Review by DandyQuackShot
"It's Love in a Cardboard Box"
If one could put cheesy on the Richter scale, the Metal Gear series would be a solid 10.0. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is a classic Metal Gear experience loaded with tons of cheesy humor and the ability to set up your own army. Metal Gear owes its existence to Nintendo when it first came out on the NES console but it didn't enjoy the scale of success that the series now has until hitting the Playstation scene. The switch to the handheld console does not take away hardly anything from the Metal Gear games you enjoy on the console other than the limitations of the cutscenes. No feelings of "it's like watching a movie" will be stirred by playing Peace Walker. While Peace Walker gives you one heck of a great game complete with excellent graphics, music, and hours of gameplay I think the cheesiness caught up with this game more than it has with other games even though this game has a pretty big philosophical take on world peace theories.
Having only played the updated version of Metal Gear Solid on Gamecube and Sons of Liberty on PS or Xbox I was surprised at how similar the plot of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker follows its predecessors. Without going into too much detail I can say the story elements drop Snake in to very familiar situations from previous games. Characters are not too developed but play an important part in some way in the game whether they become your allies or are hardened enemies. Then there are the characters that seem to replace themselves such as when you meet Huey who is most definitely a replacement for Otacon. The story of Peace Walker has Snake entering the role of the Big Boss (seriously) after he had defeated his former mentor who seems to have betrayed the country on a previous mission. Disillusioned with serving his country Snake and friend Kaz Miller have set up MSF, their own private army without borders. Soon they are approached to investigate some happenings in Central America and are offered a home in the Gulf to establish a base of operations.
From there the story follows a very similar pattern where you will have to stop a nuclear catastrophe in the form of mech warriors that are armed with nukes. This game takes place in the 1970's during the SALT II treaty negotiations so the concept of achieving world peace through nuclear deterrence is brought up a lot and many different characters provide a philosophy to that theory. One of which will ultimately almost start a nuclear holocaust.
If you have played a Metal Gear game then you won't be left out in the cold on figuring out what to do in this game. The controls and techniques are very much the same save for the addition of the Fulton Recovery System. In creating your own private army you will need to do a little recruiting. So enemies you knock out or prisoners that you rescue can be strapped to a pack that blows up into a weather balloon and be picked up by a helicopter. It's like a reverse parachute. This is probably the most fun of the game as you get to find and rescue prisoners in main and side missions as well as capture commanders and other elite fighters that will contribute greatly to your army after a brief time out in your brig. The main missions involve some sneaking around and encountering a boss towards the end where you have the opportunity to also capture some heavy armor like a tank or APC. Added personnel allows you to develop gear and weapons to make the boss fights a lot more easier.
On top of developing weapons and things like rations and sneaking items you will eventually get to add supply and strike requests to your arsenal. So you can call in extra ammo as well as set up a heavy artillery barrage on a target. Allies and volunteers will request to join MSF and you will be able to also create your own Metal Gear prototype. When I played through I was only able to get Metal Gear ZEKE operational after I had beat the main missions. But it has a good use in the bonus missions.
You can add hundreds to your personal army and assign them to fight other battles to gain experience and items. These fights are turn based and are done automatically as you assign up to eight personnel or armor to a unit and launch an attack against other units. If you lose your guys will either be killed or wounded but winning will open more battles against more specialized enemies. You can throw your Metal Gear into the mix later on and basically walk over the rest from there on.
One thing I was unable to do due to not having a good wireless connection is trade my soldiers or compete online. It would probably be awesome to check out and some Co-op missions allow up to four players.
The graphics and music are outstanding. Most of the cutscenes are set up like an animated comic book where you sometimes have to do some quick button mashing to keep the scene moving. You also get the chance to scan certain scenes usually just for perverted curiosity. Female ally characters can be viewed in their underwear at one point after you have beaten the game. So the graphics get great ratings. There is some great music in this game too.
Extra missions allow you to continue earning Hero points and help find and develop items. Once you beat the main missions you still have plenty to do even so far as taking a pedo date with Paz which is probably the weirdest and most awkward thing I have ever done in a video game. In the game she is said to be like sixteen. And Snake is a little too frisky with the younger ones apparently. But not as freaky as a blond haired, blue eyed Costa Rican. It leaves you wondering just what the heck were the developers thinking.
Final Recommendation 8/10
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is one of the best PSP games out there. Definitely worth finding and playing. If you are a fan, which a lot of people are, then I would almost say it is worth picking up a PSP for. Of course now that the price has come down.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/11
Game Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (US, 06/08/10)
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