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Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 does the bare minimum for modern ports

The Metal Gear Solid Master Collection rereleases the first three games in the series for modern consoles

Having all the classic Metal Gear Solid titles on modern hardware is an easy sell. It seems the team behind the Master Collection is fully aware of that, as little effort has gone into creating these new ports.

As you may have seen in the announcement trailer, the versions of MGS 2 and 3 are based on the 2012 HD Collection released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. These ports ran at 720p and 60fps on those consoles, so you’d think a more powerful device like the Nintendo Switch would have no trouble with it. That isn’t the case though, as the Switch versions we tried never ran above 30fps.

We asked the team about the intended performance for both Switch and other modern consoles. They told us they’re aiming for the game to run the same as it did on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but that’s a target they clearly haven’t met yet in this early version.

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake

The MGS 1 port, meanwhile, sticks with the original frame rate and resolution of the PS1 game. While there is a fun retro charm to playing a game like that on a 4K screen, and it fits with Nintendo’s own retro console porting style, it only adds to the feeling that a lot more could’ve been done with this collection, but Konami has chosen simply not to bother.

There is fun stuff in the bonus content though. We have the MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, the alternate NES version of the original Metal Gear, and Snake’s Revenge as a topper. Like the main titles, these are straight ports and nothing more, but given how difficult it is to play some of those titles now, their being in the collection at all is praise-worthy.

Metal Gear 1 MSX version

You also get a digital booklet containing a bunch of cool behind-the-scenes stuff. This includes a rundown of the series’ history – tipped with some insider quotes and tidbits on the games’ development and the full screenplay for all three MGS games. I’m not sure who wanted that, but it’s cool to have nonetheless.

There’s nothing wrong with the Master Collection (why isn’t it called the Boss Collection?), you just need to be sure you know what you’re getting. This is a straightforward port of the first three MGS games to modern hardware, plus a few extras that are nice to have, but not much of a selling point on their own.

If you want an easy way to play these games, then you’ll be a happy customer, but if you were hoping for innovation or improvement of any kind – even just a higher resolution – this isn’t it. It’s a little easier to swallow knowing a full MSG 3 remake is coming eventually, but a PS1 port and a carbon copy of the 2012 HD Collection aren’t what I was hoping for.