Whether you’ve played any of the series’ entries, if you’re a fan of games even on a surface level, it’s highly likely you’ve heard of the Metal Gear series. A series that is still highly regarded all these years after it’s debut, primarily due to the way it helped define the stealth-action genre and how it showed that games could also be cinematic experiences, tell nuanced stories and contain well written characters and deep story arcs. This incredible blend of story telling and out of the box gameplay is why Hideo Kojima is considered one of the most prestigious and creative video game directors still to this day. The Metal Gear series has spanned many entries over it’s run and has seen reimaginings, remasters and rereleases over the years, but here with the newly released Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol 1, it’s the first time a number of the games have been available together and on current gen platforms. While it may not be the best version of each individual game, the collection overall provides a lot to love whether you’re jumping into the Metal Gear series for the first time, or whether you’re wanting to enjoy them again on a new console.
The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection has released in celebration of the series’ 35th anniversary. Vol 1 contains the first 5 entries in the series along with a plethora of bonus materials that do a great job both fleshing out and immersing you in the world of Metal Gear. I loved the addition of the bonus items and behind the scenes materials as they highly complement the overall experience, really celebrate the franchise and provide plenty to do outside of just playing the included games. To be honest, I wish more games would include detailed supplementary materials along with their releases to provide more to enjoy and a peak behind the curtain of the creation of the game.
This collection includes the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake that originally released on the MSX along with the first three games of the Metal Gear Solid series that released across the original PS1 and PS2. It’s the Solid games that are the big selling point for a lot of fans, as it’s with those games that the series really kicked into popularity, but also because this is the first time the games have been playable on a console newer than a PS3. It’s cool to have the MSX Metal Gear games included, but it wasn’t a massive selling point for myself and I can only assume for the wider audience outside of those that may has nostalgia for those specific games. But I like that they’re available to further reinforce this is a celebration of the series, and especially for those that want to have the ‘whole collection’.
It’s important to point out that the releases within Master Collection Vol 1 are ports, not remakes. Don’t expect any gameplay changes, tweaks or enhancements, outside of updated button mappings and UI icons reflecting the new platforms. The versions of the games are things we’ve seen before or already had access to. But again, the big selling point of this collection is that they’re all in one place and on a modern console. And the overall experience is helped by the current day hardware as there are little to no load times to see, likely thanks to the size of the games and assets, combined with the SSD of the PS5.
The games retain their original control schemes and distinct feel, so it does feel quite dated but still somewhat unique compared to modern day titles. But if you can come to terms with it, or go in with that being a known expectation, the games themselves, along with the stories they tell continue to be just as amazing and releavant today as they were back when they originally released.
The versions of MGS2 and MGS3 are ports of the versions featured in BluePoint’s 2011 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and the HD visuals and 60fps performance on the PS5 still continue to look and fell great. The Metal Gear Solid version used appears to be an upscaled PS1 port that runs in the original 4:3 ratio. I did like the inclusion of the ability to create mock PS1 memory card saves of other Konami games which solves one curiosity I had about the Psycho Mantis boss fight that’s featured in MGS1. It was a very clever work around to still provide a similar sense of wow that I experienced way back when as I played the original on my PS1. The lack of a HD upgrade does make the jump from MGS2 or 3 back to it quite jarring, but it’s really cool to see Metal Gear Solid available for the first time ever on an Xbox console and the Nintendo Switch.
Where this set really excels is that it does a great job of feeling like a ‘whole collection’. It not only has the core games that are mentioned on the box, also included is the additional content released for the games across various regions too. Including content and difficulty options for the European versions of the game, instruction manuals, VR missions, the Special Missions and Intergral versions of MGS along with various language packs too. Giving you the option of which version of the game you want to experience. While it’s still mostly the same game regardless, having the choice to experience the version or region variant to play was still appreciated.
Outside of the core games, Master Collection Vol 1 offers plenty to keep you entertained and enjoying the world of Metal Gear. The collection comes with a bonus section that is packed full of items that complement the games. There are the Master Books, digital graphic novels, screenplay versions of the games, soundtracks and plenty more that give you a behind the scenes look at the development of the series and its accompanying media. This feature made this set not only a collection of video games, but a celebration of the whole franchise and while these bonus items will likely resonate more with some than others, I personally loved that they were included.
The presentation of the collection, while not directly related to the enjoyment of the games themselves was another aspect of this re-release that I enjoyed. The UI is modern, clean and presented really well to allow you to navigate to each of the games on offer, view their additional features and bonus options and obviously, play each of the games. There’s a lot of games, each with their own menus, bonus features and settings that can be tweaked so I liked that the collection itself was easy to navigate as it would have been pretty easy to end up getting lost in a well of nested menus otherwise.
Overall, the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol 1 has a lot on offer and has a lot to offer players, whether they are MEtal Gear veterans or are brand new and jumping into the games for the first time. While there are better individual versions of MGS1 out there, the value of having all of these games available in the same place, and running on modern consoles with the plethora of bonus features included can’t be understated. Obviously the ‘vol 1’ in the title hints that we’re likely to get a second batch of games from the Metal Gear series in the future, and I think once we have MGS4 available to play on a console outside of what it originally launched on, it will finally be time for me to be able to put the PS3 to bed.
A PS5 review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
If you want to see more content like this and never miss one of our frequent gaming and anime giveaways come and Follow Ani-Game on Twitter.