Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my limited reading time catching up on years of graphics novels. I’ve been burying my face in everything from The Dark Knight series to to Y: The Last Man. My one rule of reading these has been, “It has to be unique, and not just a bunch of comics glued together into a novel’s binding.” When Konami’s Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel hit my desk, I had a feeling I was about to check out something that was going to fit quite nicely into my “rules.” After making my way through this, I have to say that all the serious graphic novel publishers need to take a look at this format, because, wow, this is good stuff.
I’m somewhat of a freak in the game world – I never got into the early Metal Gear games. Frankly, until Substance rolled out, I wasn’t interested in the series at all, and even with Substance, I didn’t get into the storyline much, as it felt like you had to be “in the know” to enjoy it in any way. Now that I’ve made my way through the Digital Graphic Novel, I feel like I know what’s going on, and honestly wouldn’t mind taking a trip back to the original games for another play-through.
While Digital Graphic Novel is pretty limited in the interactivity department, it’s filled with so much style and flair, you can’t help but enjoy it. There’s some interaction in the Novel, as you’ll have to keep a keen eye out to snag memory fragments that appear throughout the storyline, then chain them together to recover memories and unlock additional content, but that interaction is fairly limited, and almost unnecessary, as DGN carries you through the storyline in an exciting and visceral way.
Visually, this is a great-looking product. It’s based on the style of the printed graphic novels, combining hand-drawn panels with smooth motion and stylish animations that never detract from the experience. DGN drips style like an NBA players ooze sweat in those nasty Gatorade ads.
After years of seeing Konami pump out game after game in the MGS universe, it’s a pleasant surprise to see them use the franchise in a wholly unique way. Whoever thought of creating the Digital Graphic Novel needs a raise. If more graphic novels came out in this format, I’d probably go broke, especially at the $20 (actually, $19.99 U.S. to be precise) price point this carries. The price really is the only weakness in this entire product, at $10-$15, the regular price of a graphic novel, this would easily move into being an Editor’s Choice title, even with its gameplay-free gameplay.
- Overall: 8.5
- Meta Gear fans will adore this, as will graphic novel afficianados
— Craig Falstaff