E3 2011: Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater Preview

By Colin Tan on June 22, 2011, 12:35AM EDT

The Cold War, 1964. The FOX Unit halo drops a lone man behind enemy lines to extract the Russian scientist Sokolov. The truth behind FOX's Virtuous Mission is a mind boggling one, which inevitably culminated in the massive cover-up that was Operation Snake Eater. Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater is a return to where it all began, but this time in complete with 3D.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater first released in 2004 on the PS2. It was a cutting narrative of conspiracy and the tragic tale of Naked Snake, who would later become one of the most important characters in the Metal Gear canon. Featuring many new mechanics like the camo index, survival kit, a lush jungle setting, CQC and probably one of the most endearing stories in Metal Gear history, it's no wonder it has maintained an average Metacritic score of 91 out of 100 over the years since its release.

Outside of Peace Walker HD, MGS3D: Snake Eater was yet another title at Konami's booth where I wasted no time on getting the full breath of the demo on show. Showcasing the very first stage where Snake is halo-dropped into the Virgin Cliffs, otherwise known as Tselinoyarsk, the objective was to secure and extract Sokolov.

Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater - Commencing Operation Snake Eater

Let's be honest. This version of Snake Eater is nothing like the tech demo that was originally shown off when the 3DS was first announced. The visuals aren't as mind boggling and it is definitely no remake. In fact, aside from the updated mechanics, it's as though they just slapped 3D on top of a PS2 port and that's where fans are likely to suffer disappointment. Regardless, the demo itself wasn't a bad one. In fact, the 3D looked pretty darn good.

While the demo level was exactly as I remembered it back when I first explored Tselinoyarsk those many years ago, the 3D seriously adds a whole new level to the game's visual presentation. Not only are things easier to spot, but the depth perception in the lush jungles of Soviet Russia are a sight to behold.

The controls have also been updated to make full use of the 3DS' dual screens. No longer is gameplay broken up from having to frequent the Start menu as almost everything you need is displayed on the bottom touchscreen. Little things like using the gyroscope to balance Snake as he crosses a rickety, wooden suspension bridge was surprisingly fun. Aiming and movement has also been updated to the setup seen in MGS4 and Peace Walker. Snake can finally crouch and walk at the same time!

Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater - Freeze!

The best part of it is that Kojima Productions have taken note of the finicky 3D screen and have taken the efforts to dynamically adjust the 3D levels so you won't have to worry about it going out of focus as you twist and turn the 3DS. There's also a new feature called Photo Camo, which allows players to use the 3DS' built-in camera to take a picture and create a custom camouflage pattern.

While it is quite disappointing that Snake Eater 3D will not be a remake, fans can be assured that it is still one of the better games to look forward to outside of Nintendo's re-releases. Despite my disappointment, I was definitely surprised by how much the 3D and new controls added to the experience. If you love Metal Gear, definitely keep an eye out, but based on what Konami showed at E3, don't get too hopeful for something that'll blow your mind away.

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