Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker Review
The Metal Gear series has been around almost as long as the game industry has (The original hitting the market in 1987). Since then the game has involved into the Metal Gear Solid series with games following different main characters. Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PW) follows the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake, aka Big Boss. Peace Walker starts off ten years after Snake Easter and follows the story of how Snake mentally became Big Boss as well as the beginning of the formation of Outer Heaven.
Peace Walker starts with Snake heading up the Militaires Sans Frontières, or MSF for short, and trying to build up the organization. His partner Kaz Miller brings in a Professor named Ramón Gálvez Mena and his student Paz Ortega Andrade who want MSF to remove the CIA from Costa Rica. It is quickly revealed that Mena is really a KGB agent known as Vladimir Alexandrovich Zadornov who wants Snake to remove the CIA for a Soviet Agenda to bring communism to Latin America. Here the story kicks off with Snake’s attempt to find out what the CIA and The United States are doing in Costa Rica. All in all the story is well turn and some surprising twists throughout the game keep the story fresh. Eventually, as in all Metal Gear games, a Metal Gear is introduced and eventually MSF will be able to produce their own Metal Gear. Interesting enough there are two endings to the game, an ending and a post ending (Pro Tip, if you want the post ending ending I’d build MSF’s Metal Gear).
Peace Walker, being made for the psp, is split into missions of two types, Main Ops and Extra Ops. Main Ops missions are story related and move the story along, with Extra Ops missions side missions or training missions that are unlocked throughout the game. The missions for the most part aren’t very long, the longest they go for is about half an hour unless you are really really slow.
Unlike Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, there is a stronger focus on stealth in PW which is endorsed by the “Heroism” mechanic. Players get heroism points for completing missions by knocking out or evading enemies rather than shooting and killing them. Heroism is important as it helps with soldier morale as well as recruitment. High heroism can bring in volunteers after missions which is a free staff member for the home base. To this end of stealth, the Mk. 22 tranq pistol will be your number one weapon. The problem with this, and other silenced weapons is that the more use within a given mission, the less likely the silencer will stay in tacked. This is represented as a bar that lowers every time a shot fired, forcing players to be less trigger happy and more calculating when it comes to the shots.
Along with weapons to help in stealth, clothing is also important. There are a variety of outfits each with it’s strength and weaknesses depending on the mission. Picking and choosing the right outfit can really help or hurt a mission.
I mentioned heroism aids in recruitment, but what exactly are you recruiting for? Well for MSF of course! Thanks to Zadornov MSF was able to obtain an offshore plant to use as a home base, coined Mother Base. Through the course of the game Mother Base will expand and Miller will assign Snake the task of of creating/recruiting soldiers into teams. The first teams being the Combat and R&D teams. The combat team gives MSF GMP, a resource used like money by the R&D teams to development new weapons and items for use on missions. To unlocking of new weapons/items, this is done by completing missions, finding documents within missions and by leveling up teams. Leveling up the teams is done by putting soldiers within the teams with a skill towards that team. This level of skill is rated from A-E and the higher the skill the higher the level of the team will be.
Aside from maintaining the staff of Mother Base, a later addition to the game is Outer Ops, where Snake can form teams of soldiers in the combat team in order to send them out on missions as mercenaries. The outer ops can bring in new soldiers and design specs for weapons/items as well as items themselves. Forming a strong team can make or break a mission and completing all the missions just add more to do in the game.
Gameplay wise Peace Walker plays very well, with a little limitations due to the psp, namely the lack of a second analog stick. There are three control schemes, the ones I used was the “shooter” ones that made the face buttons the controls for the camera. The shooter one is the closest to the Dual Shock 3 control scheme and even though it takes a little getting used to, you’ll adept soon enough. This metal gear lacks the crazy boss personalities of the other games, but the boss battles are nonetheless epic and tough, but can be tactically very fun as there are a number of ways of taking them down.
The presentation of the game is top notch with the game looking great for a portable title. I would have liked more in game cutscenes but the manga style cutscenes work well and look good, infusing the well known artwork from the Metal Gear series into the game. The music as always is great and the voice acting is top notch with most of the cast Metal Gear vets.
There’s Co Op and local multiplayer support, but unfortunately I have no one else near me with a psp and peace walker to try these modes out, so they hold no bearing on the review.
So at this point it should be obvious, I loooooooove love love Peace Walker, it’s a great game that puts many console games to shame. If you own a PsP grab this game, it’s a crime not to, if you don’t own a psp, what are you waiting for? GET IT!!