"MGS3: Subsistence Review"
Metal Gear Solid 3 was one of the best games of 2004. It was a great return to the series roots after the mind blowing storyline and the appearance of Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2. Metal Gear Solid 3 marked a change for the series with new wilderness settings, food consumption, stamina, and healing. Fast forward 2 years and we get what is Hideo Kojima's type of director's cut. Not merely just a rehash of the same game. Hideo adds features and modes and 2 games never released outside of Japan. He essentially has made this a new game altogether.
Announced in 2005 at E3, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence was received with alot of hype, anticipation, and impatience. We wanted it then, damn it! But we were given an insight into what would be included in this "Hideo cut". Most assumed the standard type of VR Missions and a few added short missions but no one could have guessed what was waiting. The trailer played and we were hit with a 3rd person view for the first time in the Metal Gear series. The camera was fully functional and could move anywhere you wanted it to. Next was a bomb shell that Metal Gear Solid fans had been waiting for.......Online mode. Battling in groups or individuals. This was what we waited for. Now, that the game is out it is time to see how well these modes play.
Metal Gear Solid 3 already included some big improvements in game play over the previous installments in the series. However, the new 3rd person camera view adds a new dynamic to the game and almost makes it feel like a new game altogether. The somewhat frustrating north facing camera lock is gone and allows for a new feel to the game. You get a greater appreciation for the graphics and feel of the game in not having to switch to the first person to see enemies in the distance. Firing without switching to 1st person is alot easier now thanks to the new camera. Positioning the camera right will allow for better shots when in a tight situation. The main story and game is still the same with only a few editions of face paint and camouflage. The place where Subsistence really has the meat is in the online play.
5 different types of modes are available online which are: Capture (in which you capture a kerotan and bring it to your base for a certain amount of time), Sneaking (which is Snake versus a group of guards and he must steal a microfilm and take it to his base), Rescue (includes 1 group trying to obtain an object while others stop them), Deathmatch (free-for-all), and Team deathmatch (team vs. team free-for-all). Upon starting on the network you will find the connection quite fast. And it retains your basic settings of which weapons you prefer which is a nice help. You can either enter a started game or you can start one up yourself. The setup for this is detailed but easy. You can put different modes together in a group and have several rounds for each one. Once the series is complete you simply start over again and continue. It is fun and you can log out if you get bored of one game, go into the lobby, and find another. You can appear part of 1 of 3 units. Ocelot Unit, KGB, or the GRU. Each has their traditional uniforms. If you become a top member of your team you will appear as a leader for the group. This means that you could be playing as Raikov, Ocelot, or Snake. During each game there is virtually no lag on the game. Smooth with only a few slow downs but they are so minimum that you won't have a problem. Each time you die you will be allowed to change up your weapons in order to suit the area you are in. The whole online play is a blast and works very well.
Also included in this package are the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 which were only released in Japan on the MSX console. The old school look shouldn't fool you as the games still play great even now. This is really an added bonus for anyone outside of Japan.
As always Metal Gear Solid games have strong sound tracks. MGS3's is no exception and Subsistence leaves the great track intact. Some nice additions are the music selections for the online play. Each time you die or start a new game you can select between background music from MGS3, MGS2 (Tanker and Plant), MGS1, a traditional theme for the online play, or no music. This is a nice variety and helps add that little something extra to the play. The Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 sounds are done very well. They are taken straight from the original games and provide a bit of nostalgia on how games used to be. Dolby Digital Sound makes all this possible and sounds really amazing in surround sound. If you have a home theatre then plugs this game in and enjoy.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is top notch in this department. The new 3rd person camera view really helps you to appreciate just how beautiful this game is. The environment seems lush and alive. Everything has its own dynamics. Each blade of grass will move on its own. Stuff like this is why the Metal Gear Solid series is so loved, its creators pay alot of attention to the fine details. Just like in the main story, the online play graphics are wonderful. Even with the full team play everything reacts as if you were in the single player game. All the videos and demo trailers are presented in perfect quality. Then we have the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, which are presented wonderfully for 16-bit graphics, show up nicely but dated (which isn't their fault). All in all an amazing looking game.
Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence is all about the extras. From Metal Gear to online pay to demo trailers to everything else this game is packed. The 9 spoof trailers that are on the MGS3 website return here with 8 new additions to them. They become unlocked once you beat the game once. A Boss Battle mode also unlocks on the second disc once you beat the game as well. This allows you to relive the boss fights from MGS3. You are timed here and you get a point scoring at the end. This can also help to develop new strategies to defeat bosses in the game. Also, unlockable once you beat the game is Demo Trailer mode. This is all the cut scenes from the game. You can play whichever you want and you can change Snake's costumes up for each cutscene.
The 3rd disc of the group takes these cutscenes and puts them into a full length movie. Roughly 3 hours long it uses the cutscenes and a bit of in game play to advance itself. It would have been nice to see them do the game play scenes in the same style and quality as the cutscenes but it isn't too much of a bother.
Hideo Kojima and team have taken Metal Gear Solid 3 and typical director's cuts to new heights. With the addition of classic games such as Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 and the new online play and the full length MGS3 cutscene/ movie this is a must pick up package. Even if you have the original Metal Gear Solid 3 this is worth the added money. Online play is enough of a game itself. Hideo Kojima and his team have kept the Metal Gear Solid fans busy until Metal Gear Solid 4 comes out. This truly is a masterpiece of its time and forever more.
Game play - 5/5
Sound - 5/5
Graphics - 5/5
Extras - 5/5
Reviewer's Score: 10/10