Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 review for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch

Platform: PS5
Also On: PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

In 1987 Konami released Metal Gear to the world and the stealth action genre was born. Developed for the MSX2 computer platform, the game was heavily modified and released later that same year on the Nintendo Entertainment System to great success. So much so that the genre that it spawned is one of the most popular types of games today. From Assassin’s Creed to Splinter Cell to Dishonored and so much more. With the release of Metal Gear, recognized as the first stealth action game by the Guinness Book of World Records, the video game world would never be the same.

Now Konami has now re-released a selection of Metal Gear games, including a complete remaster of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater as Metal Gear Solid Delta. In Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 we also get the original MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear: Solid Snake, as well as the first three Metal Gear Solid games (including the aforementioned Delta), and a bunch of bonus content including Metal Gear Solid VR Missions.

Metal Gear Solid was the first 3D entry in the Metal Gear series. Released in 1998 for the original PlayStation the game takes place in Alaska in 2005. Players take control of Solid Snake, the protagonist from the previous Metal Gear games, as he attempts to infiltrate a nuclear disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island. The facility was taken over by his old unit, Fox Hound, and each member of Fox Hound is a fantastical villain almost out of a Roger Moore-esque bond movie. This is a running theme in each MGS game.

In the original game, just like in each of the next two entries, you start the game with little to no equipment. Instead, Snake must find weapons and ammo throughout the game. While traversing Shadow Moses Island, Snake runs into roadblocks that prevent him from moving forward, this generally requires finding a weapon, item or character to continue the story.

After the release of each MGS game, Konami re-released all of them multiple times. There was MGS the Twin Snakes for the Nintendo GameCube, which was a remaster of the first Metal Gear Solid game. MGS2: Sons of Liberty had MGS2: Substance and then the HD remaster on PS3. MGS3: Snake Eater had MGS3: Subsistence and then also an HD remaster on PS3. The games chosen in this collection were the two HD remasters for Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 as well as the original PlayStation version of MGS.

Each game was faithfully transferred into this Master Collection by Konami. The controls from the first game are as frustrating as I remember and the controls on the other two are spot on. The voice acting from David Hayter is exactly what I would expect from a grizzled black ops specialist, and the dialog, in all three games, is better than what you would expect from videogames that came out around then. To compare, Metal Gear Solid is a substantial improvement as compared the first Resident Evil game on PS1.

The most glaring issue is how, specifically, the first game looks. The second and Third game have HD remasters, and these were used for this release, but the first game could have been touched up some. There is no option to smooth out the textures, no widescreen, instead opting to have bars on either side of the screen. No touchups or clean ups on the models. As amazing as the first game is, it is disappointing that there is no clean up of the textures in the game.

Also included is the MGS VR Missions. A collection of 300 stages that players can play to hone their stealth skills in the MGS universe. Character scripts and graphic novels are included, as of the time of this writing, some of the extras were not available due to needing to download free language extras from the PlayStation store.

Overall, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a pretty substantial collection (even with Vol. 2 in the works) with six games and a ton of bonus content ranging from graphic novels, soundtracks, scripts and more. Metal Gear Solid is really the only game I have any complaints about. Since it’s being emulated, and there are plenty of emulators out there that can smooth out or upscale textures, they could have used or created an emulator that allows for some smoother textures and/or upscaling.  This is still a must have for any Metal Gear fan, and even if you are new to the series or have only played Metal Gear Solid V, this is a perfect opportunity to play the games that started it all!

Konami provided us with a Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+