Konami represented themselves strong this year even before E3 had kicked off when they teased and revealed a handful of new titles during their pre-E3 event. If you’re a fan of Zone of the Enders, Metal Gear Solid, or Silent Hill, you’ve probably already heard the news about your favorite series getting remastered and presented on an HD collection. We had to find out more, and during our time at E3, we were able to get a first hand preview of Naked Snake’s remastered adventure, without being forced to CQC any booth babes.
When Peace Walker was announced in 2009 to be a spiritual and significant successor to Metal Gear Solid 3, fans immediately clamored for a PS3 version. The HD collection now brings the same experience to your living room, but with two very important feature now possible: Trophy support, and dual analog stick controls.
I picked up my controller at Konami’s booth and immediately felt the changes the console shift brought. I’ve played Metal Gear titles on both systems, and have adopted to whatever control style each title called for, but this port has the unique job of blending the two styles in such a way that feels familiar to both parties. Originally on the PSP, the lack of a right analog nub meant no direct camera control and no first person aiming, and as a result, the face buttons were sacrificed to cover these areas. The right stick and dual shoulder buttons effectively free up a great deal of controller real estate. Triangle is now your ‘action’ button, and X has reclaimed its traditional spot as the crouch/prone action. For those who are comfortable with the PSP controls, you’ll find some actions can be performed the original way with the directional pad, while also using the face buttons.
Your experience with a previous Metal Gear game will likely determine your comfort level with this learning curve. Console veterans of the MGS series may see more difficulty in adopting the new control scheme than previous Portable Ops or Peace Walker players, simply because we’ve been spoiled with great controls with each title. Our own Jonathan Leack, a MGS console fanatic, was unable to get the feel for the game with his short hands-on time. Don’t be discouraged – it only takes some getting used to before it becomes intuitive.
Moving past the controls, the game looked fantastic, especially for a PSP port. Characters, objects, and animations are crisp and clean, matching some of the best visuals seen in the PS2 era. Cut scenes have also been transported flawlessly. Yoji Shinkawa’s motion animations do a fantastic job of bridging the action. The section I played through involved infiltrating a compound to locate a child, Quico, by peering in cell windows. It was a short demo, but everything felt very ‘Metal Gear’ as I hid behind corners, stalked and interrogated soldiers for information, and used a few transport balloons to lift them to my base.
No playable demos were available for MGS2 or 3, but with the repackaging only updating the graphics, we were certainly given a taste of the most highly anticipated of the collection.