The Metal Gear franchise has reached an age where newer generations may be aware of its prominence and prestige but lacks the firsthand gameplay experience to truly understand its legendary status. This is largely in part due to these titles not being available on modern platforms, which is now changing with the incoming release of the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1.
Housing a plethora of titles all the way up to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck here. Plus, the collection is joining all modern platforms, even the Switch, which is where I had the opportunity to play these entries early docked.
The central concern with the Switch version of this collection is undeniably the performance, and understandably so. Several third-party ports on the platform have suffered severely with pop-in and framerate, yet that is thankfully not entirely the case here. While I only played each of these titles briefly, the collective experience was generally smooth. The earlier titles like Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid performed perfectly fine and looked about as good as you’d expect these older releases to be. Even Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty fared well.
However, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was definitely the roughest. While it wasn’t poor enough to be considered unplayable, it did face noticeable framerate drops, primarily when walking or crawling through the grass. Aside from that point, performance was acceptable. Still, when considering how often you will interact with grass, here’s hoping the stability gets addressed before the full release.
But when it all comes down to it, this is just Metal Gear, as you remember it, so there isn’t much to deep-dive into that’s necessarily exciting. If you’ve never experienced Metal Gear, the Switch versions seem like favorable pick-ups. Alternatively, if you’re already an established fan, the collection chiefly offers enticing convenience. Between the inclusions of Metal Gear, Snake’s Revenge, Metal Gear’s NES/Famicom version, and Metal Gear Solid’s bonus VR missions content, the origins of this storied franchise will be neatly compiled for newer and older generations.
There’s also an almost absurd degree of supplemental content here that I got to peruse for just a bit. This comprises the digital graphic novels of Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2 and the screenplay and master books for each included entry. The latter two features consist of the in-game text and deep dives into the stories and casts, so they’re for the real die-hards.
Metal Gear is a franchise I sort of experienced vicariously through others, meaning that while I’m aware of the general plot beats, their respective avenues of context, character moments, and even the essences of gameplay are facets I’m unaware of. This is what’s making the collection’s convenience so inviting, and assuming that the overall performance and stability are touched upon and retained by the release on Switch, there won’t be needless obstacles impeding enjoyability.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on October 24, 2023.
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