You have to admit, there is only one truly awesome series of stealthy tactical espionage games, nothing else comes close when remembering the fun you had playing them, from running around in a cardboard box to slipping on bird poop, the nostalgia is real and these games have aged immensely well….well some of them at least… coughs twice.
So let us journey through the wonderful series of Metal Gear Solid created by none other than Hideo Kojima and see which one comes out on top.
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Metal Gear 2: Snakes Revenge (NES)
Following the release of the original Metal Gear, two separate sequels were developed. The first, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, was developed by Kojima in 1990 for the MSX2 but unfortunately never saw an official release outside of Japan until the arrival of MGS3: Subsistence.
However European and American markets saw another version titled Snake’s Revenge and it was created for the NES but with absolutely no involvement from Kojima as a result, it failed to meet the standards set by Kojima’s other games, leaving fans disappointed, the title even makes it sound like a cheesy 80’s action movie starring Steven Segal… I shudder at the thought.
To truly understand the discrepancy between the two versions, it is crucial to play the original developed by Kojima and compare them, and you will see why this one is last on the list.
Metal Gear (NES Port)
We shall just silently whistle and look in the opposite direction when we think of the NES port of Metal Gear, unfortunately, it was a complete train wreck and it just wasn’t really that enjoyable to play, the maps were changed drastically from the way the Kojima envisioned it and gameplay was just not what it should have been.
It didn’t feel like something that was made by Kojima at all, and that’s because it wasn’t. In fact, it had no involvement nor explicit consent from Kojima and the team for a NES port to be created in the first place and in doing so, sullied a lot of people’s memories and impressions of the game and its series.
The NES was much more popular than the MSX (at least here in the UK) which meant that this version of the game was what everyone was exposed to outside of Japan and so it earns the second last spot on this list, however, this may seem unfair as the MSX version itself was rather good in comparison so perhaps it deserves its own spot on this list.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a game that divided fans of the series, including myself. With the overwhelming success of Snake Eater and Peace Walker, the expectations were high, however for me personally, it fell short of those expectations, the gameplay felt completely different and somewhat awkward compared to previous Metal Gear Solid instalments.
It failed to captivate and immerse me in the same way. While it certainly had its moments, the game didn’t quite match the gripping and immersive experience of its predecessors, particularly in terms of stealthy gameplay.
While it isn’t a terrible game by any means, it couldn’t live up to the high standards set by its predecessors. The slight shift from the norm, while not inherently bad, resulted in a game that lacked the same level of stealthy immersion and enjoyment. The focus on epic battles and the deviation from the original stealth formula left some fans yearning for a return to the series’ roots.
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PSP)
Peace Walker introduced fresh and enjoyable gameplay mechanics that enhanced the overall experience, despite being originally designed for the PSP, the game successfully translated its gameplay to the PS3 and XBOX 360 in the HD Collection.
The game exceeded my expectations by delivering a meticulously crafted storyline that seamlessly continued the events from Snake Eater and the game’s narrative acted as a vital link between Snake Eater and the events leading up to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain. The story kept me engaged from beginning to end, with unexpected twists and divulgences that deepened the lore.
The game deserves recognition for its unforgettable journey and contribution to the MGS series, it extended the story from Snake Eater, serving as a crucial link between past and future instalments. The fun gameplay mechanics, including the introduction of Mother Base which came to play a large role in this game and in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros / The Phantom Pain, added depth and strategic elements to the gameplay experience.
Despite the minor differences in gameplay style, Peace Walker remained an enjoyable and immersive instalment that further enriched my love for the series.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros / The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain introduced gameplay mechanics that were both familiar and innovative. The open-world nature of the game allowed players to explore vast environments and tackle missions in various ways, the freedom to go anywhere, anytime as the legendary “Snake” added a sense of immersion and excitement and the gripping storyline filled with twists and turns, kept players on the edge of their seats, eager to uncover the truth behind the game’s intricate plot.
The games may not have fully met the immense expectations surrounding their release, but they still managed to deliver an amazing and immersive experience, the open-world gameplay, epic storylines, and the chance to step into the shoes of the legendary “Snake” created a memorable gaming adventure. While the grindy nature of the game and lack of replayability may be a drawback for some, the accomplishments and overall quality of these games should not be overlooked
So while it’s fourth on the list, it’s by no means an awful game and I would still urge you to play it, especially after completing Peace Walker.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
This is definitely my second favourite PS2 game of all time and for good reason, it encompasses two stories in one with Snake who we know and love, and the introduction of a new character Raiden, his awkward uncertainty and sometimes blissful ignorance makes for an interestingly captivating and goofy storyline with an almighty plot twist towards the end. You can’t help but feel for him when all he thought he knew come crumbling down before his very eyes.
The game starts with a well-written narrative that pushes the boundaries of storytelling in video games, the complex plot delves into themes of government conspiracies, artificial intelligence, and the manipulation of information and as players progress through the game, they uncover hidden layers and intricacies, rewarding their curiosity and attention to detail.
From a technical standpoint, MGS2 showcased impressive advancements, the game’s graphics, animations, and attention to detail pushed the boundaries of the PlayStation 2 hardware from the realistic environments, detailed character models, and fluid animations enhanced the overall immersion, creating a visually stunning experience that stands the test of time.
Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
This game had a huge impact on me as a child, I remember playing it for the first time, it was a demo that came from one of those magazines that had a few game demos on one disc, I was captivated by the intro cinematics alone, the soundtrack, the voice acting, it was just so epic and of course, the graphics back in those days were amazing so everything about this game stood out to me. I played it over and over again, each time was different just because it was your call on what you wanted to do, and where you wanted to go and each time you would normally find something new. It was the first game of its kind I had ever played and was my introduction to the MGS series, the covert nature of the game appealed to me and the simple act of being able to lure enemies by knocking on surfaces had me entertained for hours, and if you can read “what was that noise” and hear their voice in your head, you will know what I mean.
Metal Gear Solid‘s enduring legacy is a testament to its impact on the gaming industry, its groundbreaking gameplay mechanics, engrossing storyline, and technical achievements set new standards for the stealth genre and influenced future game developers. Metal Gear Solid remains a legendary game, cherished by fans and recognised as a cornerstone of gaming history.
It was very difficult to place this game on this list because of how much it means to me but it takes the second spot simply for just being my introduction to the MGS series and just overall being an absolutely legendary game, especially for its time, so please play it if you haven’t if you can find a moderately priced copy that is.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
It really couldn’t be any other game at the top of this list, this game is definitely my top pick from all of the MGS series of games because it has it all, an amazing plot with multiple story perspectives with the same comedic quirks you’d expect from Kojima, the gameplay, the cinematics, an amazing soundtrack, from the James Bond-Esq title song Snake Eater by Cynthia Harrell to the melancholic end credits with Way to Fall by Starsailor.
Everything about this game just felt right, its extremely polished so it looked absolutely amazing for a Playstation 2 game at the time and just had some of the most fun gameplay I had ever experienced so it earns the top spot for being such an extensive game in terms of gameplay, the world was so massive there was just so much to explore and find so it was just one of those games you could spend weeks playing and then start again when you were done, the replayability factor was off the scale.
No Metal Gear Solid game would be complete without its iconic boss battles, and Snake Eater delivers some of the most memorable encounters in the series. From the patience-testing duel with The End, an elderly sniper, to the emotional confrontation with The Boss, Snake’s mentor, each battle is unique, demanding different strategies and showcasing the game’s creativity.
Kojima’s meticulous attention to detail shines through in Snake Eater. The game is brimming with hidden Easter eggs, references to past games, and intricate details that reward observant players, from humorous codec conversations to secret unlockable items, these nuances enhance the overall experience, leaving players delighted and eager to uncover more.
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