Oh yes, there will be
Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistence version)
Console: PlayStation 2
Year released: 2004
Developer: KCEJ/Kojima Productions/Armature
So, first things first, I thought of a new name for this Backlog series of blogs: Triangle, Square, Circle, X instead of just generic Playstation Backlog. I browsed around the net a bit, didn’t see anyone using that specific title, though if anyone is and wants me to stop, let me know. Second, I’m posting this review only a couple days after I posted the Backlog review of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, but about a week after I beat that game. I played through the majority of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in only two days, the game absolutely captivated me and right up front, I can say this is not only my favorite Metal Gear game, but this is up there with Shadow of the Colossus, Snatcher, Bioshock, The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite as my favorite games of all time. I need to let the game marinate a little bit more before I decide how high on the list the game is, but it’s definitely among those games. As I said in my Sons of Liberty review, stop reading if you have any interest in this game and go play it.
I spent the majority of my Sons of Liberty review talking about the plot and only gave a brief nod to the game play, mainly because while I enjoyed the game play, it wasn’t my favorite thing about the game. That’s true here too, but Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes aside, Snake Eater is the best playing of the Metal Gear games. There’s a mix of the old school game play of 1 and Sons of Liberty here, but also a little bit of a sneak peak as to how the open sandbox game play the series would eventually make its way towards. There are several sections of the game that have completely optional buildings, that give the player multiple options to tackle. You want to sneak and use CQC (Close-Quarters Combat)? You’re covered. Want to gun your way through the levels, using the variety of weaponry available to you? You’re covered. Or you can do a mix of either, using your tranquilizer gun on the enemies, which is primarily how I played the game.
It was so much fun to scout through the levels, figuring out what would be the best tactic to play through the level. That openness just added another dimension to the Metal Gear Solid series that was very much needed. While I love the first two games, you have to play the games in their way to be successful. Those games manipulate the player, while in Snake Eater, you can manipulate the game systems to work in your favor. There are some amazing videos on YouTube of people doing exactly that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le23bsVURds this guy in particular is great at manipulating the game systems and his videos are hilarious to watch. That’s the thing though, the depth of the game play allows for people like that to play through the game and test the systems in different ways and that’s really cool to see. Of course there’s also ways not to play the game http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSH39aiTx2A.
One of the best things about the game is how many of the best moments tie directly into the game play. For instance, one of the best fights in the game is against one of the “Cobra” named The End. All of the Cobra unit have unique names: The Boss, The Sorrow, The End, The Pain and The Fury. The End’s “special” power is that he’s an excellent, amazing sniper. The level in particular I’m talking about has you in a sniper rifle battle with The End, over several, HUGE, open levels. You have to track The End, find him and kill him. The game gives you a variety of ways to do this though, including a special way that I won’t mention here, but just shows you how inventive Kojima is.
The story is where Snake Eater shines for me though. Story in gaming is something that is constantly improving, but for me, I think Snake Eater might be the best story in games. It certainly is the best cast in gaming, The Last of Us being the only other contender I can think of, but there’s a couple of minor characters in The Last of Us that don’t hold up as well as the main ones for me. Everyone in Snake Eater is a great character, from the Cobra unit, to Major Tom (yes, that’s a reference to the Bowie song), Para-medic (her love of B-movies is so endearing), Volgin. The main characters are definitely the standout though, Naked Snake, Ocelot, Eva and The Boss are all at their best they’ve been in the series character wise in Snake Eater. And each character gets their moment to shine and every character works to varying degrees and the acting I think is the best in the series from all involved and this game alone, if David Hayter is not involved in the rest of the series, makes me a fan for life. The setting is so appealing to me too, not many games set in the political intrigue era of the Cold War and Snake Eater just nails that atmosphere so well.
So many great moments in the game: the HALO jump, the fight on the bridge and finding out The Boss defected, the nuke, Eva’s introduction, the battles with The Pain and The End being the standout to me out of the Cobra unit battles (and climbing the ladder and the song Snake Eater playing while climbing, amazing), climbing the mountain to meet Eva might be one of my favorite moments in gaming ever, just the feel of climbing that mountain, the atmosphere just hooked me so much, it was an incredible moment. Snake getting captured and tortured, almost getting his eye cut out by his mentor (DAT moment where she’s bringing the knife towards his face and he’s trembling all over in fear, oh man, I had chills like crazy) and then escaping from the base and the scene with The Sorrow was incredible. Again, nailing the atmosphere (and I was so proud of myself that there wasn’t many soldiers in the creek =) and then the chase on the motorcycle and sniping the bomb on the bridge. Incredible! The actual fights with Volgin didn’t do much for me, my only real letdown of the game, but luckily the game made up for it with the battle in the field of flowers with The Boss, such an emotional moment and the ending of the game, I was really close to tearing up and very few games have got that reaction from me.
Overall, such an amazing game. Outside of Peace Walker and Revengeance, I’ve played through all of the post Solid Metal Gear games now and again, this is my favorite series in gaming, but Snake Eater stands all on its own as a masterpiece in gaming. Just earlier I was on a twitch stream (UKnighted) watching them play through the game and out of all the MGS games, it’s the one I’ll return to the most. I’m playing MGS4 now and while I’m enjoying it (I won’t be covering it for this backlog series, because as I’ve said, I’ve beat the game before) I kind of wish I was playing Snake Eater. So glad I’ve done this backlog now, it’s made me play these games that I’ve known quite a bit about, but never experienced myself and now that I have, I’ve enjoyed them so much and hey, got to play one of, if not my favorite game of all time, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater!5/5