Date: 02-19-2011 19:07
Reviewer: SilentWyvern

Type: PSP
Genre: Action
Developer: Kojima Productions

Big Boss is back! Sneaking through Costa Rican jungles and taking out enemy mechs, quietly of course. Is this a PSP title worth recruiting? Or should it Fulton back to base?

Story:
10 years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Big Boss (Naked Snake) is now heading up his own personal army, MSF, or Militaries Sans Frontiers (Soldiers Without Borders). MSF is quickly approached by Professor Galves and Paz, their country of Costa Rica has been "invaded" by a mysterious armed force. Galves assumes they're backed by the CIA. Snake and Kaz (Snake's right hand man, second in charge of MSF) suspect Galves of being KGB. Galves explains they want MSF to drive the Americans out of Costa Rica, because the Soviet Union wants control over Latin America. He explains that having communist, pro-Soviet regimes in Latin America will cut off key U.S. production and shipping routes.

In short, "He who controls Latin America will win the Cold War."

As you may have guessed there are a number of references to the Cold War (The game IS set in 1974). But they don't put too much historical information in the story without explaining it. (Some bits are explained in tapes.) The game also references alot from Snake Eater. You can understand the story without having played MGS3, but if you haven't I HIGHLY recommend you do to get the full effect. I was a little disappointed that they don't really reference Portable Ops more than once or twice.

The story quickly turns into a guessing game. Who is really KGB? Why is the CIA in Costa Rica, what are they up to?

Presentation:
Peace Walker looks phenomenal. Like Portable ops cutscenes are cont in an animated comic book style (which are illustrated by Ashley Wood) and some require the player to press a succession of buttons or press 1 button quickly. There are also rendered cutscenes throughout the game, but these aren't usually more than a few seconds to barely a minute long and have little to no facial animation.

Music is the absolute best. There are a number of songs in the game and they really draw you into the situation. Its that mix of gameplay and music that many games don't always have that makes them suffer, Peace Walker does not have this problem.
Voice acting, like all Metal Gear Solid games are GREAT! David Hayter once again voices Snake. All the dialogue is great, and of course there are the few quirky dialogue scenes that MGS fans always love to find. Such as Snake and Huey arguing the existence of Santa?
The game's graphics look amazing. From lush Costa Rican jungles with dense vegetation and realistic fog to industrial settings, the environments alone look like the best I've ever seen on the PSP. There is a set number of locations to visit, while there are ALOT of locations to visit you'll find yourself back in some spots more than others. But they've added different variables to the environments depending on the mission. 1 mission could be sunny, then the next mission in the same area could be at night while its raining.
Character models look GREAT! Unlike Portable Ops, recruited soldiers no longer where the outfit they were recruited in, they wear MSF uniforms. And the attention to detail on character models is nothing short of incredible. Gun and vehicle models all look great too!
Peace walker is one of, if not THE best looking game on the PSP.

Gameplay:
The number of things you can do is STAGGERING. If nothing else, Peace Walker should keep a casual player entertained for a long time.

The default (shooter) controls play out similar to Syphon Filter or Resistance. Movement on the Analog Nub and aiming on the Face Buttons. L is either auto-aim or over the shoulder view. Some people say stick ups are easier with auto-aim, but I've been doing just fine with the manual aim. R while aiming or lock fires your weapon, and without aiming it performs CQC. And D-Pad is used for interaction, menus, and crouching.

CQC (Close Quarters Combat, for you unfamiliar with this term) has been incredible refined from the last PSP game. Holding R makes Snake grab the enemy and hold him, but now you can interrogate him, by hitting up on the D-Pad. You can also throw him by tilting the Nub in any direction. Or if you're a real sadist, you can just hold R and strangle the poor guy, this doesn't kill them though. Tapping R does the dinky 3 hit combo thats never useful in any combat scenario ever. Why Snake can't punch or kick with a little more force I'll never know. But the new feature is the throwing and CQC linking. Then approaching an enemy, tilt the analog nub while holding R. Snake will grab the enemy and throw his sorry butt to the ground. If there are more than 1 enemy grouped together you can link attacks, while throwing the 1st enemy if the 2nd is close enough you'll be prompted to press R. You can continuously link CQC throws like this. My highest combo is like 8 or 9 throws.

However all these combat techniques downplay the true nature of Metal Gear Solid, STEALTH. Not too many missions require 100% stealth. But if you're seen the game becomes a real pain in the backside. Once spotted enemies go into a red alert phase, you've got to try to hide or take all of them out. If you do successfully hide out during the red phase they go into an orange phase where they know you're there and are actively looking. Then a green phase where they know you're in the area and keeping an eye out.
So just a word of warning, DON'T get spotted.

Missions play out in specific areas with a number of sections, much like Metal Gear Solid 3 had you moving from section to section. Sneaking missions don't have bosses, bosses are their own mission. And they range from fighting a light APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) to giant AI weapons. Honestly I thought the real-world mechs like helos and tanks where harder than the AI weapons.

Co-op/ Versus Ops:Pretty much any mission can be done in Co-op, unless specifically noted. Sneaking missions allow only 2 people but boss battles allow 4. Versus Ops is basically competitive play. Both modes are Ad-Hoc only, and I don't have anyone to do these with so I can't honestly comment to much on them.

Mother Base:Mother Base is pretty self explanatory, it is your main head quarters where you develop new weapons and assign new recruits to teams. I'll give a brief overview of some of the things Mother Base does because explaining them all in detail would take FAR too long.

- Teams, new recruits must be assigned to a team in order for Mother Base and MSF to grow successfully. Looking at a recruit's stats and knowing what team to put them on is key to capitalizing on that recruit. You can put recruits into Combat, R&D, Medical, Intel and Mess Hall. Theres also the brig (for prisoners) and infirmary (for wounded members).
- Research and Development, instead of getting new guns in the field, MSF develops their own guns in house. This is why some guns are listed under "incorrect" names, like the AK47 is the RK47. You develop guns by spending GMP, which you get for having more MSF members. Be sure not to spend too much GMP at once, or all your development projects come to a grinding halt.
- Outer Ops, this feature allows you to send out combat teams with mechs to complete missions. If they successfully complete a mission you may get new recruits and development plans.
- Recruitment, periodically recruits will want to join MSF but you'll need to prove you're good enough for them. In order to recruit all the rookies you must use CQC to knock them out within the time limit.
- ZEKE, as you beat AI weapons, you'll get parts to make your own AI weapon. You'll want to get as many as possible to make the AI weapon invincible. Once you're happy with it you can send it out on missions in Outer Ops.
- Trade, I don't like how they did this in Peace Walker, you can only trade 1 soldier at a time and their stats must be equal. If you were thinking of stat boosting, think again.
- Boxes, apparently you can trade, boxes full of items with friends? I'm not exactly sure how this works.

Simply put, Peace Walker has ALOT going on. And if you don't keep up to speed with your Mother Base, you'll suffer in the long run. Theres a ton of stuff to unlock.

Final Notes:
I really only have 1 measly complaint with this game. No infrastructure co-op or competitive play. But, the game more than makes up for it. Peace Walker is gonna keep you busy for a while.
Gamplay: 10
Graphics: 10
Replay: 10
Sound: 10
Overall: 10
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