Real Soldiers Use Metal Gear Solid Tactic To Defeat Robot

Cardboard boxes are very useful. You can use them to move stuff, create large elaborate forts out of them, and uh, probably other things too. But did you know that you can use a cardboard box to hide from a highly advanced military robot? It’s true, even if it sounds like something straight out of a video game.

Metal Gear is a long-running video game franchise created by Hideo Kojima and published by Konami that mixes fantastical and bizarre elements with grounded soldiers and war. It also has a lot of cutscenes. Anyway, one great example of the series mixing weird shit with war is the ability for the player in most games in the franchise to hide from enemies using a cardboard box. And hey, it turns out that tactic actually works in real life against AI-powered robots, which, yes, sounds like a Metal Gear Solid thing but is actually something that exists in our real-life world.

On Twitter, The Economist’s defense editor, Shashank Joshi, posted an excerpt from an upcoming book about artificial intelligence in the military. In it, the author of the book, Paul Scharre, shares a story about how the U.S. military used a group of marines to improve an AI robot’s human detection algorithm. To do so, the marines walked around the robot for a few days, while engineers used the data to improve the AI. But eventually, someone decided to “flip” things and asked the soldiers to try and defeat the AI robot instead of helping it.

According to the book—out next month—the eight marines parked the AI robot in the middle of a traffic circle and played a game: Whoever could reach the robot from a long distance away without being detected won. And all eight marines were able to do so. Some did cartwheels, throwing off the robot’s detection algorithm. Another pretended to be a tree, using branches and slowly moving toward the robot, smiling the whole time. But perhaps the best tactic used by the marines: hiding under a cardboard box.

Apparently, two different marines shared a single cardboard box and hid under it while moving toward the robot. “You could hear them giggling the whole time,” said a person in the book referred to as Phil.

As explained in the book, the AI system was trained to spot humans walking and running, not people doing somersaults or hiding in boxes. So these fairly simple and childish tactics worked and fooled the AI. Meanwhile, any average person would have easily spotted a moving box or a flipping soldier, showcasing a major issue with AI and its reliance on previous data and algorithms.

Soldiers defeating robot AI using cardboard boxes and silly gymnastic moves sounds like a plot point from a Metal Gear Solid game. Just one more thing Kojima predicted I guess…

The Metal Gear Solid 3 Remake Is Real And Coming To PS5 [Update]

Rumors of a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake have been swirling for years. Now we know all the fan speculation wasn’t for naught. Konami revealed at Sony’s PlayStation Showcase that the PS2 classic is getting modernized for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC so players can enjoy it all over again.

The remake is called Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater and there’s no release date yet and the only real look we got at it was Naked Snake creeping through a very dark jungle. The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection, meanwhile, is set to arrive this fall and will include Metal Gear: Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and the original Snake Eater.

The fifth game in the Metal Gear series, Snake Eater takes place earliest in the timeline and follows Big Boss during the Cold War in the 1960s when he was known as Naked Snake. It arrived on PS2 back in 2004 and was eventually expanded in a version called Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and ported to HD by way of the PS3 and Xbox 360. Depending on who you ask, it’s one of the best games, if not the best game, in the series.

Who’s developing the Snake Eater remake?

Following the game’s announcement, Konami released a statement on behalf of an anonymous development team behind the Metal Gear Solid Delta, though it wasn’t immediately clear who it consisted of since the company restructured its game divisions back in 2021. “We are working hard for Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater to be a faithful recreation of the original story and game design, while evolving the gameplay with stunning visuals and a seamless user experience,” the statement read.

“In addition to Konami’s development team who is involved in the development of the Metal Gear series, the game is fully supported by Virtuos, which is a development company that has been cooperating with the past Metal Gear series,” a spokesperson for the publisher confirmed to Kotaku.

Hideo Kojima isn’t involved

Konami told IGN that current developers at the company who were “involved in the production of the past [games in the] Metal Gear series” will take a “central role” in development. Former Snake Eater developers no longer with the publisher, like director Hideo Kojima and artist Yoji Shinkawa, will not be consulted on the remake though.

“They are not involved,” a Konami spokesperson told IGN. “However, the development team will work hard to create this remake and also the ports (for Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection) so that they can be enjoyed on multiple platforms by even more players all around the world.”

Read More: Cynthia Harrell, The Woman Who Sang ‘Snake Eater,’ Is Ready To Be Heard Again

News of a potential remake was first reported back in 2021 by VGC which claimed mega porting house Virtuos would be behind it. The game was to be one of the key milestones in publisher Konami’s shift back toward console gaming. Remakes and remasters of other classics in the company’s portfolio were also rumored, including Silent Hill and Castlevania.

The remake’s announcement is less surprising now after Konami revealed last year that Silent Hill 2 would get the same treatment. Given to Bloober Team, that project has remained controversial due to a passionate following around the original version and some negative reactions to the overhauled graphics and changes in art direction for the new PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC versions.

Snake Eater will no doubt be in a similarly fraught position, especially because of Kojima’s acrimonious split with Konami many years ago. He later formed a new studio where many other former Konami developers joined him, and the remake will be Konami’s first test of re-creating a classic without its main creator. Though recent examples like the Resident Evil 4 remake show it’s not impossible to faithfully bring a 2004 masterpiece into the present day.

Update 5/24/2023 6:23 p.m. ET: Added additional platforms the Snake Eater remake is coming to.

Update 5/24/2023 7:40 p.m. ET: Added a statement from the new development team.

Update 5/25/2023 10:55 a.m. ET: Added statement from Konami about development team.

Update 5/30/2023 2:52 p.m. ET: Added in information from Konami about Kojima’s involvement.

          

Cancelled Metal Gear Solid Board Game Is Back From The Brink

IDW’s Metal Gear Solid board game was cancelled back in 2021 after a number of delays, and at the time it seemed like that was that. But no! This week it has been announced that the game is back, only now it’s going to be published by rivals CMON instead.

It’s pretty much the same game with the same designer—Emerson Matsuuchi—about the only thing that seems to have changed is the company name on the box, the box art itself and the fact that it’s actually coming out now.

Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game is pitched exactly as you’d expect: it’s a turn-based tactical stealth game, where players work together to sneak around levels, taking down bad guys, hiding bodies and, yes, moving around inside a cardboard box.

In Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game, players take on the role of iconic characters from the video game, like Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, Gray Fox, and Hal “Otacon” Emmerich, and work together to complete Missions and defeat the Bosses.

Each character has unique gameplay traits and adds something different to the team:

Snake is focused on stealth takedowns, Meryl can disguise herself and pass by Patrols unnoticed, Gray Fox starts the game with his signature weapons like his High-Frequency Blade, and Otacon has a unique Hack deck available only to him.

With unique skills, passive abilities, and a variety of familiar actions, such as knocking on walls to draw the attention of enemies or stealth takedowns, each player will have a distinctive and immersive experience playing with the different characters.

There are six standalone missions players can work through, or if you’ve got the time there’s also a 14-mission narrative campaign to play. Lovers of plastic minis should know that, alongside miniatures for smaller, human characters there’s also an enormous Metal Gear Rex as well.

The game can be ordered directly from CMON for $100, with an expected ship date of May 2024. Later copies of the game won’t include the Metal Gear Rex, or a “fully illustrated 109-page graphic novel illustrated by Kenneth Loh, bringing each Mission of the campaign to life”.

Lords Of The Fallen Reboot Is Sounding Like A Solid Soulslike

Lords of the Fallen was already a game, one that came out nearly 10 years ago by developer Deck13 (Atlas Fallen) and publisher CI Games. It was fine, but felt too much like a lackluster facsimile of FromSoftware’s Dark Souls formula to have much of an identity of its own. CI Games is back, though, with newly founded studio Hexworks to take another stab at Lords of the Fallen. And this time around, at least based on the previews, it sounds like a stellar Soulslike might be in the offing.

Out on October 13 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, Lords of the Fallen is a third-person action-RPG with an interesting conceit: With the help of the Umbral lantern, you can reveal secrets hidden in the land of the dead while still traversing the world of the living. But should you die and end up in Umbral—which will happen since this is a Soulslike—you’ll still be able to fight for your life for the chance to return to Axiom. Die here, though, and you’ll start back in the land of the living having lost your XP. Typically Soulslike stuff, but that two-realm implementation offers a new perspective for the genre, something the previews call attention to.

So, considering the game comes out in two months, here’s a roundup of what early players are saying about Lords of the Fallen and how, as many of them purport, it’s sounding like an exciting Soulslike worth paying attention to.


After playing the opening hours of 2023’s Lords of the Fallen, our journey through this nightmarish world was eerily familiar, yet filled with a current-gen polish that games like the Dark Souls trilogy and Bloodborne could only dream of. Our initial impressions were that the game felt a lot like the PS5 remake of Demon’s Souls, which is not a bad thing, but from an aesthetic point of view, Lords of the Fallen leans even more heavily into the grimdark setting.

A Lords of the Fallen character looks down a creepy hall toward what appears to be some sort of statue.

Image: Hexworks

I’ve played a couple of hours of new Lords of the Fallen and crucially, I can tell you it’s: good. If you’ve played a Soulslike before—or as Hexworks wisely describes the genre, which extends to Nioh, The Surge, and the rest, tactical action-RPGs—it’ll be immediately familiar. You can create a character from one of several preset classes, ranging from glass cannon mages to sword-and-shield warriors, with some more lore-y archetypes in between with a little clan-based backstory behind them: a raven-like archer, a brawler with a twist of wolves.

The moment-to-moment in my Lords of the Fallen demo ticked most of the Souls boxes I have when it comes to combat, but this game distinguishes itself in its concept of dual worlds. Axiom, the land of the living, is more or less the “normal” dimension, but it exists in parallel with the Umbral realm, the land of the dead. The two realms run simultaneously as you play, which takes advantage of tech on latest-gen platforms. It’s similar to The Medium or Titanfall 2‘s Effect and Cause mission, but spread across an entire sprawling dark fantasy world.

What surprises me most, however, is Umbral. This is the realm of the dead and exists parallel to Axiom. It can be accessed at almost any time, in real-time. But, once you’re there, you must fight through its more challenging enemies to reach an access point that brings you back to Axiom. While you can select to explore Umbral on your own, Lords of the Fallen will bring you there almost every time you die. Dying gives you a second chance in Umbral, where, if you survive, you can reach the realm of Axiom once more. This eases the usual challenge of the genre—mind you, Lords of the Fallen is still extremely tough—but also opens up a unique playground for puzzles I welcome.

By tapping into two distinct worlds at once, Hexworks completely revamps how we view death in a Soulslike. Lords of the Fallen turns the most infamously iconic, eternally frustrating thing about a FromSoftware game into more than a second chance: It’s a second world, one that functions entirely differently from the place we start out in. The result is a varied combat experience in a truly untamed universe, one that pulses with unknown wonders and its fair share of chills—no matter your familiarity with the genre.

A Lords of the Fallen character uses magic against a sword-wielding enemy.

Image: Hexworks

There’s a great fluidity to Lords of the Fallen’s combat too. You can seamlessly flow from light attacks to heavy attacks, and can even change weapon stance in the middle of a combo as well. I could start with two light attacks, press the stance switch button, and do another light attack, I’d get a unique attack in which my character seamlessly goes from a dual-wielded slash, into a two-handed thrust. This is even better when you add magic to the equation, as you’re able to easily swap between melee and magic attacks even mid-combo. It opens the door for a lot of freedom of expression through combat, which is something you don’t see all too often in the Soulslike genre.

While in the Umbral world, enemies slowly become more aggressive and powerful, but the XP multiplier increases as well, amping up the risks as well as the rewards in an enticing way. Being able to respawn allowed me to progress much faster and alleviated some of the frustrations that come with the genre. The Umbral world also offers access to shortcuts and gives you wild abilities that mirror Jedi powers. Lords of the Fallen is at its strongest when it leans into the mechanics of the Umbral world.

Umbral also softens the difficulty level of its chosen genre—up to a point. If you die in Axiom, you are resurrected in Umbral, then given another chance to defeat your enemy before you give up the ghost completely and need to corpse-run from the last Vestige to reclaim your Vigor (Lords of the Fallen’s souls). This doesn’t refresh your healing items, though, and the longer you spend in Umbral, the more Dread builds up, and the trickier things get. Enemies get tougher, and increasing numbers of zombielike creatures materialize in your path—they’re easy to kill, but their presence complicates the battlefield considerably.

Outside of exploration, you can use the lantern to rend a baddy’s soul from its body, then batter it for extreme damage. You can’t do this all the time, as you’ll need to power the lantern up to do it. This can be done by bursting pustules in the Umbral realm and sucking up the resultant juice, but if you can’t find a pustule, you might encounter an enemy with a blue glow—which means they’re invulnerable unless you reveal their parasitic Umbral companion floating alongside them. Hoover this critter up and not only can it power your soul attack, it will also remove their pal’s aura of invincibility.

A Lords of the Fallen enemy roars, exposing it's multiple rows of teeth.

Image: Hexworks

The game is not as obscure as its FromSoft progenitors, and that works in its favor, because when you’re being pulled in two directions and interrogating the tension between worlds, you want a sense of what’s going on, and where to go. Lords of the Fallen is all about playing as a heathen, shunned by the world for embracing a dark lantern that allows them to traverse the realms of light and dark. It’s all about being sacrilegious, defying the common knowledge and tasting the forbidden fruit. If you wanted to do away with subtext, you could say it’s what Hexworks is doing in discarding the commonly held beliefs around how death should work in this genre. How traditionally hard it must be. But the studio eschews that. And the result, at least at this early stage, is unique and compelling.


My time with the 2014 version of the game was quite frustrating. While the review is no longer live—the site I wrote it for is now defunct—I essentially said that, although the game had a compelling narrative, its cumbersome gameplay and unintuitive systems made for an ultimately forgettable experience.

The previews of the new Lords of the Fallen reboot are based on just two hours of gameplay, so a lot of questions will remain unanswered until the game drops in October. But based on everything I’ve read so far, Lords of the Fallen is sounding like it’ll be a pretty solid take on the Soulslike style of game.

Lords of the Fallen launches on October 13 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.

 

Some New Metal Gear Solid Collection Games Are Barely HD

The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 is just around the corner and publisher Konami’s dumped a bunch of additional information about the ports and remasters ahead of their October 24 release date. One of the big reveals is that Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will still only run at 720p, the same as their previous HD versions on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Update 8/22/2023 9:33 a.m. ET: Konami now says that only the Switch versions run at the lower resolution, with Konami telling IGN that the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC versions all having a “target” of 1080p resolution and 60fps. It’s still not clear if that “target” is a hard committement or simply the maximum performance the games will reach on those platforms.

Original story follows.

It’s not a massive shock but still may come as a surprise to fans who hoped the upcoming five-game Metal Gear collection would add a few new graphical twists to make it a definitive one-stop-shop for the first half of the series. As NintendoLife, IGN, and others report in their previews, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Snake Eater are capped at 30fps on the Nintendo Switch and also appeared to exhibit some slowdown during cutscenes (a Konami rep told IGN the game was still being tweaked). The original HD remasters, which are still available on Xbox Series X/S through backwards compatibility, ran at 60fps.

The games are so unchanged that Konami even provides a content warning about some references that might seem out of place in 2023. “This game contains expressions and themes which may be considered outdated,” it reads, according to GamesRadar. “However, these elements have been included without alteration to preserve the historical context in which the game was made and the creator’s original vision. Player discretion is advised.”

While not mentioning him explicitly, the disclaimer appears to be alluding to original Metal Gear writer and director Hideo Kojima. It’s not immediately clear which content Konami might be referring to, although VGC speculates it could be things like Snake smoking cigarettes to get a buff or Dr. Naomi telling him he can do a “strip search” of her after he completes his next mission.

The collection will, however, include some additional bonus content. In addition to the original MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, there are game manuals, scripts and graphic novels. There’s also Metal Gear Solid: Integral, an expanded version of the PS1 classic that includes a series of VR training missions as well as an alternate tuxedo outfit for Snake.

Originally just set to come to PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC, Konami announced the $60 collection will actually come to the PS4 too due to popular demand (and the over 100 million console install base). While not officially revealed yet, the second volume in the collection will reportedly include Metal Gear Solid 4, 5, and Peace Walker when it arrives.

         

Starfield On Xbox Review: Solid Performance, Few Bugs

After years of hype and teasing, Starfieldisn’t out yet. But the embargo on reviews is up and with it, the first technical review of the game is here. The big takeaway is that Starfield seems to be running solidly on both the Xbox Series X and the smaller, less powerful Series S. This is a bit shocking considering Bethesda’s track record, but likely good news for folks planning to play the game on Microsoft’s cheaper next-gen machine.

Starfield (alongside The Elder Scrolls VI) was first teased years ago at E3 2018. Since then, the hype and excitement surrounding the game, as well as the discourse around it, has grown with each new trailer, teaser, and interview. After all that, players will soon be able to play the Xbox Series X/S console exclusive when it goes live—for those who paid for early access—on August 31. Everybody else, including Game Pass subscribers, will get the game on September 6. So what do you have to look forward to? While reviews aren’t universally glowing, the game at least appears to be technically more sound and stable than any previous Bethesda console release.

Pre-order Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

On August 31, Digital Foundry posted its first video about Starfield and how the game looks and performs and Xbox consoles. And it’s mostly good news! According to the tech-focused outlet, Starfield runs at a locked 30fps on both Series X and S consoles. And performance is pretty solid, with Digital Foundry saying that the RPG “basically hits a locked 30fps for just about everything you do in the game.” This is true on both machines.

Digital Foundry / Bethesda

The one caveat here appears to be the game’s larger cities, specifically the two biggest cities in the game. In these areas, it was reported that the game’s performance can start to falter, with framerates dropping and a few hitches. Digital Foundry notes, however, that it never gets unplayable or nearly as bad as the drops seen in Fallout 4’s large city when playing on Xbox One. So that’s good!

Xbox Series S is mostly the same game, with few cutbacks

What surprised me more than anything is how well the Series S version of the game compares to the X version. Yes, there are some differences, including lower-quality reflections, shadows, and some missing detail far off in the distance.

But it seems these concessions in quality helped the Series S version of Starfield maintain a solid 30fps while using an upscaled 1440p resolution. Not bad for a tiny little $300 machine. I get the feeling that Bethesda and Microsoft spent some extra time and work on making sure the pint-sized console could handle the massive RPG.

Of course, some players may be disappointed by how many loading screens you’ll see when playing the game. Digital Foundry points out that on both machines, exploring planets and cities involves a lot of loading screens. These are fast, thanks to the consoles’ SSDs, but still something to keep in mind. This isn’t a seamless open world, which isn’t surprising considering the scale of Starfield and how much is happening in it at any point. The video also notes that some planets feel empty and barren, but hey, at least they run at 30fps!

Pre-order Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Overall, Starfield on consoles seems to perform far better than I expected. According to Digital Foundry, Starfield isn’t very buggy either, which seems to be the general consensus, at least in these early hours. That’s a stark difference from—and a big improvement over—Fallout 76, Fallout 4, and Skyrim. It also means that you don’t have to wait six months for Bethesda to fix the game, like usual.

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Metal Gear Solid Locked At 30FPS In Master Collection

The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection website shows box art of the first three games.

Screenshot: Konami / Kotaku

Part of the appeal of video game remasters and remakes is the prospect of playing an old game on better hardware that can, ostensibly, run it better than your old console did back in the day. That is the hope, at least. Unfortunately, not every “remaster” is an improvement over its source material—just ask the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy collection. Now, eyes are turning toward Konami’s upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1., with fans hoping it doesn’t run into those same issues. On that front, today saw the emergence of one new slightly disappointing tidbit.

The original 1998 PlayStation Metal Gear Solid ran at 30 frames per second, and Konami has now confirmed that will still be the case for the newly remastered edition launching in the Collection on October 24. News of this comes from a graph on the compilation’s official website, which says the first MGS adventure will run at 30fps on all platforms, while Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will run at 60fps on all systems except for the Nintendo Switch.

To be clear, the original Metal Gear Solid ran at 30fps when it launched in 1998, but it being locked to that lower framerate across the board seems odd in 2023, especially when its sequels will apparently have some scaling depending on which platform you buy them on. (For reference, MGS2 originally ran at 60fps, while MGS3 was originally a 30fps game.)

Here’s the full rundown:

A graph shows the resolution and framerate breakdown for the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection.

Screenshot: Konami / Kotaku

There’s been chatter about the games’ graphical resolutions as well. It’s a bummer to see that none of these games will run at 4K resolution, even on PC, PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series X/S. This lack of 4K support was confirmed back in August.

All of this comes ahead of Konami’s separate, upcoming Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake. That’s titled Metal Gear Solid Δ: Snake Eater, presumably so the number doesn’t scare anyone off from playing the game. MGS3 was a prequel in any case, so you didn’t need to know everything going in to understand it.

Metal Gear Solid Paid Voice Actor Jennifer Hale Only $1,200

Voice actor Jennifer Hale needs little introduction, having gained fame playing characters like Metroid Prime’s Samus Aran, Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic, and of course Mass Effect’s one true Commander Shepard. She’s also known for Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series, in which she’s played the shifty geneticist Naomi Hunter since the series’ inception in 1998. But in a recent podcast appearance, Hale revealed that her first MGS gig voicing that important character paid only $1,200.

Previously, Hale avoided naming Metal Gear Solid directly in interviews, only saying in September that a “game made $176 million” and paid her an hourly wage that was “way less than [what] I wanted it to be.” But in this week’s episode of the My Perfect Console podcast, currently available in early access, Hale responded quickly to host and critic Simon Parkin’s question as to what that $176 million game was: It was Metal Gear Solid.

She agreed with Parkin that her original MGS pay, $1,200, is at a “grotesque disparity” with $176 million, saying “it’s indicative of what’s happening in modern culture. […] For every dollar that the workaday person makes—and [voice actors] are workaday people; all actors, on-camera, voice-over, who are not celebrities are workaday people—we make a dollar for every $399 [executives] make.”

Read More: Video Game Voice Actors Are Ready To Strike Over AI. Here’s Why
Buy Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Still, “I love [Metal Gear],” Hale said. “It was such a crazy departure from anything I’d done before. I loved it because it was brilliant, and because it was just so unique. […] And it’s dark, and it’s mysterious, and it’s intense, and […] I loved everything about it.”

Currently, Hale is one of many video game voice actors prepared to strike over what they tell Kotaku is “an existential fight to make sure that they hang on to the rights to their own voices, their own images, because that is what they make their living with, as well as achieve wages that will keep up with inflation so that they can continue to be professionals in this space economically.”

During her podcast appearance, Hale reinforced this last point and said she wants voice actors to receive residuals for game work “on a flexible structure that honors the indie developers, that honors the budgets and capacities of teams. I would like to see that.”

SAG-AFTRA members authorized a video game strike with a 98 percent “yes” vote on September 25.

5 Disappointing Things About Metal Gear Solid Master Collection

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 gathers some of the best games ever made and puts them all on modern platforms in one convenient package. Unfortunately, a laundry list of weird caveats and shortcomings at launch make the new anthology hard to celebrate. Why is one of the best franchises in gaming history not pulling out all the stops?

Out October 24 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and Windows PC, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 has been stalked by controversy for months now, with questions about subpar performance on Nintendo Switch and a lack of bells and whistles on “next-gen” platforms like PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. The anthology features five main games—Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater—and includes the oddball Snake’s Revenge and the NES and Famicom ports of Metal Gear as bonuses. But now that it’s finally here, it’s hard not to be disappointed by how publisher Konami has gone about assembling it.

An operator badgers Snake about missing features.

First up is the lack of a visual upgrade on new platforms, or parity with the original versions on Switch. As shared prior to release, Metal Gear Solid still only plays at 30fps across all versions (it was never remastered for 2011’s Metal Gear Solid HD Collection by Bluepoint Games). The Switch version of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 are also locked at 30fps (MGS2 originally ran at 60fps on PlayStation 2). All three games max out at 1080p as well, with no 4K resolution options for the stronger hardware versions.

Read More: Kotaku’s Metal Gear Retrospective Series

Even without any big improvements, Konami notes that the launch versions still suffer from various bugs and performance issues it plans to patch sometime in the future. A full list of the shortcomings was provided to IGN. “Across Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 3, bug fixes are also planned, specifically on MGS2,” the site noted. “Konami warned the game may significantly slow down in certain cutscenes, which sounds worrying. A patch to reduce processing load is planned.” Visual options like CRT scanlines and the ability to switch between windowed and full-screen mode in the options menu in the two MSX games are also MIA at the moment.

There’s also the laggy pause button. Konami added the option to pause during cutscenes, a long-requested feature for the story-heavy stealth series. Footage from copies of the game that leaked early, however, showed that it can take up to 10 seconds for the game to register the pause after the button’s pressed, taking some of the shine off the new option. It’s still unclear if that’s intentional or will be patched down the road.

The Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is, perhaps less surprisingly, encountering issues on PC as well. Initial Steam reviews are very mixed, with players complaining about unintuitive keybindings, poor UI, and a lack of aspect ratio options. “Take this with a grain of salt, the game literally just launched, but damn the video settings, button mapping, and poor UI/UX for the collection is pretty sour,” wrote one player. “I am sure it will improve over time, but yikes.”

Most galling for me personally are the games altogether missing from the physical Switch version of the collection. In North America at least, only Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Snake’s Revenge are actually on the game card. The three Metal Gear Solid games, which are the main ones advertised on the front of the box, must be downloaded separately. As someone who treats their Switch like a physical repository for retro remasters and re-issues, it’s frustrating to have to rely on an internet connection and a temporary online storefront to have access to all-time classics. It sounds like the Japanese physical release at least also includes the first Metal Gear Solid on the game card.

Many of the initial reviews for Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 have noted these shortcomings while still pointing out that at the end of the day these games still play great and remain some of the most profound meditations on geopolitics, war, and the military industrial complex the medium has ever produced. “I think it’s great that such a huge swathe of Metal Gear history is now readily available and easily playable on modern systems,” writes The Verge’s Jon Porter. “But there’s also a part of me that thinks Konami missed an opportunity to give Metal Gear Solid in particular a fresh coat of paint and update it for a modern audience.”

The video game industry is generally so bad at preserving its past I wish it would go all out when it decides to finally take the opportunity to repackage old games and sell them again. If that means charging more so be it. I’d gladly pay $100 for the definitive edition of all of these games. Maybe we’ll eventually get that one day. In the meantime I hope Konami’s planned post-launch updates give the collection some of the additional love it deserves.

Metal Gear Solid 3 Gets Unreal Glow-Up In New Remake Trailer

Naked Snake crouches next to a brick wall.

Screenshot: Konami / Kotaku

When the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake was revealed back in May, all we got were some shots of a swamp and Naked Snake coming out of the water. A new trailer that debuted today during the latest Xbox mini-showcase finally gives us a look at the game in action, if only briefly. And you know what? It looks really good.

The remake will take the 2004 PlayStation 2 game and overhaul it in Unreal Engine 5. While that could run the risk of drastically changing the style and feel of the original Fox Engine version of the stealth action game, Snake’s environmental sneaking and silent takedowns look as characteristically Metal Gear as ever, and the graphics look way better.

Here’s the new trailer:

The “first in-engine look” begins with Naked Snake trudging through a muddy river next to a crocodile. Later we see him crouching near some tall grass as the mud flicks off his clothes and boots. From there we see him aiming a pistol, climbing across a cliff, grabbing a guy from behind, and lots and lots of glimpses of wildlife. As some fans noted, the new footage appears to confirm that Snake can finally move while crouching, unlike in the original game.

The earlier reveal trailer had the potential to be mostly smoke and mirrors, but now this whole project is looking a lot more promising and real. We still don’t have a firm release date yet, or a clear idea of exactly who at Konami is working on it. Singaore-based art and outsource development studio Virtuos is helping with production. Konami also confirmed the remake will use the original voice performances, but that original director Hideo Kojima and original artist Yoji Shinkawa are not involved in any way.

The company said it wanted to start with remaking Metal Gear Solid 3 since it’s the origin story for Big Boss. If all goes will, it could mean we’ll eventually get Unreal Engine remakes of Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2 as well. All three games can currently be played on the new Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection, though the remaster anthology leaves plenty to be desired.

             

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