I Finally 'Get' Portable Console Gaming With Metal Gear's Splendid Vita Version

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a true gaming classic, held up by many as not just the best game in the Metal Gear series, but one of the best games ever made, period.

In just the past six months, I've had several different opportunities to finally play the game. There was the PS3 version, and then there was the Nintendo 3DS version. And yet for a number of reasons, I never really got into either one. Now, the game has come to the PlayStation Vita, and I've found the best way to play it.

Not just on the Vita, but on the Vita and the PS3. The era of 'Transfarring' has finally arrived.

For starters: The Vita version of the Metal Gear HD Collection is terrific. It includes both Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Fear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, as well as the training apps and minigames that were included with both original games, including the original Metal Gear MGX game.

The game looks smashing on the Vita's OLED screen; MGS3 in particular looks even sharper than it does on the PS3, though the framerate isn't quite as buttery smooth. The touch-screen is used mainly to flip through the left and right inventory screens, which is a surprisingly welcome addition.

But the feature that I find myself most surprised to be enjoying is the ability to transfer my saved games between my Vita and my PS3. This way, I can play through a bit of the game on the go, come home, and boot the game up on the big screen to play some more. Once I finish, I can re-sync the saves, and my Vita version will be able to pick up where I left off.

It's a feature that Sony has been touting for some time now; in fact, the concept of taking your PS3 games on go with you was central to the first big Vita ad campaign. But I never really "got it" until I did it. This is actually really cool!

When it comes down to it, I'm not going to be able to invest the amount of couch-time that a classic game like Metal Gear 3 requires. I do all of my retro gaming on handhelds -- my 3DS and Vita have both become vessels for lengthy classic JRPGs that I'd never play on my TV.

But with that said, Metal Gear 3 really does benefit from a big screen -- Hideo Kojima's intense and often beautiful cinematic cutscenes look fantastic on my television, and despite the Vita's great controls, it feels even better to play the game with the traditional PS3 controller.

The ability to transfer between console and Vita is much more welcome than I would have expected. Of course, there are a number of flaws inherent to the system. For example:

  • In order to take advantage of this, you have to own both the PS3 and the Vita -- as far as I know, it doesn't work with the 360 version.
  • In order to take advantage of this, you need to own both the PS3 and the Vita versions of the game.
  • This will only work with games that can run in their unadulterated form on Vita, which might limit it to vintage games and HD re-releases. Huge games like, say, Dark Souls wouldn't be able to do something similar, because they won't run on the Vita.
  • The syncing process is tied to Konami's Transfarring setup, and doesn't happen automatically, so it's a bit of a pain. This is nowhere near as easy to use as, say, Apple's cloud-syncs.

But despite all of that, with Metal Gear HD Collection on the Vita, I finally understand what Sony is going for with this whole "console gaming on the go" thing. We're still at an uncomfortable place in terms of hardware and software compatibility, and the audience of people who own a PS3, a Vita, and both copies of a game is small.

But as companies figure this stuff out, the appeal of taking mobile games on the go with me, making progress, then syncing my saves to the version on my TV, is much more appealing in practice than it was in theory.

And really, the best news of all is that it like I'm finally going to finish Metal Gear Solid 3. Now I'll finally see this "The End" character everyone's always talking about.


    Ive been holding out for the Vita version too, cant wait to play through MGS 3 again!

    I've never really gotten into Metal Gear Solid, so I am looking forward to this on the Vita. Give us our PSOne support so I can have the first part of the trilogy all on my handheld... The Vita is an awesome piece of kit, the roll out of it's amazing features is just so slow, but it is getting there.

    Fingers crossed they do this with the Final Fantasy 10 HD version. Would be good to play some on the train or at lunch and then come home and continue on the TV.

      When it comes to doing a grind happy max stats game that option would be awesome.

    I... just love this game.

    I would so love the transferring save games if each game didn't take 5 hours to beat and I hadnt finished them a million times already

    "In order to take advantage of this, you have to own both the PS3 and the Vita — as far as I know, it doesn’t work with the 360 version."

    This is a flaw? When M$ stops screwing around with useless stuff like Smart Gl[ass] and builds a handheld, then they can transfer between systems

    I think so. Why do I wanto buy two copiesofvthevsame thing?! When you can buy a vita game that plays on tv ( either thru a ps3 or via a dedicated cable) I'll buy one. Till then I'm not interested.

    Even my old psp can play on teevee without having o buy a ps3 version of the game!

    So, is it out in Australia yet?

    So... They took Peace Walker out?

      Yeah, most likely because you can already buy the PSP version of Peace Walker in the PS Store, and run it on your Vita as-is. Inferior.

      They had to, considering size constraints. It would've had to have been an 8gb game if they didn't remove Peace Walker, and that'd just be a bit much since the game's already available on PSP. I wish they had thrown in a free copy of the PSP version with my $35 MGS HD Collection, but eh, at least it was cheaper than the console version... at launch. Now the console version's cheaper on Amazon. :|

      I'm shocked they don't give a free digital copy of the other version when you buy one copy of the game, it'd give gamers way more incentive to buy it. Kinda sickening that most publishers think it's best to charge for both versions when they really aren't that different and the benefits of doing so are almost nonexistent. There's no way in hell I'm purchasing a PS3 and the PS3 version of this game for Transfarring, and there's no way I'd purchase a PS4 for similar antics. Vita is the only new system I'll have for a long time if they don't fix their crap.

    Back in the 16bit days I had a Master System adapter for my GameGear and another one for my MegaDrive. Why? So I could play Phantasy Star out and about, and then continue the same game on the TV once I got home :)

      Oh man, I miss Sega. They were so cool back when they weren't, you know, hemorrhaging money.

      Off-subject, I just realized how things work on Nintendo's end. The GameGear and the Atari Lynx were the only major competitors to the Gameboy and they really pushed forward handheld technology at the time while Nintendo used old tech(which gave its systems great battery life) and kept their crap cheap, not really pushing the boundaries of portable technology. The 3DS is the first major Nintendo handheld to really ruin their ideology, it's weak but it started out insanely overpriced and its battery is worse than the competition's(the Vita, in this case). I guess it would've been okay if it was underpowered, as long as its price was okay from the very start and it got at least twice the battery life. What an abominable failure. I can only hope for better out of the Wii U. :|

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