I was looking into the Metal Gear Solid The Legacy Collection recently out interest, and noticed how this title has a review section at various sites. Generally speaking, the collection has gained positive reviews, which we can openly put under question due to the current unfolding event with the game press.
Nevertheless, most of the positive reviews seem to come from the idea It has Metal Gears, so it’s automatically good. This rather horrible way to review anything, and in a collection it should be asked how such a product should be reviewed.
Collections are peculiar things as they’re a composite entity. Collections like Mega Man Anniversary collection combine games from different consoles and generations, and seeing these games have already been reviewed, often many times over, there’s very little reason to give the collected games any sort of larger review.
Thus, perhaps collections should be reviewed based on how well the games have been managed to be ported to a system and how faithfully they function in contrast to the originals. I have to say that Mega Man Home Page seems to be an excellent reflection of this idea, where individual games have already been reviewed. Rather, the more technical aspects and additions are taken into notice. In contrast, Game Trend’s review on the aforementioned MGC Legacy Collection is lacking; it does not go into the function of the games or how well they are represented. It’s evident that the reviewer (or the editor) takes it as a clarity that everything works just like they should. There’s a mention how the Legacy Collection is largely redundant to those who own the HD collection, but no actual comparison between the original releases and the HD versions is made. No wonder the gaming press is in distraught when reviews become marketing speeches. The cons in the Legacy Collection given by the Game Trend are measly; lack of certain portable games, the added books and such are not enough reason to buy the collection if you already had the pre-existing HD collection and MGS and its VR Missions are digital download only. Only the last bit is truly a con, whereas the rest are nitpicks; a better con would be that it even exists when there’s the MGS HD collection. Perhaps it would’ve been better to reprint those and add something else to the mix for the new customers, but Konami knows how devoted the Metal Gear Solid fanbase is. They’ve offered game ports on a tin platter and asked gold as its price, and the fans have willingly shoved money on they faces to own these games third time over.
There’s also a question whether or not there is even a reason to review collections. Collections are seemingly for people who missed out the games originally, especially in the case of long running franchises. However, it seems that often than not it’s the hardcore fans that buy the collections. Oh the days we live in. Back in the day when I was young, the fans were purists who wanted to play the games as they were originally intended on their original hardware with genuine physical diskettes/cartridges. Now it seems they are content to buy every and all releases the producers put out.
Collections and rereleases make sense in that they’re comparatively cheap to produce than full fledged new products and you always have your fans purchasing the same game over and over again. There are people who bought Metal Gear Solid 3’s every version, from the two PS2 releases and both HD releases to the damn 3DS version. I won’t ask why, because hardcore fans will gobble up all and everything that’s pushed out. There are times when a developer decides to go all out and actually ports the game to modern consoles properly. Sometimes they just slap the base rom on a disc and let the console run it through emulation, a thing Nintendo basically did with Super Mario All-Stars on the Wii. It still sold stupid amounts of units, enough to be completely sell out and warrant a reprint later on.
With modern day console stores allowing the consumers to purchase almost any game from past to present for relatively cheap price. Sometimes far too expensive, when you take notice the age and quality of certain games. Are collected games slowly becoming irrelevant when you can put all the games in a series to a digital store for fifty cents each? No, there will always be a place for cheap collections for the larger market and special collectors’ editions with bells and whistles attached.