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Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)

   

By Michael Palisano

With a bevy of extra features and bonuses, Konamiís Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence goes far beyond the expectations with an astonishing array of content that adds much to the previously released MGS 3: Snake Eater. The biggest additions are a newly enhanced player controllable camera system plus a new online mode for competitive internet play, extensive bonus features, new levels and trailers plus some other cool surprises that give you much more than youíd expect. MGS 3: Subsistence offers so much additional content, that it marks a huge exclamation point onto the title that makes it a must-purchase, even if you own the original game.

Konamiís Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for the PS2 includes an amazing package of extras, enhancements and bonuses that should please any MGS aficionado with its extensive depth. The package includes three discs in its complete limited-edition package. The first disc is sub-titled ďSubsistenceĒ and includes a full version of MGS 3: Snake Eater thatís been enhanced with a new player-controllable camera. This makes the game much easier to play, allowing you to change perspectives on the fly, making enemies much easier to evade. It might seem like a minor change, but it makes a huge difference for the series Ė making for a more accessible and enjoyable game. Players can control the viewpoint by using the right analog stick and can zoom in or out on the action, change perspective and angle quickly. Dropping the fixed camera approach from the initial release fixes the one glaring problem most players had with Snake Eater, while still preserving the cinematic majesty of the original. The cinematics remain quite impressive, with extensive beautifully detailed cut-scenes that showcase Kojimaís exacting level of detail and intrinsic brilliance.

Using the enhanced camera system improves your field of vision substantially and makes getting through the missions successfully easier. Kojima and co. have added several new levels of difficulty to improve the gameís balance, including a European level where the game ends whenever the player is spotted. Suffice it to say, this gripping adventure remains one of the most engaging produced on the PS2. The execution and presentation of MGS 3 remains almost unmatched and this deluxe editionís enhanced visuals makes it a must-own. The jungle motif and survival tactics make for some stunning gameplay that pushes the gameplay forward in several new directions. The gameís more straightforward plot is a refreshing change of pace from the somewhat muddled and confusing MGS2 storyline. While itís set in the 1960ís, the graphics certainly arenít dated and those who havenít experienced this game are definitely missing out. The main game remains as challenging and polished as any in the MGS series, with an interesting plot that reveals the origins of Big Boss, Liquid Snake and Ocelot, to name a few. We wonít go into a fully detailed review here, but you might want to check our full review of Snake Eater out below for more details on the game. This enhanced version alone would be enough to make the purchase worthwhile but, thereís much more inside the package.

The second disc in MGS: Subsistence, titled Persistence includes a treasury of extra bonus features. The most significant of these is the new Metal Gear Online mode for broadband users. This exciting new mode allows you to play as either side in a battle using the gameís levels as a backdrop. There are a number of modes here including deathmatch, team deathmatch, sneaking, rescue missions and more. One player can play as Snake and try to evade the enemy soldiers while the other controls Ocelotís forces as they try and capture their elusive prey. The game plays very much like a traditional MGS title, with the traditional tactics and methods, such as sneaking used. Playing as Snake requires you to defeat an entire group of enemies without getting captured. Since you are playing against human opponents, they arenít as predictable or stupid as the normal soldiers you face in the game. This makes for an exciting, tense online experience that brings you right into the action. Setting up the game for online mode is fairly easy. You begin in the lobby and make selections based on the type of game you want to play. You can set different rules, such as number of opponents, game mode and timer length to your liking. The game is fairly easy to set up, and functions flawlessly with little lag time and no hang-ups.

In addition to this online mode, the bonus disc includes several bonus levels for the addictive and humorous Snake versus Monkey mode. This takes place in several areas youíve seen in the main game and is similar to the modes seen in Snake Eater, where Snake has to capture the crazed simians from Ape Escape. Itís not as simple as it first appears, since Snake first has to stun the monkeys then can use the powerful net to capture them. Each level in this mode requires you to capture a certain number of monkeys before the timer runs out. While the initial stages are fairly easy, the game gets progressively more difficult the deeper you get into it. This is definitely an addictive and fun addition to the package and makes a pleasantly untaxing diversion from the main gameís more intense gameplay. Another huge surprise awaits nostalgic gamers in the form of both original MSX titles in the series, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Both of these conversions have been translated into English and are commercially available in the west for the first time. This fact alone should make fans jump with glee. Even better is that both games are quite cool in their own right, and can be enjoyed on their own merits. Despite their now somewhat primitive graphics and 2D overhead presentation, they still feel like classic Metal Gear, with their combination of stealth and action.  These are both hugely interesting for the MGS die-hards since they both showcase many of the conventions and styles of the later games, with the famous com-link and stealth gameplay of making their debut. You can see how the series evolved in its earliest stages, as Kojima adds a map. Many of the same basic principle apply here, with the stealth action and interplay between guardsí stages of alert making for a profoundly cool experience throughout. In addition, playing through the main game adds even more unlockable content, such as a Secret Theatre mode, that allow you to save and construct your own mini-movie out of the gameís cut scenes. All these additions are impressive enough, but this only covers the basic edition of the game. Those lucky enough to pre-order Subsistence will get even more content for their money with the addition of two bonus discs.

While itís probably going to be very difficult to find now, the gameís limited edition version includes a third disc, Existence which is an entire bonus DVD containing the completely remixed and remastered cutscenes from the game, assembled to create a nearly full-length movie. Coming it at just over three hours, this allows players to enjoy the gameís storyline from beginning to end without interruption. While it doesnít include all the content from the main game, thereís more than enough to make for a enjoyable movie. While we hate to sound parochial, the fact is that Metal Gear Solid 3ís movie actually more enjoyable, compelling and satisfying than most of what
Hollywood ís been putting out for the past few years. As a stand-alone feature, MGSís interesting plot touches on a number of fascinating issues with interesting characters, intelligent dialogue and excellent voice acting wrapped up in an interesting storyline. The disc also includes the trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4, which looks to be the most interesting in the series to date. One viewing of this stunning piece of work should be reason enough to be excited about the Playstation 3.

The final part of this extensive package is Metal Gear Saga Ė Volume 1, which is a bonus disc available exclusively to players who pre-ordered the game. More an extended documentary than a game, Metal Gear Saga contains a brief history of the series divided into chapters that cover each game from itsí MSX origins to the upcoming MGS 4. With extensive interviews with creator Hideo Kojima, the disc offers players fascinating insights into the creation and origins of the series, and makes a great companion to the content on the other three discs. Sadly, the limited edition theatre disc and Saga have only come out in small quantities, which means theyíll be tough to find. However, the basic two-disc core of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence is a massive package of extras and upgrades that should please any fan of the series by itself. Add in the two bonus and limited-edition discs, and you have a must-purchase that makes a perfect summation of the series to date.

Grade: A

> Related Links

Official Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence site

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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
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