My memories of Metal Gear date back to 1998 when I played the original Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation. Right from the get go I was hooked. An amazing story, excellent stealth action, and plenty of challenges and surprises around every corner. Seeing the exclamation point show up over a soldier’s head, and the all too familiar noise that followed, was a treat even though I knew that I was in trouble, and don’t get me started on the boss battle with Psycho Mantis. Eventually I figured it out. Metal Gear Solid was the type of game that I could play over and over again and never get bored. Then the sequel came along on PlayStation 2, and the hits just kept on coming even though most of the game centered around a ridiculously complicated plot and a new character named Raiden. Yes, that sequel racked my brain, but the gameplay was awesome. Sadly, those were the only two Metal Gear games I played until now.

Now the Metal Gear series is back in a brand new collection…again.

Back in 2011 the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection was released. I picked it up on my Xbox 360 and was enjoying all the sweet action, but something was missing. That would be the original Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4. Series creator, Hideo Kojima, said it would be impossible to bring MGS 4 to the Xbox 360 due to the sheer size of the game. Just too many discs compared to the one Blu-Ray on the PS3. As for the original Metal Gear Solid, well it wasn’t coming either. The HD Collection just felt incomplete. Fast forward to today with The Legacy Collection, exclusively on PlayStation 3, which brings all the Metal Gear games together giving me the complete experience I’ve always wanted along with the opportunity to play a game that I missed out on. Metal Gear Solid 4.

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection packs in a lot of bang for the buck. Eight Metal Gear games along with a pair of graphic novels illustrated by Ashley Wood. Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, and Peace Walker are the exact same HD versions from the previous collection. Metal Gear Solid 4 is the trophy edition which pleases the “achievement whore” in me. The original Metal Gear Solid and the VR Missions are available via a voucher code downloadable through the PlayStation Store. Unfortunately these two games feature no HD makeover. Sure these games look pretty dated compared to today’s high definition environment, but I’m ok with that. All I cared about was playing the games.

The one area where the Metal Gear Solid games really hold up through all these years is in the gameplay department. Stealth is the name of the game so accomplishing my missions a little more “quietly” than what I’m used to is a challenge. While running and gunning is more “me” I still had no problem sneaking around taking enemies out, or holding them up and watch them shake out useful items and dog tags while begging me not to kill them. The controls did take some time for me to get used to mostly because I haven’t played these games in so long. At times I found myself wasting precious ammo, or accidently using a ration or two when I didn’t need it. Of course these situations were better than the worst case scenario of getting caught and having to deal with heavily armored soldiers. Overall, the controls work the best in MGS 4 and in Peace Walker with the use of the dual analog sticks for looking and movement. Most importantly, the easier to learn controls in these games also allowed me to appreciate the evolution of the gameplay mechanics from the past to the present.

More than just the games, the Ashley Wood illustrated graphic novels are the icing on the cake in this collection. The graphic novels tell the story of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2. Each feature all the amazing artwork along with music and sound effects for that added pleasure. As much as I enjoy playing the game more, I couldn’t help but exit the game just to watch this, because it’s so awesome! Since I’ve played and beaten both games there’s no spoilers, but I wished it would help soften the blow of the complex plot details during the second half of Metal Gear Solid 2. Oh well. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, but this collection does let me have my cake and eat it too. However, I do have one complaint about the art book that is included with this set. Why no hardcover? A flimsy softcover book for 100 pages of spectacular artwork should not be showcased in something that looks rather cheap.

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection is the ultimate in fan service to a series that’s been around for more than a quarter of a century. It’s a series filled with so many great moments like epic boss battles against elite soldiers and huge Metal Gears. There’s the very long Codec sequences that sometimes divulge tons of complicated plot information that some players try to find a way to skip through, but shouldn’t. There’s also the most ridiculous of moments like Solid Snake jerking off in locker to a picture of a half naked woman all while delivering his “O-Face” to Otacon on the Codec in Metal Gear Solid 2 (seriously I can’t make that up, but you do earn a trophy for it). Make no mistake, this collection is not a holdover to hype me up for the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This collection is meant to tell the epic story of war, honor, love, and saving the world. It’s also Hideo Kojima’s way of saying “thank you” to the many fans, including myself, that support his and his team’s hard work

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Developer: Konami
Platform: PlayStation 3
Players: 1-6 (online multiplayer, Peace Walker)
Price: $49.99

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