First off, realize that this isn't going to be an unbiased review, my internet handle is taken from this series, I eagerly anticipate anything not only with the Metal Gear title, but anything from Kojima Productions. I have imported games in the past that have not come out in the states from Kojima, namely Policenauts. The day I bought my GBA was for Boktai, I bought a PSP for Metal Gear Acid, but that game stunk as bad as the NES versions of Metal Gear, luckily they released Portable Ops and the 5th pack in title here, Peace Walker, and the only reason, and only game I own for it, I bought an Xbox was for Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance because Konami released it first on the Xbox then, subsequently, on the PS2, my system of choice last gen. Even knowing all of that, as a gamer I can tell you that this is quite possibly the best value in all of gaming, even more so than the Orange Box was. You are getting 5 fully featured games with, arguably (and I will argue the point until my last breath) the best story in video gaming that has spanned the last 25 years. It's the longest running single story using the same character in video games, period. This isn't just Square reusing Moogles or Cid in Final Fantasy games, these are the same characters that first appeared in the Japan-only MSX system 25 years ago until the dramatic, epic, awesome, life-altering conclusion of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on PS3 a few years back, (also the sole reason that I bought a PS3, and I bought the Gunmetal Gray PS3 with MGS4 LE pack in).
*Before I go on, I want to make everyone aware that this collection houses the Substance version of Metal Gear Solid 2 and the Subsistence version of Metal Gear Solid 3. What does that mean? Well for Substance you are getting over 300 VR (Virtual Reality) Missions, 5 Snake's Tales Missions, Bomb Disposal Missions; and for Subsistence you are getting the MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as well as the better camera angle for Snake Eater. There are some things missing from both versions. Substance they left out the demo Snake Skateboarding demo and on Subsistence they took out Snake vs Monkey. These are both understandable removals as they were originally cross-promotions designed to sell Konami's skateboarding game for PS2 and Ape Escape respectively. Still, I do miss sending Snake up a half-pipe to do a kick flip on the top of the Big Shell. Also, the Persistence disc isn't here. Persistence was the fourth disc to come with Subsistence which took all the cut scenes from Snake Eater and made them into a movie. As I said you get 5 of the best games with the best story of all time in video games in this package: Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
Originally released on the MSX home computer console in Japan only when it came out. Ultra Games took the game and dumbed down most of the stealth elements when they released a version of it on the NES. If you have played, and actually enjoy, the NES Metal Gear then this will be absolutely amazing to you. I thought the NES games were trash, and this game is gold. The first time that this game was released in North America was with the PS2 version of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
In Metal Gear you play as Solid Snake on his very first mission. That's right, he's as green as Meryl was in Metal Gear Solid and as green as Raiden was in Metal Gear Solid 2. You are tasked with infiltrating Outer Heaven in a search and rescue op for your much more experienced team member, Gray Fox. While I won't spoil it, the story was actually mentioned in Metal Gear Solid, so fans of the series should already have an idea of what happened here. The game looks great and the colors are a lot more refined, brighter and vibrant than the dull, boring NES counterpart. The story has the classic twists that Metal Gear has become famous for and it's a very entertaining story during a time when not even many RPG's were known for having major story elements.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
If you are thinking that Snake's Revenge is the NES counterpart of this game, just stop right there. It's not. Snake's Revenge is not Metal Gear cannon and furthermore was publicly denounced by Kojima himself. This is not Snake's Revenge. This is the true sequel to both the red headed step-child that is Metal Gear NES and Metal Gear MSX since they both relatively shared the same story. Again this story was even more touched on in Metal Gear Solid, as that game was this games direct sequel. The joy in playing this game though is to play the events first hand. The standout being the bare-knuckle fight with Gray Fox in the minefield in Zanzibar Land. I had heard about that since the first time I played Metal Gear Solid and had always wanted to go through it. This game has just as good a story as any of the Metal Gear game with just as many twists. It's a great game that should not be passed over by anyone who buys this collection.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
This is the PSP follow up to Portable Ops and the second sequel to Snake Eater. In this game you play as Naked Snake who has taken the moniker of Big Boss after the events of Snake Eater. He has quit taking orders from the CIA and has instead opted to create a haven for societies dejected soldiers after their countries no longer need them once the conflicts they were trained to resolve are over. This is Big Boss creating Outer Heaven, that should be enough to give any Metal Gear fan reading this goosebumps. The story has familiar faces, most notably is Master Miller (Kazuhira or Kaz). Big Boss is still uneasy about how things ended in Snake Eater in reference to his former mentor the Boss. These unresolved feelings, and his previous actions, shape who he will become and his stance on military as it relates to being used as a tool for politicians instead of serving the soldier's own ends. It's a remarkable story, and the Boss' views are fascinating, and they clearly rub off on Big Boss.
The game was designed for the PSP, and while it does look good, it doesn't look as good as Metal Gear Solid 2 or 3.
The game centers around Big Boss completing missions and recruiting soldiers and scientists for Outer Heaven. So not only do you complete missions but you are also responsible for making sure that Outer Heaven is stocked with food, medical supplies and doctors, scientists and enough soldiers to defend it.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty/Substance
The PS2 sequel to one of the most influential games from the PSOne. Marked as a disappointment by some with a convoluted story and a confusing ending, but still a masterpiece of stealth gameplay. The first time in the series that you are given non lethal means to drop your foes. You can knock them out, or tranquilize them. Depending on the difficulty you are playing on, tranqs will keep them out forever. The higher the difficulty the less time you get with tranqs.
The Raiden conundrum: A lot of people express a complete and outright hatred for Raiden. While I was just as surprised as everyone else when I got control of this wispy-haired, soft-spoken "hero" I eventually grew to like Raiden and even respect his perspective. This is easier for the American audience as there wasn't any way to really relate to Snake other than just being in awe of his prowess and his views which were shaped by his previous two missions. Now we get to see Snake from another perspective, through this rookie's eyes. We get to feel Snake as a mentor taking Raiden through the ropes during his mission. Helping him along and being there when he needs backup.
This game provided a lot of different gameplay aspects like getting rid of bodies, shadows effecting sneaking, jumping/hanging from rails. It also tried to get the player to be less dependent on the radar. As you have to find the node in each of the Big Shell sections before you can use the radar.
Ocelot returns as the main villain here being the only surviving member of Foxhound from Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid), and this is where he took off as one of the best characters that Metal Gear has produced. This game has a lot of memorable moments, but none so much as Raiden fending off nearly 25 Metal Gear Ray units near the end of the game (depending on difficulty, higher difficulty, more Ray units). It's a spectacular scene. This game also sets the stage for Metal Gear Solid 4 on PS3.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater/Subsistence
We come to it at last, the great game of our time. This is my absolute favorite game of all time. Never has an ending of a book, movie, game or anything else effected me as much as this game did. I was actually choked up and had a tear welling up in my eye. It was incredible. I had no idea that characters could be cared about this much, but Kojima found a way. None of his characters are ever disposable, but this game took character development to a whole new level. I really can't say enough about just how marvelous this game truly is. If you play no other Metal Gear game, play this one.
Snake Eater follows Naked Snake on his first mission as a Foxhound agent, first Foxhound mission ever, although the unit is just called Fox now, but it's the unit that will become Foxhound. He fails his first mission and is sent in again to not only clear his name and redeem himself but stop a maniacal lunatic from using a top secret weapon to remove Khrushchev from power and take over Russia. It's a great story. There have been story parts before in the Metal Gear game that have taken from real life, but Snake Eater sits so well in factual recorded history for it's time line and world events that transpired that it could be considered history itself.
Another great game with memorable characters and the single best story in the history of video games. Changes to this game are complete removal of the radar as you know it. This isn't about rushing through a game, this is about sitting still and waiting for your moment to make it through the guards to your next objective. The radar you have is crude and takes batteries. Your weapons silencer will wear down and break. You won't get stealth camo in this game, but you can change your clothes and face paint to match your surroundings and blend in better. You have a percentage that will show you how well blended you are. Pretty much anything 80% or above is very hard for the enemy to detect even if they are walking right past you. Guards don't always follow their own walking paths, and they move more determined and with more purpose, seemingly trying to pick out their environment. There is no more cone of visions where you can stand just outside the blue cone and be invisible to the guard. Guards will see you further than ever before in a Metal Gear game. This is a true stealth, espionage experience, so go slow and enjoy it.
I realize that this has been less of a detailed review of each game and more just mentioning the games strong points. These games have all been reviewed. I was just trying to explain to anyone who might be on the fence, or who has heard negative press about titles or to clear up what is in this package.