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L.S.D

[2010/08/03] Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

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Review: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

System: PSP

 

MGSCover.jpg

 

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.

 

Graphics:

MGS3reminiscene.jpg

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 :( )

 

Graphics: 9.5/10

 

MGSshoothelmet.jpg

 

Sound:

MGS.jpg

 

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.

 

Sound: 10/10

 

MGSHelibattle.jpg

 

Controls:

 

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.

 

Controls: 7.5/10

 

 

Gameplay:

MGSPrepare.jpg

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.

 

MGSPokemon.jpg

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 :) *

 

MGSnightvision.jpg

 

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.

 

BuildingMGS.jpg

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

bosses.

 

Gameplay: 9/10 (would have been higher if not for the minor irritation)

 

Overall:9.5/10

Sound : 10/10

Controls: 7.5/10

Gameplay: 9/10

 

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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