I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Metal Gear Solid series. The first game was the reason I bought a PlayStation, MGS2 conned me with the demo and then I wasn’t too happy when you only played the first missions as Snake, Snake Eater I thoroughly enjoyed and MGS4 was epic but felt more like a very long movie rather than a game.
And so to Peace Walker on the PSP. The second game to come out on the handheld, this one tells the story of Big Boss trying to keep the peace in Costa Rica after the events of Snake Eater and it’s certainly the most complex game to date with elements of strategy and a new co-op mode which lets you play missions with friends.
Visually the game’s impressive to look at – particularly the comic book style of the cut-scenes which sometimes also feature quicktime events. Yes they’re long and sometimes outstay their welcome but they also feel more tongue-in-cheek than previous games, which makes them more entertaining.
When out in the field it’s the usual case of sneaking about and trying to remain undetected. It’s a bit odd playing the game with only one analogue stick but thankfully there are a few control combos to choose from and you can also enable auto-aim if you’re finding things a bit tricky. After each mission you’re then taken out of the game into the Mother Base where you can develop new weapons and view and change staff rosters which changes your support setup in missions. This new level of strategy and menu browsing does take a bit of getting used to but it’s essential if you want to make progress effectively. Unfortunately it also does a good job of ejecting you from the game’s story which isn’t good for gamers like me who prefer story over stats.
But that’s just what Peace Walker delivers – not only the story mode but co-op gameplay and Versus Ops mode as well which lets up to six players battle against each other in deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture missions. It really is a very nice package in all which will keep Metal Gear junkies happy until Raiden makes his appearance in Metal Gear: Rising. Peace Walker gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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