Review by BBOYChaioth

Reviewed: 04/04/11

PlayStation Peace walker

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker Limited Edition Review

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, hereafter referred to as Peace Walker, is a game created by Kojima Productions, and published by Konami. As far as the major video game franchises go, Metal Gear Solid is easily one of the most recognizable, if not the most. With Hideo Kojima’s vision and his team’s efforts of working tirelessly and being serious perfectionists, Peace Walker is definitely an installment worthy of the Metal Gear Solid name. While there have been other Metal Gear Solid incarnations, the main games (Solid, Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater, Guns of the Patriots, Peace Walker) all have a certain “thing” about them that stands them apart. And while Portable Ops might have been a canonical installment, it fell short of glory, which is where Peace Walker steps in.

Despite this review coming relatively late after the game’s release, it is necessary to have unbiased information about games by either playing them first-hand or by reading fair reviews. Especially with Kojima Productions working on both Metal Gear Solid: Rising, and Metal Gear Solid (working title) for the Next Generation Portable (NGP) system, it is important to have a feel where the developers are headed with their gaming styles. Indeed, Rising and the NGP Port of Guns of the Patriots will still be new to us as gamers, there are bits and pieces of each game that they take into account that players like or dislike, and try to make games accordingly… despite how difficult it is answering to a world-wide audience. So, here is the latest Kojima Productions… well… production.

The story itself is absolutely amazing, as all of the Metal Gear Solid games stories’ are. But Peace Walker does something different than the rest of the games, and that is captivating the player within a severe handicap. I know this sounds confusing, ubt track with me. All of the Metal Gear Solid games are fantastic in their story, and they play on a big screen with full blown audio capabilities, etc. They all captivate you by the characters, and regardless of how many people play the game, they will always find one character that they can relate to and empathize with. On the PSP though, this is a harder thing to do, as humans are sensory beings, responding to different stimuli, and evoking emotions depending on how strongly that stimuli is presented. However, on a portable system, capabilities are hindered with graphics not being able to be displayed as well, with audio capabilities having to be hampered in order to be adequately played on the devices speakers, and with gameplay itself having to be changed in order to fit the system’s requirements. With all of this hampered, Kojima still delivers. Here, I would normally put my rating for a given category, like visuals or story, but it will all be lumped in at the end.

The visuals… let’s discuss this in a little bit of depth. Simply put, are they on par with Guns of the Patriots? No. However, are they on par with Guns of the Patriots considering the system? Yes. Peace Walker, like Guns of the Patriots, pushes its system to the limit in terms of graphical presentation. The PSP has its limits, we all know that, as it is a portable system, but Peace Walker’s ability to push the system to the edge is one of its key strengths. Many people will undoubtedly say that Monster Hunter Freedom (Portable- depending on which part of the world you hail from) has the best PSP graphics of its time, and with each iteration, is capable of pushing the PSP that much further, and I will definitely agree, but I will also add that Peace Walker does not take this lightly, with graphics that are absolutely pristine for the PSP. The characters are incredibly detailed, much more so than any Portable Ops game, and to the same degree as the monsters in Monster Hunter. In addition, Peace Walker focuses a lot on scenery, which also is quite impressive, almost on the Monster Hunter level.

Gameplay is where players will see the biggest change in the portable Metal Gear installments. With Guns of the Patriots doing as well as it did, and players being very receptive to the new style of gameplay presented in that iteration of the series, Kojima decided to implement a similar type of gameplay on the PSP in Peace Walker, while fitting the game controls within the PSP’s capabilities. In Peace Walker, as a substitute to the Right Analog stick, we now use the face buttons, X, O, Square, and Triangle. These now serve as the direction of the camera for the entire game, and all actions are now taken with the d-pad. This took a ton of getting used to, but in the end became very handy and efficient as I was eventually pulling off headshots without effort.

However, with the new control scheme, we also see a sacrifice in some aspects. For instance, there is no longer crawling movement, so if you’re laying down, you’re down for the count and must keep your finger on the button to stay there. Additionally, there is no more wall movement either, so to compensate, there are no more electronic cameras. Overall, the gameplay is changed in this game with controls that will take a little getting used to, but all in all, the game feels very fluent and responsive, and the controls become second nature after a while. On a different note, one of the main things that a player will notice different about the game is the fact that there are no CG cut scenes, instead replaced by a comic scene that is voice acted. Although the comic effect was an idea that I initially did not like, it definitely grew on me after a while. I was used to it already from Portable Ops installments, but I was at first hoping for CG scenes in Peace Walker. The artist does a fantastic job, and with some of the scenes being interactive, it adds a new aspect to the occasional monotony of in game movies. The Boss fights are also very awesome as they are live, no pausing (none throughout the whole game), and that increases both the drive to win and the strategic thinking of the player to survive. I won’t give too much away in the game but I will say this: Peace Walker is not a solo game for the faint of heart.

Audio presentation, at least in my opinion, is just as important as visual presentation, and sometimes the music that you hear can determine the entire mood that the scene has to it. To keep it simple, the musical compositions in this game are astounding, and not just astounding for a portable. They are astounding to every degree. You can feel each moment of blood pumping anticipation, or each moment of dread, and every moment of desperation. It is a fantastic track, and that is really all I can say about it.

All in all I believe that this game was a good addition to the series, and I will rate it an 9/10. I think Kojima Productions branched out of the ordinary a bit and that it worked for the most part. I cannot wait to see what they roll out next. Here’s the low down:

STORY: 10/10
AUDIO: 10/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (Limited Edition) (US, 06/08/10)

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