Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol 1 Review – Keeping the Past Alive

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol 1 Review

The history between Konami and Metal Gear Solid is long and complex. Although for years the franchise was Konami’s flagship title, it quickly got relegated due to the public falling-out with its creator, Hideo Kojima. Pushing aside the pachinko machines and strange survival-focused spin-offs, the Japanese giant looks to celebrate the history of the series in Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol 1. With a ton of extras and the first few releases, will this bundle be the ultimate homage to the iconic series that has defined the stealth-action genre for decades?

The Master Collection is a treasure trove of goodies that fans of the series will fall in love with. Each game includes a Master Book which details a range of aspects of the selected title. From character backgrounds to guides, the digital book is the perfect companion for celebrating the landmark releases. As the Metal Gear Solid narrative can get quite complex, it’s great to have a document that clearly frames key aspects of the story. If you are new to the franchise and getting lost in the dialogue, or a veteran who wants to learn about every element, the well-designed Master Book is a great tool.

A Cinematic Treat

Each game also includes the entire screenplay. While not for everyone, it’s incredible to see the amount of effort from Konami to celebrate the franchise. This is particularly useful for the earlier releases which can be harder to play due to the dated controls and visuals. However, with this, you can now simply absorb the narrative to learn about those important early missions. The series delves into some strange and wonderful areas but not all of them have aged particularly well. When reading the screenplays or watching certain cutscenes, you will notice some questionable segments. Konami even put up a small message to pre-warn you about content. Regardless, there’s a Hollywood-level cinematic genius that permeates the storytelling across the three MGS games and fortunately, they still hold up today. 

Konami includes almost everything you could wish for. The original and NES versions of Snake’s first adventure are available for you to venture through. If you haven’t played them before, they are worth a shot. Although the overhead angle and controls can be a little awkward, it’s amazing to see seeds that would later blossom into MGS. Its sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is also in the pack but more surprisingly, so is Snake’s Revenge. Due to the lack of involvement of Kojima, this forgotten title often stands outside the timeline – even though it features the characters we know and love. Although it is a very different adventure, it is fantastic to see it immortalized in the collection.

Huh? Just a Box…

The originality and innovation that imbues Metal Gear Solid is second to none. While the title has aged, it is still a joy to revisit the PS1 classic. Unfortunately, no improvements have been made to the game so it plays just like the original. Its sequels, Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater, are the HD remasters that run at 60 frames per second and hold up incredibly well. This makes the Master Collection an essential release for fans of the series and the perfect way for newcomers to experience landmark titles in the medium.

In addition to the number of games and their variant editions, there are also graphic novels and a soundtrack. If you haven’t read these, then you absolutely should. The artwork is brilliant and the presentation is slick. Although it would have been nice to get Twin Snakes, the handheld titles and Peacewalker, it’s hard to grumble when there’s all this content in one package.

Odd Design Choice

There are some issues in the presentation of the collection. Rather than bundling it all into one title, it is separated into five which means you’ll have to move in and out of each to switch between them. This is quite clumsy and lacks the slick design seen in many other compilations of a similar ilk. Due to the number of applications, this makes it hard to locate particular content which can cause a minor annoyance. It’s possible that Konami did this to allow you to save space by picking and choosing what you want to install, however, having this in one application would have made it much more user-friendly.

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol 1 celebrates the early years of the legendary tactical espionage epic. Each game comes with region-specific versions, a wonderful companion book and even a screenplay. This allows fans of the franchise to delve deep into the iconic world but also provides newcomers with the material to engage with the series. Extra content such as graphic novels and the soundtrack give even more incentive to revisit the groundbreaking games. While the package itself has a strange segmented design that requires you to switch applications, everything that’s included is magnificent. 

***A PlayStation 5 key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Three Incredible Games
  • A Wealth of Content
  • Inclusion of Graphic Novels

The Bad

  • The Number of Applications
  • Only Minimal Improvements