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Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence Review

Developer: Kojima Productions Publisher: Konami
Release Date: March 14, 2006 Also On: None

When I received Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater back in November 2004, I was hesitant to take the review. After watching videos and reading up on it, I found the survival aspect of Snake Eater, eating animals and healing wounds, to be fascinating, but cynical at how it would turn out. At one point, I considered sending it to my good friend out in California for him to review it. I’m glad I kept it. It turns out that I fell in love with Snake Eater; the story, the combat, the beautiful visuals. I ended up reviewing it and it just so happens that Snake Eater won Game of the Year Runner-Up that year.

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The biggest challenge for developers in Subsistence was to build on a near-perfect game. Critics loved Snake Eater (including this one), but the biggest complaint was – as it is with every Metal Gear Solid game – that the camera angles created unnecessary difficulty. So while Konami could have just decided to re-release Snake Eater with an improved fully three-dimensional camera or not change anything at all and re-released it for the lower budget price, they decided to add a whole lot more.

First of all, to get this out of the way, the camera change is a welcome idea. It undermined the ability to see far away since the distance you could see in any direction was constant at a bird’s-eye view. The ironic thing with Subsistence is, the three-dimensional camera creates problems of its own, most notable of which is the inability to see wide in all directions. This problem reared its head at me when I fought The End, the old sniper with a knack for hiding. If you’re looking directly at something, it’s great, but without a peripheral view that the bird’s eye camera provided, you’ll miss a lot as well.

It’s a dilemma that you can work around by switching between the traditional camera and the new 3D camera in various situations. For instance, let’s say you’re traveling through the forest. The world that you explore throughout the entire game looks radically changed from this new perspective. The reality of this is, you’re going to lose your sense of direction. In order to regain that sense, switching to the traditional view to learn which way is north, south, east and west can be a very useful tool.

At the same time the new camera makes the game feel entirely different, like a brother that you’ve not seen for ages and has changed dramatically. For better or worse (both, in this case), Subsistence feels less like Metal Gear Solid than Snake Eater did with the traditional camera. It’s really odd and I can’t tell you which camera I prefer more. They both compliment each other pretty well though, so I encourage Konami to keep them both for future follow-ups.

Enough about the camera. Unless I’m suffering from severe amnesia, a few of the cut-scenes appear to be added to Subsistence since Snake Eater, as well as unfamiliar areas. I couldn’t confirm this with Konami, as they didn’t respond to my e-mail in time for this review, but this appears to be the case. At any rate, Subsistence feels like a new game with the new camera, with or without added material to the single-player campaign (sorry to invoke this again).

Where I know I’m not suffering from amnesia is Disc 2, “Persistence”. On it are some awesome and hilariously funny outtakes that sort of lampoon the franchise. One of them has Raiden return wanting to kill Big Boss (spoofing Terminator) and another (the E3 video) Raiden fighting for the “main character” chair for the upcoming PlayStation 3 title, Metal Gear Solid 4. You even find out what the Snake Eater villain likes to do in his spare time.

I’m not going to bother to go into the basic mechanics of Metal Gear Solid 3, just read my Snake Eater review for that. Subsistence isn’t about anything but adding to Snake Eater and making it better. Konami achieved this with all the bonus material, the online play and to a certain extent, the camera. Being that Metal Gear Solid 3 is one of the best games ever made, $29.99 for tweaked and added gameplay is a heck of a deal.

So what all did Konami add? For starters, online play. You get traditional gameplay modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. You can also play Sneaking Mission and Rescue Mission. Other than online play, you get goodies like the classic games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake, Secret Theater Mode, Duel Mode and Snake vs. Monkey mini-games. It’s great to replay some of the best boss fights for high scores and capturing monkeys never wears old. If only they could make Ape Escape this fun…

I would like to conclude this review by urging any and all readers that have not tried Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater to turn off their computer, go to the game store and buy Subsistence right now. You don’t have an excuse, unless you’re homeless or don’t have a PS2…and not owning a PS2 isn’t an excuse because you should buy one for this. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was a game damn close to perfection. Subsistence takes the series one or more steps closer to that achievement.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide