The launch of Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol 1 (gotta love that catchy title), has been an unmitigated disaster. Snake’s sneakiest adventures are limited to just 1080p on PS5 and Xbox Series X, every game from the cardboard box-loving compendium is limited to 30 fps on Nintendo Switch, and let’s not get started on the PC version.
Actually, let’s do start on that woeful PC edition. When the game was released last week, the PC port was in a truly shambolic state. I dunked on this shameless cash grab this past weekend, and took very little pleasure in doing so. After all, this is literally my favorite video game series of all time.
The five game collection includes NES’ 1987 Metal Gear, its MSX2 follow-up Metal Gear 2, PS1’s legendary Metal Gear Solid, PS2’s MGS 2: Sons of Liberty and MGS 3: Snake Eater. Shockingly, there are precisely zero tweakable graphics settings for any of these games on PC. A fact made far worse as they’re all locked to just 720p by default, with no way of changing in-game resolutions.
And make no mistake: if you’re playing the collection on one of the best gaming monitors or best OLED TVs, a resolution of just 1280 x 720 simply ain’t gonna cut it. By default these hideously low-res ‘remasters’ offend my obsessive eyes to a worrying degree.
Mercifully, the PC modding community has stepped in to (at least partially) save the day. With a little help from a couple of teeny files, you can now play MGS 2 and MGS 3 on PC in 4K resolution. Actually, you can play them at any custom resolution you’d like thanks to a brilliant (if ever so slightly unfinished) patch.
The process to get these old stealth games running on your rig at Ultra HD is thankfully a straightforward one. Simply download this dsd11 file and the MGS Resolution Patch (thanks, PC Gamer), unzip both files, then drop them into each game’s respective installation folder.
And presto! A couple of ancient sneak ‘em ups that are legally old enough to drink all the whiskey — and Snake probably needs a stiff one after this last week — will now run in 4K when you boot them up on PC.
Snake my day
Playing at the resolution these games should have launched in on PC, Xbox Series X and PS5 certainly gives Snake his venom back. Metal Gear Solid 2 holds up particularly well thanks to its clean art style that’s really withstood the test of time.
The only slight hitch when it comes to playing MGS2 at 4K? A weird visual bug that occasionally sees a small, faint rectangular box pop up at the top left of the screen during cutscenes. Apparently it’s linked to certain visual effects in the code being tied to the default 720p state the game shipped in. It’s distracting, but I’ll take the odd graphical hiccup for 4K Solid Snake action all the livelong day.
If you want to further sweeten this serpent deal on PC, I’d recommend checking out a couple of HD texture patches the Nexus Mods community have uploaded over the past week. This MGS 2 patch and this MGS 3 patch bump up texture resolutions significantly, and while the results are a little spotty in Snake Eater — trees and grass textures still look quite blurry — these community-made tweaks put a further cherry atop the deliciously modded cake that has saved the Master Collection’s bacon.
And yes, that is a weirdly mixed food analogy.
If I ever see rashers of pork anywhere near a bakewell tart, I’ll spew harder than when you make Naked Snake eat a Cobalt Blue Tarantula in MGS 3.
Liberty for all
While it’s great passionate Metal Gear modders have whipped Snake’s two classic PS2 adventures into good shape on PC in such speedy fashion, it still doesn’t excuse the state Konami shipped this collection in. It shouldn’t take the efforts of passionate gamers coding for free to fix the work of professional developers, who, whether through time constraints or budget issues, put out an unacceptably poor product.
As I alluded to earlier, while the situation has improved on PC, there’s still a lot of work to be done on consoles to get Snake’s compendium up to the standards MGS fans deserve. At the very least, Konami should put out a 4K patch for the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of the Master Collection — spoiler: the company almost certainly won’t.
I still think the Nintendo Switch OLED would be a great way to experience these stealth classics owing to the strength of that wonderful little screen, but that target 30 fps really isn’t good enough.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, MGS 2 and MGS 3 are both still thoroughly borked on Steam Deck and won’t load unless you're willing to fiddle with audio files in the portable PC’s Desktop mode.
At time of writing, the collection’s take on Metal Gear Solid 1 is still stuck at 720p on PC, so Snake hasn’t fully earned his redemption arc yet. Here’s hoping modders get on the case lickety-split and that Snake’s OG espionage adventure will soon be playable in 4K too — proper widescreen support on consoles would also be heartily welcomed.
I don’t want to end proceedings on a slithery sour note, though. Mainly, I’m just glad the coding expertize of some seriously talented Metal Gear fans has swiftly come to Snake’s rescue. Thanks to their selfless work, two of my favorite games are now vastly more enjoyable to play on one of the best gaming PCs just a week after the Master Collection’s half-assed launch.