If you are looking for a return to classic tactical espionage action, Konami has delivered a massive helping of stealth action with Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1. The Master Collection is a compilation of five classic games from the legendary stealth-action franchise created by Hideo Kojima. For me, the compilation is a time capsule, bringing back memories from the games that helped redefine the genre. The collection includes Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, as well as a ton of bonus features and extras.
These games span six decades of history, from the Cold War era to the modern battlefield, following the stories of special agents, like Solid Snake and Big Boss. You’ll infiltrate enemy bases, uncover conspiracies, and face off against giant mechs known as Metal Gears and more. In my review, I’ll delve into how each game performs and all the extra content included. Let’s uncover everything Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 has to offer.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X
Genre: Action, Stealth
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (18+)
As a huge fan of the series, I was thrilled to revisit these games on modern platforms. I still remember playing Metal Gear Solid for the first time in 1998 on the PlayStation. I was blown away by its cinematic presentation, innovation gameplay and visuals. The stealth-action games follow special agents who aim to stop nuclear war and global conspiracies. The sequels and prequels that followed the original expanded on, and improved on the formula. They also added new mechanics and twists to the story that helped to further define the series. The Metal Gear Solid franchise has left an indelible mark on gaming and deserves to be experienced by new and old fans alike and Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a great spot to start.
Plenty of added Metal Gear content
The Master Collection has five games and a ton of bonus content. However, unlike Konami’s neatly organized Ninja Turtles Cowabunga Collection, this volume feels rather scattered. Each game installs separately across all platforms, disrupting the seamless experience I was hoping for. That being said, the front-end menus for each game are clean, responsive and brimming with digital extras, which compensates for the disjointed nature of the broader collection. As much as I love these games, the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 could have done a little more to make this a better overall experience for veterans and newcomers alike. Let’s look at each area in a more in-depth manner:
The gameplay in the Master Collection remains faithful to the original series. It’s filled with intense combat sequences, intricate stealth mechanics, and (of course) extended cutscenes. While the franchise’s control schemes can still feel a little ridged at times, the overall gameplay experience was easy to get back into. It might be muscle memory on my part, but I was shocked how quickly I got into the “MGS groove.” It really has retained its charm and still stands up after all these years to many modern action games. The collection radiates nostalgia yet manages to keep me engaged with its well-executed, near timeless feeling mechanics.
Graphics and performance
The graphics and performance of the Master Collection are a bit of a mixed bag: it varies depending on the game in the collection and the platform. Older games have been upscaled to HD resolution, but they still show their age with pixelated textures and low-poly models. In my testing there were different advantages and drawbacks depending on the platform. On one hand, the collection stays true to the original design aesthetics, but it would have been ideal to see more changes to take advantage the modern hardware. For example, MGS 2 and 3 are capped at 30 FPS, I was really hoping for a smooth 60 FPS experience.
Which platform is the visual standout?
Out of all the versions I played, the collection looked the best on PlayStation 5 with the Xbox Series X in a very close second. Unfortunately, both versions still had some muddy textures something I thought would be more optimized on next-gen hardware. On the Nintendo Switch, it’s a big bonus to have the collection on the go. The downside to the Switch version is games like MGS 2 and 3 feature a lot of jaggies around objects and rough edges. Outside of that, the collection does a commendable job in maintaining the visual fidelity of the original games, ensuring that the essence of Metal Gear Solid remains intact.
Despite some technical hiccups and an overall presentation that leaves something to be desired Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a worthwhile journey for any Metal Gear Solid enthusiast. Even if you are new to the series, I can recommend this collection to experience it from the start. It’s a chance to visit the thrilling cloak and dagger world of Solid Snake, complete with all its original quirks and charms. While it may not be the perfectly remaster package I was hoping for, it certainly offers a substantial dose of nostalgia and engaging gameplay that will keep me coming back. If you’re a fan of the franchise or if you’re looking to experience a piece of gaming history, this collection is a solid choice.
+Includes five classic games that offer dozens and dozens of hours of gameplay.
+Plethora of bonus content, such as art galleries, VR missions, digital books, scripts and more.
+The classic MGS saga is back on modern home consoles and PC
-No unified UI: each game installs separately, disrupting the seamless experience of the collection.
-Graphical upgrades and visual improvements are few and far between, leaving more to be desired.
-Collection suffers from some technical issues
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 3.75/5 (75%)
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