Review by merbss

"Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the best in the franchise."

Introduction

Peace Walker is the fifth Metal Gear title for the PSP, although it is only the second to be considered canonical. It is also the first game in the series for a portable platform to be directed by series' creator Hideo Kojima. The story takes place after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, both prequels to the original Metal Gear, and features Naked Snake as the protagonist once again. Peace Walker's original title was Metal Gear Solid 5: Peace Walker. The development team that worked on Peace Walker is as large as the team that worked on Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Story

I'll tell you this first and foremost. For me, this is the best Metal Gear title in the franchise. Sure, you would think that Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots holds that title, but for me, this game beats all the rest. The story in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is so good. Never has a Metal Gear game made me agitated and wanted to jump and shout either against an enemy/boss, or due to the excitement of the storyline.

The story is set out after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Big Boss and his friend established Militaires Sans Frontieres or Soldiers without Borders. Snake and his company are asked by the Costa Rican government to investigate and eliminate the threat of a mysterious military force, which has established a base in Costa Rica, that is equipped with high-end and the latest weapons. From there, the story gets deep and intriguing, especially during the last chapter. Characters in this game are very memorable, and some are even linked to the future Metal Gear (i.e. Metal Gear Solid). Also, since this is a continuation of the story from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, expect a few moments where Snake will mention this that he did in MGS 3: Snake Eater. Plot twists here and there make the story exciting and will keep you up on your toes. Expect a few shocking moments, some hilarious moments, and a lot of OMG moments in the game.

Gameplay

First, let's talk about the controls. Although you can pick 1 out of the 3 options on controls, the shooter type is the best. The analog stick acts as the movement of the character while the right buttons act as the movement of the camera, like a second analog stick. At first, you might get frustrated but trust me, you will get used to it. In no time, you will be an expert at pulling of headshots.

Second, let's talk about the game itself. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is deep, and I mean very deep. Completing the story line will take about 17 hours. That long, and it does not end even after the credits roll. I'm at 20+ hours already but there is still so much to do. Besides the story line, you can do ‘Extra Ops' which are missions outside the story. Some involve bringing back a prisoner of war back to base, retrieving important documents which will be helpful, and boss battles. You can complete the extra ops either solo or with 3 more friends, which is advisable when battling against enemy bosses. Besides co-op, you can also engage other players in versus-op which is a 2 vs 2 game, which adds to your gaming hours. And you've probably seen or heard it already, and the answer is yes. Monster Hunter in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker exists, but you have to unlock it first. It allows you to hunt boss monsters from the MH franchise.

While going along the story, you get to build your mother base a.k.a. ‘Outer Heaven.' Of course Soldiers without Borders will need, of course, soldiers. While in the field, you can recruit enemies to become your allies by putting them to sleep, ambushing and holding them up, or by shooting them until they become half dead. Then you will use the ‘Fulton Recovery System' (if you saw Batman: The Dark Knight, it's like the same when Batman escapes from Hong Kong) to bring them into your base. Neat right? But it doesn't stop there. After recruiting them you can assign them to each team in your base. May it be R&D team, medical team, etc. You can also recruit soldiers by trading with other people or by searching via wi-fi. Asides from recruiting soldiers, you can also capture vehicles like tanks and helicopters that can be used, which will be explained later on.

Also in the mother base, you can research and develop weapons and items which can be used in the battlefield. The weapons have rankings from level 1 to 3, and it depends if you have the classified documents, necessary GMP points, and necessary R&D level to develop them.

Since you are an army that answers to no-one, you can send the recruited soldiers and mechs (tanks/helicopters) out to other countries to fight their war. Depending on the situation, you can have 4 tanks and 4 soldiers, or if the battle is very hard, you can send out 4 tanks and 4 helicopters. All things that happen in those battles are random, but the chances of winning are better if you send out strong mechs and strong soldiers instead of rookie soldiers.

Lastly, probably the most OMG thing in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. You can build your own Metal Gear! While you pick up your jaw from the floor, I'll explain on how this works. You can get parts, either body parts or AI parts, to be used to build Metal Gear by defeating bosses. The only downside of this is that you can't use the Metal Gear you will build in the battlefield. You can only send it out along with mechs and soldiers to other countries to fight their war, as mentioned above. But still, what game allows you to build your own Metal Gear? Only Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker does that.

Graphics

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's graphics are top notch. It has one of the best graphics in the PSP. When playing the game, I didn't feel like this was a psp game at all. It's that good. Cutscenes are rendered in comic style, and it works. Though it's far from the CG cut scenes of MGS 4, it successfully delivers the storyline well and beautifully. Also, what differs in the cut scenes in MGS: PW is that some are interactive and requires some button pressing, which makes you not want to skip cutscenes because you might miss these moments. Besides, this game is Metal Gear, who skips cutscenes in a Metal Gear game, right?

Audio

Well, this game has sounds..and they are awesome! Voice acting is top notch, probably because the voice casts from the past Metal Gear games are the ones who are voicing in this game. They successfully deliver the intensity and excitement of the story. Also, MGS: PW probably has the best final boss battle due to the fact of the song that is playing in the background, which adds to the intense moment. MGS: PW is best played with an earphone or headphones to truly enjoy the crisp and solid sounds of the game.

Value

For $39.99, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will give you a bang for your money. It is worth every cent. Only for that price, and it will give you about 17 hours of story game play, 30+ hours of extra ops, and unlimited hours of game play either with co-op or versus-op.

Overall

Overall, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the probably one, if not, the best game in the franchise. The solid story line, deep game play, awesome graphics and audio, and unlimited hours of gaming makes this a solid must buy.

Rating = 5/5


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/10

Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (US, 06/08/10)


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