The equivalent of an excellent Bond movie.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is the third installment of the Metal Gear Solid series, originally released in 2004.Released after what many call the "WTF" Entry, Metal Gear Solid 2, it ties up loose ends and answers questions that many demanded answers to and is the earliest game in the series Chronologically.
=== The Story ===
MGS3 takes place in 1964 Russia during the events of the Cold War.You are Naked Snake, an operative sent in to find Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov, A Russian Nuclear Scientist who is being forced to serve the sadistic Colonel Volgin,the central Antagonist in the game.You are aided on your mission by Radio (Albeit, not as technologically advanced as the Codec), by Para-Medic, Sigint, and most notably Major Zero.
There are some new Characters such as the Cobra Unit, who you'll eventually take down in some new and slightly reminiscent battles to previous games.There's also The Boss, an elite warrior who taught Snake everything.A major part of the game revolves her and relationship together.A returning character is the man who becomes eventually known as Revolver Ocelot, known here as Ocelot, in his much younger years.There's also EVA, who literally looks like a Bond Girl.The whole atmosphere of this game feels like a James Bond film.
The story is fantastic and is far more straightforward than the story presented in Metal Gear Solid 2.There aren't many "WTF" moments (If any), but the story will keep you at the edge of your seat.And with any MG game, there are the expected Plot twists.Delightful.
=== What's New/ Game play ===
As with any sequel (or Prequel, rather).There are always bound to be new features.For Metal Gear Solid 3, the biggest are the addition of the Survival Viewer, Stamina, CQC and the abundance of Outdoor Environments.Dramatic changes to the game play.Kojima wanted absolute realism with 3, which makes this game all the more better, and at times, frustrating.
Pressing START takes you to the Survival Viewer.I'll break down each soon.Here you can Eat food, (Yes, Eat!), CURE, manage your backpack and change your Camouflage.You can also view the Map from the screen.There is no true On Screen Map, as this is the year 1964 and the technology of the Radar shown in MGS1 and 2 do not exist yet.So you'll have to make due with looking at the map by pressing Start Continuously.It's not as annoying as you would think, actually.Going to your destination is usually pretty straightforward.
A huge change is the addition of Camouflage.Now through the game you can acquire different Camos and wear them to blend in with the environments,(Such as Jungles, Rivers, Caves and Bases) and avoid enemy encounters.Quite literally, the definition of Stealth.How well you blend in with the environment is shown at the Upper right corner of the In-Game HUD.It can range from Negative numbers all the way up to 100%.Different environments require different Camos and Optimizing them for each area is crucial if you want to avoid being seen.It's a great system that works.
Another change is the addition of Stamina.Underneath your life Bar, you will see a much a thinner bar.This is the Stamina Bar.This is something that changes the game completely.As you run, this Bar will decrease.When it's depleted, you're done for.To avoid it being drained completely, you can decrease the amount of items you hold in your backpack.That's right, Items now have weight.*GASP!* Holding too many in your backpack will drain this bar quicker and having as little as possible will make the drop barely noticeable.
Whether you like Stamina or not, it's crucial in this game.And without it, your life bar would not be restored.Yes, Stamina restores Life.Depending on how full the bar is, you life will be restored at a very fast rate or a very slow one.Because of this, the game will force you to play a literal waiting game of hiding from enemy soldiers while you're out looking at the screen waiting for the LIFE bar to be restored.It gets annoying.Fast.It's not fun looking at the screen waiting for it to be restored.
You can also now hunt for food.This the "EAT" in the Survival Viewer.Different foods restore different amounts of Stamina to barely noticeable to restoring a large amount of your stamina.Hunting for Food is a nice addition to MGS3.But, be careful the food can rot, leaving you with a stomach disease that must be cured, or the Stamina bar will begin to deplete quickly.Which brings us to the CURE Menu.A new addition to MGS3 is that you can be afflicted with "diseases" and wounds that must be cured that if not taken care of, will drain Life and Stamina
You open the Cure Menu and you are shown a model of Snake (Cool, huh?) and said wounds.Then you go to each wound, are shown symptoms of each and then you have to cure them with the items you have.While it sounds awesome in concept, it gets annoying fast.It's not you pressing one button and it's over.A wound at times must be cured in 4 parts or more.Bandage this, Suture this, disinfect this, remove this.It will get annoying, and you will suffer wounds like this often, so you'll have to go into this screen quite often.The addition of Curing wounds is realistic, but is incredibly tiresome.
The final new addition is CQC, or Close Quarters Combat.In 2 and 1, you were able to grab enemies and perform choke holds on them to knock out enemy soldiers.MGS3 improves on that heavily.You can now interrogate Enemy Soldiers for information regarding your objective, cutting their throat, performing various throws and the like.It's a whole new playing field to hand to hand combat.All the Weapons are great, from your tranquilizer gun all the way to an RGB.There are some new neat additions, but Suppressed weapons have a limited durability, which is slightly disappointing.
But, let's not forget the mini-game, Snake Vs Monkey.Just a humorous extra where you capture the monkeys from the Ape Escape games.Not the most fun part, but it's something fun to do when you dont want to play the main game immediately.Those are the new additions to MGS3.Tossing that aside, the core game play is still the same as MGS1 and 2.Sneak to your objective, avoid being seen.It's not something that bores me and especially in this game, is executed very well with the addition of Camo and the addition of CQC.
=== The Visuals and Sound ===
The Visuals of MGS3 are fantastic.For a game that was released in 2004, it looks amazing.And for even today's standards, it looks amazing.However, it surely won't WOW you like Metal Gear Solid 2 did in 2001.But still fantastic, nonetheless.To the Character Models to the Jungle Areas and even the urban ones, the game looks superb.The amount of detail presented is unbelievable down to the nitty gritty.The cut scenes are still sometimes long, but for me, they are a joy to behold and only make the game stronger in every aspect.
Plus, they really aced the camerawork on this one.The lipsynching with the characters are a bit better than it was in 2.And it's awesome how in the cut scenes, Snake will be wearing whichever camo you're using for the game play.Being able to zoom in and out with the camera in cut scenes is also a very nice addition and enjoyed as well.MGS always gives you the impression that you are in a Movie, and MGS3 truly pushes that.
As for Sound, you should expect no less from Metal Gear Solid.Harry Greggson-Williams does another fine job with this game's soundtrack.Incredibly top notch voice acting, with another fine performance by David Hayter.Not to mention the music in-game are always memorable for each situation that follows.The Song that plays in the intro alone is on it's own amazing.It's clearly an homage to the James Bond Films, and this game itself has that feeling making you feel like you're in one.
=== Final Thoughts ===
The game itself will keep you busy for about 15-20 hours on a first play through while viewing all the cut scenes, and feels longer than the previous 2 entries.The atmosphere and gameplay is fantastic.All in all, MGS3 is another fine entry into the series, and all the new changes although a minor few are annoying are very much welcomed..Even without the title "Metal Gear Solid", it would still be excellent on it's own.