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Two 'Metal Gear Solid 4' PS3 bundles are arriving in June--but only one's a good deal

Konami's hotly anticipated PlayStation 3 exclusive, Metal Gear Solid 4, will be bundled with two new versions of the PS3 hardware. One is strictly for collectors, while the other may be the best PS3 value yet.

PS3/Metal Gear Solid 4 bundles
The less expensive bundle (right) is the far better deal CNET

By most accounts, the release of Grand Theft Auto IV helped move quite a few game consoles--both Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s--in the past few weeks. But there's another four--Metal Gear Solid 4--that's eagerly anticipated by many gamers as well. No, MGS4 isn't going to shatter sales records like GTA did, but it's safe to say that Konami's PS3 exclusive is the reason that many forward-looking gamers chose Sony's console over that of archrival Microsoft. And with the game's June 12 release date fast approaching--after a hype buildup that stretches back to at least 2005--the waiting for those faithful PlayStation fans is almost over.

But what about those gamers who still haven't taken the next-generation plunge? To help welcome them back to the PlayStation fold, there will be not one but two Metal Gear Solid PS3 bundles. The limited edition bundle (pictured on the left) includes the 40GB PS3 finished in gun metal gray, the new DualShock 3 rumble controller, and--of course--a copy of the game. Also onboard are a CD soundtrack and an "exclusive Blu-ray Disc" with a behind-the-scenes documentary. That limited-run model is only available via Konami's Web site, and will cost a whopping $600.

Thankfully, a far better alternative will be available: the "PlayStation 3 Metal Gear Solid 4 Pack" (pictured on the right). That $500 version includes the premium 80GB PS3 model (in the standard basic black), which offers the flash card reader and backward compatibility with PS2 games (both absent in the 40GB PS3 included in the Konami model). The box also includes the DualShock 3 rumble controller, Metal Gear Solid 4 game (sans documentary and CD), and a voucher for a free download of the Pain minigame from the PlayStation Store.

Thanks to the always-enthusiastic collector market--and the exclusive availability--the $600 limited edition bundle will likely be all but impossible to find. No matter--for the rest of us, the mainstream $500 model is the far better choice anyway: for $100 less than the limited edition bundle, you're getting the better PlayStation model, the most anticipated PS3 exclusive to date, the new rumble controller, and one of the most entertaining PS3 minigames thus far. It sounds like a good deal all-around--especially with Sony shooting down rumors of a price drop in the immediate future.

Look for the $500 bundle to be available by the end of June. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of people blowing their tax rebate checks on it, either: for anybody who's been on the fence as to whether to buy a PS3, the new MGS4 bundle could well be the tipping point.

What do you think? Is the forthcoming Metal Gear bundle the best PS3 value to date? Or does the console still need a more robust lineup of exclusive titles to hook you?

via Kotaku