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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Konami Japan
GENRE: Action
November 02, 2004

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Metal Gear Solid

More in this Series
 Written by Chris Reiter  on June 21, 2004

Hands-On Preview: Indiana Jones impersonators need not apply.

Genius? No, several geniuses! Hideo Kojima is the man who bore not just the greatest achievements stealth/action fans have ever witnessed, but also one of the absolute finest works of digitally made arts most other titles have yet to match. From the series' initial 1987 startup on Japan's MSX console, and a year later on Nintendo's Entertainment System, it wasn't until a decade afterward that the maiden Metal Gear married into Metal Gear Solid. Turning the attention millions of gamers' heads around, Metal Gear Solid became a video gaming phenomenon. But Hideo Kojima didn't stop there. With 2001's Zone of the Enders' inclusion of a playable demo disk for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the game's follow-up held a spot as the most anticipated title of the year, and furthermore established a grandeur of bigger and better exploits for this next-generation installment. Three years prior to now, Hideo might have pronounced that the second Metal Gear Solid entry was to be his last. However, here we are three years onward, and a third and final (at least for this particular franchise) Metal Gear Solid is being churned out by the revered gaming God, Hideo, and his Konami crew. Having put my hands-on this lengthy project, we go Solid for the upcoming fall of Snake.

Metal Gear had to start somewhere. And I don't mean the franchise alone. Metal Gear is that big ass robot Snake's always beating up. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater's premise points to this mobile nuclear mecha's origin, and supposedly to the legendary Solid Snake's as well. Based in the year 1967, a younger looking Solid Snake (or someone whose genetic code replicates Snake's face, body type, and even the mullet -- with rumors strongly indicating this man to be Snake's father, Big Boss) skydives out of a plane and into a lush jungle environment within Soviet territory. From here on out, Solid...or, Naked Snake (I'm not making this up) is faced with the priority of tracking down an important researcher behind the development of the so called "Metal Gear" project, and is to escort him out from harm's way. There should be no doubt that a hefty supply of divine twists and turns in the plot will further thicken down the line.

From this moment on, think of Snake Eater not like a new Metal Gear Solid release, but rather as something else. Konami is intent on removing that what gives series' veterans an immediate direction from the get-go. Snake is now no longer sneaking underneath tanks, clinging to metal ledges, using crates and other factory-like accessories as cover. Inside a jungle, everything's wide open. Instead of hiding under a tank, he'll have to duck in tall grass. Instead of clinging to metal ledges, he'll grip a branch. Instead of dodging behind crates, trees and other solid wildlife effects will have to suffice for hiding spots. Inside a different era, Metal Gear Solid 3 will serve as the first of its kind for a whole different type Metal Gear Solid.

Removing the usual scenery is just one step to redesigning the series' system. Another is removing that handy radar map we all know and love. In its stead, camouflage will be the new means to an end -- the enemy's end! Now able to dress in face paint and various clothing attires, Snake will find that in order to blend into a jungle you have to become the jungle. In place of a radar window, the game will use a detection meter that applies to how little or how much Snake's ability to blend into his surroundings works. Change into a fiery outfit for instance, and the amount of the meter's percentage will decrease in an area where there is no flame. Slap on a brownish tree wear, however, and holding still against bark will push the meter way up, as long as Snake remains motionless. What Hideo's labeling as "camo stealth," the different fashions' Snake Eater will have in store is certainly looking to give the Metal Gear Solid name a unique approach.

Even though a map function won't be integral to using the HUD display anymore, Snake will still have access to different battery powered devices like vibration and a homing beacon. After all, you can't expect technology to be as advanced in 1967 as it was more than 30 years later in Metal Gear Solid's period. In the line of more pressing matters however, Snake will have to learn to adapt to a new stamina meter that ties into his survival aspects -- starting with the very tactic that will keep Snake from dying, eating. When you gotta eat, you gotta eat. In Snake's case, this means live prey. Only by chomping down on various creatures (and mushrooms), including crocodiles, insects, birds, tree frogs, and even snakes, will Snake's stamina bar continue to remain active. Without regular consumption, the aftereffects will cause Snake's stomach to grumble -- and in effect will literally alert enemies to his presence. One of the coolest tricks Snake can now employ though, is called stalking. Players will be able to tail enemies silently, even to end up gutting them with a knife. Using enemy bodies as carry-along cover, it's possible to go into battle with a protective shield...that of flesh and bone.

The technology that gave Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty that extra slice of heaven was quite remarkable then, as for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater it's looking to be now too. Taking the journey outdoors, the Metal Gear Solid you once knew will no longer be made up of barriers, but instead a detailed 3D jungle that will pump out more lovely shades of green than your local convenience store's cash register. Specifically what I witnessed following a lengthy, and as always gorgeous intro (with the gruff I'm too-cool-so-I'll-smoke-my-cigar-and-ignore-that-whiny-soldier Snake completing a halo jump from out of the back of a plane and into enemy land), was much trees and grass life. Moving on, I was able to meet a swamp area with potential crocodile victims, and further down enemy units patrolling a greater forestry surrounding. Everything in the game was beautifully intact. But for a comparison basis, it's not that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a million times the looker than the last game. It would be more right to say that this entry will be just as good, and only better for newer little things like grass that bends when man or creature sets foot through it, in addition to new weather elements that will let for rain, fog, night or day, and even haze to compose at random points. Just know that the third Metal Gear Solid will be far from ugly.

Final Thoughts
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in... Keep this up, and the thrill of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater shouldn't overwhelm your body into a seizure. If Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was any indication for how to create a perfect game, then wait until you see what Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has got coming. And I have seen some of what's on the way. And it was good, very good. The controls were right on for those familiar with the series' roots, the graphics and story showcased intriguing highlights, and the game itself is going to reinvent the makings of how we live stealth by the minute. Take your time circling that X on your calendar -- because November can't get here any sooner!

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