solidmaq's Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PlayStation 2) review

Metal Gear Solid 3 Review for PS2

In case you've been too busy hiding in lockers to keep up on game news, Snake Eater is a prequel, taking place in 1964. So, the Snake character you play as here is not the one you're familiar with. He's sent into a remote region of Russia to try to contain a sudden nuclear menace, and things only get complicated from there. Suffice it to say that Snake Eater fills in nice chunks of the Metal Gear Solid back-story. While there are some good plot twists, Kojima wisely reigns in the high-minded met babble that tarnished MGS2. MGS3 is much more straightforward and upfront, but still manages to work in its key themes without being overly preachy. In this respect it's a more mature work than MGS, and much more accessible than MGS2. Outside of post-modern lit majors, everyone should find these changes to be for the better.

Ready for another surprise? MGS3 is long. I took less then 10 hours to play through it, and a solid majority of that was game play. One of the most valid criticisms of MGS2 was that its abundance of cinematic and codec conversations hid the surprisingly meager amount of game play. MGS3 strikes a superior balance. There's still plenty of story, humor and character development to be experienced, but the game play sections are longer and most of the codec "chatting" scenes are optional. You don't need to talk to each character to hear their reactions to major events, but if you want to, you can.

Green suits him here. Elsewhere, other colors are advised.
Many of the characters are strong, too. The new Snake is likeable but has a distinctly different personality than the old, and goes through some major, dramatic changes over the course of the game. It really feels like a journey. The two female leads are also wonderful, both in characterization and voice acting. That said, a few others are a bit disappointing. The members of Cobra Unit, an elite commando unit that Snake fights, are hit-or-miss. Some have hints of interesting back-story and most have fabulous character designs, but they don't really exist in the game's plot until they're encountered and disposed with. Two of them just shout their names a lot in stereotypically evil voices between mid-battle taunts. That's not quite the characterization I was hoping for. Still, the cast is very well done overall, and at least on par with that of the highly regarded MGS.

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