I think itâ€™s nice how classic games get ported to a number of different systems. Sure, itâ€™s a safe cash grab for the publisher doing the port, but it gives these games a chance to get some additional sunshine and make some new friends.
And here we are with Metal Gear Solid 3, now with an extra â€śDâ€ť attached on the end, popping up on â€” surprise! â€” Nintendoâ€™s 3DS. So how does it fare? Pretty well, actually â€” not perfect, but still good.
Everything youâ€™d expect is here â€” itâ€™s the same gameplay, the same content, and the same (often insane) story. Crucially, the game is still eminently playable on the 3DS. Whether youâ€™re crawling around in the grass or taking soldiers out from behind, youâ€™ll find the controls on the 3DS are well up to the task. Theyâ€™re even better at times â€” the touchscreen has a bunch of handy shortcuts to your inventory or camouflage screen, making everything flow that much smoother.
The 3D is also as good as youâ€™d hope for. I wouldnâ€™t say itâ€™s all that crucial to the experience, but itâ€™s a welcome addition. It adds a little bit of immersion to the numerous moments when youâ€™re creeping through the undergrowth, but otherwise youâ€™ll probably forget itâ€™s there most of the time.
It helps that this is one of the best games in the Metal Gear roster â€” I personally rate it behind only the original Metal Gear Solid (which I would love to see on platforms like the 3DS). Itâ€™s a tight, focused experience, unlike the comparatively sprawling and absurdly long-winded MGS 2 or 4. Of course, that doesnâ€™t mean the characters â€” as memorable as they are â€” donâ€™t go on for far too long, when really they should be getting on with stopping those pesky bad guys.
Visually, this version of MGS3 holds up admirably well â€” and actually looks a bit better on a smaller screen. Itâ€™s impressive how well itâ€™s held up over the last decade or so â€” although itâ€™s also disappointing how much the frame rate dips. Youâ€™d think the 3DS would be grunty enough to keep things smooth.
You know the butt-ugly Circle Pad Pro attachment? You might want one with MGS3. With it, the controls are the best you can find for this game. Aiming and shooting is moved to the shoulder buttons, and Snake (and the camera) can be easily controlled with the analog nubs.
But without the Circle Pad Pro, itâ€™s a bit of a bumpier ride â€” albeit a more portable one. The four face buttons now control the camera, which is vastly inferior, and makes a lot of difference. Seriously, Nintendo canâ€™t come out with revised 3DS hardware soon enough.
Newcomers to this series, as I mentioned in my review of the recent MGS HD Collection, may be a little put off by the titleâ€™s relatively dated design. The conversations can go on too long, Snake can feel too delicate to control, and the camera isnâ€™t always your friend. At its core, though, itâ€™s still a good game if youâ€™re up for some espionage action and a dramatic plot. And needless to say, fans of the series looking for an excuse to play MGS3 again will be satisfied here.
So there you go: got the need to play this game again, and feel like playing it on the go and in 3D? Then youâ€™re just the people Konami are targeting! Go and feel good about yourself and buy the game with confidence. And if youâ€™re a new 3DS owner looking to dive into this series, you may as well do it here â€” if you can get past some of the franchiseâ€™s quirks, thereâ€™s a lot to enjoy in this venerable adventure.