it may seem pretty lame, on small maps game play gets extremely intense. Players are forced to work together in order to gain the upper hand and win. Rescue mission are the same way, with each time having to steal the other teams rubber ducky. Allowing one team for defense means players can take up strategic positions rather than running into the fray. On the reverse side, the team needs to be offensive at the same time, and be wary of hidden dangers.

However the most strategic mission is Sneak missions. In this game it’s Naked Snake, who is an actual player, against actual real player guards. Snake is tasked to find the microfilm and bring it back to a capture point, while guards are attempting to find and kill him. If Snake dies once, the game is over. This mode uses teamwork to the max. Think that the guards will always win with numbers on their side? Wrong again. Many times, it is Snake who will win. Besides having many advantages like camouflage and the tranquilizer gun (yes, you will get put to sleep many times; now you know what it feels like to be on the other side of the dart), Snake can use the terrain to his advantage. Sneak mission have many, usually over a dozen ways to traverse the area and get the microfilm. The mission forces guards to work together to find lookout points to find Snake, because despite their advantage of numbers Snake is very slippery and gets away if he is not covered and taken down fast. And I stress fast. Unless the team works together to take him down, he will get away. However the game also forces Snake to use cunning and wit to hide. Unless Snakes uses his resources to slip past the guards, he will be gunned down by their overwhelming numbers.

All around, multiplayer is balanced and favorable. Unlike Counter-Strike, the sniper is not an easy one hit kill. While it does sometimes kill in one hit, the user requires patience and skill. In Counter-Strike, players could easily manipulate keys to pull out a sniper and no-scope their opponents in the face in a matter of a microsecond. Not with this game. Snipers have their best strategic value in high places, meaning players need to find a good vintage point and wait. If they are caught, they are dead. It takes time to get up and switch to a different weapon, so players must be sure that they are in a secure area before pulling out a sniper. Just as well, snipers NEED to stay in one spot. They cannot move with the sniper, and the only other weapon available to them is a pistol (only one main weapon offered to players at the start, though they can find others later). Pulling out the sniper in the middle of combat is not advisable, as anyone who has used it knows that you cannot move with it, and it is frustrating to aim it up close. You might think that 8 people per server is pretty low, but trust me when I say that it is enough to keep you occupied and finding enemies no matter what part of the map you are on. The combat remains just as intense and entertaining. The number of available mission types allows for players to choose what they want. Those looking for something like Counter-Strike or Socom will immediately feel at home with death match, while those looking for strategic fun will go to the other missions. This way, Subsistence adds hours of game play for casual gamers, power gamers, and stealth junkies alike.

But to add on top of that, we still have a myriad of add-ons in the game to boost our replay value. To add-on to the inclusion of MGS3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Online, Hideo decided to add in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Both never released in America (the NES version of Metal Gear was fairly dumbed down), gamers in America finally get their first chance to play Metal Gear 1 + 2. Both the games have been added without having to beat the game or get cheats. Both are there to add another dozen hours of game play to the already increasing hours of game play gamers get out of this game. Once you’re done MGS3 and are still feeling that MGS itch, just pop in the other disc and continue the story without ever having to buy a new game or system or download an emulator. That is an honor any Metal Gear Solid fan will love to enjoy. Graphics are the same. Controls and mechanics are the same as well. This is the real deal. This is the first chance to experience Metal Gear 1 + 2 in their entirety. This is something an MGS fan should never miss. Ever.

And yet the list keeps on going. Besides ALL of this, players can view all of the cut scenes in the entire game just by going to an option in the menu. Instead of having to replay a situation a million times just to see what happens next is annoying. So those mainly interested in the story (which is quite a lot of people, even I agree that the story is half the game) will find this a welcoming and entertaining experience. We all know how long the games cut scenes are, and this new option gives us an hour or two of more content. The scene where the boss dies, as well as the final cut scene with the president and at Arlington National Cemetery always makes me cry. So I was finally happy to be able to watch the ending cut scene with Snake and The Boss and was able to relive the moments I had when I was first watching it without having to load up the game to see it again over and over.

Players can revisit the popular Snake vs. Monkey, which has become somewhat of a cult phenomenon among MGS3 players. Not only this, but we have more missions as well as the first ones (how many I am not sure. I actually haven’t gotten to it with all of the other stuff I’m doing in the game ;-) ). With the added camera angle option, players will find breaking records to be much easier and Snake vs. Monkey, as much as it sounds strange, is still one of the most addicting things on the planet.

And yet there’s still more! (I’m beginning to feel like one of those infomercial guys advertising their crappy products :-D) Players can enjoy playing their bosses over and over and over again, on both a normal mode, where you are givien the items and equipment you would have if you were in the real game, and special mode, where you are given just a few pretty useless equipment, a pistol, and a tranquilizer gun and are expected to make due. I was able to replay The End and The Boss, two of my favorite bosses. Among these, players can also play the rest of the Cobras (The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, The Boss), but also special bosses like the Ocelot Unit after you are discovered in the burnt down house, and that cool-ass bike pursuit after the Shagohod is activated. You can also play against Volgin both times, when you’re in the hangar and when he’s on the Shagohod. Sorry, you can’t play The Sorrow. He’s so cool and mysterious, one of my favorite characters in the game, but since you don’t actually fight him its not considered a boss battle.

A last feature is a mode where you can view teaser videos made by the staff. All of the videos are made with the in-game graphics and all of the voice-actors supplied their own voices. Some of the videos can be downright hilarious. One of the most popular ones involves the teams sadistic torture of Raiden, the much-hated protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2. Now the team is getting back at him in a video called Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser. Raiden tries to go back in time to kill Naked Snake in order to prevent Solid Snake from taking his place in MGS4, but screws up and causes random time lapses. Raiden randomly gets teleported throughout the game to painful situations, including an outright insult at Raiden when Volgin mistakes him for the other commander in the game and attempts to have butt sex with him. Sometimes you will nearly piss your pants off at what the creators can come up with in their twisted minds, any many will find it amusing that the team has a wonderful sense of sexual humor. An essential video is when a perverted The End spies on EVA throughout the game from behind the scenes with his sniper scope, and makes sexual comments all the while. To include completeness, the videos even include the MGS3 trailer shown at E3 just to make this game truly complete. This video section is a great and light-hearted change of pace that you can use to simmer down from the intense, sometimes frustrating game of MGS3.

Now just look at all that stuff available. Just thinking of all the content in this game makes one’s mind just boggle. If a person plays through everything with all the content, Subsistence offers at least 40+ hours of game play. I can’t stress enough that this is the complete package. For all you people out there with little money, this is the game to get. Not only does it come with ALL of this game play, but it’s just a mere $30! That’s right! Just $30! You would have to be stupid not to get this game! Even the new extra features and content justify the $30 price tag. This game is something no MGS fan should miss.

The Bad

There is one particular thing that annoyed me about this game. That is the fact that the movie version of the game is not in the regular version. Limited Edition version carry a movie-version- a movie with game play turned into viewable cut scenes, in order to see the entire story without ever having to play one bit. It annoys me to the greatest ends that when Kojima was stressing completeness, he left out one major part that I’ve been dreaming about for a Limited Edition. Not only this, but it also comes with a trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4. It’s not that I’m annoyed that I couldn’t see these. The game itself is practically a movie, and I already know the plotline, and I could just as easily see the trailer online. It’s just that it ruins the completeness of the game, and that many gamers aren’t getting everything. It just seems to stick in the back of my mind.

In a sense, the online mode has some problems with concept and design. Since the game doesn’t offer the ability to move while in first person, most players will favor to just aim and shoot blindly in third-person mode. This and the fact that the game has no penalties for deaths (quick respawn time and no point penalties) make the death match and team death match a run and gun fest. Fans of Counter-Strike or Socom may find this suitable, but fans of MGS are usually looking for something strategic, and this will definitely kill the experience.

Kojima Productions also made some silly mistakes when it came to online. For example, why include a magazine? No person in the world will actually stop and read it when Snake is getting away with the microfilm. In Snake Eater the AI was programmed to be realistic and read it. But humans will not care to read dirty magazines during an intense battle. As well, the ability to knock over an enemy is extremely annoying. Most people will tend to knock you over and unload while you are down. The shotgun also has too much power, and combined with the ability to knock you down makes to much too powerful. Among these are also some other things that need to be improved in online mode. Let’s hope Hideo Kojima learns from these mistakes and does a slightly better job next time.

Lastly, some people will also find it annoying that they have to go out and buy the network adaptor in order to play the online mode. It is annoying to have to buy extra hardware just to get a major part of the game. I know what it feels like. There is a positive side however. Since the game is just $30 and the network adaptor is $20, the price tag comes to $50, the cost of a normal game. Perhaps this is why the price is $30, but maybe not. But if you don’t have it, do yourself a favor and buy it before you get this game. It will be worth it once you have the game. Trust me.

The Bottom Line

MGS3: Subsistence is like a DVD box set of the origins of Solid Snake. It contains all three games right there for you, with a myriad of other features like online mode and Theater mode. Hideo Kojima has left nothing out. There’s nothing left to go back and remake or redo. One can definitely tell that Hideo Kojima wanted to finish this thing up so he would never have to come back and redo everything. With his planned retirement after MGS4, Hideo plans on giving everything finality. Everything we ever wanted or even needed is included with MGS3: Subsistence. There’s online mode, Snake vs. Monkey, and everything right down to the trailer for the game. Kojima wants to finally finish and close up this series for good, and that’s just what he’s doing. He’s given us everything we need so he won’t need to come back and keep giving us more. With MGS3, Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2 done for good, now he only needs to worry about MGS4 to go off with a bang, and everything will be over with.

We thank you for this Mr. Kojima. You have given us a stellar ending to the first three games of your series. With over 40+ hours of game play and every feature we could ever need at the cheap price of $30, you cold not have answered our wishes better.

This game is a collector’s item for anyone, from newbs of the series to veterans of every Metal Gear Solid game. Even if you have Snake Eater, the $30 price tag is undoubtedly worth the extra features. It is a perfect time for newbs to jump into the series, with a perfected Snake Eater and Metal Gear 1 and 2, which many MGS veterans have not even played yet! Anyone who liked Snake Eater will fall in love with this game, and it is like the Holy Grail for MGS diehards. Go out and buy this game and I can assure you it will be the best $30 you have ever spent in your life.