"One of the best stealth games ever"5.0 starson by Youlikeyams?
Pros: Great camo system, bigger emphasis on stealth, great plot
Cons: Too many cutscenes sometimes
Summary: Since the early 80's from Metal Gear's humble beginnings as a game that dared to be different by making you hide from enemies instead of killing them, Hideo Kojima has become something of a celebrity. He has been named as one of the most influential people of the early 21st century, is easily identified when he walks through the street, and - as you do - has created one of the best games series in the world.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is the latest in a long line of action games that were always a bit different. When Kojima was playing Space Invaders in his local arcade, he had a thought - why couldn't you hide from your enemies instead of having to always kill them? When he was hired by Konami to produce a new action game, this dream became a reality and Metal Gear was born. Players took control of special agent Solid Snake as he rescued hostages and destroyed massive bipedal nuclear tanks - the Metal Gears of the title.
When Metal Gear Solid arrived on PSone in 1998, Kojima's dream was fully realised in 3D and he became a sub-household name. MGS2 arrived in 2002 to great acclaim, but also to great annoyance because of an unpopular character named Raiden taking over a quarter of the way through the game, pushing Solid Snake out of the limelight. This time however, the game is 100% Snake, and Raiden is even insulted in this game - look out for an Ivan Raidenovich Raikov in the second half of the game, who you may have to beat up...
MGS3 puts you in control of Solid Snake's genetic father, the then-called Naked Snake, who is sent on a jungle mission to rescue a designer of a new type of nuclear weapon.
The jungle setting allows for new types of gameplay to be introduced. In order to stay alive, Snake must keep his stamina up by capturing local flora and fauna to eat. This can be anything from a snake that just slithered past, to fruit hanging in the trees above your head. Some foods and flowers also produced medicines for treatment - more on this later.
Another new addition is the camouflage system. Because there is no back up for you, and you are outnumbered against heavily armed terrorists, avoiding the enemies is the key to succession. At the start of the game, Snake has a small bundle of camouflage outfits and face paints to use. These can be used in wherever you believe possible. Hiding in long grass? Use the leafy camouflage with Woodland face paint. Hiding in a hollowed-out tree? Tree Bark camouflage. The game lets you use whatever camo you like to suit the environment you are in.
Failing that, Snake can go hands-on with his enemies. A brand new combat system called CQC - used in real life by SWAT teams the world over - allows Snake to grab his enemies and use them as a human shield, or interrogate them with his gun/knife combo. You have a tranquilizer gun as standard to knock enemies out, and Snake uses this simultaneously with a knife, so you can pick off other guards while keeping your victim still with a knife to his throat. Other weapons include assault and sniper rifles, many types of grenades and the odd novelty item, such as top-shelf magazines to distract guards. Don't expect any grot though - the only pages you see are pretty clean.
Snake also has a variety of items at his disposal. Many of these help him get past his enemies - a Sonar scanner, a Motion Detector, and even a Crocodile Head Cap to scare people off. The classic cardboard box also returns, and Snake now has a cyanide pill to fake his own death. When you open up the revival pill in your items, time magically rewinds and Snake gets back up.
If you get injured in a firefight, a new cure system gives you a more hands-on approach to healing Snake, rather than just eating a ration. Snake can use bandages, disinfectant, styptic, splints and much more to heal his physical injuries, and has a variety of medicines to use if he falls ill at all.
It would be criminal to write a review of MGS3 and not write about the plot and the incredible cast of characters that Team Kojima creates. Snake's main enemies - the Cobras - also act as the main boss characters in the game. Each of these enemies has a name and an emotion that they carry into a battle, and a special skill to use:
The Fear - Terrifying yet acrobatic, and can climb and leap between trees with incredible ease.
The End - Extremely old, living only just through a special form of photosynthesis. A legendary sniper.
The Pain - Can control hornets and use them as he wishes, causing intolerable agony.
The Fury - Very angry, wears a jetpack and carries a flamethrower.
The Joy/The Boss - Snake's former mentor, a master of CQC.
The Sorrow - Not actually alive, he has an incredible connection with the paranormal.
Other characters included a younger, not-yet-revolver-wielding Ocelot and the powerful Colonel Volgin, who is able to charge 10 million volts of electricity through his body - that's quite handy.
The storyline in MGS3 can be easy to ignore, and with 5 hours plus of cutscenes, it can be easy to hit X and skip them all, but I advise you not to - the storylines of MGS games are half the reason you bought them. MGS3's storyline is one of love, hurt and war - the mission Naked Snake undertakes is one which scars him forever, mentally and physically - he doesn't have that eyepatch at the start, and you even see him weep at the ending. His relationship with sultry KGB spy EVA is one, which can make you feel like your heartstrings are really being plucked - Kojima knows how to involve the player emotionally. Snake's relationship with his mentor The Boss is a rocky one - she leaves the US and defects to the Soviet Union, and she leaves her relationship with Snake behind - and when Snake learns he has to take her out in order to succeed, you feel hurt too.
Graphically, the game is stunning. From the very first FMV, you can tell it's special. Everything looks very lifelike, from the emotion-filled faces of the characters to the details in the jungle enviroments and animals. The graphics create an incredible organic atmosphere, making you feel like you are in a jungle - hiding from an enemy just as a frog or a rabbit hops past. However, the areas can feel a tad enclosed, like a roofless corridor with trees in.
The soundscape never lets up - Harry Gregson Williams (who did music for the Rock, and Independence Day among others) returns to do the music again, and he does it with spectacular style and emotion. The game makes use of Dolby surround sound technology, and it really seems incredible - like you're really in a jungle. A guard's footsteps up ahead, a snake slithering behind you, a bird tweeting to the left - it makes you think you were there. However, the voices can sound a tad dry from time to time - like the character's voices are just impressions of the real thing - but this doesn't irritate much.
Guaranteed, MGS3 will last you a while. It's longer than MGS2, there's more to do and its generally more enjoyable. Half of your game-playing time will be spent hunting for little bonuses. You can find hidden camouflages, and shoot open magazines to read their features about MGS3. And hidden in the game are 64 'Kerotan' frogs. Shoot them all and you'll get the stealth camouflage, which makes you invisible. Completing the game nets you a bunch of extras - a mode that lets you watch all the cutscenes, and another which lets you fight all the bosses again. You'll also net a machine gun with infinite ammo. As an added bonus, available from the start is a special mode which lets you hunt down the monkeys out of Ape Escape. If you have online, you can download extra camouflages for use in game, such as a grenade camo (extra grenades) and comically, a Santa camouflage, complete with fluffy white trim. Even when the game is finished, you'll want to play it again, just to experience the atmosphere.
Metal Gear Solid 3 is revolutionary. Once again, MGS has re-invented the stealth genre, making yet another template for other games to follow. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow may have pulled off the jungle theme first, but MGS succeeds in making you feel like you are actually in a jungle, with local flora and fauna everywhere you look. The game is very cinematic and involving, and those cutscenes flyby. Long? Dragging on? Forget it. I advise you not to skip any FMV's or you will miss out. MGS3 is an essential purchase, as it has created an entirely new genre - survival. It's the best action game I've played in a very long time, and I don't think you'll survive without it.
Graphics - 4.5/5
Gameplay - 5/5
Sound - 5/5
Lifespan - 5/5
Overall - 5/5