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Metal Gear Solid HD Collection review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Kojipro/Bluepoint Games
Medium: Vita Card/Digital Download
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

If you had told me five or six years ago that I’d be playing near flawless versions of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 on a handheld platform, I’d totally have called you crazy. I’d also make for a poor futurist apparently, considering we now have this game, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection available for the Playstation Vita. While this version does lack the inclusion of Peace Walker found in the releases for both PS3 and Xbox 360 in North America, it’s an otherwise excellent port of two of the best examples of stealth action games found on consoles today.

What I’d consider to be Kojima’s best work, Metal Gear Solid 3, makes the transition over to the small screen without any real noticeable hitch. Granted, it doesn’t run at 60 frames per second like the home console versions of the HD ports, but it does maintain a solid 30 FPS throughout, and has no other real technical issues or limitations that I could notice. The controls fit the handheld well, and there’s some light touchscreen implementation that actually comes off as useful instead of something that’s ham-fisted in because it had to be.

Metal Gear Solid 2 also ports over well, but does have some noticeable frame rate hiccups that occur. It actually tries to run at 60 FPS at times, but will noticeably downgrade to 30 FPS often, which does get to be a little jarring. Still, it’s an otherwise excellent port.

Both games come complete with the content found in the home console versions of the game. MGS3 has both the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 accessible through its menu options, which is nice to have for players that probably haven’t touched either title before. And these aren’t the poorly done NES versions of the game either, instead offering up the superior MSX versions of the game, which tie nicely into MGS3, what with the Big Boss connection and all.

MGS 2, likewise, comes with the VR missions that are surprisingly still a lot of fun to tackle today, and still remain pretty challenging. Enough so that I saw myself getting my butt handed to me on a constant basis, further proving that I really needed to beef up my MGS skills overall.

The best part about this collection comes from having these games on the go. There’s not a lot I can say about either game that you most likely haven’t heard before out of hundreds of different outlets. Both games are great, and while Metal Gear Solid 2 might be seen as the black sheep of the series, I think it’s a pretty brilliant follow-up to the original game, and really warrants a second look for anyone that hasn’t touched the game since the original PS2 release. MGS 3, on the other hand, remains the same excellent experience you most likely remember it being, and actually comes off as something completely unique in the series when compared to the other titles. Even games like Peach Walker, which preceded it, don’t necessarily match up eye to eye with some of the features and changes seen in Snake Eater.

As a whole, this is a set of games that is really a must have for Vita owners. Whether you’re starving for content on the Vita, or feel pretty satiated with the current slate of titles that have released over the past couple weeks, having both of these games on a handheld platform is simply amazing. They both work extremely well, and even if you’ve played them to death (like I certainly have), the novelty of being able to take them with you anywhere is a hard thing to pass up. So yeah, if you’re a Vita owner, you should definitely be picking up this collection.

Grade: A-