Year:  2023

Director:  Hideo Kojima

Rated:  MA

Release:  Out Now

Distributor: Konami

Running time: 60-100 hours

Worth: $14.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Intro:
For all the many (many!) barriers to entry that these quarter-of-a-century-old games possess, there’s absolute magic if you’re willing to dig a little deeper.

Writer Thomas Wolfe once opined “You can’t go home again” in his novel of the same name. Ol’ Tommo wasn’t talking about losing one’s house keys or getting in trouble with the misso, rather the more abstract concept of being unable to revisit the past in anything other than memory. Frankly, you could almost believe Mr. Wolfe had played Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1. Although he died in 1938, so that seems unlikely.

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is Konami dusting off some of their most beloved IP and dishing it up for modern systems. That means you can finally play Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on something that isn’t hiding under a pile of dust at the back of a dingy wardrobe.

They’ve also chucked in the original 2D Metal Gear games and some funky extras including scripts, books and artwork, but the main draw here is the Solid trilogy. On the plus side, it’s great to play these games again.

Snake Eater in particular, has aged like a fine wine and remains just as iconic and frequently baffling as always. On the downside, very little has been done to update the experience. Much like Rockstar’s recent Red Dead Redemption re-release, the Master Collection gives a slight boost to the graphics and frame rate and… that’s it. You can’t even change the button configuration to that of more modern Metal Gear games, making this package’s initial hours feel downright clunky, even archaic to control.

For all the many (many!) barriers to entry that these quarter-of-a-century-old games possess, there’s absolute magic if you’re willing to dig a little deeper. Sons of Liberty remains a bizarre, camp, self-aware, self-indulgent rollercoaster, and Snake Eater is clearly Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece. However, it’s hard to imagine that newer players, gamers who didn’t play these games on release or during their 2011 re-release, will hang around long enough to get to the good stuff. Being forced to adopt controls that actively seem to want to ruin your day and fiddly camera fuckery that makes looking straight ahead a baffling chore, seems exactly the kind of stumbling block that will keep the kids away and that’s a real pity.

Still, existing fans with a bit of extra dosh who don’t mind murky textures and counterintuitive controls will likely relish this chance to relive the good times, this opportunity to go home again. It’s just a pity a bit more effort wasn’t expended to make this solid Master Collection a must-own and change the mind of Thomas Wolfe.

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