It's been a long road since I got up close and personal with Solid Snake at last year's San Diego Comic Con inside the Square Enix booth. That was then; now, we have the final version of Snake in our hands, though not as bulky (and perhaps as joint-popping prone) as the Peace Walker Snake was. It's also a figure that, along with Cyborg Ninja, folks really seemed to be looking forward to on Tomopop, and a number of other sites.
So is Snake worth hunting down, or are you better off letting him hide inside of a box inside a warehouse somewhere? Hit the jump and find out!
So, like usual, we begin with the box. Nothing fancy here; a nice white and black color scheme with some silver accents works well with that Metal Gear Solid logo. There are some nice windows that let you check everything on the inside of the box, and the back features a nice shot of the figure, along with some smaller pictures in the film strip. You can also see the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary sticker on the front box, which is a silhouette of Snake sneaking around in a box. Awesome.
Brought out of cover and into the open, we get our first glimpse at Snake. Not surprisingly, his palette is a hue of grays and dark colors, punctuated only by the tone of his exposed flesh. Everything is as it appeared in the original game, and he does stand pretty well on his own, but I would still imagine that a stand wouldn't hurt. Like any other Play Arts Kai figure, he is prone to falling over, albeit less so.
The sculpting on Snake's face is excellent, and I can almost hear David Hayter's gravely voice in my head as I look at this picture. I love how the headband has some creases to it as if it were wrapped tight around Snake's head, the little wrinkles of weathering on the face that make Snake look like a grizzled veteran and the chiseled jaw, but the problem lies in the eyes. They're not painted evenly. The left iris looks a bit higher than the right one, and from some angles, like this one, he looks a bit bad. I kind of wish it just had a cleaner look from all angles on the eyes so it didn't look they missed painting one of his pupils ... when in fact, they did paint both of them.
The other point of contention I've got with the head is that because of Snake's armor collar, it doesn't really have the biggest range of movement. That's a bit of a disappointment, to be honest.
The hair is textured and painted pretty well but the sculpt underneath does feel like it could be a little bit cleaner. It just looks a little messy to me, even though it is in line with what else we've seen from Play Arts Kai figures past.
Snake's armor is, like his face, sculpted to be the same as it appears in the official game illustrations. The paintwork here is spotless, and I like how the fabric seems to wrap around the armor underneath it both with the sculpt and with some shading done on the paint job. Attention to detail is a hallmark of the Play Arts Kai line, and from the patterning on the shoulder straps to the satchel canvas of the bags on his belt, there's plenty to go around on Snake. Poseability is no issue, as the abdominal joint lets Snake bend forward and backward, as well as from side to side within a decent range.
From behind, you get a nice shot of the back of the headband (which is now much different than the prototype) as well as more detailing on the back of the armor. You can also see another one of the pouches Snake's gear contains, with nice little touches on the stitchwork for the straps and buckles.
On the legs, you'll find roughly the same levels of detail as the rest of the body, with no real paint issues to report. There are some visible joints here as well, though the design doesn't make them too obvious when Snake's legs are straight like this. There's some nice pulling of fabric around where his holster straps to his leg, though.
Poseability wise, Snake's got more than 25 joints on him, so he's actually pretty poseable. The usual double-jointed elbows and knees are here, as well as joints on his feet, and mid-thigh and mid-bicep. As a result, you can actually do quite a bit with Snake, such as have him posed hiding around a corner, waiting to see if anyone is coming.
And then there's ... uhhhhhh ... okay, this is a problem.
So yeah, Snake's silenced pistol arrived to me in bent form. There's two reasons for this having happened: one, the plastic for the silenced barrel is made from a softer plastic than the rest of the pistol and two, it was stored in the holster in the package, which meant it spent the entire trip to my house pressed against the side of Snake's thigh and forming to its shape.
The two piece thing, I can understand (it removes a possible weak point in the plastic piece) but what you see above is the choice of some bad packaging planning. Snake's pistol should have just been in its own little spot on the "plastic prison" (as I like to call it) as there's plenty of room for it. Plus, it wouldn't depend on it lining up with some tiny notch in the body cavity (a.k.a. the part where the figure sits in the plastic) like it does right now.
That all being said ... the detailing on this is nice, and it fits easily and firmly into Snake's alternate right hand. If it wasn't for the bent barrel that I'm now trying to unbend, I'd be alright with it.
Moving on ...
Here, you can get a bit of a look at how poseable Snake is, as well as the fact that he can stand on his own. It's an improvement over some of the other Play Arts Kai figures I've reviewed before, as I spent far less time trying to balance Snake than any other Play Arts Kai except the flat-footed Ryu. Like the other Play Arts Kai figures, Snake holds his pose once you've got him set up in it. I still think having a stand would ease any worries about Snake falling over, though.
You can also see some of the detailing in the folds of his suit, which look nice, and the lack of any real paint issues. All good things, of course.
The other accessory included with Snake is an assault rifle (and an open left hand which lets you hold it into place). The rifle has a strap attached it it which allows you to pose Snake carrying it, as you see above. The strap is made of what feels like pleather, and there's detailing along the strap to make it look like sewn together.
Getting this to fit on Snake is a little bit tougher than the pistol: for everything to fit properly, you need to attach the right hand to the rifle grip first, then slide the rifle strap onto Snake's shoulder and then attach the hand to the wrist joint. The trade off is, when you do it right, it fits perfectly, like you see above (though the strap does like to kind of wander off on its own!) The actual detail on the assault rifle is clean and about as much as we could expect; the plastic its made from is a hard compound, so unless you're being rough with this figure, you shouldn't have to worry about it breaking.
As for that alternate left hand, it works great, as you can see above. Also worth noting are those foot joints, which help keep Snake a little more balanced than some of the other Play Arts Kai figures I've dealt with. Naked Snake in his bulky armor always fell down when I tried to pull this off, but Solid Snake had no problems with holding this pose, even on uneven ground.
So by now, you're wondering what my final thoughts on Snake are, right? Well, he's not bad, but he's also not universally great, either. I think, for me, he falls into the category of good. There are some details that could have been a bit better (his eyes) and some choices that would have made Snake a better figure (for example, not putting the pistol in a place where the barrel can get bent or a more flexible head/neck), but for Metal Gear Solid fans, he should hopefully suffice. The only accessory that's really missing is a box, but finding a box for Snake to hide in shouldn't be too difficult.
[Thanks to Square Enix for providing a review sample!]
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