- Platform- Xbox 360 (version tested), PS3, PSP
- Developer- Kojima Productions
- Publisher- Konami
- Release date- 28th April, 2010
Hello everyone, Retroplayer here!
Two years ago when Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was originally released, I did my very best to enjoy it. However, after playing the demo over and over again, I simply couldn’t deal with the horrific controls, and couldn’t give in to buying it. This isn’t a criticism of Kojima Productions, but rather of the PSP itself, and it’s major fault of only using one analog stick. Most PSP games can easily do without that though, and I still think it’s a wonderful little machine. But Peace Walker was the last straw, and ultimately became the Metal Gear Solid game I could never play. Thankfully though, Peace Walker was released as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection. The sheer idea of playing it in full HD glory had my mouth watering. TGL already reviewed the HD collection, but I felt Peace Walker deserved its own standalone review.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami in 2010, is a wonderful game that easily contends with some of the more high profile Metal Gear Solid titles. Serving as more of a worthy sequel to the emotionally charged, action packed Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater than Portable Ops ever was, Peace Walker once again puts you in the role of Snake. After breaking away from the Patriots, Snake, with the aid of Kazuhira Miller, has set up his own mercenary unit called Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF). With the rise of a mysterious group in Costa Rice known as Peace Sentinels that threaten peace between the East and West, Snake and the MSF are called in for help.
However, like any Metal Gear Solid game, the mission isn’t as simple as it appears to be. The mission becomes personal for Snake when his client plays a tape for him, a tape that contains the voice of The Boss, Snakes mentor that he killed during the climactic events of Snake Eater. With the surreal hope that she may be still alive, and with the intent of putting the Boss’ memory behind him, Snake ventures into the jungles of Costa Rica to prevent an all our nuclear war.
Did you know?- Robin Atkins Downes plays Kazuhira Miller, Snakes right hand man. Fans of the Metal Gear franchise will recognise his character from the original Metal Gear Solid on the PS1, played by Cam Clarke.
The cast of characters are quite good too. While there is a working codec, it is mainly used for short tips given to you by various people during gameplay. However, this time Kojima Productions have fleshed out characters, the back story, and the atmosphere using tapes that can be listened to before each mission. Sometimes these tapes will be very much based around your location or selected mission, while others they can be more about world building. There’s loads of them to listen to too, and if you’re like me you’ll find yourself getting absolutely sucked into them. Whether it’s Chico talking UFO’s, monsters, or the wildlife of Costa Rica, or Huey Emmerich delving into the Peace Walker project, his work alongside Granin, or his spinal condition, they all serve as top notch alternatives to a fully functional codec system.
The basic game elements haven’t changed that much throughout the series, with the usual stealth approach to gameplay being paramount. This time though, missions are quite bite-sized and small. This may feel flimsy at first, but suits the portable charm of Peace Walker. It keeps the action coming at a nice brisk speed, and the story itself is one of the more concise, well told Metal Gear Solid stories to date. The controls are clearly based off of those from Guns of the Patriots, despite the fact that Snake can no longer crawl. That said, much like in Snake Eater, the player must keep tabs on what camouflage they wear, and how heavy their equipped items are. Carrying too many items slows down Snake, while choosing the right camouflage for the right environment could stand between you and successfully completing a mission. CQC is back too, but is a little sexed up this time. Snake can now take down multiple opponents if they are standing in a close proximity to each other. While players will rarely find themselves using this tactic, it does rear its head at times to great effect. Again, much like Guns of the Patriots, there is a vast, vast array of items and weapons to use. From the trusty old cardboard box to a sawn-off shotgun, it could be said that Peace Walker gives too much choice. I’ll admit, I didn’t use half of the items available, purely based on the fact that I had a perfectly good, trusted stealth set-up that simply didn’t call for me to use a Tommy Gun. Still, Kojima Productions are never ones for skimping on the details, and there are enough items in Peace Walker to cover just about any play-style.
One nice addition to Peace Walker is the ability to hire mercenaries for MSF headquarters, Mother Base. Snake can recruit new members from the outset by capturing enemies using the Fulton Recovery System. Once a mission is over and you head back to Mother Base, you can view your new recruits, their mugshots, a quote from them, and their stats. You’ll need to assess their stats and assign them to certain areas of Mother Base’s advancement in the form of Combat, R&D, Mess Hall, Medical, and Intel. Overall, you can assign hundreds of recruits to Mother Base, and in turn you will develop and unlock new weapons, items, recruits, and missions. This method of recruiting new mercenaries is a fantastic addition to Peace Walker, and gives you a reason to explore play areas, and actively seek out enemies. The whole micro-management aspect of Mother Base is the heart of Peace Walker, and while I am holding back on certain aspects of it to keep this review spoiler free, it can be quite surprising where it takes you.
Did you know?- Far into development, Peace Walker was known as Metal Gear Solid 5: Peace Walker.
Visually Peace Walker is incredible. While I did play it on the Xbox 360, it’s simply unscaled to HD. For a PSP developed title, the graphics are very impressive and colourful, with environments clearly pushing the PSP to its limit. Jungles are especially nicely rendered too, while the boss battles give a wonderful sense of scale. From start to finish Peace Walker is an incredibly polished title. Like any game helmed by Hideo Kojima, it’s full of lush detail, interesting play areas, and sheer spectacle.
Overall, Peace Walker is an incredibly inventive and entertaining addition to the franchise. While many gamers may expect a cheap portable title from it, Peace Walker stands amongst the likes of MGS 1, 2, 3 and & 4 in terms of storyline and gameplay. Plus, with Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros looming on the horizon, it seems like a strong knowledge of the events in Peace Walker is a must. It’s simple- if you’re a Metal Gear Solid fan, go and buy it. If you’re not, well, jumping in at this point narrative-wise is like skipping two thirds into a book as a starting point. It still might be fun, but without of knowledge of the likes of The Boss, the Patriots, Miller, Operation Snake Eater, and Granin, most of its mastery will be lost on you.