When I arrived home after buying this game, I looked down at the box in my hands and came to two strange realisations. The first is that I had spent money on yet another version of MGS3 – how does Konami keep catching us? The second is that, now that I have MGS3D, I finally own all the games I originally bought a 3DS for – and I have no idea what, if anything, to look forward to on the machine now.

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Still, those musings faded away pretty quickly when I started playing the game, and realised that it’s probably the best version of MGS3 to date. This is not because it’s in 3D, not at all. The 3D is nice, don’t get me wrong – occasionally I’ll turn it on to gawk at it and keep it turned on until I either don’t notice it any more or get tired of holding my 3DS at just the right angle – but no, the real charms lie elsewhere. For starters, Snake Eater 3D allows players to use the 3DS’s Circle Pad Pro add-on – and believe me, you don’t want to play it any other way. Not only do we get two analogue nubs to use, but the developers have taken full advantage of it.

For starters, we can aim and fire properly in either third-person or first-person mode, and Snake will actually point his gun where the camera is looking. Finally! Snake can also move while aiming and walk in a crouch, which is an unexpected but welcome inclusion from MGS4. I can’t even begin to describe how much of a difference that makes – I actually want to go through the entire game and collect all the unlockables again, and considering that I played MGS3 more than any other game in the series, that’s really saying something. I had hoped that the PS3 HD version would have included these kinds of enhancements, and I was disappointed when it didn’t.

Apart from that, though, it’s still the same game we all remember – which is no bad thing. Players must still guide Solid Snake’s predecessor on a covert, sneaking mission through the Russian jungle to rescue an asylum-seeking Soviet scientist who is being forced to work on a new doomsday weapon. To remain undetected, Snake must change his camouflage to suit the terrain (apparently he carries an entire laundry hamper with him). He must also hunt for food to sustain himself and perform field surgery on his injuries. Good fun. There are also a few Nintendo-centric easter eggs thrown in and a much more streamlined inventory and map interface using the 3DS’s touch screen.

There’s not much more to say. It’s a huge game on a small machine, with plenty of stealth and survival action to enjoy, dozens of secrets and jokes to discover and an entertaining, if ridiculously anime-like story to follow. Anyone looking for an in-depth 3DS title won’t be disappointed.

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