The sub-title of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance hints towards acknowledgement of the widely held belief that Sons of Liberty lacked exactly that. Substance is the Xbox version of the mega-selling PlayStation 2 original and is somewhat of a coup for Microsoft's debut machine.
Essentially the same as the original, MGS2: Substance is the Xbox owner's chance to get in on the action, as directed by the now legendary Hideo Kojima. Essentially the same as Sons of Liberty, Substance offers a few extras that stand it apart from the original.
The unchanged plot in the main game sees Solid Snake make way for the strangely unpopular and arguably androgynous Raiden, and take on the Octopus Force in a lengthy, intriguing and brilliantly presented stealth 'em up.
Substance is without doubt the best release to be seen in the series since it debuted on the Famicom (NES) over a decade ago. It features two brilliant sub-sections, the first of which stars Solid Snake, in a series of stand-alone missions.
Carrying the subtitle Snake Tales, these lengthy and cunningly complex sub-plots pit Snake, the true hero of MGS, in five stealth-based scenarios, with such titles as "A Wrongdoing", "Big Shell Evil" and "Eternal Gazer." All five are thoroughly well thought out affairs that lend depth to the original Sons of Liberty.
In addition to this, there are over 200 VR Missions - a truly staggering amount. These come together to form what is essentially the most complete training mode ever seen in a videogame. Broken down into the elements of MGS gameplay, namely: sneaking; weapons use; using the first-person mode, and so-on, VR Missions are set in a virtual reality suite at Solid Snake's HQ.
If you own an Xbox and covet your PlayStation 2 owning brethren's access to MGS2, Substance is the ideal game for you. Not only is it an accomplished, seminal work, it will reward you with that much sought-after ability, coveted amongst console owners the world over - bragging rights. It's better than the original, both in terms of looks and content, and that can't be a bad thing.