Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker User Review
You step into the shoes of Naked Snake,aka, Big Boss. The game takes place a few years after the events in Portable Ops. Snake is no longer a member of the US armed forces. He has began to build his empire, Outer Heaven. They call themselves Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF. Soldiers without Borders. The game starts out in Costa Rica where a mysterious military force equipped with high tech weaponry called Peace Sentential's has established a presence there. The Costa Rican government cannot expel them because the nations constitution does not allow for the creation of an armed forces. They were forced to ask Snake and MSF for help expelling the foreign presence. Snake quickly learns who they are and why they are there. He's also forced to confront some unfortunate events from his past.
As for the graphics, Peace Walker is one of the best looking, if not the best looking titles you can get on the PSP. It really pushes the hardware. It's especially beautiful during some of the boss battles. The models are clean and detailed along with the environments. Snake looks great. His face is so detailed, sometimes while I'm playing I forget it's a PSP game. The cut scenes are nice interactive motion comics that look beautiful. They will remind you of inFamous but with a Japanese feel. They are all well drawn and have a nice depth to them. I mentioned they were interactive. Similar to God of War or Heavy Rain, there are small quick time events in some of the cut scenes that will allow you to interact. Making the game more immersible.
The way the game plays out is a little different then other MGS games. There are chapters and within those chapters there are several story missions and side missions. When you beat the story missions, new side missions will unlock. These side missions range from simple target practice to document retrieval boss battles. Playing these side missions will grant you GMP which is used to upgrade your weapon and gear, new items, recruits and even tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters that can be used in the Outer Ops feature which I'll explain a bit later.
New to this MGS installment is the Folton Recovery system. This is a balloon like device used to recover fallen or knocked out enemies and prisoners from the battle field. The device works much like the recovery device used by Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight when he went to recover Lau from his Hong Kong office location. Once you recover an enemy or a prisoner they join your cause. Now one of the amazing things about Peace Walker is how deep the game is. With these recovered soldiers you can assign them to any of the different departments you have within Outer Heaven. All the staff members you obtain will work within these different departments to create new weapons and items for Snake to use in the battlefield. You can build squads in the Outer Ops section made up of soldiers and vehicles. You send these squads to other conflicts around the world to do battle. Your squads success can net you weapons and items as well as strengthen your soldiers. Your going to want to recruit as much as possible. You can use these recruits in any of the side missions. Also among these potential recruits is a certain special one that will take you some time to find. But when you do, all you can do is smile.
As far as the core game play goes it is largely the same as MGS4 with a few exceptions. For example you can no longer move while in the prone position. I seems it's main use is to hide from enemies and to recover lost health quicker much like in MGS4. The player is also no longer able to aim down the iron sites. I have known about this since the demo came out and had thought I would be bothered by it but I quickly forgot about it.
The CQC has had some changes too. You can no longer drag enemies but you can now take down more then one enemy at a time. When you grab and enemy and throw him to the ground, you will be prompted to press the CQC button again. With a successful execution, Snake will grab the next enemy that's closest to him. You can potentially take down every enemy by hand within close proximity if done right. Over all the game play remains solid and fun. A few things are missing but are made up with the new additions.
If there is anything that is done almost perfect over at Kojima Pro, it's the sound.
MGS4 had some of the best sound and voice acting of any Japanese game and Kojima managed to do it again with Peace Walker. David Hayter returns as Snake of course. There is also a surprise return of another familiar MGS cast member. You will have to play it to find out. All of the voice acting is done well. The new characters are even good.
The guns, tanks and explosions all sound great as well. Especially with headphones. Some of the weapons sound similar at times but it's nothing that will distract from the over all experience. The score is great and like in MGS4 where you get an iPod, you also receive your very own music device to customize your soundtrack with in the parameters of the game.
The controls for the most part work well. I know there are some who would prefer two analog nubs(I am among them)but Peace Walker's controls still work well without it. Better then expected in fact. I had a real problem with the controls in Portal Ops. I just couldn't get used to them but they managed to make them feel much better in Peace Walker. The controls are tight and responsive. Snake still moves much like he did in MGS4. There are three different types of control set ups you can choose from, Shooter Type, Action Type and Hunter Type.
Shooter Type is closer to the layout of MGS4. The L button is held to aim and R to shoot etc. Action Type is more similar to Portal Ops. So for those of you who liked Portal Ops controls, they are there for you. Hunter is almost the same as Action. Except the way you attack is a bit more like the old MGS games. Namely the original release of Snake Eater. Out of the three I found the Shooter layout to be the best.
Now while the whole game can be played with one person, the game was clearly built for Co-op. You can play with a friend who's in the room or you can set up ad hoc Party and play with your PSN friends or a random person. The game is just as much fun to play with other people as it is alone. In addition to being able to play the whole game including the side missions cooperatively, there is also a Versus Ops mode where you can fight it out with your friends or with people over ad hoc Party.
There is a ton to do in this game. I have only scratched the surface. If I were to go into a deep explanation of all the features in the game, the review would just be too long. The are over a 120 side missions to do aside from the story. There a large number of weapons and items to unlock and members to recruit.
I've already put in over 20 hours and I still feel like there is a lot left to do. Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker is one of the largest PSP games out there. With the amount of content packed into this game, it will be well worth your $40. Like any Metal Gear, you will want to come back to it more then once. I have been having a hard time putting it down. There is not many PSP games that can do that.
Hideo Kojima has done it again.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.