That's right! I'm back with a vengeance as I once again tell you kids stuff about games you have probably already played, enjoyed, and stopped playing years ago. However, for me they are all new experiences. As I said before, I received the MGS essentials collection for Christmas from a friend and have previously blogged about MGS 2 (Short Answer: I liked the story. The gameplay not so much). Continuing my exploration through the madness that is Hideo Kojima I find myself playing MGS3. Now admittedly, this game is probably the least old of all the games I have played so far. It came out in 2004, and Subsistence came out in '05. Unfortunately I only got the first disk in the package, which means no original Metal Gear for me.
This time I'll start with the story. MGS3, instead of expanding on the postmodernist mind-fuck that was Metal Gear Solid 2 opts for a prequel story. It's almost a cop-out in some ways, but basically you play as Big Boss (Code name: Naked Snake) whom Solid, Liquid and Solidus Snake were cloned from. His initial mission is to rescue a dude named Sokolov and get him back to the US. However, it all goes to hell and blah blah blah. If you are reading this you already know the story. That's the reason people play these games after all. I found the story itself to be very good, with plenty of connections and implications for the later MGS games while being able to stand on its own without any trouble. The ending, while not as OMGWTFBBQDELICIOUS as Metal Gear Solid 2, is very good and almost emotionally touching (Game stories don't make me cry. Bad Games do). Also I can't tell if I genuinely or ironically like the main theme, which is always a good sign.
The gameplay? It's Metal Gear. However, there are plenty of improvements that make it less game-y (though its still very much so) and some mechanics like the Stamina System, that kind of don't matter for the most part. Silencers also deteriorate, and there is a camouflage mechanic for improved hiding. Oh, and subsistence added the 3rd person camera option, which makes the game play dramatically better. All these mechanics make MGS 3 a far less frustrating game, and I managed to cheese my way through several situations with brute force. That doesn't excuse the general clunkiness, but it does help a lot.
As per usual, there are a ton of random, weird, and extremely japanese references and easter eggs in the game. Obviously there is Major Raikov (Volgin's gay lover who looks like Raiden, which I found very satisfying.) but if you call Major Zero while wearing the Raiden Mask he talks about how he doesn't like it, which in and of itself is an extremely meta conversation about the public's reaction to Raiden as the main character of MGS2. However, there are plenty of other things that I missed (and promptly watched on Youtube), some of which portray Snake as a few strings short of a quilt. Also: If you kill Ocelot right at the beginning you get a game over and Colonel Campbell tells you that you have created a time paradox. So crazy.
In conclusiveness, I liked the gameplay of MGS 3 a lot more than 2 (and certainly 1 Stay tuned for more). The story wasn't as crazy, but I was willing to forgive it because the game also acts as some weird period piece and has plenty of other weird shit to go along with it (A dude who shoots BEES at you. Also that crazy Sniper Battle with The End). All this has gotten me interested in Metal Gear Solid 4, but unfortunately I don't have a PS3 and probably won't have one for a while. Oh, and the music is good.
Next up: Metal Gear Solid 1. Expect it.