Friday, February 17, 2012

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Demo out on eShop

The demo for the stereoscopic remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is now available for download in the eShop! Likewise, this demo also has a limit of 30 uses. It's 1,070 blocks so make sure you have sufficient space.

As a side note for 3DS Ambassadors, there was also an update for Super Mario Bros. that you can download. When you enter the eShop, it'll notify you of the update which is kind of neat. Nothing was changed with the classic game itself, of course. It now features a Restore Point like the Virtual Console Gameboy games as well as a cool new logo on the Home menu that resembles an NES and a TV.

For my impressions of the demo, hit the jump.

Let me first start off by saying I have yet to play the original Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Although, I've played quite a bit of the original Metal Gear Solid, some Portable Ops, and some Peace Walker. If you've played Peace Walker on the PSP, the controls will seem very familiar with most functions mapped to the D-Pad and aiming the camera is mapped to the face buttons. I think for others, it'll take a little bit of getting used to after taking a look at the controls diagram. From what I could tell, there weren't multiple control styles like there are in Peace Walker but it still has a multitude of options you can customize like sensitivity of the circle pad or the sensitivity of the first person camera specifically. If you're not really digging the buttons to aim, this game is compatible with the Circle Pad Pro. The touch screen set up is pretty intuitive although a little hard to explain to someone who hasn't played it yet.

Anyway, let's move on to the visuals. The environments and the 3D look pretty good. Even though it's the 3DS and there are a ton of jaggies because of no anti-aliasing, I was impressed with how detailed the grass was when I was crawling around on the ground in first person. Unfortunately, at times I felt like this game looked too good for its own good as I could tell the frame rate really took at hit during cutscenes while in 3D. It wasn't a slideshow but it was definitely noticeable. Frames per second for me is apart of what makes a game look good so I thought it was kind of a shame considering how good Super Mario 3D Land and kinda Mario Kart 7 looks while maintaining 60 fps in 3D. Another thing that bugged me was when you happen to move your camera behind or in a tree and it would sort of pop and cover the screen. I feel like this is sort of intentional in the way the camera works cause when you're crawling in the grass, the grass you tread on disappears into the screen or gets stuck on the screen for a 3D effect. That's cool. For trees, it kind of obstructed the view and I would prefer if they went translucent when it came near the camera. Nitpicking, yes, I know.
As for the gameplay, it's everything you'd expect from a remake of a Metal Gear Solid game where your main goal is to sneak around while trying to avoid getting caught by guards. Or you can just go Rambo once you pick up the hidden gun under the bridge. Metal Gear Solid games usually discourage you by giving you a bad grade at the end of segments if you kill anyone but this demo doesn't grade you at the end so it's alright. I encourage people to play through the demo a couple times just to explore the different ways you can approach the game as well as finding new stuff you might have missed before.

The Naked Sample from E3 looks NOTHING like what Snake Eater 3D ended up as.

On my second playthrough, I went through my inventory and noticed there were some Fake Death Pills. When used, Snake collapses to the ground and on the screen it says SNAKE IS DEAD while on the bottom screen it gives you the option to continue or exit as if you were to really die in the game. I thought to myself, "Shit, did I really just kill myself?!" That's when I noticed on the bottom screen that you still have the button that lets you use items. Pressing it goes to your inventory and it'll show that you can only use Revival Pills. So, to get the most use out of the Fake Death Pills you must also use it in conjunction with Revival Pills. Otherwise, you really did just kill yourself and guess what? You have more Fake Death Pills than you have Revival Pills so don't make the same mistake I did and do it a bunch of times because I thought it was so cool. You might ask "Why would I want to pretend to kill myself?" No real efficient reason really but it is a cool way to get the guards off of alert when they see your "dead" body. By the way, if you sit on the SNAKE IS DEAD screen for a while, the letters eventually transform into the words TIME PARADOX. I'm sure this was in the original but since it's my first time, I thought it was cool and I figured I should mention it!

Back to the bridge real quick, I'm assuming this wasn't in the original but you are now forced to use the 3DS's gyro to balance yourself as you cross the bridge or else it stops you by having you hang on the edge. This was kind of annoying to me since I was laying down while playing but it's not really a problem. I know some people who are really put off by any arbitrary motion controls so I thought I'd mention that. I want to also mention that the load times definitely feel like a stop between areas. It is cool to see a little Snake running in the bottom right corner of the touch screen though. In Peace Walker, the developers hid the load times by showing the map and having Snake move in the background and I kind of wish they did that here too. Also, you can eat foods to refill your stamina and in the description of these foods, it says you don't know what it tastes like because you obviously have yet to eat it and I guess after eating it'll tell you what it tastes like. A very nice subtle touch that makes me respect Kojima's work.

So, if you're a fan of the series, I think you should at least grab the demo and check it out. If you're not, get it anyway because it's free and can't hurt to try it. I feel like most people will pass on this game with the existence of the "HD" port that comes with other games but I feel like there's enough here that's different from the original game. I know I said I didn't play the original but I can tell that the developers are working hard to make it worth while to see what's different by adding stuff like camouflage from photos (which isn't an available feature in the demo).

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