Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD
Developer: Kojima Productions (ported by Bluepoint Games)
North American Release Date: 11/8/2011
European Release Date: 2/3/2012
Trophies: Yes, 1 | 2 | 8 | 39
Peace Walker was originally released on the PSP, described by Hideo Kojima as the missing link in the Metal Gear franchise. It sees the return of Big Boss as a playable character and explains how he created Outer Heaven, leading to the events of the original Metal Gear.
Peace Walker offers two type of controls: one similar to the one found in MGS4 (albeit with a different button layout and without the ability of moving while laying low) which features a 3rd person view, and one similar to that of MGS2, in which the camera is fixed but you can aim in a 1st or 3rd person view. This allows one to play to whatever suits his wants or needs until the player finds a setup he feels comfortable with.
Like in past MGS games, the gameplay heavily focuses on stealth and not on shoot-outs. This is reflected at the end of each mission in which you’ll be given a rating depending on how you played and how long it took you to complete the mission. More often than not you’ll find yourself in a situation in which you’ll have less troubles knocking out the guards silently than killing them in true Rambo-fashion. Obviously, your tools are very important to achieve this, so you’ll be relying on your camouflage (which is pretty much the same as MGS3’s), your weapons, and your items.
Like in previous MGS titles, stealth is more important than playing Rambo.
Now, your starting items and weapons will not be bad, but they won’t be enough to get past many of the boss battles, so Kojima decided to do what he did in Portable Ops: let you hire ‘staff’, which consist of soldiers that you either recruit through force on the battlefield (by use of the FULTON Recovery System) or because they volunteered. These soldiers will all be rated on various fields (Combat, Medical, R&D, Intelligence and mess Hall) from F to S, which will then let you decide what they are better suited for. This will increase the level of whatever field they finish up at. It is through this that you’ll be able to get new equipment and develop it, which in turn will help you finish missions faster.
Sadly, while that makes one to pour many hours into the game to recruit better staff and develop new and better weapons/items, it also makes it a very big grind in true White Knight Chronicles fashion. You won’t be able to beat the hardest boss battles without having spent dozens of hours in the game, and even though you can still play with friends and have them help you, difficulty scales with the more players you are with.
Peace Walker continues the story of Big Boss a couple of years after the events in Portable Ops and a decade after those of Operation Snake Eater.
Big Boss has defected The Patriots and is now part of his newly formed mercenary group, the Militaires Sans Frontières. After a training session, MSF’s deputy chief Kaz Miller tells him they’ve got a job offer by a teacher that goes by the name of Ramon Galvez Mena and his student, Paz. They tell Big Boss about their homeland (Costa Rica) being invaded by an armed group and that they want him and MSF to drive them out, to which Big Boss reluctantly agrees after hearing a voice tape of The Boss which Paz found.
The story develops in true Hideo Kojima fashion, done through what’s known as MAIN Ops, in which you select and play a mission that, after being completed, will unlock a new one and so on and so forth. With more than necessary plot twists and a lot of cheesy dialogues and cut scenes, the game explains Big Boss’ motivations for creating Outer Heaven and how it came to be, offering more than a few memorable moments (and flashbacks from MGS3) along the way.
The level design, while similar to that of MGS3, isn’t as varied. Most of the jungle environments look almost the same, except for the few buildings here and there, and the lack of ‘facility’ environments like the ones in MGS1 don’t help much, but at the end of the day, it’s much more varied and better-looking than your average FPS of today.
Most of the ‘boss’ battles can prove to be quite a challenge, specially due to how long they may take.
Peace Walker offers various forms of connecting with your fellow gamers with both gameplay and a trade system.
The trade system allows you to exchange items (from weapons to equipment, which help make the life of others easier), to staff members, so you can help improve a friend’s mother base faster. It is to be noted, though, that you can’t simply trade an S ranked member for a C one. The trade must be ‘fair’, meaning you must give away someone of an equal rank, which avoids boosting your friend’s Mother Base levels.
The actual online play is divided in two: VERSUS Ops and Co-op.
In Versus Ops, you can play different classic multiplayer modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Domination and a variation of Capture the Flag that is referred to as Capture the Quetzal in which you must hold the Quetzal and stay in your own zone for a pre-defined amount of time. While a fun addition, you’ll soon notice that most of the other players are carrying around overpowered guns which make you avoid VERSUS until you’ve been able to develop overpowered guns of your own, thus making VERSUS rather boring for people who don’t have the time to invest in grinding through the game.
Co-op can prove to be very entertaining and help you get past most of the missions with ease.
In Co-op, you may play any story/extra mission that you’ve unlocked by inviting either a friend or setting up a lobby and waiting for others to join. You may also search for any active lobbies and change the settings of the search function so it won’t find missions that are beyond your story progress (which is great).
Like previous HD remakes, Peace Walker offers enhanced visuals and audio. While it isn’t on-par (graphic-wise) with the other two games of the collection, it more than makes up to it with great voice acting and audio quality.
It is my opinion that Bluepoint Games did an excellent job porting the game from the PSP, although it is to be noted that the online functions suffer from some lag and connection issues. More than once I tried to trade or play online with people just to find some connection issue that wouldn’t let me.
The game’s trophies, while not hard, are a very big grind. Getting an S in every MAIN and EXTRA Ops isn’t very easy and you heavily depend on your equipment. Thankfully, the online does help get past some troublesome missions so you can at least keep going through the game without major problems until you get the necessary weapons to beat the bosses.
All in all, a platinum trophy worth having in your collection.
Peace Walker is one of the best MGS games to date, and if it wasn’t for the connection issues with the online play and some of the annoying cheesy cut scenes and characters, it’d be pretty much the best one released to date.
Amazing, but the focus on grinding makes the game rather annoying and sometimes makes you want to stop playing.
Truly lives up to the MGS name, even with the cheesy dialogues.
Entertaining for a while, but not something one would play often, seeing how it’s more rewarding playing alone most of the time.
The graphics not being as good as the other two games and the connection issues definitely don’t stand up to the rest of the game.
Overall: 8.5/10 Great