Since I’ve never been a huge fan of the Metal Gear games, Brad Hates Games’ write-up almost turned me off from this title completely.  If my curiosity hadn’t gotten the best of me, I’d have missed out on one hell of a gaming experience, and that would’ve been a shame.

While he hated the lack of a radar (unlike past games in the series), I found it to be refreshing.  Instead of using dots and cones to plan my movements, I was now using what I could actually see. With the wide array of tools at your disposal (binoculars, microphones, tranquilizer guns, thermal/night vision goggles), sneaking around is quite thought provoking.  The best thing is that there is more than one way to get past each particular obstacle in your way.  Making use of all the equipment available to you pays off in spades.  That pretty much sums up the gameplay as a whole — there’s lots of room for the player to be creative.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Ape Escape

What-the-what?!

If you’ve seen the game in motion, you don’t need me to tell you how great the game looks and moves.  The outdoor environments are lush and organic, while the interior areas are all appropriately designed.  The sound doesn’t disappoint, either.  The Snake Eater theme is a great song, and the voice acting is pretty solid all around (though I found David Hayter’s performance as Snake to be weaker than in the past).

Speaking of voice acting, the cut-scenes that have been made prevalent since the franchise’s 32-bit debut are back and longer than ever.  Fortunately, I found almost all of them to be enjoyable (even Para-Medic’s constant movie analogies weren’t skipped), though some of the scenes that contain important info also contain quite a bit of fluff.  Then again, the plot is filled with so much double and triple-crossing that you truly don’t know what’s going on until the very end of the game.

On its normal difficulty setting, Snake Eater offers a good challenge and can be beaten in a rental if one is persistent enough.  (I had no problem polishing this one off during my rental period because I couldn’t put it down!)  For those who want to experience the insane boss battles, contrived plot, and stealth action again and again, the game has enough hidden items and what-not to make it worth playing through multiple times.

Snake Eater pleasantly surprised me.  I can honestly say, that because of this game, I look at the series in a completely different way.  If you haven’t been a fan of the past games, maybe this one will change your mind like it did mine.  It’s definitely worth a purchase.