professor's Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PlayStation 3) review

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Yes, three of the best games of all time on one disk.

Yes, three of the best games of all time on one disk. You kind of *need* to pick this up.

And that comes off as shameless promotion or fanboyism. It isn't. The Metal Gear games are the only reason I still play videogames these days. Gone are the days where I enjoyed exploring dungeons in Zelda or grinding my way up skill trees in Japanese RPG's. Life has caught up to me. I simply don't have the time, and just don't enjoy them like I used to.

But the Metal Gear games are the exception here. No other series reinvents itself like how the Metal Gear mythos does with each instalment. No other series has married the spy espionage and fantasy genres or has used real world military history as such incredible inspiration for gameplay and story. There is nothing else out there like MGS, and it's testament that such a thing could only exist in the videogame format.

So what's to say that hasn't been said? Again, yes-- three incredible experiences on one disk, each a blast to play and with wildly different feels. You're definitely getting bang for your buck here. MGS2 and MGS3 are stealth-action based, while MGSPW has taken a cue for MGS4 and features the same philosophy of ease of choice-- you can shoot your way out of a situation if you want to or sneak through, like a snake. It's fun. They're action games that make you think. I couldn't choose which is the worse of the three, as all have timeless, fun gameplay. The story of MGS2 is a bit thick and warrants multiple playthroughs, while the plots of MGS3 and MGSPW are incredible-- but as much as I love Ashley Wood, MGS3's cutscenes are incredible and absorbing.

But there are a few hiccups. Calling people on the codec in MGS2 and MGS3 results in a momentary lag-- you can hear the PS3 reading the disc. It can be tedious. And while MGSPW has an option to return to the title screen, as far as I can tell, MGS2 and MGS3 don't. Additionally, why can't someone with MGSPW play co-ops locally, via a PSP or a controller? We're limited to online. And why has the VOCALOID online service been discontinued for MGSPW?

But my big complaint is where the hell is MGS4? Granted it's probably bigger than the other three games combined in terms of memory, but it shouldn't have had any trouble squeezing onto a Blu-ray disc. And MGS4 came out in 2008-- while MGSPW was released in 2010. Yes folks, that's right. MGSPW is a successor to MGS4.

But all that aside, it really doesn't detract from what an incredible package this game is. I'm thinking of picking up a PSVITA just to have these three games on the go. That's how great they are. If you want to treat yourself and see a masterful blend of storytelling and gameplay, you cannot do better than Metal Gear Solid.

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