And here she is...
The following is a review of the Limited Edition of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. This is not a review of the actual game as you can likely find many such reviews all over the internet.
Picking up the Game (skip past the italics if you just want to read the review):
A funny thing happened on my way home from work. I went to the local Gamestop to pick up my fully paid off pre-ordered copy of MGSHDLE (pictured above) and I was greeted by a parking lot that had been taped off to make room for a line of people waiting in line to buy Modern Warfare 3. This was no midnight release either. It was regular ol' release day at around 4pm.
Well, the last thing I wanted to do was wait what could have been up to an hour in line behind a mass of parents buying a mature rated game for their middle school aged children. Luckily, rumor in the line was that as long as your pre-order was paid in full, you could cut to the front of the line. That's right, the line was long enough to have rumors. Thankfully, the rumor was indeed true. I cut to the front and showed the employee my receipt and said, "It's not for MW3." He smiles and says, "Thank God." He then takes a look at the receipt and tells me that MGS is the one he's going to pick up today too. Such exchanges are why I love my Gamestop store.
When I first heard about the Limited Edition, I was really worried that the artbook would only be the size of a standard PS3 game box. Taking one look at the Limited Edition in person washed that worry promptly away. Konami was obviously going to do right by me and give me a decent artbook with my Limited Edition game.
The LE Box is actually a large cardboard slipcase for the artbook and the game. The two items slide out from the right side without much effort. In other words, they fit snuggly but not tightly. In order to compensate for the large box, the game comes housed in a little cardboard tray.
|Game tray and Artbook as seen from side opening|
The slipcase has a gloss finish and is made of fairly thick cardboard. It has nice graphics printed on the front back and spine. It is a nice way to house the contents of the set. My only complaint would be that once the game is out, there's not much need for all the empty space that was needed to house the game tray. However, considering how many collectors out there probably want to keep all the contents together, I can understand the desire to package them this way. I have decided to keep the game’s tray inside the slipcase with the artbook so that I don’t end up with an unsightly gaping hole where nothing resides.
|Back of slipcase and Spine|
|The Slipcase, the Artbook, and Game w/ tray|
I feel that I should mention, at this point, that the game box is the exact same box that you would receive if you purchased the regular edition of the game. I was really hoping for something that looked a lot less tacky with my LE. An even better option would have been to include a reversible cover ala Resistance 3 and the Shadow of the Colossus/ Ico collection.
Inside the game box is a disc with the same picture of snake that graces the slipcase. There is also a too plain manual that barely gives any information beyond the games’ basic button layouts. It should be noted, however, that the Essential Collection’s Manuals are reprinted digitally from within the HD collection.
|Boring Manual and Game Disc|
Right. The artbook. According to the sparse page numbering, the artbook is roughly 250 pages long. In fact, if you count the two black pages that come at the very end and the very beginning, it is exactly 250 pages long. The artbook is hardbound and about half the width of the slipcase. Had I not been given such a wide slipcase, I might have been happier with the size of the artbook, but the contrast between the slipcase and the book is almost guaranteed to leave one at least a little bit disappointed.
|Front of Book|
|Back of book.|
|Not very thick. Regular PS3 box shown for scale.|
The book’s pages are a bit too thin for my taste and a bit too glossy as well. But then, I like thick matte pages best, so take my opinion here with a grain of salt. The quality of the printing is on par with a higher end magazine like EDGE. There is no color bleed or low resolution artifacting to detract from the fantastic MGS art.
The artbook contains art from almost every game in the MGS HD collection. I say almost because it does not include any art from MGS 3’s included emulations of Metal Gear 1 and 2 for the MSX.
The three games are given about equal amounts of space within the book and each section is separated by a nice little two-page spread with the respective game’s title. Such title spreads would have been more useful if the book had come with a more consistent numbering for the pages, but at least the book comes with a table of contents to show you where each game’s section begins.
|Table O' Contents|
|Sons of Liberty Chapter|
|Snake Eater Chapter|
|Peace Walker Chapter|
The kind of art that you find varies greatly. You get a lot of official artwork that was used for promotional materials along with a few pages that show sketch work of the character designs in the process of being finalized. The sketch work is definitely my favorite part of the artbook but the more official looking promotional work is none too shabby either. It certainly helps if you are a fan of MGS very distinct art design.
|Promotional Style Art|
|More Promo Style Art|
|Great Sketchbook Style Art|
One thing that I would have liked from the artbook is more text. I really like reading about the motivations behind the piece of artwork I’m looking at. Even small out of the way captions would have gone a long way towards making the artbook something really special. As it stands, there is basically no informative text within the artbook. It’s a wasted opportunity.
The Peace Walker Section:
I read somewhere online that the Peace Walker artwork is all ripped directly from the Peace Walker Limited Edition artbook. This is mostly a true statement. Though there are about 8 pages that were included here but not included in the earlier book, everything from the Peace Walker Section is indeed directly ripped from the aforementioned PW Limited Set. Even the layout is exactly the same. On the plus side, it was a very well put together artbook when it was released for Peace Walker on PSP and it’s still nicely put together within this newer artbook.
|The PSP Peace Walker LE|
|The PSP LE Yellow artbook|
|PSP artbook vs. PS3 LE artbook = Dejavu|
|At least there's SOME new PW art.|
The Bottom Line:
The Limited Edition of MGS HD Collection is a whopping 30 dollars more expensive than the regular edition. The only real inclusion (if you leave out the slipcase) is the artbook. While it is certainly better than a majority of pack-in artbooks. And though I might even call it the best artbook pack-in I have ever had included in a Limited Edition, I still can’t help but feel that the whole set could have stood to be a little better for a 30 dollar premium. As it stands, the set feels about 10 dollars too expensive.
But…. If you’re a big fan of Metal Gear Solid and its great art, this LE is a worth while purchase. As seems to be the case with all Special Editions, the value of such a set is heavily tied to your level of fandom.
|Peace out, yo.|