Best of 2006 #5: Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

In case I haven’t made this clear, I hated Snake Eater. But what a difference a little camera control can make.

After Sons of Liberty the MGS series lost a lot of goodwill, and so tried something new with MGS3. Now you play only as Snake (not Solid), and you’re not in the near future of infinite battery lives and soliton radar, but in a Soviet jungle at the height of the Cold War. You’re really on your own, with even the need to sustain yourself completely in your hands. It was just too bad that a bit too much digging in menus and a truly terrible camera let it down.

Luckily someone at Konami had played Splinter Cell. That second stick was put to good use and let you move the camera in full 3D (in a 3D game? Whatever next!?), and in doing so completely transformed it. What was game-ruining flaw suddenly become totally transparent to use and allowed the parts that the game does so well to shine through.

What it does well, it does very well. A slick and exciting stealth adventure with a wry sense of humour carries a superb story – all told through cinematics that can stand up with the best blockbusters – right through to an epic and emotional ending (around twenty minutes long) that gives the perfect finale to what had been a top class game. Bring on MGS4.

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