GAMES-PLAMO-FIGURES

Review: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: My goodness!

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Metal…Gear?!

It has been a looooong while since this review was supposed to be out. I do sincerely apologize for not writing this a long time ago but I had so much fun playing this that I don’t think I’ll be able to finish writing this piece but somehow…it has and it is finally here. Honestly, where do I start?

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the missing link Metal Gear fans have been asking for ages. The missing chapter of the saga, the final piece of the puzzle, what is supposed to be METAL GEAR SOLID 5! Does it deliver what it have promised, read on….

The game stars Snake, Naked Snake to be precise but better known to fans as the legendary Big Boss. It is set in 1974, ten years after Operation Snake Eater, and more importantly, two years after the Les Enfants Terribles project. The location is at Costa Rica and this chronicles the foundation of Outer Heaven, the base Solid Snake takes down many years later. While in Colombia, Snake and Miller (yes, THAT Miller) are approached by a Costa Rican professor named Galvez who asked him and his mercenary group, the Militaires Sans Frontieres, to look into a problem in Costa Rica. It seems that a rogue army has invaded Costa Rica for unknown reasons and this is where Snake comes in to investigate. Snake initially refuses but after hearing a tape of Galvez, Snake hesitantly takes up the offer. And this is where we begin.

That mook is pretty much dead.

Kojima Hideo san said that Peace Walker is going to be a full fledged Metal Gear game unlike Portable Ops, but how is he going to cram a full fledged Metal Gear into a tiny UMD Disc? Simple, by making said game based around the PSP and its limitations. Dare I say PW really feels like Metal Gear made just for the PSP. Everything about it feels like that but I’m going to go through that one by one.

First of all, the controls were made specifically for the PSP, and in 3 ways too! You would wonder, will this be based on its predecessor Portable Ops? Or will it be like the latest outing from 2 years ago MGS4? Why not just take both of them and adapt it into Peace Walker. Heck, why not throw in a control scheme from Monster Hunter, arguably the PSP’s most successful franchise. (why I am mentioning MH will be addressed later)  That’s how it is here. You have 3 control types, one Shooter (MGS4), one Action (MGSPO) and Hunter (MH) each based from its original game adapted with no problems into PW. One would notice that there is no crawl button in the game but only a lie down button. Well PW was made without the need of a crawl! It’s only a small price to pay in exchange for the more useful crouch-walk from MGS4. These controls just feels so right for PW I don’t even want a custom control scheme I asked for when the demo was out ages ago.

You’d notice the in-game maps are also custom made just for the PSP too. Unlike Portable Ops which was a console Metal Gear wannabe, trying to have large map or two which doesn’t really fit on a portable console on the go…PW has maps which are the opposite. Bite sized, 4 to 5 smaller maps with smaller missions , perfect for a Metal Gear on the go! Design wise, there’s a nice selection of maps in the game. There seems to be an equal balance between jungle sneaking and urban sneaking in this iteration.

There’s a new addition to PW that PO didn’t have, and this place is where you’ll find yourself when you’re not in missions….the Mother Base. It’s basically the base where MSF is stationed and you start only with one main section and 2 sub bases. This place will expand and as you progress through the game, more sub bases will open up to you and you can further better other sub bases. This is where you’ll manage the characters in your army, create new weapons and items and manage vehicles such as Tanks or Helis. Similar to PO, once you recruit soldier, you’ll need to assign him to one of 5 units of MSF based on his stats and whatnot. For example, if you have a soldier with high Intel, send him to the Intelligence team. As you recruit more soldiers and assign them to the right unit, you’ll unlock more better and powerful weapons and items to use.

The ever reliable Mk22!

Speaking of weapons and items, you need GMP (the equivalent of money) to create them as you would in real life. GMP is gotten by assigning people to units and most of it will come from combat unit.  You spend GMP to make weapons and items and once you’re done making the weapon, you will get your GMP back to be used to make other weapons and item.  As you would expect in a Metal Gear game, there’s lots of special weapons and items ranging from the powerful Railgun to the awkward Cookbook, all findable and not difficult to get. Like in MGS4, there’s tons of weapons to use in PW so players can try all sorts of combinations to find the right weapons to use in battle.

Going back to soldiers, people who played Portable Ops would know that recruiting soldiers was a pain in that you’d have to drag the enemy to the nearest cardboard box ally or truck to recruit them and even then, your ally will respawn next to the truck which makes it even more frustrating. This time however, it is so much easier to recruit them thanks to device called Fulton. It was used to return your player back to base in PO but in PW, you use it to recruit soldiers who are knocked out, sleeping or in near death. Each mission allows you to bring around 13 at max of fultons not including any other special fultoning weapons, so players would actively go around fultoning anything they see to better their Mother Base. I’m glad they decided to implement this as recruiting in PO was such a chore. You can also recruit people via Access Points again but it requires you to CQC all the new recruits before a minute is up, which isn’t much of a problem as players will eventually get better in CQCing just by playing through the game.

In Portable Ops, there was an online feature called Cyber Survival where you send a squad online and fight other players in order to win soldiers from them. In Peace Walker, there is a modified version called Outer Ops where you send a squad of 8 comprising of soldiers and/or military vehicles to fight a preset enemy. Winning would allow you to get a special recruit or sometimes blueprints for items and weapons, sometimes even Camouflage. I would have liked it if there was a online mode for Outer Ops to challenge other players around the world but I would guess it will be unbalanced so they kept it offline. A little disappointing but Outer Ops is still pretty good.

Have a safe trip!

Speaking of online, this game lacks online multiplayer even though Portable Ops had one. Would I complain?  Not really. This game was focused to having friends play with you next to each other ala Monster Hunter. Did that stop people from playing online? Of course not! For PS3 and PSP owners, you can access Adhoc Party and play with people online if you cant find any friends to play and usually there will be people online waiting to play with others too so it’s a good way to progressing through the game and make new friends!  The game also has other online features though. You can download new songs for your ingame walkman, new camouflage, voices and also, Vocaloid pieces!

A surprise feature for Peace Walker is Vocaloid. As Kojima san liked Vocaloid he decided to implement it into PW. Its actually a pretty useful addition to the game as you can make your own Vocaloid comms or Vocaloid music piece from other songs. It’s not actually difficult to use but it will take a while to get the basics down but once you do, you can make whatever your hearts desire. You then need to upload it online for the Vocaloid processor to process it and voila, after a minute or so your Vocaloid piece is ready to be used!

These are just some of the few things you can do in Peace Walker, and there’s actually a lot more to do, like the missions themselves. The missions are split into two types, Main Ops and Extra Ops. Main Ops are well…the main story missions while Extra Ops are additional Ops you unlock by playing the main story missions and other Extra missions.

Random Generic guy #4288

Before you go into a mission, you’ll need to prep your Snake (or a generic character) to fight. You start by choosing what camouflage you’ll use. This is actually important as different camos has different benefits attached to them. The Battle Dress comes with many weapons slots but not a lot of item slots for the go all out rampaging player who could care less of hiding themselves while the Sneaking Suit has a nice balance of weapons and items ratio (albeit lesser than the Battle Dress) and a high camo index and soundless footsteps for the classical MGS player.  There’s loads of others like the basic Jungle Fatigues (and its many color variations similar to MGS3) and the standard extra camo like the Tuxedo and a swimming suit! Personally being a longtime MGS fan, I stick to the Sneaking Suit which complements my playstyle of “Sneak In, Sneak Out”. What would be yours? I’m sure there’s one for everyone.

Extra Ops are additional missions which don’t contribute anything (though sometime they do a bit) to the main story but serve as special missions requiring you to fulfill certain requirements to complete them…and there’s loads of them. They range from pure stealth missions to enemy capture and from taking down enemy tanks to…a Rathalos. There’s just so many different types of missions its impossible to list all the types down here, and that’s one of the games best points. My only gripe is that they put it a tad too many repetitive Tank/Car/Heli missions in the game but they do serve as a test to one’s stealth skills in the end so its not all bad.

There’s a new feature to the game that will surprise many, creating your own Metal Gear! After progressing a certain point in the game, you are allowed to make your own Metal Gear based off of generic parts by defeating the AI enemies in the game. In Extra Ops you might even unlock parts directly based off the AI enemies too! You can even design your own color for the mech too, personalizing it from other people’s Metal Gear. The best part is that you can send it to Outer Ops and destroy enemies with ease. I heard there is a mission to test the machine again yourself too….

Poor guy, he’s at the mercy of Snake now.

I mentioned Monster Hunter earlier, so how does it tie into PW? In PW, there is a special mission that requires destroying an enemy crate but by going an opposite route, you can unlock these special MH missions which require you to take down 2 popular monsters from the MH franchise and one super secret special boss. The end result is a super special crossover mission which perfectly blends into the game without sacrificing anything from both franchises. These missions are slightly harder than your usual missions but defeating them can net your special parts for weapons and even camouflage from the monsters!

Om nom nom, it’s Tigrex!

I’d like to point out one feature of the game here which is one of the game’s main selling point (well in Japan at least). Co-Ops. This is when you and a friend go on missions together which changes the missions quite a lot. You now have a friend to cover your back, a friend to share weapons with and a friend to go kick ass with. There’s also special Co-Ops weapons which require 2 to 4 people to use but they add a new dimension to PW’s gameplay. It makes things easier and also more fun in the process. Some missions even get more difficult as you have more friends to join. Some are already difficult to being with so having a friend helps to relieve some of the work from you. However, due to the co-ops aspect of the game, some missions might end up a little harder alone. It is doable but they are so much easier with a friend and for those who don’t have many friends who play PW, it could be a turnoff for them.

Graphics wise, this is one of the most beautiful games you’ll see on the PSP. It’s a stealth game with shooter elements but it doesn’t have the color scheme of most shooters out there. Ranging from the lush green cloud forests to the well designed fortresses, Kojima Productions yet again pushes the boundaries of the PSP hardware and deliver a graphical monster. Like in MGS4, sometimes I just stare into the background and look at how wonderful the game looks.

Mother Base, as how it looks like at the start.

I have heard a quote from a friend that said, no matter how good or bad MGS games get as they progress, the music always just seems to get better and better. This is very true for PW again. Even though Kojima have said they had to limit the soundtrack for the game due to size limitations on the UMD, they’ve managed to make a score that rivals even MGS4 itself. The opening themes have been one of the better themes of recent times, taking the feel of old and new school Metal Gear and combining it into an epic track. Boss music is the standard MGS fanfare though I would say it is one of the weaker set of tracks in the game though the track Peace Walker redeems those track. For the first time Metal Gear has a Image Song also, and it just fits in ever so nicely. Heavens Divide also blends into the game very well and even though it plays in the game at an unsuspected time, it comes up pretty well in the end.

When it comes to the Story, this is Metal Gear. You’d expect a Snake kind of guy sneaking into a location, investigating it and then one thing will lead to another in the game and the Metal Gear comes into play. It applies here in Peace Walker as well. Of course you’ll run into the usual crazy stuff throughout the story too. The game does not retcon much of the main timeline as compared to MGS4 which is great, for once.

In conclusion, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the next big thing to get on the PSP. There’s a heck lot of things to do in the game you’ll be addicted to the game for days or months. If you can only buy one game this month or any other months that you’re out of game, you need to get MGSPW. Should there be a MGPW+ like a Portable Ops +, I hope Kojima san adds more new and interesting missions as well as more bosses for challenge, surely it will eclipse even this game! This game is, without a doubt, my game of the year as of now.

Get your friends and let’s box time!

Score: 10/10

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was released in Japan on April 29, 2010; North America on June 8, 2010; Europe on June 17, 2010; and UK on June 18, 2010.

One response

  1. Nice review. The part about some missions being tough for single-player is a little disheartening considering I’m only an average player, but hopefully I’ll get better.

    Still, just reading this told me a few more things I didn’t know about. I completely forgot about Vocaloid & didn’t even know about Outer OpsO_o

    One final note:

    “There’s a heck lot of things to do in the game you’ll be addicted to the game for days or months.”

    This ^

    September 2, 2010 at 12:45 am

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