Hideo Kojima finally release a new chapter for his epic masterpiece franchise Metal Gear with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and it is only available for the PlayStation Portable, promising better gameplay and more action for the portable console. will this proves that small consoles can pack a big game similar to next-gen consoles?
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the sixth PSP MGS game (if you include MGS: Digital Graphic Novel) and takes place ten years after the events in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and four years after Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. The game continues the story of Big Boss aka Naked Snake as he leads his newly formed mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontieres (MSF) where they investigate a mysterious armed group deployed in Costa Rica.
The gameplay is still similar to the traditional MGS gameplay; classic stealth action game, that is, you can sneak behind enemies and perform CQC (Close Quarter Combat) or you can shoot tranquilizer darts to knock them out, but once you get detected, more enemies will storm out in the area to eliminate you, in this case you can either hide or completely neutralize the whole opposition. You can opt to go stealth or go gung-ho. They also added the camouflage system from MGS3 to the game, giving you more advantage when going stealth.
The bad side is the PSP’s limited buttons and lack of a second analog stick making some buttons to have multiple functions, and using the directional button as camera control and the analog stick as movement can give the players to maneuver and navigate to the areas, especially during boss battles, good thing they featured a new control setting similar that from the shooter control from MGS4 (making the triangle, circle, square and X buttons as camera control) giving that FPS-like controls to Peace Walker, although this could give some who are new to these kind of configurations a tough time to master.
The game is divided into missions similar that from Portable Ops, where the in-game save feature is remove and replacing it with post-mission saves. The Main Ops focus on the main story of Peace Walker while Extra Ops is more of a VR Mission-like missions, these composed of simple tasks like reaching a goal point without being detected to more difficult missions like defeating a hard version of a boss encountered in the Main Ops, and just like in VR Missions, EX Ops offers more than 100 missions.
Boss battle missions in Peace Walker is a real pain in the ass to beat, and sometimes it encourage you to beat in Co-Op (but still they can be finished even in single player), and one of the coolest part here is the enormous size of the bosses, especially the AI bosses, some event the size of a building, giving you that epic battle feel when encountering a boss. Some certain boss battles let you capture vehicles and use them for your army, and midway through the game, you get to salvage parts from AI bosses to build your very secret weapon (it starts with an M), so secret that you have to play the game to know more about it. There’s also a special guest from a very familiar monster from a very familiar monster game franchise.
During missions, you an rescue POWs (Prisoners of War) or capture enemy soldiers and turn them into your recruit for your mercenary group MSF which is similar to the recruit feature of Portable Ops. Instead of carrying soldiers to the truck, you can instantly transport them via Fulton Recovery, a parachute device use to recover soldiers for you army, the idea is more of an oddball and fictional, and later in the game, you can get to recruit soldier via WiFi access. Recruited personnels can be assigned to different tasks to improve your Mother Base; homebase of MSF, tasks such as R&D (Research and Development) to develop new weapons, Mess Hall for food supplies, Combat for your army strength, soldiers in the Combat category can be deployed on Outer Ops (a mini strategy game) to get funds, you can also use the captured vehicles to Outer Ops. Having a base management feature adds more replay value to Peace Walker, giving you more reason to play again after completing the game.
One of the major things you will notice on Peace Walker is the ability to play with a friend via Co-Ops in both Main Ops and Extra Ops, the first Metal Gear game where you can play multiplayer in a main story. Co-Op feature is one of the key features of Peace Walker, and it has some advantages. You and your friend can go into “Snake in” a co-op buff that grants you increased life and defense as well as a “Snake Formation” where the player in front will control the movement while the player behind will focus in shooting. Aside from Co-Op mode, there’s also the Versus mode with classic modes like deathmatch and capture the base.
The graphics is just amazing, at a first glance, you wouldn’t notice this as a portable console game, but from a PlayStation 2 game. The maps in the game are fully detailed, the trees in the jungles to the vehicles such as tanks and helicopters. Cutscenes are presented in a form of animated comics similar to the ones in Portable Ops with artworks from Yoji Shinkawa and Ashley Wood. In addition to the animated artwork cutscenes, there are also quick time events during the scenes to keep players entertained during the lengthy scenes.
Voice acting is still impressive as ever, having the Hollywood-like performance, as David Hayter also returns to lend his voice as Snake. Peace Walker offers almost hours of dialog from cutscenes to mission briefing files. Soundtrack is still epic along with good theme songs like Heaven’s Divide by Donna Burke and Koi No Yokushi Ryoku by Nana Mizuki.
If you are a Metal Gear fan, PSP owner or even a stealth game fan, you shouldn’t miss this game. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has tons of replay value with lots Easter Eggs giving you hours of gaming action, and this another reason for you go multiplayer with play with your friends. In other words, you should get Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
Game Rating: 5 out of 5
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami