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Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Review

Snake Eater 3D Review: Snake’s Least Successful Mission
by Joe Juba on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Reviewed on 3DS
Publisher Konami
Developer Konami
Rating Mature

Metal Gear’s story weaves through eight canonical games and has many surprising twists. Clones, sentient computers, and nanomachines occasionally take the plot in incomprehensible directions, making the series daunting to approach for first-timers. The fact that Snake Eater’s story stands well on its own was probably the major reason Kojima Productions decided to bring it to the 3DS, but gamers who want to play Snake Eater are better off leaving this 3D incarnation on the shelf in favor of another version.

The core game hasn’t changed; you are still Snake, a top-secret operative infiltrating the Soviet Union during the Cold War. You sneak through jungles, eat local wildlife to survive, and unravel a plot that threatens the safety of the world. The story is cool, and the way it serves as the genesis for the rest of the series’ events makes it a great place to start.

Unfortunately, the unique features of this 3DS port do more to hinder the experience than enhance it. The tilt sensor gimmicks (like balancing as you cross a bridge) feel out of place, and using the buttons to control the camera and aim is awful – especially during boss fights. The touchscreen interface is functional but clumsy; I quickly stopped using it in favor of d-pad menu navigation, which still isn’t as elegant as previous versions. Some people may say it’s unfair to compare handheld titles to those on console, but given that Snake Eater 3D is essentially the same game as its console-based brothers, the comparison is inevitable.

The visuals look good, and the 3D effect works fine – though the chuggy framerate doesn’t stack up to the 60 fps of the HD Collection version. The only substantial improvement here is the addition of MGS 4’s crouch walk, which allows Snake to retain a degree of cover while moving and aiming.

I’m not saying that Snake Eater is an inferior game; it’s my favorite in the series. However, this version is only worthwhile for people who have no other choice. Even then, with the $40 you’d spend on Snake Eater 3D, you could probably buy an old PS2 and the original game, or the HD Collection on 360 and PS3. If you want the real Snake Eater experience, those are far better options.

The Circle Pad Difference
Gamers with the Circle Pad attachment are granted a reprieve from many of the pervasive control issues that plague this version. In addition to dual-stick aiming, the face buttons revert to their “normal” functionality, so you don’t need to press the d-pad to climb trees or go prone. With item and weapon menus on the triggers, you also need to spend less time monkeying with the awkward touchscreen interface. The Circle Pad doesn’t solve all of the problems in Snake Eater 3D, but the changes at least make the controls less distracting.
Snake’s trip to the Soviet jungle gets smaller and more awkward
Looks as good as you remember, as long as you haven’t played the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection recently
Great music and exceptional voice work
The basic controls don’t transition well, and the 3DS-exclusive features, like tilting and using the camera to generate camo, are just novelties
The story and mechanics at the heart of Snake Eater are still fantastic

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Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3Dcover

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

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