Reviewed: October 7, 2010
Reviewed by: Thomas Tam

Publisher
Konami

Developer
Kojima Productions

Released: June 8, 2010
Genre: Action
Players: 1-6

10
9
9
9
9.5

Supported Features:

  • Memory Stick Duo (33 MB)
  • Wi-Fi Ad-Hoc (2-6 Players)

  • The Metal Gear Solid series continues on the PSP system. Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker is the fifth action-based game in the series and the second action-based on the PSP. I havenít really played a game in the Metal Gear Solid series before, but after playing this entry Iím going to go back and play the previous entries.

    Iím always weary of games on portable systems that have complex control schemes since they are limited on buttons compared to their console counterparts. I found that Peace Walker offers three different control schemes. You can set the controls to be like Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, or Capcomís Monster Hunter Freedom. I like the options they give because depending on the player, they may want to stand and shoot or walk and shoot. It often seemed safer to take the sneaking route, but you can stun your enemies and use something called the Fulton Recovery System to take enemies back to the base and use them for your team. This is where the preferred control scheme comes in handy because if you get spotted by enemy soldiers, you need to hide or take them out fast.

    The team members you add from saved hostages, converted enemies, and fellow teammates can be put to work in one of the many parts of Mother Base. Each member has different skills that they are proficient in. You start with the Combat Unit and R&D Team after you complete your first mission. You earn GMP when you put soldiers into the Combat team, and you use that GMP for the R&D unit to research new weapons and items. Youíll next unlock the Mess Hall, which now makes you keep track of the amount of food you have at Mother Base. You have to keep a food percentage of at least 100% to make sure morale stays up. If you have high morale, the soldiers perform better. If you have low morale, they perform worse or even leave the base.

    When your soldiers get hurt, they have to go to the Sickbay and await the Medical team to heal them. The more people that you assign to the Medical team the faster your soldiers in the Sickbay get better. You also want to have a good Medical team to keep sickness away from your healthy soldiers. Finally we have the Intel team. These members help you in the field by carrying out mission supply support and support strikes. When you put better people in your Intel team you can get more supplies at a time and your support strikes will be stronger. You can also learn more about the enemies found in a level after you unlock the support team. The better your support team is, the more you can find out about quantity and difficulty of the enemies on the level.

    There are various missions you can embark on as you play through the story. The main story missions have to be completed by Snake, but if you have friends nearby they can join you on certain missions as a co-op partner. There are also side missions that have to be completed by your soldiers you recover from the field. By completing these missions, you can strengthen your soldiers and improve their stats for different units at Mother Base. There is also Versus Ops, which allows you to play against a friend on a map you have unlocked throughout the story. Once you proceed far enough into the story, you can send or trade gifts and soldiers to other friends.

    One thing I found interesting was the use of comic book style graphics for the cutscenes instead of CG style movies. These cutscenes still offer some 3D graphics for certain objects, but most of it is 2D figures. There is also use of action words on the screen during the cutscenes, which gives it even more of a comic book feel. At times the cutscenes become interactive and you can earn a bonus at the end of a mission for completing the interactive parts.

    Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker had a lot more depth to it than I was expecting. The graphics look very nice for a PSP game. Since most of the game takes place in jungles, the trees and swampy areas look very realistic. I felt the fighting tutorial was very comprehensive and it lets you view other tutorials as you unlock new features throughout the game. Peace Walker uses a data install feature like many newer PSP games.

    There is some mandatory data that is installed, but then you have the installable voice data if you want speech along with text on in-game radio communication. There is also a more comprehensive data installation that includes the voice and some game data to help with load times if you are playing on the disc-based version. I found that the time it took to complete a mission was long enough that it felt like I did something but short enough that I could play one or two missions in my spare time. Fans of the series will like this installment and newcomers to Metal Gear Solid like me will enjoy it as well.