Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP is one title that has been mentioned a huge amount for a very long time and PSP owners have been crying out for a fully-fledged Metal Gear Solid title for Sony’s handheld marvel. Does it live up to expectations? Carry on reading to find out exactly if Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is an essential purchase for all you PSP owners out there.
The game is set in Costa Rica in 1974 and the game follows on from two previous Metal Gear Solid titles, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and also the PSP’s last instalment, Portable Ops. Within the game, you see yourself battling through Costa Rican jungles just like you did in the PS2 version of Snakes last outdoor adventure, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. A huge amount of Peace Walker is set within the jungle setting but there are still parts of the title that see you in a familiar setting with a mighty improved, squad-recruitment system like in Portable Ops. If there is one man on the planet that could make a game of this size work on the PSP, it would be Hideo Kojima. The game is very clever in the way that it borrows all the best ideas from all Metal Gear Solid titles and wraps them all up into a nice little bundle of joy on a UMD or a digital download (for all you PSP Go owners). Whether it’s the camouflage side of things from Snake Eater or the slick control system that’s been adopted from Metal Gear Solid 4 or even the squad recruitment system like in the PSP’s previous MGS title, Portable Ops. The main story revolving inside the Peace Walker world as it were is that a military force called, Peace Sentinels are causing problems within Costa Rica and the government wants to see something done about the threats but there is nothing that they can do due to the fact that the country’s people have banned the creation of an armed forces. Your job is to change what’s happening with your recruited mercenaries to stop the active threat from within. One great feature that is included in Peace Walker is that the story revolves around you recruiting an elite unit called the, Militaires Sans Frontieres. This section of the game really adds to the overall package within the game as you could literally spend hours on end messing around with recruiting the best possible team to take on the Peace Sentinels.
If you are familiar with the control scheme for Metal Gear Solid titles, you should be fine with the control set up for the PSP but at times, there are still slight problems with the control system for the game. It doesn’t spoil the fun at all but there are points within the game where the controls can become ‘fiddly’ and the odd press of the wrong buttons occurs. Like I say though, it’s a rare occurrence but it does happen every so often. Graphically the game pushes the PSP to the max. Hideo Kojima and his team really must have squeezed every single last drop of the PSP’s hardware to make this game like it is as it really is a masterpiece for such a small, compact device. Hats off to the development team for producing such a stunning title for something which does not pack the punch of say a next-gen console. There are quite a few loading screens within the game but this is totally understandable to me as like I have said above, the PSP is pushed to the limits with this title and we can’t say that for many PSP titles in the past. One of the most amazing looking parts is the cut scenes which look amazing. The attention to detail is breathtaking for something like a PSP to produce and you can see the amount of tender loving care that has gone into making these look the part. Typical, Hideo Kojima perfection. Brilliant stuff.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker really does give you a huge amount for your buck as this isn’t a half backed, add-on style version of a MGS title, this is a fully constructed, brand spanking new Metal Gear Solid game for the PSP and that’s worth the money alone. Add to the fact that once you have completed the single player game, there is a ton of replay value including co-op, boss battles which can be replayed on your own or with a friend, more Special Ops sections and plenty more besides. The game just does want to give you more than just a single player experience and that’s it. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will keep you going long after you have finished the single player mode and that’s great news. Other great news regarding the single player mode within Peace Walker is the fact that it will give you around 20 hours of play time which is amazing. It doesn’t end there though as with all the extra’s included in the game as well, you are probably looking at around 40+ hours to finish everything off which is incredible for a PSP title.
As I’ve mentioned above regarding the improved control system for Peace Walker over Portable Ops for instance, it really does do the game justice and it feels very comfortable to do exactly what you want. For example, Peace Walker still features close combat like all Metal Gear Solid titles have done in the past but with Portable Ops, it felt quite fiddly at times but with this improved method of using the controls (very similar to Metal Gear Solid 4 on the PS3), it feels perfectly balanced in Peace Walker and overall, feels just right without any major problems occurring. Although this version of the series is slightly different in some aspects, deep down its still the Metal Gear Solid formula we all love. Stealth is the main aim of the game here and also taking down enemies without being noticed is as well. Disarm them, stun them, get them into a sleeper hold….it’s all included in Peace Walker. You can now even do ‘combo’ style, timed button presses to flip a guard around and disarm them which is a very nice touch indeed. One new addition to the combat section in Peace Walker is the ability to throw a guard into a wall to knock him out instantly and it works in only the way you thought it would in a Hideo Kojima title….superbly. If chucking a guard into a wall isn’t your thing, if other guards are around, you can even go one step further now and throw one guard into another guard to see them both hit the deck. Brilliant. As you would expect, the combat for Peace Walker is highly polished and works perfectly.
To conclude, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is a masterpiece on the PSP make no mistake about it. If you own a PSP then you must own this game as it’s simply a stunning game. This is the Metal Gear Solid title that was needed on Sony’s handheld marvel as it really is worth every penny of your hard earned cash and it will keep you occupied for a very long time with its huge single player mode and the added extra’s as well. There are some problems with the game like the controls sometimes being problematic during heavy action sections or the slightly occurring loading times which pop up more than we would of liked but we have to take into account that this huge title is just on a handheld device so we understand why they are quite a few loading sections within Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. These slight issues don’t stop the game being a blast though and this title is one of the best games I’ve ever experienced on a handheld device. Breathtaking. Hideo Kojima…we salute you.
A must buy!
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is released in the U.K for the PSP on Friday 18th June.
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