Metal Gear Solid is the game franchise that has invented stealth genre. Before Thief and Splinter Cell there was Metal Gear. An interesting fact is that Metal Gear series has been around for quite a long time and the first game was released in 1987. After many sequels and great Metal Gear Solid games we can finally take a quick look at the new Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker for the PSP.
Just as the previous game Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, Peace Walker is PSP exclusive and the story is taking place after the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. You play the role of Naked Snake, the same character there you played in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Story is set in Costa Rica in 1974 where you and your group of mercenaries need to destroy military organization that is making weapons of mass destruction.
Let’s focus on the gameplay a bit, gameplay looks a lot smoother than in previous game. Controls are different and it will take you some time to adjust, but one you get the hang of it, it all becomes easy. For example, you control Snake with analog stick and you issue orders with directional pad in co-op mode. Targeting and attacking are assigned to L and R buttons and you move the camera with triangle, X, circle and square button. It’s a bit different than in Portable Ops but if you’re used to Portable Ops control system you can easily switch to it. Only flaw is that you won’t be able to move while lying but luckily you can move while crouching without any problems. There are so much more close combat sequences in this game and you can easily engage in close combat with the R button. With the combination of R button and analog stick, you can even throw enemies from ledges or throw them into each other. Of if you prefer you can simply choke them if you hold the R button long enough. You can even engage in close range combat with multiple enemies and throw few punches at several opponents at the time. As for the aiming, Peace Walker uses the same method that is seen in the previous game. You can toggle auto aim on and off with the Select button or if you hold L button you can enter first person aiming mode. Auto aiming mode is a lot faster but it’s useless if you want one shoot kill such as headshots because you cannot aim specific body parts. On the other hand, first person aiming mode gives you great control of your shot but it can be quite tricky to aim, especially if you fighting against multiple opponents.
One of the best improvements is the recruiting on new team members. If you remember, in Portable Ops you had to knock out the enemy and then you had to carry him to the truck in order to add him to your team. Now you just need to attach your enemies to a special balloon that will take them in the air so that helicopter can pick them up. With each recruit sent to your base, you assign him to a different team and you get special stats from him or more money that can be used for buying new weapons and equipment. Speaking of equipment there are four outfits that you can use on your mission and each gives you unique abilities. For example, if you take Battle Dress you will have greater armor and attack but with it, you will lack stealth and agility. On another hand, if you choose Naked Snake you will be faster with bigger weapons but you’ll be more vulnerable. Stealth Suit will provide maximum stealth but it will decrease your attack power. And last, Jungle Camo will provide a perfect balance of all characteristics.
Another thing that you’re going to love is the co-op mode for two to four players. In co-op, you can achieve your goals separately or together and develop tactics before attacking an enemy. For example, with the press of the Up button on D-Pad, your teammates will get close to you and they will follow you wherever you go so they can focus on aiming. In addition, it is possible that two players hide in a box and sneak together. Also, it is possible that players exchange ammo, weapons, and items at any time.
Bottom line, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is an amazing game and it is definitely an improvement when you compare it to the previous game. Better and simpler controls and decent co-op promise an amazing game that we should see in stores soon.