These all sound like detrimental flaws, but rather, they're qualities you've got to get used to. And you will. Let's not forget, Snake Eater came out seven years ago. Combat's not stilted - it's precise. Movement's not limited - it's deliberate. The jungle's not artificial - it's designed. Push through and you'll find a game brimming with ideas (camouflage, trap-setting, injury treatment), freeform combat, inventive boss fights and a beautiful setting teeming with life. It's Hideo Kojima's crowning glory.
SONS OF ANARCHY
Sons of Liberty is the weaker of the two, near ruined by the series' most convoluted controls. Snake Eater introduced crucial analogue movement, allowing silent creeps on patrolling guards, but here you're binary, all but operating in ones and zeroes. Run or walk, there's no middle ground.
Cover's another low point, the several simultaneous button presses you'll need to peek round corners, whip out guns and knock on walls to lure enemies made even trickier with the Vita's stubby thumbsticks. Shooting too feels detached, opting to use the face buttons rather than triggers to fire.
Of all Sony's HD collections - Ratchet and Clank, Devil May Cry, Jak and Daxter - Sons of Liberty is the most inaccessible. That's entirely because it's so good. Master the counterproductive controls and they'll give way to total freedom - of movement and level traversal and guard interaction.
You can hang off ledges and drag bodies and aim guns at guards in first-person to shake them down for ammo and supplies. And if one gets wise? Turn him into a human shield. The range of interaction was revolutionary at the time. It's something to keep in mind during initial struggles.
The Vita's new touchscreen controls attempt to alleviate problems. Like in Snake Eater you can pinch the rear pad to switch between first and third-person views, flick to slit throats, and slide to peek around corners, but none of it feels intuitive. By adding new controls without fixing core issues, you're left with several schemes - just no primary one that does the job. What does, however, is the inventory: simply flick up or down to scroll through weapons and items, and tap to equip. It's simple, it works.
This Substance version of Sons of Liberty offers extra missions in VR and Snake Tales modes, and Snake Eater nods towards the Subsistence model and packs in two ancient originals - Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 MSX2. There's also a lot of game here.
It takes time returning your brain to the last-gen, but overcome iffy controls and you'll find brilliantly inventive and varied design from a true gaming auteur at the peak of his powers.
- The two best MGS games in the palm of your hand
- They look better than ever on the OLED screen
- Substance and Subsistence models bring extra features
- Controls take time to master, a struggle throughout
- There's no Peace Walker