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The new "big boss" of the MGS series,
This review is from: Metal Gear Solid - Peace Walker (PSP) (Video Game)
Wow, Kojima sure put a lot more effort into this one than he needed to.
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker would have been a strong title in it's own right if it had stuck to the set MGS gameplay formula, but this game seriously turns the entire franchise on it's head by utilising numerous elements from past games and polishing them to perfection and creating a game that is not only a gripping MGS adventure with a huge amount of side/additional content to it, but also offers an extremely robust multiplayer experience that I honestly could say has more to it than any other handheld multiplayer title I have ever played. This game is quite simply a masterclass in content heavy action gaming.
Casting you again as Naked Snake/Big Boss, future father of Solid Snake and star of past titles MGS 3 and MGS Portable Ops, Peace Walker finds Snake teaming up with his BFF Kaz(AKA Master Miller, who you may recall from MGS1... or not...) to form his own Private Military Company of a sort in the "Militaires Sans Frontiers" group, based on a man made island that the game tasks you with full management of throughout the course of the game as you recruit soldiers, arrange missions, construct equipment and weapons, organise your staff duties and just generally keep your ever expanding base running properly. This is based within the framework of a story involving Snake helping a young revoultionary girl named Paz free her country from an attacking military force led by chief bad guy Zadornov who is utilising an AI operated new super weapon called the 'Peace Walker', and somehow this invasion is somehow connected to Snake's late mentor "The Boss". From here you take on story and side missions to build up your base and resources and unravel the mystery of Zadornov's plot and the origin of the Peace Walker in a story that is presented in a way no Metal Gear story before it has been, forsaking the traditional "superpowered" bad guys in favour of the primary threats coming from traditonal military hardware like choppers and tanks(And of course the killer AI giant robot... but that's the only outlandish element in here I promise you).
Gone are the lengthy as hell cutscenes(With the possible exceptions of the intro and ending... but even then...) as the game is now broken up into bite sized missions, with most being anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes long, with the occasional lengthy one thrown in for good measure and complemented by the addition of 'interactivity' to the cutscenes in the form of either quick time events or, when someone is getting ready to fire a gun in a cutscene for example, you will have to aim and fire at the target yourself while the cutscene is still going. It all makes for a new level of interaction that the Metal Gear series could have been accused previously of denying the player. Rarely does it let you sit back and watch. Keeps you on your toes.
On top of all this is the much talked about multiplayer elements, including a revamp of the already decent Portable Ops Versus modes but centred around the exceptional co-op modes, which allow you to play pretty much the entire game in co-op, with troops you've recruited and built up used to make up the multiplayer numbers as you co-ordinate strategies for tackling stealth missions and bosses with up to four players in a mission, making some missions a real riot(Though admittedly the most I got to try was with 2 other players) as you use crazy gadgets like the two man "cardboard box tank" to complete levels. The game retains the trademark MGS sense of humour alright.
This is probably the most feature/content packed MGS game ever made, taking me close to 40 hours to complete and even that wasn't nearly doing everything on offer, as there is a wealth of stuff to unlock and discover. There is really no excuse not to get it if you have even the slightest interest in games like this as it has pretty much everything you could want.
Any complaints about the game are minor, such as the usual camera issues you get with PSP games(But the extensively customisable control schemes blunt how annoying this is greatly) and the game's rather steep difficulty curve, where some of the boss battles in particular seem a little hard to manage with one player. I actually had to 'recruit'some help for a particular boss who was NOT in the mood to co-operate and die quietly. Then there was the irritating hoops the game leaves for you to jump through to get to the 'true' ending of the game, which I didn't even know about until ages after (What I thought was) the end of the game, just make sure you read up on what to do next when you finish Chapter 4 folks, because that is NOT the end of the game despite how it looks. That's pretty much it though for complaints, everything else is pretty much spot on.
Not much else to say really, this is a fantastic game and easily one of the best on PSP. Not only that, but it is also arguably the best Metal Gear Solid game since the original, and even with that, it may just cap the old classic depending on how you look at it.
Want a good reason why you still own a PSP or a good excuse to dust it off? Here you go. Enjoy.