The demo for Konami's Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater hit the Nintendo eShop earlier last week, and much to the dismay of many a Big Boss fan, the game wasn't exactly mind blowing, especially in the visuals department. Don't misunderstand, it is undoubtedly one of the better looking games on the 3DS, but did you try out the Resident Evil: Revelations demo? Snake's got some stiff competition, but I digress. The issue isn't that the game looks terrible. Not at all, it looks great, it just doesn't look any better than its original PS2 counterpart.
This wouldn't be an issue had Konami not shown that initial tech demo back at E3 2010. It was what got every Fox in the hole excited in the first place. It was a brilliant demo that showcased the 3DS' visual capabilities. Many fans expected the remake to be just that, a remake with brand new direction and impressive graphics that'll make the 3DS a must-own device. Unfortunately, the first glimpse at a playable build wasn't the most convincing as it looked just like the original 2004 release.
And again, there wouldn't be such a big hoo-hah had Konami not market the game as a remake from the ground up. What is the point of remaking from the ground up if it's going to look the same? At the very least with Twin Snakes the direction took a more action-oriented and cinematic turn. To be fair, the keen eye will notice that Snake Eater 3D features slightly sharper graphics which is most noticeable on faces. Facial expressions look great and detailed, but then again they did back in 2004 as well.
That's not to say Snake Eater 3D is going to bomb, nor does it mean that it's a terrible game. Far from it. Gameplay in the original Snake Eater was great, and refined even further in Subsistence. Snake Eater 3D adds even more refinement by introducing mechanics seen in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Peace Walker. Players will find that Snake can now move about while crouching, as well as aim in third person view "“ views can be easily swapped between first and third person with the touchscreen.
Not to mention the 3D looks astounding. Despite not looking that much better than the PS2 release "“ ugh, those muddy textures "“ the jungles of Tselinoyarsk really come to life thanks to the 3D. It's also dynamically adjusted so that the moment when you have to tilt the 3DS, the 3D doesn't get bent out of shape. A nice touch for the especially sensitive of eyes. It still begs the question of why assets from the HD Collection were not used.
Unfortunately, Snake Eater 3D's gameplay mechanics aren't under fire from fan scrutiny right now. No doubt they'll be great, and additions like Photo Camo and utilizing the touchscreen as the main menu will streamline the epic experience. However, the disappointment is with the game's visuals. Fans were expecting a visual treat much like the E3 2010 demo, but instead will be receiving what looks to be the exact same game they played eight years ago. For $40, you might as well get the HD Collection which comes with three Metal Gear Solid titles that have received the HD treatment.