Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence PS2 Review

A Release of Metal Gear Solid 3 with additional content was inevitable, following on from Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. It’s as if Konami always has plans in advance to release enhanced versions of each Metal Gear game after their initial releases. Well, if the cash rolls in who can blame them? And for the rest of us, at least it gives us all an opportunity to get stealthy again.

Subsistence is a feature-filled package that consists of three discs. There’s a significant change to the game thanks to a new camera system, along with an online mode and the opportunity to play Solid Snake’s first two MSX espionage adventures. It’s a fan pleasing package, that certainly offers plenty for those who already picked up Naked Snake’s jungle escapade the first time around, and should satisfy the rest who didn’t.

Disc one contains Snake Eater, the main game, which is pretty much untouched (yes, it’s still a flawed gem as constant menus remain a tad overbearing) apart from the addition of a third person camera that sits directly behind Snake. If you’d prefer to play the game in its original state then the top-down camera that has always been a part of the series is also available, and in a genius touch, views can be switched between anytime during gameplay. The new camera does obviously give you that extra vision as you travel through the striking jungle, therefore it is no longer necessary to keep flitting between first and third person views. It could be argued that the new camera angle takes away some of the tension, although that’s why you are given the option of original and new. The memorable and tragic storyline, the lush jungle environment, the clever camouflage index, and making sure that Snake’s stomach is full (all this sneaking is energy sapping, you know?) and tending to any injuries he sustains is Snake Eater in a nutshell, and it’s all right here on disc one.

Disc two boasts the return of the Snake vs Monkey mode and is bolstered by additional missions, but the main attraction for most (at least those with a broadband connection) is definitely going to be the online modes that cater for up to eight players. Hardcore Metal Gear fans may turn up their noses when the words death and match are mentioned in the same breath, although thankfully this mode isn’t the only online choice. Take the Sneaking Mission mode for instance, in which one player takes control of Snake and the remaining players must hunt him down and foil his attempts to steal a roll of microfilm, it’s a very cool mode and does its namesake proud. If you are playing as Snake, common sense should suggest to you that stealth mode is obviously the best plan to go with given that you’ll be severely outnumbered at most times. Broadband takes the series to a place it has never been before and succeeds in its mission to introduce captivating online gaming to the series, attracting a healthy community in the process.

Also nestled in disc two is Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, two very important games that started the ball rolling for the series. Both games are still playable enough, although don’t expect to be playing remakes, as they’re pretty dated by today’s glossy standards, and are nowhere near as dynamic as what we expect from our espionage titles in the 21st century. The games are also surprisingly thin on plot, although the sequel (which was originally released exclusively in Japan) has a lot more substance, and the game itself is also more stealthily advanced and certainly shaped the release of Metal Gear Solid many years later.

That leaves us with disc three, Hideo Kojima’s obsession to turn games into movies is realised here more than ever. This third and final disc consists of all the games cut-scenes, which can be watched seamlessly as a three-and-a-half hour movie or viewed individually as chapters. There has been some clever editing to make the plot flow during moments, in which you would normally be sneaking around using the dual shock. As the plot is such a strong element of Snake Eater, if you’d sometimes rather watch than play, then disc three is the one to get spinning in your PS2.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence is an attractive package, and whilst some of the glaring faults that we mentioned in our original review could have been given some attention, it does sort out the camera, a problem that many players have long pointed the finger at, whilst through a broadband connection it basically gives us a second helping of jungle espionage. True it’s MGS3 all over again, but if you were a fan first time around then Subsistence is a purchase worth emptying your wallet for, whilst there’s also plenty of reason for any newcomers to jump into the jungle.