Review: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)August 3rd, 2010 | Written by Danreb Victorio | Topic: Reviews, Sony PSP
The Metal Gear Solid series is one that will always go through heavy scrutiny, due to the fact that its sought-after narrative is so intricately connected that the slightest discrepancy can throw off the entire plot. The series has combined top-notch storytelling, a platform-defining presentation, and tight controls to boot. So when Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was announced, one can bet that it turned a few heads.
Peace Walker takes place shortly after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. After (Naked) Snake defeats his predecessor, he receives news suggesting that the man he killed did not die. With more and more questions on his mind, Snake ventures out with a battalion of his own in the marshy lands of Costa Rica, trying to uncover what exactly is going on.
At first glance, you may mistake Peace Walker for Snake Eater with all the jungle-inspired environments you’ll be trudging through. The gameplay is how it’s always been, the tools of tactical espionage at your disposal—and in an effort to emulate the feel of Metal Gear Solid 4, controls are also quite tight, save for one problem: Snake can’t crawl anymore.
While the inability to crawl may seem like a totally unnecessary hinderance, considering it’s been a maneuver that can be done in every game up to this point, it seems that the game prepares you for this situation. Previous MGS games last generation made it an overly simple tactic to just camp around on your belly, shooting all the feet that came your way. With the many outdoor settings, the whole method is eliminated. If it’s any consolation, the game’s controls are customizable, so you can adjust them however way you’d like.
Like Portable Ops before it, Peace Walker caters to the handheld audience by making this game playable in chunks thanks to the overall story being divided into multiple chapters. As with its predecessor, Snake can also recruit a bunch of soldiers from the enemy stronghold into his own army as well. With the new Fulcom system, this process becomes a breeze. All Snake has to do now is sneak up on an enemy, grab him from behind, and use the Fulcom, which is a mechanism that launches the soldiers up using a balloon and into the chopper. While this is all done extremely easy—it’s probably too easy. You can use this method to capture hostages inside a building as well, and the balloon will fly into the ceiling, allowing troops safely into the helicopter. This is something the developers definitely overlooked, unless of course, people really can fly through ceilings without a sound.
On top of easy recruitment, the game also puts a large emphasis into its multiplayer component. In Peace Walker up to four friends can join you on any mission. It doesn’t affect the difficulty at all, and it makes everything a lot easier. While the game is definitely possible to beat alone, there are a handful of bosses that are simply annoying—and it’s not because they aren’t cleverly named. Sometimes the only way to get an S rating in certain missions is to call upon a few friends, but finding friends who have the game, let alone finding friends with a PSP makes the ad hoc feature rather underwhelming. It’s understood that this whole phonemonon is big in Japan, but in the United States’ shores, that’s considered annoying.
Be that as it may, the one way to truly enjoy the enlightening experience is with the help of a few friends. Granted, that may not be the easiest thing to do or accomplish, but taking advantage of the game’s multiplayer component opens up a whole lot more possibilities in the game—effectively adding to its already appealing replay value.
The game’s presentation is vintage Kojima. While it definitely doesn’t have the resolution of a high-definition PS3 game, Peace Walker would definitely be a top-notch visual title on the PS2. There are a few grainy spots from time to time, but that point is moot. It’s hard to think of another game that holds a candle to Peace Walker’s visual prowess, and the development team should do themselves proud. Not only do the comic book style cutscenes give the game a different kind of vibe, the rest of the presentation gives the game the comic interest it deserves.
In terms of the game’s audio, it is also in a portable class of its own. Playing the game without a pair of headphones is doing the developers an extreme disservice. The soundtrack is terrific, the voice acting is superb, and the rest of the production values are through the roof. The MGS series has always been considered the most Hollywood-ready games available, and Peace Walker fits in with the rest of the series nicely.
Just when you thought Metal Gear Solid was over and done with, Hideo Kojima and the folks in his Konami studios have once again outdone themselves with this one. Clocking at just under 20 hours (single player), Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is an exquisite game with high production values, airtight playability, balanced gameplay, and a fitting story to boot. Fans of the series definitely would do no wrong buying this one, and it’s also arguably the best game available on what has become an inconsistent handheld.
Score: 9.1 | Recommendation: Buy It
Verdict: One of, if not, the best PSP games available on the market.: