Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Review

Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Release Date: November 15, 2004 Also On: None

I’ll make a quick disclosure from the start. I am not a fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, nor am I a huge advocate for stealth gaming. Splinter Cell is the only stealth game that I’m fond of. With that being said, I thought Metal Gear Solid 2 for the PS2 was a horrible game, which felt more like a movie with its long cut-scenes, which took up precious gameplay time, at the expense of, well, having fun. Why this site gave that game a 9.3 out of 10, damned if I know.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

Thankfully, the cut-scene over-abundance problem has been corrected in Snake Eater. There’s a nice balance between gorgeous cut-scenes, radio dialogue, and stealth-action. If you don’t want to listen/watch any of it, that’s a choice that you can make. Replacing the video frequencies is the radio frequency. Afterall, Snake Eater does take place slightly after the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960’s.

Since the storyline is what drives the game, I’ll leave it to you to buy the game and find out what happens. Let’s just say there’s a coup attempt within Russian circles being planned to overthrow Kruschev. Your job is to find evidence that the American government wasn’t involved in a nuclear explosion at a Russian facility. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it at that.

Like its predecessors, Snake Eater isn’t meant to offer a spy/covert-op simulation, like say, Splinter Cell. You can clearly tell this by the boss fights that you’ll encounter. You’ll meet up several times with a run-and-gun Russian cowboy want-to-be, an eerie hornet-obsessed freak, an invisible tree-leaper, an old-man, known for his precision sniping skills, a pyro maniac, and the former leader of this group, known as the Cobras, The Boss. The boss fights add a lot of flare to the game, despite the weird characters.

New to the game is a survival element. If you get wounded, you need to heal yourself by removing the gunshot (if you were shot, that is), disinfect it, then bandage it. If you were bitten by a snake, you’ll need to use the serum. Stamina will, over time, recover your health. If your stamina bar depletes fully, you’ll need to hunt for food. Snake seems to like crabs, certain types of snakes, even rats. I’d have liked to have seen him wrestle a gator and eat gator soup though.

The graphics in Snake Eater are absolutely gorgeous, the best the PS2 has to offer, most likely. The jungles are lush, while your camouflage will have you wondering where exactly you are, when you’re not moving. Moving through the grass in 1st person is stunning. The grass movement, swaying as you squirm through, is a marvel.

Another great thing about Snake Eater is, when going into a cut-scene, you’ll be wearing the same camo and face paint as you were playing the game. In other games, for instance, you would be carrying a weapon you weren’t using, or you would teleport when a cut-scene comes up (think Halo). Snake Eater doesn’t do any of that, and instead presents as true-to-life of an experience as possible. Konami did precisely what they should have in this regard.

The camera angles will, however, take some adjustments. The playing-field, on-screen, is only a few yards in any direction. The over-view can only be adjusted slightly with the use of the right analog stick in any given direction, but it remains an over-view. This worked fine in the last two games, which featured radar, and cramped quarters, but in the jungle, you’ll need to examine your surroundings by pressing R1, to go into 1st person, quite often.

You’ll also want to shoot enemies from the 1st person, as the controls for shooting are clunky in 3rd person. I do like, however, the new slash’n’dash approach to fighting, where you can take your knife in, take a few strikes, and kill your opponent. It can put you in a precarious situation, as you can’t sneak attack very well. Avoiding enemies altogether is the suggested approach.

Where the biggest changes come are in the setting. The difference between industrial complexes and the outdoors is astoundingly clear. Where you’d have to hide behind walls, or under objects, you’ll now have an Earth-floor to blend in with, trees to climb, trunks to sneak through, etc. There’s a whole new level of depth, experimentation, and creativity. For example, to sneak past a guard in an early level, you’ll shoot a beehive, sending him across a bridge, running from the swarm of pests. There are examples of this type of gameplay throughout the entire game, and to say the least, I love it.

Going back to the combat system for a second, the close-quarter combat (CQC) system is accompanied by several new guns. This includes a tranquilizer, AK-47, etc., among other things. It’s much more rewarding (and satisfying) to go toe-to-toe with your foes, using CQC. When it comes to boss fights, you’ll obviously be turning to your arsenal.

At the end of the day, Snake Eater is, for me, the best in the series. This is coming from someone who didn’t like the first two, and for me to even advance in this game, thanks to the several difficulty settings, is a testament to the developer’s wanting for Snake Eater to be accessible to everyone. I have found this to be an exceptional title. The camera angles can be unforgiving, but since I’m a forgiving person myself, I’ll let that slide for the amount of fun (there’s over 15 hours of fun) that I had playing this title.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.6
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Leave a Comment