Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Review by D_Box
"I'm still in a dream"
(For those who don't get the tagline, listen to the "Snake Eater"-song from MGS3)
There are some things that the words "awesome" and "great" are made for. The PSP doesn't have a lot of them, but MGS: Peace Walker is one of the few.
The story begins at Costa Rica. The year is 1974, ten years after the events of MGS3. An unknown, well armed army has invaded the helpless country and brought a nuclear-missile launching capable giant AI-controlled machine called "Peace Walker" and some other AI machines along with them. Big Boss, the hero of MGS3 is hired to save the country along with his mercenary unit "Militaires Sans Frontieres" (Soldiers without borders). The plot is good and has some pretty good twists, although it isn't as good as in previous games. Its still beats the usual stories of PSP action games. It's pretty important that you have played MGS3 through so that you can understand the game. Otherwise you'll be quite lost. MGS: Portable Ops isn't really needed, although it's a good game too.
If you have played Portable Ops, you probably remember that there was a system for hiring soldiers to your base. You had to drag soldiers to a truck that was usually in a corner of the map where you started the level. It was pretty frustrating to drag them there from the other corner of the map. The recruiting is still there, but it has been enhanced greatly. Now you use an item called "Fulton Recovery". You attach a balloon to a soldier and he flies to the air to be captured by your friend in a helicopter. You have a limited number of fulton recoveries per mission, but it's usually enough. You can hire the recruited soldiers to combat, research and development, medic and spy teams. The game is also now mission-based. There are a few dozens of story missions that last together for about 17 hours. Than we have "Extra Ops". There are incredibly many, 128 extra missions that unlock while doing old ones and main ops. It took me about 150 hours to clear all the missions, which makes this not only the longest PSP game I've ever played but also one of the longest games on the PSP system.
There's also a ranking system. The ranks are from down to top C, B, A and S. By getting S-rank on missions, you sometimes get rewards like blueprints for a gun that your research and development team can make or new camouflages etc. The game has dozens of guns and they're all a little different from each other. There's also many different camos. You select a camo at the start of the mission and it's wise to check out where the mission's located (mountains, forest etc) before selecting your camo. Some camos have special effects too, like your footsteps don't make any noise and you can knock people down by rolling into them.
The AI is a bit dumb. Mostly because they don't see very well. You have to be really close to them or wear a really bad camo/move a lot so they see you and make an alert. In alerts, they're pretty good. They chase you down and try to surround you from every direction. Once they make an alert, it's wise to try to run away and hide under a box (very funny trick btw) or something. A couple of things that make the sneaking in the game a little worse are that there's no crawling on the ground anymore, no dragging bodies and dead bodies disappear almost at the second they're killed. Sneaking is still fun in the game though.
The controls are good for the PSP. You control the camera with the triangle, square, X and circle buttons and move with the left analog stick. You go to aiming mode with the L-button and shoot with the R-button. The directional buttons are for item selecting, crouching (you can also crouch alk now like in MGS4 btw) and stealing items from knocked down/killed/held up enemies/fultoning them. From some weird reason, the game doesn't pause anymore when you're selecting items which really sucks in fast-paced boss fights, although it doesn't really affect normal sneaking. I guess that's because of the new co-op feature, that let's you do missions (boss fights too) with 1-3 buddies. You can only co-op in Ad-Hoc (LAN) though, there's no online. There's also a versus mode for 2-6 people.
The music is sometimes very good. For example "Heavens divide" is one of the best songs I've heard in a game. The PW main theme is also very good.
Sounds are not that good though. Although they do their job, the shooting sounds are sometimes pretty much the same. The voice acting is great, but there aren't any human boss battles anymore. Instead there are AI machines and tanks and helicopters. The AI machines have their own voices and they're surprisingly high-tech and dangerous for a game that is set in the 70s. The AI voices are very funny, they even sing (for a WTF-feeling for their enemies so they can blow them up more easily I guess). The AI battles are very fun and interesting. I wish there was more of them, but there's only three in the main story.
The graphics are good for a PSP game. There are some beautiful environments, such as mountains and rainforests, but there's not much details. There are still some beautiful sunsets and stuff to make you stay still and just watch for a few times.
-Good plot (although not as good as in the previous games)
-So much stuff that all can't be explained in this review
-Good boss fights...
-...although not nearly as good as the interesting human boss battles in the previous games
-The sound could be better
-AI humans are half-blind
-The boss fights eventually become repetitive
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/11/10
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (EU, 06/18/10)
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