Retro Review: “Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection”

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Since its debut in 1987, the “Metal Gear” series has been held in high regard as one of the best sagas in gaming. For its 25th anniversary in 2012, a collection containing the entire series up to that point was released on the Playstation 3. Even though much has changed about the video game industry since then, the series has stood the test of time as a breakthrough in interactive storytelling and stealth-based gameplay.

In addition to the first four “Metal Gear Solid” games, the collection contains three games that were not previously released on the Playstation 3 as well as two that had never been released in the United States in their original forms before. The original 1987 “Metal Gear” had only received a downgraded port on the Nintendo Entertainment System before this collection. Now, the original game and its 1990 sequel, “Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake” have been released in their original forms as part of this collection. The games had previously only been available on the MSX computer, which never saw a release in the United States. Though both games have admittedly aged, the core mechanics of the series are firmly in place, favoring stealth and strategy over simply going into each area, guns blazing. The plot of “Metal Gear
2: Solid Snake” was also the basis for the groundbreaking 1998 “Metal Gear Solid.” The previously overlooked title “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker” also gained a much larger audience than it originally had for its initial release on the Playstation Portable in 2010.

Upon its release on the original Playstation, “Metal Gear Solid” helped redefine the term “interactive fiction” and show the cinematic and storytelling potential of video games in a high-quality fashion. Prior to this, many attempts included nonsensical plots, terrible live actors and the appearance of having been made as cheaply as possible. When the first “Metal Gear Solid” was released in 1998, it set standards for not only the series but countless other video games that followed. The writing, acting and production values were deliberately made to be on par with major Hollywood movies, and its influence can still be felt today.

While the 2001 entry “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” has often been divisive among some fans, the game’s reputation has gotten much stronger over time. Not only has the gameplay held up surprisingly well, the story and its themes have arguably gotten more relevant in the years since the game’s initial release. “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” tells the story of Snake’s first major mission set amongst the backdrop of Cold War-era Russia in the 1960s, and is among the best entries in the series and one of the best games on the Playstation 2 overall. “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” remains an engaging experience more than a decade after its initial release, telling of an aging Solid Snake being sent for one last mission.

Overall, the “Metal Gear” series has stood the test of time as a landmark of action-stealth video games for more than 30 years. There has never been a better time for fans to revisit the series or for newcomers to check it out for the first time.

Verdict 5 out of 5 Stars

Review by Steven Pryor

At a Glance:
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Platform: Playstation 3
ESRB Rating: M

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