Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 | TGS 2023 Impressions | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 | TGS 2023 Impressions | Switch

While there have been a handful of re-releases of Metal Gear Solid titles over the years, these rarely saw release on Nintendo platforms (with the big exception being Twin Snakes on the GameCube). Fast forward to now, and the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is nearly here. Not only that, but the game had a playable demo at Tokyo Game Show 2023 and we had a chance to check it out on the Switch. Let’s get into it.

Booth & Demo
The Konami booth this year had two play areas for the Master Collection - a handful for PlayStation 5 and PC and another for the Switch, each with about six or so demo units. Of course, like I mentioned, I checked out the Switch version of the game which could be played in beanbag chairs or small tables with a chair. I had 20 minutes with the game and visited the booth twice during my time at TGS this year and got to try out a little bit of everything from the collection.
Konami went all out with Metal Gear Solid at their booth. In addition to the demo units, a small room was constructed behind the play area giving players a look at the Metal Gear Solid board game as well as various series related trinkets. Not only that, but a series of green lasers are all across the room that turn red and alert the “guards” who are roaming around the top scaffolding of the booth. After going through that, you are then able to get photos taken with some air soft guns or the iconic cardboard box - they didn’t even care if you got in the thing! Additionally, those that tried out the game were able to get a free t-shirt. There were six designs with white and black versions for each of the mainline games that were given out at random. I got to play the demo twice but ended with up identical white MGS 1 shirts. Oh well. 
The Metal Gear Solid booth was probably one of the better booths I had seen over the past decade or so of going to Tokyo Game Show. The only complaint I have is the lack of demo stations in lieu of this extravagance. With only a handful of demo stations for each game, the lines would fill up just minutes after the show floor opened, leaving people waiting for an hour or more just to try out the game. 

Visuals & Performance
Visuals and performance have been a touchy topic with the Master Collection. Earlier in the summer, Konami  shared that all of the games in the collection are targeting 1080p (720p for the Switch in handheld) at 60 frames per second. The Switch was the only exception, with all games targeting 30. Well, in the middle of Tokyo Game Show 2023, Konami gave an update on the situation. While most of the previous information is exactly the same, the original Metal Gear Solid will only run at up to 30 frames per second on all platforms. In regard to framerate on all of the games, Konami also stated that this is the “highest possible variable framerate achievable. Certain factors, such as large amounts of effects during gameplay/cutscenes, may cause framerate drops.” As for the games themselves, the original games have all been up-converted ti display at the target 1080p resolution. 
But how does this collection actually look and perform on the Switch? Not bad, all things considered. I got to try out all of the mainline games in the collection, the original Famicom version of Metal Gear and check out some of the bonus content. All of the games were pre-loaded onto the demo console, so I was free to swap in and out at any time during my 20 minute play sessions. Each game ran smoothly and I didn’t notice any framerate drops during my short time with each of them. Things looked pretty sharp in handheld mode, but I imagine they will look even better when played on a Switch OLED (the demo units were original models). Overall, I was pretty impressed. While MGS 2 and 3 definitely looked the best out of all of the games, the original MGS was a bit rough around the edges. Personally, I enjoy seeing games from the era being uprezed to modern resolutions and retaining their original look, but some people might be turned off by that. The unchanged aspect ratio might put some off, too, but I thought it was fine. When it comes down to it, if you’re itching to play these games on the go, from what I played, this is a legit way to do so. 
Even with that said, it’s strange to me that seeing as how there are versions of some of these games out there running at 60 frames per second that Konami could not achieve this. While I prefer higher framerates when possible, I’m usually not too picky. This just seems like a miss for Konami to appease hardcore fans of the series. Is it possible for Konami to release some kind of patch down the line to address these framerate issues and potentially add higher resolutions for more powerful hardware? Sure, but at this point all gamers can do is hope. 

Final Thoughts
It’s great that this Metal Gear Solid collection is coming to the Switch, however, it is a bit disappointing that this version takes a visual hit to the framerate across the board. I don’t have the technical details about why that is, especially considering the source material being so old, but it is what it is. The games are still fun on the Switch, but if you’re looking to play mainly on the big screen, you might as well go with a version of the game on more powerful hardware. But let’s turn things over to you. Are you picking up the MGS: Master Collection Vol. 1? What platform are you picking it up on? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’ve love to hear from you. 

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