Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Review by Kururu
"Great game, but not a great improvement from Portable Ops"
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Review (Japanese Version)
The game stars Snake, or Big Boss as fans of the series calls him to avoid confusion with Solid Snake. It starts out as a mercenary request to search for a young girl's friend and soon, the player will come into contact with a much bigger scheme or plan in motion.
The chronology for those not familiar, the game takes place after Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in the 1970s era. Like previous games, the game centers around walking robots with nuclear capabilities. The game explores the dilemma of the cold war era where the only thing that can protect against nukes are nukes themselves, thus nuclear retaliation was the most popular theory during the cold war. The game revolves around this idea, and gives a rather insightful criticism of the theory and what not.
Although story revolved around nukes and war isn't something entirely new, Peace Walker gives a rather interesting take on the issue.
Like the games before it, the bulk of the game is about stealth and you'll go through the bulk of the game relying on your handy sonar to avoid enemy detection. Unlike the console counterpart, the game is much more forgiving in this aspect as it is much easier to hide yourself.
Being a portable game limits the amount of freedom that players saw from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriot, crawling movement is no longer available, thus the use of ducts are also abolished. Against the wall movements is also abolished but you can still peek around the wall. As a consequence/relief, there are no more wall cameras.
A lot of the game aspect were also heavily borrowed from the Portable Ops series of game such as team management. This affects you both directly and indirectly on the battle field. As you increase your band of mercenary, more items open, more technology open, and you can even send the mercenaries on missions called Outer-Ops that can reward you with varying degree of items etc.
The player will control Snake for the main part of the game, but for Extra-Ops or extra missions, you may choose to play as one of the mercenaries. The game also allows for Co-Op play letting you play some missions with your friends (depending on the mission type), and you can also utilize some parts of the terrain (high ledges for example) that otherwise is not available for solo play.
A major improvement in the actual combat is the auto-aim system, and the CQC system. The Auto-Aim (even manual aim) had a major improvement and plays a lot smoother than Portable Ops. CQC has been vastly streamlined, and you can attack multiple enemies with your CQC when you time your button presses.
Capturing mercenary is also made simple with the Parachute Retrieval system. It's basically an item that you use on knocked-out enemy that will automatically be retrieved to your Mother Base. You can use this both strategically and use it as a way to gain more mercenaries.
There is no noticeable lags, and the game offers two installation choices for those players conscious of their space on the memory stick.
Not a major improvement over Portable Ops, but none the less, is quite good for PSP game. The graphic looks cleaner than Portable Ops, and looks very nice for a game on the go. It is probably one of the best looking game on the PSP to date.
The bulk of the cut scenes is done in digital comic style akin to the Metal Gear comic. However, there is a catch. For those who remember Resident Evil 4/5, the cut scenes has many interactive aspects such as peeking at a girls' underwear... or more often, used as part of the gameplay such as dodging missiles during a cut scenes. If you fail the button pressing, often than not, it'll give you a retry at the cost of mission grading at the end of the mission.
Like it's predecessors, a mix of mellow choir, trance, techno, pop, etc that fits the mood. The Japanese voice acting is superb, although Dr. Strangelove sounds a bit out of place.
The dialogue is good for the most part, except some very cliched lines. The explosions all sound semi-real, gun sound effects are pretty good. The ending theme is up to personal taste.
An interesting aspect of the game is that I believe all the voice effects of the Metal Gear is done by Vocaloid 2 engine developed by Yamaha. If you are a fan of Vocaloid and Metal Gear, you'll find this a nice icing on the cake.
The main mission can be completed around 20-25 hours depends on how fast you are. There is no difficulty to select, but single player is quite challenging. Co-Op is pretty fun with a friend and you can do all sort of nice tricks with some buddies.
Besides the main mission, there are Extra-Ops, and Outer-Ops. Although Outer-Ops are passive missions that you send your team away and they'll be done after you finish one of the Main-Ops or Extra-Ops.
There are MANY things to collect weapons and upgrades and soldiers. If you are not interested in the extra stuff, the 20-25 hours of main missions are quite satisfying from sneaking around to destroying giant robots. It is a definite rent if you are not a hard core Metal Gear fan. If you are a hardcore Metal Gear fan, especially if you have friends who own a PSP, this game can keep you and your buddies occupied for many hours to come.
Final Score: 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/10/10
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (JP, 04/29/10)
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