E3 2011: Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D Hands-On Preview

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is a direct port of the classic Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater that was released several years ago on the PlayStation 2. In a move to bring the Metal Gear Solid series back to the Nintendo platform, Kojima productions decided to transform the game that started the epic Metal Gear saga into full 3D on the Nintendo 3DS.

Porting a full PS2 game into a cartridge is no easy task. To bring Snake Eater to the 3DS, Nintendo had to make a special cartridge to meet the requirements necessary to run the game. This year at the show floor, Konami gave us an inside look at the 3D version, and we are very impressed by what we’ve seen.

Before I got my hands on Snake Eater 3D, my initial thought was that the graphics would be inferior to the PS2 version. To my surprise, I found that the graphics on the 3DS version look phenomenal. Everything—from the trees to Snake’s outfit—pops out in 3D, and the details and environments are as good as the PS2 version. Cutscenes are left intact and all of the codec conversations have voice-overs.

Now, let’s talk about how Snake Eater plays on the 3DS. Since the 3DS lacks the second analog stick and the other two shoulder buttons, players will have to adjust to the handheld’s control layout. To change weapons, players will have to hold down the directional D-pad and touch the desired weapon. To stand up or to crouch, players must press the down button on the D-pad. The aiming and shooting is better on the 3DS version, as players will only have to press the L shoulder button to aim and R to shoot. One of the things I’ve noticed in the game is that Snake can now run and shoot, while in the PS2 version, Snake could only shoot when standing still.

With the bottom screen of the Nintendo 3DS, players will have an easier time navigating the map of the area and the inventory section. To access the inventory simply press the directional D-pad, and all players have to do is to touch the weapon or item they wish to use.

The short demo that they demonstrated was based on the Sokolov-rescue mission. The cutscenes and voice-overs are pretty much the same. 3D effects look good on the middle setting while the max will give players double vision. Since what we’ve played is only a demo, there are some things that Konami removed, such as the “frogs” and the secret cutscene.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D is scheduled for release later this fall in North America. Based on what we’ve played and seen, Nintendo 3DS owners will get a great addition to the Metal Gear series.