Review by alexg1989

"Metal Gear Solid - Peace Walker: A Masterpiece"

Hideo Kojima's genius has presented gamers with yet another masterpiece set in the Metal Gear universe.

I promised myself I wouldn't write a review of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for various reasons. One being that it has been reviewed to death, and it is the general opinion of PSP owners that it is indeed a masterpiece. So I thought, “why beat a dead horse?” but I just can't help myself. Prior to Peace Walker, I'd read reviews that propelled this game to near perfection. I'd also read near perfect reviews concerning other games, and when I played them myself I was sorely disappointed. And seeing as how I had never played a Metal Gear Solid game before, I was a little wary of just jumping into a series I'd never played before. What if I didn't like it? That'd been well earned money down the drain, but thankfully that wasn't the case. I not only enjoyed Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, I loved it, and I'm still not done playing it.

In this game you're Snake, better known to his unit as Boss. In the beginning Professor Zardonov who is actually KGB, and a student, Paz (for peace) come to proposition Snake to drive away a Mercenary force funded by the CIA from Costa Rica in exchange for a Base in the middle of the ocean. That's about as much as I will divulge here. The first few missions will have you sneaking around stages to your destination until you meet your first Boss Battle against a heavily armored Tank and several groups of ground Troopers.

The Cut scenes and Voice Acting:

One of my favorite things about Peace Walker is the style in which the story is presented. Rather than have them be fully animated 3D cut scenes, they're done in the style of comic books illustrated by Ashley Wood, with all dialogue being backed up by a full cast of voice actors. The full 3D model of Naked Snake only seems to have one facial expression, so it was imperative that the voice actors convey emotions realistically, and of that they do a fine job. David Hayter does great work as The Boss, though if you're like me and new to MGS, the Boss' voice may sound a little too raspy. Once you get further into the game, it seems to suit him, especially so since the character of Naked Snake smokes like a chimney. Snake's speech to Chico immediately following the ‘Rescue Chico' mission was astounding. Video Game perfection. Chico did an absolutely terrific job of portraying a boy unable to return home for reasons you will find out, and Snake did an equally terrific job. All the scenes in Peace Walker, and there are many, are done with care, but none touched me as much as this one. The final cut scenes toward the climactic ending convey the suspense you'd expect from a game of this class, and the addition of Heaven's Divide in one of the final battles, and in the end credits was a nice touch as well. Be sure to stick around after the credits for a regretful speech by Snake.

The Gamplay:

The gameplay is as good as it gets for a game of this kind on the PSP. It's not perfect control-wise, but it's good enough. As is the case with all games in the MGS franchise, your primary objective is to sneak around the best you can, and completing a mission with perfect stealth, meaning that you weren't seen or triggered an alert phase, will earn you more points increasing your chances of S ranking your mission. It's not always possible to go an entire mission without being spotted. Eventually you will trigger an alert causing more heavily armed soldiers to come hunt you down. If it gets to that you have two choices. 1.) Find a good hiding place and hope no one finds you. Eventually the alert phase will end and the enemy will cease searching for you. 2.) You can simply start shooting everyone in sight, but that will alert even more guards and you will have a much bigger fight on your hands.

Controlling Snake can be an issue at times though, as is with almost any shooter on the PSP. Sometimes you might find yourself getting shot while frantically tapping the face buttons to aim at your foe.

The Bosses:

Boss Battles are intense to say the least, but once you figure out a good strategy, the first few bosses (e.i. The Tanks, The Pupa and the Helicopter) will go down fairly easily. The 2nd Unmanned Armored Vehicle boss battle was the most difficult in my view My hands were literally shaking when I realized I finally defeated it, because prior to that, I was having so much trouble with it. The proceeding unmanned vehicle battles aren't as difficult, but they are epic in proportions. The Cocoon is gigantic and equipped with so much fire power it may seem impossible to defeat, but that's nothing the Big Boss can't handle.

I'd say the game's overall difficulty is Hard. I doubt most people will defeat any of the game's bosses in their first playthroughs. However, I do believe that the final boss' difficulty was greatly exaggerated. It was actually pretty easy, and it's difficulty is in the time it takes to defeat. It took me 40 minutes while constantly keeping on the move, listening and watching it for on-coming attacks. It took me exactly 2 tries to defeat this final boss but the ending was well worth it.

The Music:

Peace Walker features incredible music, and even an in-game Walkman that can be used during missions that allow you to cycle through several songs from different games in the MGS franchise. There is also a nice, but creepy little tune that the Unmanned Vehicles you face will sing while battling you. The song that plays during your battle against the game's final boss is fitting for the nature of the battle. It's intense, fearful, and if you fail humanity may fall into a nuclear ice age.

Replayability:

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's replayability comes as a great surprise to me. I surely didn't expect to play this game for as long as I have, and that can be attributed to the Extra Ops, or rather, extra missions that you unlock by completing the main story's missions, and the RPGish leveling nature of the Outer Ops mini-game, where you deploy your troops to battlefields. To add more soldiers to your unit, you tranquilize or knock out enemy troops and use the game's Fulton Recovery System to transport them by helicopter to your Base. You can then assign your soldiers to various departments consisting of R&D, Medicine, Intel, and others. Peace Walker is a gigantic game and completing it all will consume hours of your life.

Likes:

Great Gameplay
Intense Boss Battles
Enormous Replay Value
Great Story
Cut scenes are beautiful
Voice acting is top notch

Dislikes:

Controls can occasionally be cumbersome

Recommended: If you've read the reviews but still aren't really sure if you should buy this, rest assured, you won't be disappointed.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/06/11

Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (Greatest Hits) (US, 02/25/11)


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