Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

All hail to the King!

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a game of epic proportions and although it undisputedly deserves continual praise for its achievements in both plot development and new gameplay, there is sadly not enough web-space to go over the entire original game. As a matter of fact, there is no need. MGS3 is arguably one of the best games on the PS2; every magazine, internet site and critic applauded it and it sold millions of copies in all three main territories, ranking in the official PS2 games top ten.

Although with the previous Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Substance there were a few minor additions, Hideo Kojima has truly revisited MGS3 to bring a new definition to “director’s cut” and refine the game to an even higher level of excellence. Abundant in extra features, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence is the true re-birth of what has become an incomparable series.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence consists of three discs, the first of which contains the main game. The game has now undergone some changes - major changes - that not only give it a new lease of life but almost transforms it into a new game entirely. When beginning the game you will have six, not five, difficulty settings. For those of you who thought you had mastered the game, think again; the new addition is European Extreme, a setting where it will be game over if seen by a single guard. You cannot get harder than that. Even veterans will feel as if they were new to boot camp. One of the trivial effects of this is that everyone will have to start from the beginning - old game saves from the original will not load up with the new Subsistence version. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

Another addition is that you are able to experience the game with a new third-person camera to bring you closer in on the action. Not only is this a refreshing change but it is also an improvement compared to the fixed camera view that only shifted a little this way and that to give a better view of some areas and angles. With the new view you can rotate and tilt it in any direction giving you the freedom to explore and tackle missions and locations in a new sense.

Of course, to be expected is the inclusion of even more camouflage sets that you can use to disguise yourself or simply look the fool. Snake will have nine new nationality flag face paints at the beginning of the game and although they are not really vital and do not help greatly within the game, they are a good laugh to play with, just like all the others from the original such as the punisher face paint. All of the additional uniforms act in much the same way and even though you can put together some good combinations with existing sets you will not be using them over any of the more functional camouflage offerings.

Lastly but by no means least, as it is a stupendous addition, is the Demo Theatre. It gives you access to all of the cut-scenes throughout the entire game. You can relive all of your favourite scenes by simply selecting them separately or choosing to watch entire sections of the game’s plot. There are also secret scenes that have been added in to give away even more surprises not included within the original, especially the ending.

Within the Demo Theatre you will now be able to put all of the extra face paint and uniform sets to good use, as you can edit the way Snake looks in every scene you select. You can create a lot of laughs by using ridiculous face paint in a very serious scene or stupid outfits to go up against all of the bosses. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

The second disc contains a lot of extra modes and features that makes this purchase very worth while. The two most important bonuses are the inclusion of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, both of which were never released in North America, though somehow Europe managed to see Metal Gear but sadly not the sequel. The 1987 Metal Gear that was released in Japan and Europe, followed a new operative of the secret organization FOXHOUND, known none other as Solid Snake. It involved the creation of the first Metal Gear, a weapon of mass destruction, within a rogue state called Outer Heaven. Though the simple 8-bit graphics might put you off, do not let it, as this game is incredible even if it is years old and marks a brilliant start to the series. The original Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was only released in Japan in 1990. Although you might not believe it, as Snake has so many times in his life, he is brought out of retirement to infiltrate the heavily guarded Zanzibar Land to retrieve a kidnapped scientist. Once again, he comes up against the monstrous Metal Gear and must destroy it. Again, Metal Gear 2 is just as inspirational as the original.

Although a little out of place on this disc, there is also a Duel Mode. This allows you to re-play the major battles and every boss fight in MGS3. All the scenes from the main game are there, but they are set out differently. Because they are separate battles, you will need to attain the highest score possible within a certain time limit. Your end result will of course be affected by how quickly you complete the mission but also on what ammunition and health you have left. In some ways you could see it as training, allowing you to try over and over without having the pressure of progressing the story against you.

On top of these three main bonuses there is another theatre on disc 2. It contains the gag trailers that were shown at E3 and the Tokyo Game Show, where Snake will do various silly things with the guards running around like clowns after him. These are very humorous and with over ten in total you will be able to sit and enjoy them if you want a break from the tense situations of the main game. Snake vs. Monkey also sees a return, where you run around as Snake through various maps trying to catch monkeys. Some new maps have been added but nothing major has been changed. However, it is still an amusing addition and fun to play.

Though all of the bonuses of Subsistence are excellent, the most valuable feature included (that was absent from the original game) is the Online mode. It is not simply an engine that has been created for the sake of being an extra for Subsistence, but a fully-worked mode allowing for up to eight players in five different game types. These include the usual Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, as well as unique capture, sneaking and rescue missions. There are 12 maps to choose from not directly pulled from the game but all based on the various locations seen throughout. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

The Capture missions are team-based and you have to capture a “Kerotan Idol” and bring it back to your team’s home base, keeping it there for a small amount of time. Though it is not too advanced there can be some very strenuous moments as you chase the opposition through small and large maps with various obstacles and buildings in your way. The Sneaking missions are a little one-sided in the sense that it is one against all. One player controls Snake whilst the others play as enemy guards. The player controlling snake has to steal a microfilm and once again take it back to base, with the guards charged with stopping him. Similar to the predator mode in Far Cry, the player controlling Snake has advantages over the guards such as stronger attacks and invisibility when not equipped with a weapon, or the microfilm.

Lastly, the Rescue missions see one team holding a character hostage whilst the opposition has to attack and rescue them. Once the time runs out or the opposition successfully nabs the hostage, the game is over. Again, simple but a lot of fun and grueling on smaller maps. The winning factor in all of the online modes, and a sign that time was taking in developing it, is the amount of options and customization. You can create a “play list” of different mission types that you will then run through one after the other. You will also be able to control what factions and characters are available to play as, as well as weapons available within the mission. Just like in many FPS games you can select only pistols, explosives or knives to create whatever match you want. There is also no simple game-matching scheme; you will however have a friends list that enables you to play with gamers you know. All of your achievements will also be calculated on a scoreboard on the server, including things such as kills, rounds you have survived, number of microfilms you have stolen, etc.

Without a doubt, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was, to many, a near-perfect game. Even though it was not thought possible, Subsistence makes it all the more close to perfection. With, literally, entire discs full of extras, a new camera within the main game, the two original Metal Gear titles and an Online mode that finally makes full use of the PS2 broadband adapter, Subsistence is a game that should be in everyone's PS2 collection. If you are one of the few who do not own a PS2 already, then this game is pretty much the best reason to-date.

E3 Trailer