February 07

A Huge Gaming Letdown

I picked up the Metal Gear Solid HD collection at the weekend, thinking it looked like a great blast from the past and have just had my first bash at it. Of the three games in the package, I was reliably informed that Metal Gear 3; Snake Eater was the first one to go for but, having spent an hour on it this evening, I’m afraid to say (and quite surprised by the fact) that I absolutely hate it.

Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the games that I’ve played in the last year – Deus Ex, Modern Warfare 2 & 3, Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed etc – but I think the controls are awful, the camera is jerky and very difficult to read and the cut scenes way too long. It took 25 minutes of ‘story’ before the game even begins. Effectively, this cut down the time that I had to play something by nearly half.

I did wonder whether it was just me, so I’ve had a look at Amazon and am amazed to see that the reviews are all 4 and 5 stars. Obviously I’m missing something here as I know that people are treat the franchise with a huge amount of respect.

I have written here before about how much the games industry has evolved over the last decade – since the tail end of my last real affair with gaming. To me, there is a huge difference between the sophistication of how a title like MW2 strikes a balance between gameplay and narrative, versus the way this title treats story as much more important than the gaming experience (or indeed the gamer).

If only the development team had spent a bit more time on sorting out the control system and camera angle management and less about the definition of pixels in the port and the inane characterisation.

All things considered, I think that’s one of the most disappointing first 60 minutes I’ve ever had on a game.