Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Review
Nintendo fans haven’t been able to get their hands on many Metal Gear Solid games, so for those that don’t know, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is a port of fan favourite Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Konami seems to love Nintendo, but few of their top titles rarely make appearances on Nintendo consoles. I for one was really excited about the game coming to the 3DS. I have never played Metal Gear Solid 3, so I was ready to welcome Snake Eater 3D with open arms.
Snake Eater 3D follows Snake on his mission to survive through the jungle, confront the Cobras, infiltrate Groznyj Grad and destroy a nuclear weapon. As this is the origin story, it is a good point for newcomers to start the series, so Nintendo fans shouldn’t worry about playing any of the others yet. All the characters have great dialogue and voice acting, which make it easy to understand the plot; I also quite enjoyed the cut-scenes that serve as the main story telling device.
Characters feel alive in Snake Eater 3D with each having an interesting background story and a specific role in the plot; all keys to an enjoyable story. I found myself looking forward to the next cut-scene to either learn more about the Cold War plot, or the characters themselves. Sometimes the cut-scenes can be long, but this is somewhat of a trademark for the series and Hideo Kojima. All in all, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D offers a very satisfying experience in its story.
During the real Cold War, spies and espionage were the name of the game, making this plot perfect for the stealthy Metal Gear Solid gameplay. Snake can crawl around, sneak up on guards and use a variety of items, weapons and other stealth tactics. Stealth manoeuvers feel great when executed well and is one of the reasons this game is fun to play. Playing with a stealthy style is the recommended way to play though you can rush through some parts, but in doing so you may be overwhelmed by guards. Snake Eater 3D also introduced some new things to the series, but before getting to that stuff, I want to review the controls first as this has become somewhat of a popular topic among Nintendo 3DS users.
Snake Eater 3D definitely has a learning curve if you’re not using the Circle Pad Pro; I can vouch for this because I’m not using a Circle Pad Pro. You control Snake’s movement with the Circle Pad while you control the camera and aiming with the face buttons (X/Y/B/A). Movement is fine, but controlling the camera is a little tricky. I did get used to it pretty quickly, so I can’t say it’s a deal breaker by any means. Some gamers will ultimately prefer using the Circle Pad Pro, but I don’t think it’s a necessity. Having the face buttons being used for the camera puts Snake’s other actions elsewhere on the controller, and to be honest, I think the setup is fine, except for one button.
Drawing and shooting your weapon (and activating CQC) is done by holding L and pressing R respectively, which is easy enough. Changing Weapons and Items is done with D-Pad Right and D-Pad Left respectively, or you can just use the touchscreen, which is a little more convenient. Pressing D-Pad down will change Snake’s stance to a ducking one, or holding will bring you to a crawl. My one issue is that Snake’s Action button is mapped to D-Pad up, and it is in an awkward spot, sometimes I had to try more than once to use it effectively.
As for other mechanics, Snake Eater 3D has a camouflage, stamina meter, and a unique method of healing. First, I’ll briefly talk about the stamina meter. Keeping this high is important as it directly affects Snake’s performance, for example: if you’re stamina is low you will be shaky when trying to snipe soldiers. You will need to find and eat food to increase your stamina; this also includes hunting animals in the jungle. It is a clever way to get the most of the jungle setting. Overall, the stamina meter offers a strategic element to the game and isn’t a chore like I thought it would be at first.
Healing is unique in this game and is much different than Metal Gear Solid. You will have to monitor Snake for broken bones, arrow wounds, and even status effects. To remedy these issues you must operate, or treat Snake with a variety of different items; even your cigar comes in handy for healing. I like this idea, but don’t feel that it offers as much as the stamina meter does.
Snake can also equip uniforms that will directly affect his percentage of camouflage; the higher the number is, the less likely you will be seen. The 3DS version also offers a unique Photo Camo mode which allows you to create camouflage for Snake. You can create camouflage that is more useful than what you find in the game, which is great for first timers.
Visually, Snake Eater 3D is not without faults. Generally, the game is a pretty good looking game on the 3DS, not as good as Resident Evil: Revelations, but it is decent. Besides the 3D effect (which is actually quite good), it feels like the game doesn’t use the full power of the 3DS. There are some muddy textures in the game, and there are times when draw distance becomes an issue. Another issue is with the frame rate; while it doesn’t seem to drop during gameplay, during cut-scenes this is painfully noticeable. Mind you, this doesn’t seem to happen in every cut-scene and it seems to improve somewhat later in the game, but it does happen often enough to be noticed. Other than these issues, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is on par and maybe a little better in the visual department than its PS2 counterpart. I didn’t encounter any issues with regards to playing a console game on the small handheld screen, plus the HUD is moved to the touch screen making the top screen nice and clear.
Content wise, there is plenty of stuff to do in Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. From what I’ve experienced so far, there are plenty of optional areas, weapons, camouflage and even various ways to take down the game’s bosses; all of this could mean a different experience the next time you play. Plus, the Kerotan Frogs make a return, but in the form of everybody’s favourite dinosaur, Yoshi. The locations are all different from the original game, so you will have to discover them all over again. You get a great lengthy game, plus a ton of additional and optional content, so the value is undeniable at the 3DS price point.
Despite the game sounding a bit low at times (headphones make it much better), the sound doesn’t seem to be compressed too much and is of great quality. Snake Eater 3D also has great voice acting and an awesome soundtrack to boot with the main theme being one of the best songs in the game!
If you’re looking to get into the series for the first time, or want a great stealth game for your 3DS then this is the game for you. Snake Eater 3D is a fantastic game from beginning to end with a well told story and great gameplay to boot. It’s at a great price and would make a great addition to any 3DS library.