Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is sitting at 78 on Metacritic


The Metal Gear Solid franchise is arguably one of the best in gaming, so when Konami announced they were releasing an updated collection containing the three mainline Metal Gear Solid games for the current batch of consoles, people were naturally excited. The prospect of playing these tactical action games on the go with the Nintendo Switch family systems heightened the anticipation even further. Reviews have been released, and while the Nintendo Switch version has not yet been reviewed, the PlayStation 5 version currently holds a score of 78 on Metacritic. Here’s a sample of some of the reviews for Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 from the site:

“Konami has certainly assembled an impressive assortment of games for this bundle, beginning where it all started for creator Hideo Kojima. The original 8-bit Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake–as well as the standalone NES version of Metal Gear and the non-canonical sequel, Snake’s Revenge–are all included in the Master Collection. Having been released in 1987 and 1990 for the MSX2 computer platform, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are showing their age–though surprisingly not to the point where their archaic design renders them unplayable. Played from an overhead 2D perspective, ranged combat is inherently clunky due to your restrictive four-way movement, and any missteps are at the mercy of an unforgiving checkpoint system. Despite these flaws, however, there aren’t many aspects of either game that feel so antiquated that you can’t get something positive out of playing them. It helps that the controls have been updated and unified for this collection, with both triggers letting you access either the items or weapons in your inventory, much like they do in the Metal Gear Solid games. Other than this, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are unchanged from the originals.”

“Being able to easily access them all on a modern console is a major selling point. For someone like me, who only ever owned the original games on their original consoles, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is indispensable. It’s disappointing that there aren’t any optional visual improvements or behind-the-scenes material, and the lack of a central hub makes the bundle feel scattershot. The bonus content that is here is simply a cherry on top, however, lending the entire package a sense of reverence for one of the most important series in video game history.”

GameSpot 8/10

While the absence of a dedicated launcher is regrettable, the collection does provide some well-designed menus for easy access to the games. Additionally, it offers art galleries and soundtracks for those seeking more content, but the primary focus is undeniably on the games themselves. The price of admission is justified, given the exceptional quality of the titles. If you haven’t delved into this series before, now is your opportunity. Admittedly, there’s room for improvement, but the sheer excellence of these games renders this collection a compelling choice.

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a nostalgic journey that allows new players to experience the iconic Metal Gear series on modern hardware. While some of the games may not have received extensive visual improvements, the timeless narratives, and innovative gameplay mechanics continue to shine. The emphasis on stealth, the intricate political commentary, and the potential for experimentation make this collection a must-play for any gaming enthusiast.

Noisy Pixel 7.5/10

t’s a pretty exhaustive collection. Yes, if you want to split hairs, it would have been cool to get the GameCube remake of the original Metal Gear Solid, Twin Snakes, or the Game Boy Color game known as Ghost Babel. But even I’m resigned to the fact that Konami had to draw the line somewhere, and I guess there’s always the implicit second volume of the Master Collection to look forward to.

From a technical perspective, Metal Gear Solid feels every bit like an original PlayStation game. Konami may have listed its frame rate as 30fps, but in practice, it often feels much slower, and its original resolution is so low that running it on a modern 4K TV gives its graphics a shifting, wavy quality. 

But it’s interesting to compare this approach with the versions of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 that have also been included in this collection, which are a great example of how you can remaster and update classic games while keeping true to their original vision. These two games are both based on the HD remasters from Bluepoint released in 2011 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Although Konami hasn’t upgraded them to support newer features like 4K, I felt like their HD presentation held up just fine on a modern TV.

This highlights my core complaint with the Master Collection, which is that, in the absence of the creative forces that shepherded the franchise for almost three decades, Konami has chosen to play things as safe as possible. Rather than make creative decisions about how to tweak and modernize these games, the company has essentially opted out and pursued authenticity at all costs. 

The Verge (not scored)


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