The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 clearly wants to be the definitive collection that every Metal Gear fan is going to want and, well, so far so good based on what I’ve played. What Konami has packed in here for 60 bucks – so many amazing Metal Gear games, and some spectacular fan service extras – has left a heck of a first impression after my two hours spent playing it.
After getting to play it, I could not believe how much care went into this collection. Like Konami’s TMNT Cowabunga Collection, I don’t think any fan is going to be disappointed. The NES games are there and all of the different versions are included, with Metal Gear Solid clearly having gotten a ton of love and attention for the first time since the Twin Snakes remake back in the GameCube days. Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 are the amazing Bluepoint HD Remakes, but even those received subtle touch-ups according to Konami’s Director of Brand Marketing Ben Kinney, “We put the white gloves on and just whatever needed to be touched up or trimmed just to modernize them. We did that and then the rest we just left as it was, because that was the intent.”
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 Screenshots
VR Mission and Special Missions are also included, and I was ecstatic to see that a gem I don’t have in my current collection, Metal Gear Solid Integral, was also here. Integral is unique because it added cool little details like difficulty settings and a tuxedo outfit for Snake if you beat the full game a few times. The VR-Disk that was included with this version can also be started from the Integral sub-menu.
For the main game they even thought about the players that will be discovering the hidden codex code for the first time as a 3D case can be selected by going to the “online manual” section for the version you happen to be playing.
Because this particular game displays natively in a 4:3 aspect ratio, Konami also added the choice of aligning your display area to the left, right or center, and choosing from 7 different wallpapers, or turning wallpapers off entirely.
Speaking of Bonus Content, I’ll just list out a few treats you won’t want to miss, like the four digital graphic novels Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid Bande Dessinee, and Metal Gear Solid 2 Bande Dessinee that are here. As a pre-order bonus you receive the Metal Gear Solid: Digital Soundtrack including newly recorded, orchestral renditions of the theme songs from the series. This included “The Best is Yet to Come,” “Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” and “Snake Eater.” The website also mentions the Screenplay Book and Master Book, but I was asked not to discuss those yet so you’ll just have to wait a bit to learn more.
As for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, I should note that while it is the superb BluePoint version, Konami had us playing on a Nintendo Switch. It ran okay, but it was clear to both me and the person sitting next to me that there was significant slowdown during some scenes in MGS 2 and MGS 3 on the Switch. I asked Ben about this and he clarified that “This is not [the] final dev build. As you notice, there’s still some tweaking to be done. There’s a voice line here that gets dropped, which was in our liner notes. There’s some of the content for the bonus content and there are just a few minor adjustments. So going through, the final list hasn’t been finalized, but there [are] definitely still tweaks and adjustments being made to the different builds.”
Otherwise Metal Gear Solid 2 is exactly the same as the Bluepoint version that was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360, and has been updated using the Xbox Series X backwards compatibility feature, which enhances some games.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is where I spent the majority of my time, and it was again the Bluepoint HD version that is regarded by fans like myself as the best version available. Having just played through the first hour or so due to my excitement for the collection, it was very fun to shoot the bees’ nest and watch the guard run away in terror. Or crawl through the grass to get to the scientist and help him escape and reveal the Shagohod’s secrets. It could have been a little more crisp though. It appeared that texture quality was reduced to get Metal Gear Solid 3 working on the Switch, with native resolution looking like it was still at 720p as it was in the Bluepoint versions. Framerate targeted 30 frames per second on the Switch with the slowdown I mentioned earlier.
I admit that I loved getting a ton of time with the original Metal Gear Solid, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater when I wasn’t digging around in the menus to find fun treasures within. I also am very happy that these games were collected in one package for fans. That said, I think it was a mistake for Konami to allow us to play on the Nintendo Switch. While it is great that Nintendo fans will be getting these for the first time, it left me with questions about the PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X versions. Will their textures be updated? Are they targeting a locked 60 frames per second like the 360 version hits on Xbox Series X? Will the 720p native resolution be updated? That native resolution was what the HD collection from Bluepoint was set at for Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3. That’s going to look a little soft on modern consoles.
Technical details aside, I think that this collection seems amazing overall. Even if it winds up being a port of the HD Collection from Bluepoint, fans on modern PC’s and consoles will have an amazing archive with a ton for fans to dig into. And if it turns out some of the games didn’t get as many enhancements as we hoped, savvy fans on the Xbox Series X that already own the HD collection may be better off buying the impressive Metal Gear Solid update separately for $20.