Metal Gear Solid 2 HD is a graphical reproduction of the PS2 classic originally released back in 2001. Wondering how does it hold up after all of these years? I gave it a go and here's my thoughts about the remastered classic.
The first thing you will notice is the graphics. Armature Studio has done a great job of refreshing the visuals of the game for the Vita. The graphics look great for the most part, and can be easily compared to the other titles available on Vita.
Trophy support has been added to the title, which is a great addition to those who enjoy collecting them. They didn't impact my play-through much, but there are neat challenges such as a trophy for luring guards with girlie magazines.
Bonuses you may have missed back in the day are included as well. The HD release contains additional snake missions you can partake in and a sizable amount of VR based missions.
Controls remain almost identical to the original. On the vita, you switch weapons and equipment using the front touch screen. The rear touch is supposedly used to control some movement as well, but to be honest, I couldn't figure the damn thing out so I didn't bother using it.
The controls seem clunky at first, they are quite different from most modern control schemes. After about an hour struggling with the controls, they started to become comfortable enough to enjoy the game. One thing that bugged the crap out of me was trying to use assault rifles. The vita lacks pressure sensitive buttons, so as soon as you aim the rifle it will start to spray bullets. This can be stopped by using the down button, but is not very intuitive.
Metal Gear Solid 2's story is pretty unique. I do not want to spoil anything for you, just in case you have not played the game before, but it is a fun, somewhat wacky ride. I question myself if nostalgia helps with the enjoyment factor here, and frankly I can't say either way. One thing to note is that the game can be quite cheesy and there is plenty of awkward moments along the way, but it is all part of the fun.
The game-play holds up well. It is still fun to sneak around as Snake or Raidan and mess with the minds of the ai sentries. Shooting isn't as satisfying as most modern shooters but Metal Gear is more about trying to sneak by undetected instead of killing everything that moves. Playtime is somewhat short, it took me about 13 hours to finish the main story, and that is without skipping lengthy cut scenes.
I ended up picking this game up for $17.50 as part of the physical HD collection for the Vita. I personally wouldn't recommend picking it up for that price. Wait for a sale on this one or for it to be added to PS+.
But, if you are a Metal Gear fan, or excited to play it for the first time, you probably won't be too disappointed if you decide to splurge and nab it for full price.