Top 100 Games of All-Time: #54

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Release Date: November 17, 2004

Platform Played On: PS2

2018 Placement: #49 (-5)

What It Is:

The third entry in Hideo Kojima’s tactical stealth action series. While there are plenty of divisive opinions over other entries in the series, most everyone agrees that MGS3 is one of the best, if not THE best, game due to its gameplay and story content. MGS3 is a prequel to the first two games where you play as Naked Snake aka Big Boss, the antagonist of the Metal Gear games. It keeps the straightforward stealth and CQC gameplay while toning back a little on the twists and insanity after Metal Gear Solid 2.

This game is packed with great villains and unique boss fights, fun gameplay that stays true to the original MGS game, and has a rockin’ theme song that rivals the best James Bond tunes. It also adds new survival components to the game, such as having to eat food to keep your stamina up and your stomach from grumbling, to specific injuries hampering your movement and abilities in combat until you take care of them and let Snake heal properly. There’s also a camo index that gives you a good idea of how hidden you are as you make your moves. Everything in this game is refined to a T and the end product doesn’t feel as bloated as later Kojima games.

Why It’s Important To Me:

The Metal Gear Solid series was hugely impactful to me in my formative gaming years. It and Hitman paved the way for my excitement for stealth games. The games also made me realize how much I enjoyed the bonkers, balls-to-the-wall storytelling that Kojima provided. I loved how unique the bosses were in this one, from The Sorrow to The End to The BEEES, er, I mean The Pain. You know how I love themed groups of villains and MGS3’s crew had some of the best monikers.

MGS3 was one of those games that I walked away from thinking to myself “yeah, okay, now THAT’S a Game of the Year.” Even if I wasn’t fully in on the concept of ranking my games of the year online for random people yet, in my heart I knew that’s where MGS3 belonged: at the top of an arbitrary list. At the time it ticked every box I was looking for in a game – and even now it still holds up on replays in my opinion. Young Revolver Ocelot is one of my favorite villains and the motorcycle chase sequence blew me away at the time as an unmatched setpiece action sequence, before Uncharted had even come on the scene.

My Strongest Memory:

I was playing through this game in college and some of my friends gathered together to watch me play it off an on. Towards the beginning of the game (like the third or fourth boss I’d say if I remember correctly) you fight The Fear. During this fight the boss shoots arrows at you that get stuck in Snake and due to the new injury mechanics, you have to remove them and heal yourself using your supplies.

After I finished the boss fight, as I was healing, one of my friends innocently asked “what happens if you heal the wound but don’t remove the arrow?” I obliged them and what we discovered is that if you heal it…you can’t remove the arrow anymore. The uproarious laughter of my friends still haunts me to this day as I ended up playing THE ENTIRE REST OF THE GODDAMN GAME WITH AN ARROW STICKING OUT OF SNAKE’S KNEE BECAUSE OF MY FRIENDS.

Anyway that’s why Metal Gear Solid 3 is awesome because of stupid shit like that.

Why It’s #54:

MGS3 is a game I would consider a classic. In the sense that it’s revolutionary and important at the time, but also in the sense that it’s timeless and will always have replay value. It stands out as a great, amazing achievement in video game design and just does some amazing work with the PS2 hardware. If you pressed me for what I consider the overall “greatest” PS2 game based on objectivity and not specific, emotional, nostalgic connections I would say it’s probably MGS3. And it still has that emotional connection for me because I got to play it with friends. Play it if you haven’t, because it’s worth it.