Review by falcon236467
"Hardcore gamers may love it, but the grind is too much for casual players."
I'm relatively a new Metal Gear fan, but I've finished Metal Gear Solid 1-4. Before Peace Walker, I tried very hard to get into Portable Ops, but the terrible controls and the unbearable soldier capture mechanic made me put down the game very quickly. The absence of these from the Peace Walker demo made me hope that capturing soldiers wouldn't be a part of the game.
Instead, not only is the soldier capture mechanic in, it's required to even progress in the game, unless you want to use the weakest weapons all the time. This creates a grind that only the most dedicated players will tolerate.
Gameplay: At the very least, the game controls a lot better than Portable Ops. The analog stick is still a pain, especially if you have to use it to get yourself out of a stun, or try to throw a soldier into another to stun them both. The stealth is amazing, and the amount of time you'll be sneaking around makes up for MGS4's overuse of cutscenes. Just be aware that some cutscenes are interactive, but with one exception, all failing the prompts will do is lower your end-of-level score.
However, the game is bogged down by the constant grinding. You will constantly be replaying missions to gather soldiers to improve your Mother Base. You have to do this to get better weapons, and after a while, you'll have to start looking for better soldiers. It's very much like grinding mechanics in RPGs, except that it's much worse than any Final Fantasy or Pokemon game I've ever played. This is why I say you pretty much need to be a hardcore gamer; if gaming for you is more like a hobby you do only a few hours a week, I'd recommend skipping this game.
Story: Once again, this is the area where Metal Gear excels, and the reason I really wanted to like this game. Since I can't really describe the story without spoiling it, let's just say that if you liked Metal Gear Solid 3, this game's story is an excellent continuation of that game's story.
Graphics/Sound: This game easily has some of the best graphics on the PSP, with only Crisis Core: FFVII coming close, in my opinion. The music is okay, and the voice acting is good, except in a few cases.
Play Time: A lot of the completion times I've seen on the Internet are greater than 50 hours, and a lot of that will be spent in the same areas again and again, with only the situations changed, just like Crisis Core. For hardcore gamers who have complained about how short games like Halo and Call of Duty are, this is a good thing, but this only helps to lock out casual gamers who don't play games a lot, and so may never see the end of the game.
And another thing: breaking from Metal Gear Solid tradition, there's only one difficulty level, and it's Hard. There's no Easy or Normal difficulties, so people who can only play Metal Gear Solid on Easy or Normal won't be having very much fun with this game. The difficulty is probably an issue with the game's almost-enforced CO-OPS mode. It has been stated on Internet previews that the bosses were not scaled down to single-player mode, and it shows. The last two bosses, in particular, will be nearly impossible by yourself without a guide.
My recommendation is different based on the kind of gamer you are. If you love a big challenge, or have three other people who happen to have a PSP and are willing to buy this game, by all means get it. If you're a casual gamer, or just plain don't have the time to go through the same missions over and over again for soldiers, I'd skip it. As for me, I'm a casual gamer, and I don't have the time for it, so I can only give this a 6/10. I wanted to like it, but it seems to me like Hideo Kojima wanted you to play the game his way, and that's not the way I want to play it. I don't like being frustrated at a game period, and especially not because I didn't grind for five hours to level up a gun.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 06/21/10
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (US, 06/08/10)
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