Saturday, March 8, 2014

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection

If you’ve been keeping up with video games in any way, then chances are you’ve heard of the Metal Gear series, one which I have not stopped talking about for a while now. Just around the corner is the release of the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which makes the series all the more relevant now. For the 25th anniversary of the franchise in 2012, Konami released, in 2013, a collection of games from the series, appropriately titled Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection. For the Metal Gear veteran this may not seem that exciting, but for the newcomer it is the perfect jumping-on point.

Unlike most other modern game collections, The Legacy Collection has a huge offering of Metal Gear games and videos across two discs, all of which had direct involvement from Hideo Kojima. For those curious, they are:

Metal Gear (via Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater HD)
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (via Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater HD)
Metal Gear Solid (via download voucher)
Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (via download voucher)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (HD port of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (HD port of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (HD port of a PSP title)
Metal Gear Solid: Bande Dessinée (non-interactive video)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée (non-interactive video)

That’s a lot of content, especially considering how relatively cheap the whole package is. It’s worth noting again that the content was chosen specifically because Hideo Kojima worked on them, which explains the absence of Portable Ops (a now ambiguously canon PSP Metal Gear game I have yet to find or play). I’ll admit that the only game I haven’t played on this collection is VR Missions, but that’s because it has no canon relevance and is mainly a ton of training missions of different types. Having reviewed everything else though, I would say that the entire package is worth it, but I do have a couple of minor issues with the collection.

Maybe someday I'll get around to this.

The first, and perhaps most trivial, problem is the way the discs are numbered. Both discs are arranged such that one is on a hinge, which isn’t that big a deal. However, this disc, which contains everything but MGS4 and is seen first, is labeled Disc 2 while the disc behind it, which only contains MGS4, is labeled Disc 1. To me, it would actually be more appropriate for MGS4 to be labeled Disc 2 and the other labeled Disc 1, considering their positions in the case. The other thing would be that first it was pretty difficult for me to figure out how to access the Bande Dessinée content (also displayed as Digital Graphic Novel), since there’s no instruction anywhere on how to do so. I soon figured out that you have to go to the Video section of the PS3’s XMB, so I would recommend doing so if you’d like to see the videos.

It’s also worth mentioning a couple of things, mainly that, due to the content of the collection, the discs are basically rebranded and altered versions of two existing Metal Gear products, those being Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The extra content makes up for this, but I feel that whoever wants to buy this should know anyway. The other thing I wanted to bring up is that, apart from the games and videos, the collection also comes with an art book titled Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Book. It’s a very fascinating read, as it contains various pieces of art and advertisements you wouldn’t normally see outside of Japan; there’s even a couple of teaser posters for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, both of which seem to set up what’s happening next for the franchise.

Before I end this review, I’d like to offer a couple pieces of advice. If this will be your first experience with Metal Gear, some information will not be readily available to you, so I’d like to share those things with you. When playing Metal Gear Solid, there will be a point where you need a certain Codec number, which is important to the plot, but you won’t have the physical game box, so I’d like to share the number for reference: 140.15. Also, if you decide to play the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, be sure to thoroughly read the digital manuals for both of them while Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is loaded. One piece of information that you’ll need for a couple sections in one of them is a Tap Code chart, which you should try to memorize as soon as you find it in the manual. I hope this helps.

The Codec number for MGS1 can also be found here for your convenience.

No matter what kind of fan you are, I would consider Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection a very worthwhile investment and, for newcomers, the perfect starting point. The amount of content for the price is simply astounding and impressive for a collection in general. For veterans who already own every game, the extras are worth an additional investment here and I honestly can’t find a single thing wrong with the overall package (save for the two aforementioned things that bug me a little). With this collection, there is now no excuse at all to not start playing one of gaming’s greatest franchises (and one of my personal favorites). While you’re at it, it might also be good to invest in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to complete the experience.

Now, with all of that said, it’ll be interesting to see what both Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have to add to the franchise. I think at this point I’m ready for whatever they can throw at me.

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