by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on PSP
A game as intensive as Metal Gear Solid can suffer from the PSP’s control scheme, but Kojima Productions has done a good job providing a variety of control options. People who poured hundreds of hours into Portable Ops will be happy with the action control type. Fans of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series will be happy with the Hunter control type, while the Shooter control type is the closest to the Metal Gear Solid 4 scheme and will probably be the go to option for most people. In the Shooter control type movement is controlled by the analog nub, while the face buttons act as a sort of second analog nub to aim and control the camera. The left and right triggers control aiming and shooting respectively, but there is an auto-aim option to make things a bit easier. Pressing down on the D-pad makes Snake crouch, while holding it makes Snake go prone (and unable to move). The only real problem is changing weapons/items, which is handled with the right and left D-pad buttons. In some of the more intense boss battles you can often find yourself equipping the wrong weapon or item, leaving yourself unable to attack.
Graphically Peace Walker is damn impressive. The character models are detailed and the environments and lighting are well done. The textures and level design are good and there is a good variety in environments, from swamps and jungles to military facilities and mining towns. It is arguable that the graphics are nearing PS2 levels, but it is without a doubt one of the best looking games on the PSP. The frame rate never stutters, and the gameplay rarely deviates from the expected standard. David Hayter once again voices Snake, along with quite a few returning voices in new roles. As always, the soundtrack is a mix of the classic and the new, and the entire game is voiced if you install it.
Metal Gear games are known for having some of the most unique boss battles of all time. Classics like Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf have stood the time as some of the best boss battles, but Peace Walker doesn’t match those heights. Quite a few boss battles are just against armored transport vehicles, tanks or helicopters. That is not to say they aren’t well designed and challenging, it is just that they lack a bit of the outlandish nature previous games have had. There is humor in the game, from metal gears (literally) to Hideo Kojima appearing himself.
A major part of Peace Walker is co-op, which is heavily suggested throughout the game. If you go up against a boss you may receive a message questioning your choice to go it alone. Normal sneaking missions can be played with two players, while most boss battles can go up to four players. Sadly, the only option is ad-hoc or local co-op, so if you don’t have many PSP-owning friends you may be out of luck. You can play the entire game solo, but some of the boss battles can get difficult (but entirely do-able). There are competitive modes, but they are also only playable through local multiplayer. It would have been nice if they included online play, but a 15 or so hour story coupled with lots of extra ops should satisfy for at least twice that time.
Best MGS handheld
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is a fantastic game, with some of the best graphics on the PSP, superb voice acting and soundtrack, and gameplay straight from Metal Gear Solid 3. The addition of co-op drastically changes the Metal Gear Solid experience, while fans of the more standard competitive multiplayer will have that. There are well over a hundred missions, soldiers to collect and use in battles, and weapons and items to upgrade. Peace Walker might not be the first Metal Gear game on a handheld, but it certainly is the best.
A full Metal Gear Solid game on your PSP.
Minor control issues.