Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel review at classic VFH.
UPDATE (3/22/10) VFH Classic is dead:
Back in 2004 IDW Publishing and Konami teamed up to bring Metal Gear Solid to the comic book world. The series was written by Kris Oprisko, and illustrated by Ashely Wood (one of my personal favorites). The entire retelling of Metal Gear Solid was then taken into digital form, and remastered onto the PSP in a one of a kind experience.
The story is exactly the same as that of the original Playstation game Metal Gear Solid, and its remake The Twin Snakes. The only other additions to the story are new connections and relation between character found in the "Memory Building Simulation Mode".
Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel isn't exactly a game, but its not exactly a UMD video, which makes it so hard to categorize. Essentially the "game" is split up into 3 modes.
"VR Simulation Mode" which is the bulk of the game, as it is the graphic novel itself. There a re a few settings for this mode, for instance, if you dont feel like accessing any special content, are a fast reader, or just want to see the pretty pictures, you can set the entire story to play through without any interaction; however I suggest you only do that after reading the story once or twice. what's great also is that since chances are you won't finish this in one sitting, you can "bookmark" you progress. But the default setting will have you just pressing a button to go the next word bubble or scene. And another button to access the next mode...
"Mental Search Mode" is where the interactive comes into play. When in this mode you can pause each frame, and search through it in and out, finding Kojima logos that access new data in the "Memory Building Simulation Mode".
And lastly is the "Memory Building Simulation Mode". Here you'll see an ever growing, 3D array of icons that can be interlinked to find out new information amongst characters, items, and organizations. It sounds great in concept, and is actually pretty neat when you just starting out. But by the time you have nearly 100+ little files, it's gets quite hectic, and the poor camera system that moves you around the array isn't of much help either.
As the game is visual only, it's nice to see that the pages and artwork of the actual novel have transfered quite well digitally, even when zoomed in upon in the Metal Search Mode. Here and there you'll also notice a couple 3D models that fit in quite superbly with the 2D graphics thanks to well rendered cel-shading and textures.
There is no voice over in this game aside from choice grunts here and there. So if you aren't a fan of reading, then you're out of luck. It sort of takes away from the classic Metal Gear Solid experience because the voice cast is usually so well suited to the series. But imaginative players will easily be able to imagine David Hayter's iconic voice as they read through this novelization. Otherwise, some light, but well suited Metal Gear Solid tracks can be heard, as well as some well placed, good quality sound effects.
If you are big fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, then there's no excuse for you not to have this re-imagining of the classic game. Also you may want to considering picking this up just as a comic book fan, just too see another take on releasing a graphic novel. Personally, as both a comic and game fan, I'd like to say this is one of the most stylized Metal Gear products out there, and the novel in itself is one of Ashley Wood's finest visual works. If you can find this, buy it.