Metal Gear Solid is one of those Nintendo-esque retro greats that have stood the test of time and continued to find success through the decades. The series is now entering its 5th chapter, or rather the fourth (marking the fourth game after Snake Eater, canonically the first game in the timeline). The MSX games were misguidedly ported to the NES and the very first Playstation "Solid" game was remade on the Gamecube utilizing the much more modern (at the time) Metal Gear Solid 2 engine. None of these games are met with a great deal of praise from people these days (although it initially met with positive reviews from critics). In lieu of Metal Gear on NES and even more so, the infamous "Snake's Revenge" (which did away with Kojima's original vision and outright ignored his work)...
But in the case of Twin Snakes, I have a few counterpoints to argue in favor of its quality.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was developed by Silicon Knights, now known as Precursor games. The remake was of course aided in development by Konami, with newly animated cutscenes directed by a Japanese film director. The game also featured completely re-recorded vocal dialogue with almost all of the characters having their original actors return to reprise their roles (at the request of David Hayter himself).
A number of these choices led to aesthetic and directorial decisions that have been met with some criticism. I'll try my best to pinpoint the most prominent among my own peers and try my best to argue them.
Keep in mind, these are criticisms I have heard from individuals and don't necessarily reflect the Metal Gear fanbase as a whole or my view of them.
1. The game was made too easy thanks to first person aiming.
This is a fair argument. Aiming in first person significantly reduces the difficulty of a couple of boss fights. Although I have a counterpoint; the feature is strictly mapped to the Z button and is not necessarily forced on the player.
In the same vain that you can choose to set a higher difficulty, a non-essential feature in a game can easily be chosen to be ignored or utilized by the player. For someone like myself who is not very skilled in stealth games, this can help make the game a tad more accessible. Incidentally, Twin Snakes was indeed my introduction to the series and I fully acknowledge that this could be a huge part of what I'm sure someone out there may consider to be my bias for this rendition of the game. For me, first person aiming helped immensely, but did not necessarily make the game that much easier.
2. The redone voice acting was poor/soulless.
After hearing about criticisms of the voice work, I've gone back and forth from Solid on the Playstation and Twin Snakes on the Gamecube and, to be honest, I feel both games' dialogue and cast have their share of pros and cons. For example, I feel Gray Fox's voice is a massive improvement in Twin Snakes, but Otacon's performance in the original game felt more realistic and less whiny.
Though in the end, this is a purely aesthetic/subjective argument. There's technically no right or wrong here, so I'll just say my personal opinion on the matter.
Gray Fox is quite possibly my favorite Metal Gear Solid character and when I heard Greg Eagles as the character I did not know what to think. In fact, all I could think of was Garcian Smith from the excellent hidden gem Killer7. Greg Eagles plays a primary character in that game and uses a very similar voice to the one used in Metal Gear Solid. Coupling this with the idea that Gray Fox is indeed a white Caucasian male, it just seemed odd to have him sound like Garcian (not bad, mind you and I totally see why others who grew up with the voice dig it).
Rob Paulsen, of Animaniacs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, had a different voice in mind for the character. To me his aged, decrepit and harsh tone seemed perfect for the character and definitely added to what made me think he was such a badass character. Call me crazy, but I think this rendition was the definitive version.
Oh and I didn't need to listen to any of Mei Ling's or Namoi Hunter's stereotypical accents. That was just annoying.
EDIT: I just realized I went on this entire tangent about a single character's voice and failed to explain why; while criticism was casually drawn toward the voice acting from an editor at Destructoid, some rather harsh criticism of Gray Fox's Twin Snakes voice came from a close friend of mine. This is basically my retort to that.
3. The new cutscenes were too crazy/melodramatic/unnecessary .
With all of the crazy, screwy things we've come across in the Metal Gear universe, you mean to tell me that Snake and Gray Fox going at it Matrix style is where you draw the line? So it's A-okay for the supernatural stuff in Snake Eater? The insanity with Fortune and Vamp in Sons of Liberty? And dare I even bring up nanomachines in Guns of the Patriots?
You could do far, FAR worse for a remake than adding some cutscenes to make its already lengthy cutscenes more cinematic. Unnecessary? Perhaps. Too crazy? Get real. This is Metal Gear we're talking about here. This is the universe that made walking nuke-firing tanks a thing. The Shagohod could move at incredibly high speeds on DRILL TREADS. And Snake doing flips over a katana sword is too much? It's just one of those criticisms I simply cannot understand. Why bother making the graphics look that good (for the time, mind you) and not do anything to give it a more modern flare? Every Metal Gear Solid since the first game have been incredibly cinematic and crazy by nature.
I will say this, one of the best things that ever happened to me as a gamer was that my best friend allowed me to borrow his copy of Twin Snakes, doing his best to convince me of what a fantastic game it was and how great the franchise was as a whole. I was skeptical, as I was in a stage in my youth where I was not entirely comfortable with excessively violent movies. Metal Gear Solid did not bother me nearly as much despite its violent content. I found the Snake character interesting, I enjoyed the universe and had a lot of fun saving the world from a massive nuclear threat. And while I understand why someone may prefer the original game best, I always have fond memories of my own initial experience with the series which, to me at least, really isn't so bad.
And hey, that game is what led to the reason I was so excited to see Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, so it's gotta count for something.
So what are your thoughts on the Twin Snakes? Was it your cup of tea? If not, why not?