Metal Gear Solid: The Settle Collection

As the PS2 winds down, it has become quite popular to release cheap three game collections for it. Until now, the best one out there was the Devil May Cry pack, but now it has been usurped by Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection. With the first three MGS games for $30, this is the perfect way for MGS newbies to experience the series before it signs off with its fourth and final entry. Whether it is worth it for long time fans is a tougher question to answer, as this package is shy from perfect.

The content is the toughest question. Metal Gear Solid comes in a nice DVD case, but is the original Playstation pressing, meaning you will need a PS1 memory card. Annoying, but you can’t really ask them to recode a budget release. MGS2 is the highlight of the package, in that this is the Substance re-release and is chock full of goodies. Considering this goes for almost the same price used, it makes the Collection very appealing. MGS3 is the iffiest piece of the pack. It is clearly the best game, and this version is from the Subsistence re-release with the 3rd person camera, which is the only way to play it these days.

On the other hand, the second disk of Subsistence is missing. I can understand the reason for this, since the highlight of disc 2 was Metal Gear Online, which went dead this year. However the disc also had ports of Metal Gear 1 and 2, which I was dying to obtain. Subsistence can still be found online for its original price, but paying the same as the entire Collection for two old games seems a bit unreasonable, especially since MGS3 itself is the most important thing to have.

The presentation of the package is hit or miss. Each game gets a DVD case with fantastic cover art, but the discs are all in plain black and white, as are all the manuals. Understandable for the price, and it isn’t like missing color in the manuals is going to kill your reading experience. Just having the nice boxart is all I need.

What bothers me about the Essential Collection is that Japan got a nice, pricey box set with the entire Metal Gear series (including Portable Ops), including the bonus DVDs from MGS 2 and 3. What we have is a nice option, but I would have liked the opportunity to fork out extra for all the marbles. Sadly, the only US company that deems the West fit for Japan’s goodies is Atlus USA. Whether this box set is worth it for you will boil down to what if any MGS games you have, and what versions. In any case it makes me excited to get back into the series in anticipation for 4.

That reminds me. I need to get serious about shopping for a PS3!

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16 years ago

Releasing this collection a few months before MGS4 is quite possibly the smartest thing Konami could have done. They’ve essentially made Metal Gear relevant again. It’s been 4 years since a new console Metal Gear game was released, and many new franchises have been created since then. Before purchasing the Essential collection, I was barely excited for Guns of the Patriots. But now, after playing all 3 MGS games in the last week, I am dying to play Metal Gear Solid 4, with it becoming the most anticipated game release of the year for me.

It does annoy me though that Konami didn’t release the second Subsistence disc (and they even painfully remind me that there is one in the main menu of Disc 1), but they priced it fair enough for me not to care too much. And yeah, after playing MGS3 with the 3rd person manual camera, I have a hard time going back to the older versions. It plays completely differently, but for the better. Now, with MGS4 built with that mechanic from the ground up, the level design is going to be amazing.

Oh, and just for the heads up, MGS1 and MGS2 Substance play great on the 80GB PS3, with a few instances of slowdown with MGS3 Subsistence (with it occurring in a few cutscenes and in most instances of fire/explosions, like the fight with the Fury), but nothing to really complain about.