MGS3 ties with the brilliant original as the best in the series. Hideo Kojima the creator of the MGS series is one of the few real superstars of the videogame industry, the others being Shigeru Miyamoto the creator of Mario, Link and so many others, and Yu Suzuki (Sega) of Shenmue and Outrun/Dayeeetooona! fame among others.
To His credit Hideo Kojima in my opinion is a genius (along with Miyamoto of course) and when he is at the top of his game there is nothing that this talented director/producer/programmer cannot do with a games machine or make happen.
The only limitations are that of the hardware wich he is creating a game for and in this case its Metal Gear Solid 3:Snake Eater is FINALLY the game that all of the millions of Metal Gear fans out there have been wanting since the brilliant original MGS on PSone. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is yet another true work of art from one of the few talents in the vidoegame industry that are able to continually create one great game after another.
Metal Gear solid 2:Sons of Liberty was and always will be a great game but I tend to think of it as an "inside joke" of sorts from the always entertaining Hideo Kojima for many reasons, not the least of wich the star of the MGS saga Solid Snake was only fully playable for the short introductory segment of the game and there was Raiden and the slightly overconvoluted storyline all combined to leave more than a few gamers bewildered at it all. Although I still think of MGS2 as one of the 25 greatest games of all time it was a slight dissapointment in a few minor ways. Now on to the subject at hand METAL GEAR SOLID 3:SNAKE EATER.
With MGS3 Kojima and CO. (now named Kojima productions at Konami) delivered the perfect PRE-quel to an already AAA series with an incredible enthralling epic cold-war storyline that explains many of the origins of not only Snake himself but finally who the first BIG-BOSS was and his/her relation to the original Snake, code named naked Snake in MGS3.
The game also has a very young and ever entertaining OCELOT REVOLVER who actually learns a lot from Snake and BIG BOSS during the game and explains both his admiration and hatred for the current Solid Snake that is featured in MGS1 and MGS2.
The graphics are phenomenal of course that contain the best cutscenes thus far in videogame history and are certainly THE BEST CUTSCENES OF THE LAST GENERATION OF CONSOLES.
The gameplay is near spot on and is non intrusive and becomes second nature after about an hours play. The storyline is the best of the series slightly edging out the original MGS story as the best overall.
Of course to enjoy the WHOLE Metal Gear Solid storyline I would suggest picking up the new Metal Gear Solid Collection on Xbox360/PS3 believe me its well worth it in every way.
All in all this is the best MGS so far and I highly recommend this game to anyone and everyone, especially those that are fans of the Splinter Cell/Tenchu series of stealth games or to those that want to experience what is in my opinion the greatest on-going storyline in videogame history. One more point: Metal Gear solid 3: Snake Eater IS THE FIRST METAL GEAR SOLID IN THE SERIES in chronological order the games are listed* :
Metal Gear Solid 3:snake eater - PS2
Metal Gear Solid 1 - PSX/PSone - or better yet if you can find it Metal Gear Solid the Twin Snakes playable on both the Nintendo Gamecube and Wii.
Metal Gear Solid 2:sons of Liberty - PS2
Metal Gear Solid 4:Guns of the Patriots
*this list does not include the handheld versions of MGS.
Play these in just about any order but I would recommend this order for those new to the series: MGS 1, MGS3, MGS2 all available for play on the PS2. I have to point out that MGS2 will confuse anyone not familiar with the series and Highly recommend playing either the first MGS or part 3 FIRST in order to more enjoy the second and upcoming 4th. *the early Metal Gear games on MSX-Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear2:solid snake (available in MGS3:subsistance) take place in the timeline AFTER Metal Gear Solid 3 and before MGS 1.
The Subsistance version adds a great new and more cohesive camera angle and many great extras including the first two original METAL GEARS ; Metal Gear 1 MSX and Metal Gear 2: solid snake MSX.