Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D is, for me, the most anticipated 3DS game of the year. The Metal Gear series is my favourite of all time so when I heard about this latest game I was instantly excited. Initially I was worried that the small screen and lack of a second stick would be an issue but, luckily, they aren't. This game is great and this version, for me, is the definitive one.
The most important part of it is the gameplay. I don't own a circle pad pro and so didn't use one throughout the game and I have to say I don't see why you'd need to. The camera controls are mapped to the face buttons and the camera controls great. The game is a port of the Subsistence version of MGS 3 so you get to control the camera. Aside from the camera the game is of course a great blend of stealth and action. Although it can occasionally be hard to spot a guard due to the size of the screen sneaking is more less as fun as it has always been, the same goes for the combat. The control layout is great and easy to use and the CQC is just as cool as it was when it first came out.
Graphically the game is stunning, whilst it doesn't reach the same lofty heights of Capcom's Resident Evil: Revelations it still performs really well and the 3D effect serves to the make the jungle really come alive. Although the screen is small and this does lead to a couple of issues such as spotting guards there aren't any issues that are game breakers. The HUD has been moved to the bottom screen which really lets the improved graphics shine through by ensuring that the environment isn't crowded with things like health bars and radars. There are occasional moments when the frame rate drops but, like the occasional screen size issues, these really aren't game breaking and are to be expected when you put a game like this on such a small screen.
Story wise it's as great as it was on the PS2, the game doesn't miss anything out from the original so you get to experience the whole thing. There are some issues with lengthy cutscenes and radio conversations which, when you're about to get off of a bus, can be frustrating but I'm glad that they kept the cutscenes and conversations because they really add to the game by creating the great story and fleshing out the characters.
There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not you should buy the HD Collection or this handheld game but this seems crazy to me. If you owned a 360 or PS3 and a 3DS then you should buy both. That way you can play the game at home or when you're out and I have to say its the fact that you can play this game anywhere that makes it worth buying. You never have to be without a Metal Gear game and that is great.
All in all, although it does have a few minor flaws, the game is fantastic and is a must buy. I would recommend avoiding the Circle Pad Pro, it just seems like a waste of money because the game handles really well without it. Essentially you all need to buy this game, and fast. Forget Kid Icarus, forget Resident Evil, forget Heroes of Ruin, this is the best 3DS game to come out during the first quarter of 2012.