Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
An in-depth preview of Kojima's new game, through our experience with the latest playable demo.
With only a month to go until the US release of the highly anticipated game, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the Official PlayStation Magazine has taken the liberty to release a playable demo to give players a taste of what is yet to come.
The demo opens up with a gunship flying over the Pakistan Air Space on August 24, 1964, heading towards the Soviet Union. Snake (as we're supposed to assume is the Snake we know, but it's likely he is the legendary Big Boss) is getting prepared to perform the first combat HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump ever. After he makes his jump, he slowly descends into the jungle with his parachute and snags his backpack on a tree nearing the ground. Soon after he lands, he begins a conversation via Codec with his commander, Major Tom (as Snake is supposed to call him). The Codec scenes have been modeled to fit the current era. Instead of the three-dimensional talking/moving models seen in previous games, players now see Snake's full crouching body while the person he's speaking with is a black-and-white 3-D photo.
We find out that Snake's codename is actually "Naked Snake" for the fact that he is literally naked except for his outfit. After information by Major Tom, Snake goes to retrieve his bag. This is where the demo starts.
Snake is ready to enter into action.
"Snake" never looked so good
The graphics have been improved drastically from what is seen; the trees look incredibly realistic, the bushes/tall grass sway and flatten as you crawl between them or leaves fly off as you slice the air with your knife, and the ground gives off clouds of dirt as you run, and the swampy mud Snake wades through forms movement rings which disappear. Looking at the sky and the horizon, it all looks like it came straight out of an airbrushed painting, with soft yellows and blues filling the sky and rich jungle green in the horizon. Wildlife is seen a lot more than in previous games and they resemble their real-life counterparts accurately, from the way they look to the way they move. Finally, the blood has been improved to look frighteningly realistic especially when the player shoots in first-person at close range. Blood will spurt at the camera lens and drip down slowly.
The character models, so far, look great and considering it's only a month away, this just might be the final design. Snake's face is modeled a bit differently from MGS2; it's shorter and a little more rounded with a softer feel to it. His hair is more stylish and realistic looking (as compared to MGS2) and his eyes are a striking gray which is seen very clearly. The other characters are not seen in the demo, but from the photos in the OPM magazine, the females look much attractive with actual eye-lashes making them look more feminine and more like women. Facial expressions are looking fantastic as players can clearly see the different emotions Snake displays, from anger to puzzlement. And this is just the demo alone.
The controls and the combat system
The controls still work like a dream and are mostly the same except there's a new feature: the directional buttons are now the "Stalking" buttons when you want to sneak up behind an enemy without being detected. Incredibly useful and well-button placement makes this a perfect new feature.
Snake now has more CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) moves at his disposal. There are several ways to go about this:
- In front of the enemy, Snake performs a basic combo of punch, punch, low kick by pressing the Circle button. This knocks the enemy to the ground giving Snake time to escape.
- Behind the enemy, Snake will sneak up and perform a powerful slam attack which knocks out the guard instantly.
Equipped with either a Knife or the Handgun-Knife set, stalking behind the enemy (Snake cannot perform these moves if equipped with two-handed weapons, such as the assault rifle):
- Grab the guard and push him to the ground. Pulling out the gun and aiming at him will make him drop items.
- Grab the guard by holding the Circle button and interrogate him by pushing and holding L3. This will cause the enemy to reveal interesting facts and information. Often very funny comments.
- With the Handgun-Knife set, grab onto the guard and pulling out the gun with the square button will make the enemy a human shield. The other guards/soldiers will hesitate to attack.
- Pressing Circle another time will slice the guard's throat. Incredibly useful but painful looking.
Firearms are still an option, but Snake Eater asks you to rely more often on CQC moves and weapons.
After retrieving Snake's backpack, he gets a call from Major Tom describing his mission: to save Dr. Solokov who is being held prisoner in a base camp up north by the Russians. During this briefing, Snake also meets the Para-Medic, a young female who is supposed to be the Mei-Ling/Rose of this game. She probably saves the game in the real thing and also gives out information on the foods you catch. He also gets in contact with The Boss, a female who served in the SAS, created the Cobra Unit (Snake was a part of this) during World War II, and was Snake's mentor. She's there to give CQC and weapon advice (similar to Natasha Romanenko or Master Miller).
When Snake goes off to rescue Dr. Sokolov, the stealth and camouflage index comes into play.