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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker PSP Review

Kojima's first Metal Gear title on the PSP, Peace Walker takes place after the events of Portable Ops and Snake Eater. Peace walker may have a single player story but it tries to focus on more on Co-Op or Co-Ops as it's called in the game as other players can join side missions and boss battles. This plus other extras make this Metal Gear game worth checking out.

There are many stories that form one huge plot in the Metal Gear series. Peace Walker is just another story in the Naked Snake saga which takes place decades before the events of Solid Snake. Naked Snake is leading a new group of Mercenaries called the MSF. He is assisted by Kaz Miller who also makes an appearance in the Solid Snake games. 

In this story Snake is hired by Paz Ortega Andrade and Ramon Galvez Mena who identify themselves as working for the Costa Rican Government. Snake is hired to get rid of an Armed group who have been arriving to Costa Rica for the past year and have captured and tortured the people but because Costa Rica has no army they can't defend themselves. Snake decides to take the job after Mena plays a tape that was recorded a few days ago in the Jungle which captured the voice The Boss.
Just like other MGS games, you will go through several chapters to unravel what is really going on. In Peace Walker Naked Snake is building his own army which is available at your disposal to build Outer Haven which his so called "Clone" Solid Snake destroys in the original Metal Gear Solid. The story takes about 15 to 17 hours to beat but can take less if you skip all cutscenes and just rush through it but who would want to do that? After the story is over you can jump into multiplayer and complete side missions or build your army by capturing soldiers who then come to work for you.

As you progress you will also find different suits which you can wear in different situations just like in MGS 3. Each suit is specific to a location and you can use it to camouflage yourself from the enemy. Your camouflage meter will go up or down depending on how well Snake blends in with the environment. To become invincible from the enemy you will have to prone in an area that the enemy won't be able to see you in. But when you are in prone position Snake cannot move at all which means that Snake better be praying to Jesus that the enemy doesn't find him or he'll get shot. Of course you can always shoot back but that will attract more attention. The best way to move on is to crouch and take cover behind a tree or something and shoot enemies with the tranquilizer gun. While asleep or knocked out the enemy will not wake up unless one of his companions kicks him or if Snake tapes him 3 times to search for swag. Different suits also means different items to carry as each suit gives you different items and abilities.
One main problem with Peace Walker is despite all the extras, it is extremely difficult for the average user.  Nothing is truly explained to you and you might need the help of some friends (or gamefaqs) in order to get past certain areas in the game. As for the Outer Heaven army you will need to invest many hours and hours in order to learn how to use them effectively and then your data gets corrupted and you lose everything. That would suck. Even a veteran fan of the MGS series who is a master at the arts of stealth would have trouble navigating through the jungles of Peace Walker. I'm not saying the game is bad I'm just saying it wants to make you cry because you can't beat it. 

When you are done with the main story you can invest some time with Co-Ops which is of course what it sounds. A co-op version of the game where 2 players and up to 4 go through different missions. You can also use co-ops to capture more soldiers and collect memory boards which is handed out evenly to everyone who is on the game. Of course more players means a harder difficulty for everyone so be ready to bring paper towels, you'll need them. 

Capturing soldiers to work for Snake is the Blood that runs through the veins of Outer Heaven. Each soldier you capture you can assign a task to whether its Research and Development, Soldiers, Intel, Medical, etc. These Soldiers can help Snake out throughout the game  giving him Intel on what is going on and upgrading his weapons and of course foot soldiers that help Snake in combat. All this is done in between missions though which means you can't jump in half game while on a Snake only mission to assign tasks to your soldiers.

Graphically limited to the PSP the game does a fine job with the animation and details. There is never a slow down period or frame rate drop when playing through the game. Cutscenes play in an interactive comic style with Art from the MGS series. Of course they can't fit an hour long cutscene on the PSP unlike MGS 4 but for what it is I think it goes with the Peace Walker.
While the cutscenes are not hour long movies the voice over is. Each character will have up to 30 minutes of Dialog when introduced and after that you must listen to what others have to say before you start a mission. While this isn't required, it is always good to find out what is going on by listening to each character. Just make sure you have to time cause you will be sitting there listening for hours to come. Peace Walker is best played with a set of earphones or headphones as the PSP speakers do not do it any justice. The soundtrack is phenomenal and the sound effects make this an even better experience. I just hope there is a port soon for the PS2 heck I'd buy this game on the PS3 even if it has PSP graphics just as long as I get the same experience on it with a better control layout and of course online Play.
Controlling Snake in Peace Walker is not difficult, it just takes some getting used to and of course it makes it even more difficult when boss battles occur. The joystick is used for moving while the D-pad is used to switch weapons and equipment and the controller buttons are used for aiming while the trigger buttons are used for action commands. 

Finishing the main story doesn't mean you are done with Peace Walker. You can always go back to Co-Ops and continue to recruit soldiers to do your bidding. Hopefully there is a future MGS game where it will allow you to transfer your PSP data to your console which will expand more on this feature. Peace Walker doesn't have online Multiplayer but it does have ad-hoc multiplayer where you and 5 friends can jump on and play different modes.
Final Comments:
Peace Walker is a full complete game Metal Gear Game. Perhaps too complete if you ask me. There is just so much to do and the Co-Ops is just great. The only problem is finding people to play it with. Nothing can describe how complete this game is and it is a definitely must own game on the PSP if you're a fan of the series or even if you're looking for something to play.
Gameplay: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 10/10
Story: 8/10
LifeSpan: 10/10
Total Score: 90/100
-Donny De Leon

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