Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Review by youngfrankenstein
"Makes me wonder why it wasn't called Metal Gear Solid 5."
Have you ever been excited to return home to play PSP? Or was waiting somewhere thinking "Damn, right now I could be playing PSP." No? Me neither. That is, until Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
Remember when Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty came out back in 2001? Yeah? Okay-- remember how when Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released in 2004, it was about a thousand times better than MGS2? Alright- that about sums up the incredible jump in quality MGS:PW has over the PSP's first Metal Gear outing, MGS: Portable Ops. On top of that, it builds on the fantastic gameplay of MGS4. Peace Walker is a true Metal Gear Solid successor, and amazingly, it's portable.
Don't get me wrong: MPO was a great game. I especially liked the characters and music, and the comic-book cutscenes were pretty cool too. But Peace Walker blows it out of the water. MPO felt like a side-story; it didn't feel all too integral with the rest of the series (and truth be told: it's not. Snake's escapades on "La Peninsula de los Muerto" are not mentioned at all in MGS4). Additionally, Hideo Kojima, the granddaddy of the Metal Gear mythos had little to do with MPO's production. He was behind the story and characters, which explains why they were the highlights of the game. The difference here is that with MGS: Peace Walker, everything shines.
The game is loaded with content. The codec conversations are great to listen to, there are briefing files (varied and lengthy; better than regular codec calls because here you can choose what conversation to listen to) for nearly every mission, the CO-OP gameplay is well thought out and immensely fun when working with others. The series' sense of humour returns as well; believe it or not I laughed out loud during one of the interactive cutscenes in the mountain 'crater area' level. And yes, that's right-- interactive cutscenes. A lot of new stuff is to be found here; Peace Walker is as layered and deep and weird as the other games in the series.
So is this the best game in the series? Well, that question can't really apply. The Metal Gear Solid games are special. Each entry to the series is a complete reinvention to the 'Metal Gear' formula, if there is one. Saying which one is the best is like asking who's better: Wayne Gretzky or Charles Austin Gardner. The Metal Gear Solid games are *that* different. But I can tell you that this is one of my favourites of all consoles, and definitely *the* best game in the PSP library.
I could nitpick, though. The cutscenes aren't in 3D, which is a shame. While stylish, the combined efforts of both Ashley Wood and Yoji Shinkawa don't hold a candle to the incredibly cool full-motion cutscenes of the other MGS games. Other than that it's all good. In one review I read for this game I saw that they complained that the boss fights didn't have much personality, as they were all machines. But they couldn't be more wrong. While it's true that all the boss fights are machines, the AI boss fights are completely crazy. They sing lullabies as they try to massacre you with machine gun fire. In some ways, they're among the most memorable boss fights in the MGS mythos, because you're taking on a completely new life form. Artificial intelligence-- both creepy and cool. And on top of that-- eh, I won't ruin anything for you. Let's just say they're memorable.
On top of that the cast of characters rounds it all out. It's a lot of fun listening to the briefing files, and every codec conversation is fully voiced (yet another improvement over MPO). If you look at character art for this game, you'll be able to pick out the bad guy right away: an older fellow with a sinister smile called 'Coldman'. But by playing the game, I learned his first name is 'Hot'. Yes: the villain's name is Hot Coldman. And that, my friends, is incredibly cool.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker works on every level, and is so packed full of content and things to do, it's the perfect companion to have on the road. But Mr. Kojima: if, by some miracle you read this review, please: let's have full-motion cutscenes in the next MGS game for the PSP, okay? That would elevate it to beyond the 10 I've given it already. That would place it in video game heaven. Outer Heaven.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/10/10, Updated 06/14/10
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP Entertainment Pack) (US, 06/08/10)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.