Game Review: Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker
Release: NA- Jun 8 2010, EU Jun 17 2010
Genre: Stealth Action
Developer: Kojima Productions
Available Platforms: PSP
ESRB Rating: T
Admittedly it has been a while since Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker was released on PSP and since then has received great scores from critics across the board except from the most important critic of all. Of course I am talking about this wonderful website you have found yourself on and if you are reading this then you are obviously interested in what we think so I shall waste no time in beginning.
Metal Gear Solid : Peacewalker is the 5th Metal Gear Solid game released on the PSP and follows the story of NakedSnake, now codenamed Big Boss,10 years on from the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and 4 Years after Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops. Since these events Snake has setup the MSF ( Militaires Sans Frontières) as a Mercenary Group and has now been tasked with removing Costa Rica of a group of a mysterious armed force. Of course things are never that simple and a massive story line that explores the very origins of the Metal Gear canon follows. Now when I stay the storyline is massive I really do mean it, for a PSP game I was shocked by the size of it, despite its daunting size it is extremely well written which is nothing less then I would expect from the mind of Hideo Kojima and was gripping with every brilliantly animated scene.
The player progresses through the game in a series of story and non-story related missions and like the story there is a lot to take in. More often then not a mission is tackled in one of 2 ways, run and gun and take as many guys down as possible on your way to the exit or go for the stealth approach for minimal noise and casualties, one usually gets you killed faster than the other but I will leave you to guess which. These Tactical missions are broken up by boss fights usually against some form of Tank, Armoured Vehicle or A.I and in my case saw me retrying the mission again and again until I had got to grips with the required tactics. You do have one excellent resource at your disposal to make these battles and challenges easier, Briefing Files are accessible before each mission and as your contacts build up you gain a large personal library covering everything from tactical help to knowledge of Costa Rican Fauna and history, these files are another example of the genius that comes from Kojima’s mind and the extent to which he has plotted this epic storyline (I will stop here for fear of becoming a fanboy).
A small note I should add here is that the missions have been designed to be played co-op and can be used alongside other players to provide a different way of tackling missions. However due to having no friends with a PSP and having too much fun progressing on my own I cannot comment on its functionality.
One of my favourite things in this game was also one of the things I hated initially, the Mother Base is your centre of operations and contains the MSF forces that snake has built up prior to the events here. Mother Base works as your upgrade system by allowing you to assign new members to various posts around the base and depending on their skill in the relevant area they improve the options and equipment available to you. This is excellent I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this as the game went on, it never felt strained and it was a nice little extra available between missions as the recruit numbers shot up. To anyone that has played this before will probably guess what I am going to say next, the cutscenes are awesome (I do hate using that word), each one is created in a brilliant comic book format with an art style that fits right in with every piece of concept art ever released alongside this series. I could sit here and write about how brilliant the art style is for another 500 words but I am not going to. You should just play the game and see for yourself.
There are however a few things that I would suggest improving if I was the type to get annoyed at tiny things when gaming and luckily for you I am. I like a difficult game and I am pretty sure you will agree with me when I say there is a difference between a difficult game and an irritating game, unfortunately Peacewalker has some incredible difficulty spikes an the learning curve when these hit is intense and nothing short of annoying. Coupled with a clumsy control system this can lower the enjoyment of what should be a brilliant game. The control system is similar to that of Monster Hunter and mainly down to the placement of buttons on the console is awkward but generally works well.
Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker is a true sequel to the Metal Gear franchise, serving up a great deal of drama, comedy, action and a massive amount of fun into this Stealth buffet. Kojima has outdone himself with a portable game that feels like a fully powered console, a result I find as surprising as discovering Kojima himself in a truck in Costa Rica when looking for nukes.