Review: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (MGS PW) is the latest MGS game by Kojima
Productions. The main protagonist is Big Boss and it tells the story and
events that lead to the founding of Outer Heaven. The game is set in 1974,
ten years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, four years
after Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, and just two years after the
Les Enfants Terribles project and the location is set at Costa Rica.
This will be how the cutscene look like most of the time
Graphically, this game is pushing the PSP capabilities to the limit. Not
many games on PSP can match the level of details shown on the map or the
characters itself. The jungle environment are lushfully done, the
details on guns, equipments and vehicles are very detailed and the day/night
settings are done so well in the same map. Best graphics by Kojima and his
team (well, until Ready at Dawns released Ghost of Sparta anyway )
MGS PW has one of the best sound offering on a PSP game so far. The voice
acting is superb with David Hayter reprising his role for Big Boss, the
main theme "Heaven's Divide" is a great song, and the MGS Main Theme music
in this version is even better. All the codecs are fully voiced now if the
game is installed to memory stick, unlike MGS Portable Ops which give us
texted codecs only. And the sound effects are all nicely done with bgm
that really suit the situation you find yourself in.
Some contention on the controls. the previous MGS on PSP, Portable Ops
have controls that are modified to fit the PSP. It is not so well-received
by some gamers so in this game, MGS PW offers 3 types of control scheme.
1st is the shooter type, where the camera are mapped to the face buttons,
which most fps/action shooter games on PSP choose to use. 2nd is the action
type where the action buttons like using equipments, changing weapons are
mapped to the face buttons instead, the old MGS Portable Ops control style.
And finally, the Monster Hunter control type, where weapon-changing and
equipment usage are mapped to the trigger buttons instead. So, basically
there is a control scheme for everyone's tastes and preference but being
on PSP, the controls are still lacking especially on camera controls.
This is hampering the gameplay a little (not by much) and make some
noticable changes to the gameplay (which will be explained further later).
Overall, i think the controls are adequate and not really game-breaking
but it can be daunting to those new to PSP.
the mission preparation screen
in MGS PW, Kojima Productions have retained most of the Portable Ops core
gameplay, which is soldier gathering. Big Boss can recruit soldiers and
prisoners of war during the course of the missions, and these soldiers
can be used to help build up his team, the Militaires Sans Frontieres
(Soldiers Without Borders). These soldiers have skills that can helped
in researching new weapons or equipments, providing food to the team,
healing wounded soldiers or getting intel on the mission areas. With more
soldiers recruited, your base will grow and become more efficient.
Gotta catch 'em all!
Soldiers are recruited in missions using the new Fulton system, where you
airlifted captured soldiers instead of the tedious system in Portable Ops
where you need to drag the soldiers to nearby truck/teammates to capture
them. Soldiers will also automatically join you if you have enough Hero
points and can also recruit via WIFI points. Recruiting soldiers are
really an important aspect as you will really need to level up your base
especially on the R&D section. R&D will develop better weapons and equipment
which you will use in missions, especially boss battles. Without these,
you will find that it is very hard to win in boss battles.
*if this game is called MGS Pokemon, i will not be surprised *
Other than this, most of the aspect that makes MGS famous has been keep
intact. We still have stealth missions, over-the-top boss battles, compelling
storyline (IMO even better and more revelant to MGS series than Portable Ops)
and side information that tied characters to the backbone story of MGS.
In fact, this game is so chokeful of features and gameplay that you would
have think this game is not on a handheld console. Other than the main storyline
missions, you will have extra operations, where you are given missions to
hone skills, gather more soldiers, finding documents to develop new weapons
and equipments and to gather vehicles. Soldiers and vehicles can also be
send to hotspots around the world to help waging wars, mercenary style.
These missions named Outer Ops are basically mini game where you plan the
soldiers and vehicles to send to battles and you get to review the outcome
in a turn based style with no controls on the battles. The mini game is
not really fleshed out but then, its sole purpose is to give you more
soldiers, items and documents for research purpose. For what its worth, it
done its job fairly well. There are also lots of informations that you can
listen to via recorded tapes to help you immerse in MGS universe further
and unlock more missions. Also, you get to review character models and
weapon/equipment models in details with brief description on it. Very
thoughtful of Kojima and his team to include this as bonus. You can also
build your own Metal Gear as the game progressed.
your own Metal Gear
Now the downside.
Due to the limit of PSP controls, the gameplay has been tweaked significantly.
The AI of the enemies are downgraded severely and they seems to have a very
bad eyesights. The gameplay has been slowed down a bit in order to compensate
for the camera controls that you are battling with. This is not very
noticable but veteran MGS players will surely notice this. However, enemies
still have acute sense especially in hearing, so the stealth missions does
not suffer that much. Also, you will have to suspend your logic sense when
playing this game in term of storyline (as usual) and gameplay. One fine
example is when you are collecting soldiers. Using the new Fulton system,
captured soldiers will be airlifted to be carried to the base. However,
enemies seems not be able to notice the airlifted soldiers no matter how near
they are Not game breaking, just a minor irritation to me.
Main irritations however are the boss battles. *Major spoiler ahead*
The boss battles in this game are simply vehicles (helicopter, APV, tanks)
and the AI sentries on prowl. Meaning, you will not find memorable
personalities like Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf or Laughing Octopus in this
game. but the AI sentries are still great with eerie background music
playing in some of the battles, and the battle against Metal Gear is one
of the best in the series IMO. Still, I do miss battling against human
Gameplay: 9/10 (would have been higher if not for the minor irritation)
Sound : 10/10
Overall : 9/10
MGS PW is a nice addition to the growing MGS series. The story is just appropriate
and the gameplay did not suffer much despite the game is on handhelds.
One of the "killer apps" for PSP.
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[2010/08/03] Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
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