A year and a half ago, I was able to play the remake of Metal Gear Solid when it was released on the Gamecube as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. Now, I get another chance to play another remade Metal Gear Solid game – this time, it’s Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
When I first saw that this was available for the 3DS, I was a little disappointed. This is a remake of the third Metal Gear Solid game, and I wanted to play the series in sequence and didn’t want to skip the second game. But when I learned that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is actually a prequel, I was sold.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is a stealth action game and was originally released on the Playstation 2 as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The 3DS remake features what looks like better graphics than the original. Instead of having Solid Snake, we have the original Snake (referred to in the game as Naked Snake) as the main protagonist, before he became known as Big Boss.
The game plays the way modern 3D action games do – you control Snake’s movement with the Circle Pad, and the camera angles with the face buttons. When aiming a weapon (either first or third person views), you also use the face buttons to control Snake’s point of view. The setting of the game is very different from the first game as you spend most of your time in outdoor environments, which goes hand in hand with a new camouflage feature that requires you to change the camouflage patterns of your uniform to match your surroundings accordingly.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D also approaches Health and Stamina a little different from the usual. Snake still has a Health bar, but instead of using restorative items (Which are available, but very rare) Snake’s Health regenerates automatically. The rate of regeneration depends on Snake’s current stamina, which is depleted gradually as you play. You’ll need to keep Snake’s stamina high by eating constantly, and you can feed Snake the usual food items (rations) or feed him animals that you can capture or kill. Snake can also sustain injuries that will require first aid – broken bones, for example, need to be set, a splint needs to be applied, and finally a bandage. Different injuries will require different first aid items, and any unhealed injury will result in Snake’s stamina to deplete faster which in turn would result in a slower regeneration rate.
The story and characterization of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is amazing. I found Naked Snake to be much more relatable than Solid Snake was in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. You could really feel him get torn apart as he attempts to complete his mission objectives. His interactions with his support group were a pleasure to listen to, even though they were a bit lengthy and sometimes took you away from the action, giving you insights on the personalities of each of his crew. What’s really amazing though is the character of The Boss; it’s hard to explain, but at the end of the game you can’t help but respect her.
The presentation of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D does a great job in telling the story. Cutscenes look great and almost have a movie-like quality in them, the voice acting is well-acted, the script is top notch, and the music is excellent. The game even comes with an introduction and opening credits scene that will remind you of James Bond movies.
It’s a good thing that the game’s storyline is quite compelling, because some people may give up on the game due to some control issues. Don’t get me wrong, the controls for the most part are solid, but had glaring flaws. For example, when crawling, you’d press down to move backwards but all of a sudden, the camera angle changes and if you continue to press down you’d end up crawling forwards instead. Also, aiming using the face buttons was okay, but very hard to use when you needed to shoot at multiple targets in quick succession, which can be quite frustrating especially when you’re playing the more intense parts of the game. To really enjoy Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, you need the Circle Pad Pro accessory as the second analog stick would allow for more precise aiming. I’d be disappointed if the additional analog stick of the New Nintendo 3DS models isn’t compatible with this game.
Also, the way Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D used the 3DS functionalities felt a little forced. Putting in a balancing mechanism that utilizes the gyroscope was quite annoying – I had to move from a relaxed and comfortable position simply because I had to cross a bridge and needed to keep my 2DS level. The feature of taking pictures and turning it into custom camouflage patterns didn’t really add to the gameplay and just served as a distraction for me. While there was a quick equip feature that used the touchscreen of the device, it wasn’t designed in such a way that I could avoid pausing the game to access Snake’s inventory – I still kept on pausing to ensure that I had the correct items ready for use.
Speaking of pausing the game, you’ll have to do that a lot in Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. Move to a new environment? Pause, change camouflage pattern. Low on stamina? Pause, eat food. Got shot? Pause, apply first aid on bullet wound. Need an item that you have but isn’t in your quick equip inventory? Pause, put item in your quick equip slots. Pause, pause, pause – it can get annoying at times.
I talked about a lot of flaws, but I actually liked Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D a lot. The game still handled well for the most part, despite the new features and the control issues that I cited. The visuals were amazing to look at and the overall presentation was top notch, showing what the 3DS is capable of. It really felt like experiencing a long, interactive movie, and the great script, storyline, and voice acting helped provide an immersive experience.
I wouldn’t say that Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is a must have though. I found the flawed controls to be tolerable, but not everyone may feel the same way. Some might prefer the version included in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection that was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation Vita. I’d recommend this to people who have a 3DS and the Circle Pad Pro attachment, or even to those 3DS owners who don’t have the attachment but still want to play a Metal Gear Solid game. I enjoyed Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, I don’t regret buying it at all, and I’m looking forward to playing this again once the New Nintendo 3DS models are available.