While Snake Eater's gameplay was a definite step up, I thought the game as a whole was a step down, just as Sons of Liberty was from the original. They're all very different games, though, so its kind of to each his own as to which one you like best (although 4 seems to kind of be the semi-unanimous vote right now). I hate SoL the first two times I played it. Well, ok, I didn't hate it. Otherwise I never would have gotten through it twice. I loved the gameplay, I just didn't get the story. But then booting up for the third time through, I just got it and everything clicked and it was magnificent. Kind of like a religious conversion, only with more 'mechs.