A fun portable title, but leaves a lot to be desired.
For a while before it's release, I was very stoked for this game. Even though a ton of other people were going so far as to buy the the Japanese version of this game (Or pirate it) just to get their hands on it, I waited until June to enjoy the title. Hideo never cuts content from his games on the American releases, after all.
This game has been met with a lot of joy, praise, and overall strong love, but it is in my sincerest opinion that most of it is unfounded and just bandwagon jumping. It isn't a bad game though, it's the kind of game that you wish there was more focus on certain things.
This is one of the few PSP games that uses an "Install Data" feature, which is similar to how most PS3 games install to the HDD to shorten load times. The only other game that I know on the PSP that does this is "Monster Hunter Freedom Unite". For a full install, which is the most recommended, you need 880MB of free Memory Stick space, and it IS worth it.
Without it, well, load times in this game are just downright unacceptable.
It is one of the biggest PSP games, and they did cram a lot of good content into it. Let's begin.
The story is told through, mainly, comic cut-scenes. Hand-drawn, animated scenes that also incorporate elements of quick-time events. Only very few scenes are actually rendered outside of this comic style, but they aren't all that exemplary. You play as Big Boss and must figured out who the invaders to a country without an army are up to at the request of a girl who loves peace.
Peace Walker Similar to "Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops" which was released a few years ago, aside from sneaking around and finishing missions, you must also capture enemy soldiers to come and work your Mother Base, which is also Outer Heaven.
In Mother Base, you have 9 options available to you (Which come as you play the game).
~~Recruit~~ - If there are wireless LAN Spots, you can get powerful soldiers if you knock them all out in time during unique little, custom missions.
~~Outer Ops~~ - Send your own Metal Gear, captured mechs, and soldiers from the Combat Unit out into the world to fight wars for countries that don't have armies. They can bring back other soldiers and items to use.
~~Delivery~~ - Send troops and other items to friends through an internet connection of some sort. Or local things.
~~Versus Ops~~ - Use Ad-Hoc Party to do simple death match...*yawn*
~~Staff~~ - Manage the five teams of Outer Heaven here. Will get to the teams in a bit.
~~R&D~~ - Plan developments and upgrades here, assuming you meet the requirements.
~~Metal Gear~~ - Yup, you can make your own Metal Gear. You don't pilot it, you just use it to get a big advantage in Outer Ops. You get the parts and AI boards by defeating the AI weapons in the story mode or the Extra Ops.
~~Database~~ - View your stats.
~~Trade~~ - Same as Delivery, but this isn't such a gift-minded option. Self explanatory.
To expand Outer Heaven (Mother Base), you must find and recruit new people. You need to fill five units and hope to get to Lv99 in each place.
Combat Unit: Selectable troops for Outer Ops, and you can use them in the Campaign when you beat the game. Until then, you have to use Snake (Big Boss). Funny thing is, if you work at it enough, the soldiers you recruit can have even better stats than he does. Their bonus towards the Mother Base is that they bring in money for you to spend on R&D. The soldiers in the Combat Unit get stronger, but sending them to Outer Ops does better for their training.
You then have the R&D team. You need to upgrade them and the other three Teams to develop strong equipment which will make your life easier. Even if you reach Level 99 in all teams, you won't be able to get all the items in the game from just that, you'll, sadly, have to grind and hunt down for people who have the right skills to develop things such as Stealth Camo.
The Mess Hall team is also important. With high percentages on food, you can increase the stats of your other soldiers. They also help develop better healing items. Also, what is funny, is that most of the UNIQUE Female personnel you get in this game are very good at Cooking.
Hideo is a big sexist here, because most of the Female soldiers I've gotten in this game have been good at three things: Cooking, nursing, and gossiping. Mess Hall, Medical Team, and Intel team respectively.
Well, don't worry about it.
You have the Medical unit, and they keep your people from being taken out of action due to a disease or what not.
Then finally you have, arguably, the most useless of the units and that is the Intel team. All they do is just give you a pre-mission report of how many soldiers are in the area. Only difference is, stats on those soldiers are randomized every time so they help you pick missions with high rank soldiers to recruit.
Recruiting soldiers is so much easier in this game. You have the Fulton Recovery System at your disposal, but it is quite limited in the amount you are given. All you have to do is subdue them in one of four ways and attach the balloon to them.
Hold them up, sneak up and tell them to "Freeze!" and they'll surrender.
Stun them. i.e. CQCing them and throwing them into a wall.
Shoot them lethally, but they will enter a near death phase temporarily. You can use this opportunity to capture them, but it detracts from your rank.
S-Ranking requires mandatory stealth, which pisses off a certain friend of mine. You also can't use warcries for boosts, and you can't use special items like stealth camo to get it easily. You can't get seen once, you can't kill a single enemy (meaning you have to non-lethally remove all obstacles), and you have to wait...a lot.
What makes it more demanding is the fact that you can't get certain blueprints and items unless you S-rank, usually hard, missions.
For AI Missions, you can go all out since they are just unmanned weapons. What you do just determines if you get parts for your Metal Gear, or if you get more AI boards.
Completion time is, obviously, important for S rank in all missions.
It's kind of unfair considering how many cool weapons are in this game. There are many types of assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles but almost all of them are lethal and would ruin your S rank. The only ideal time you can go guns blazing is if you have already unlocked everything.
I wonder what Hideo Kojima was thinking? I know he bases these games around stealth mainly, but if you put in all of these honestly very remarkable weapons, why wouldn't we want to use them? Big Boss is supposed to be a Big Badass, and he doesn't just use CQC and Stealth.
Regardless, only stealth fans need apply if you care about ranks and completion percentages, and obsessive min/maxing as well.
Moving on, the AI is pretty good. It's certainly better than SOME games I've played...
The enemy AI is remarkable. The enemies can be seen signaling to their partners as they try to flank you. If one of them goes down, they try to surround their downed friend while another uses a stim-pack on him to get him back in action. I've even overheard enemies giving thanks to each other when this occurs.
Most missions you play will revolve around sneaking from Point A to Point B, with few missions requiring you to take down a horde of enemy troops while always on an alert or a caution phase. Along the way, you can deal with the incredibly amusing and unaware enemy soldiers as you see fit.
The most enjoyable part of getting an enemy soldier in your hands is that, if you are standing close to a wall, you can throw them into it which will instantly knock them out. But what makes it funny is that when they hit the wall, they get faceplanted on it in a cartoonish way and they slide down onto the ground headfirst. I can't describe it too well, but there are surely some videos on the 'Tube if you must know.
But there is just one thing, I think the most fun, cool way to fight enemies wasn't taken seriously enough.
When you have more than one enemy next to you and you grab one of them, you can throw that guy. When you throw him, a button prompt pops up, and you can immediately lay into the other person and throw his untrained ass to the ground for even more stun damage than you'd normally do. I heard you can do this up to 6 times in a row, but I've never been able to get past 4 due to the lack of enemies.
Still, it looks very cool and is fun to do even if it gets you spotted. It's just a shame there weren't many missions that had a lot of enemies to do it to. Especially considering a key point of MGS3 was the CQC training Big Boss had under The Boss.
Just be careful not to throw enemies off a high place, because they will die a horrible death.
I'd personally love to get an MGS side story where you play as The Boss (Big Boss's mentor) and go around trouncing people in hand to hand.
For a PSP game, the animations and graphics are very good. It's a gorgeous game, and there is no ugly fog or cloud of moisture to hide low res textures. The animations when you move around, crouch, and other tasks are fluid, and the controls are responsive.
I find, however, that with this PSP game I strain my eyes sometimes. I don't usually get that, but it is a word of caution if you look too close at things.
I laud myself as someone who can easily get used to the controls of any game in existance, but I'll admit it, Peace Walker had me stumped for a good few days. It has three control schemes, and it took me a while to figure out what worked the best for me.
I honestly find no problem in it though, these controls work, despite me wishing there was a second analog stick at some points. When you get it down, it becomes very intuitive and simple.
Voice acting, as always, is top notch. David Hayter needs some cough drops, though. Some of the voice actors from the old games returned for new parts, but they still put in an excellent performance and brought the story up. Even though Hideo Kojima couldn't use the size of a blu-ray for his stealth action movie on the PSP, the performance of the voice actors and actresses, and the well-drawn comical art made it an overall fun experience.
Hideo Kojima is either a mad genius, or he's just mad. But either way, he's still got the touch when he throws in all of the comedical references to his previous works, or other things. The most notable thing was the interactable truck sequence early on in the game, where you can open up numerous trucks looking for something. Hideo is a recruitable soldier in his own game.
Yep, you can find Hideo chilling in the back of a supply track. After Big Boss remarks "Mr. Kojima!" he is available for Mother Base.
I won't spoil them, but if you are a fan of Kojima's work, and MGS, you should definitely hunt down most of them. It is notable, however, there are much fewer amounts of these cute little references in the game, so there isn't much to see outside of the stuff in that truck cinema.
Most of the mechanics of stealth from the previous games are here, but there are some taken out. You can't lean against walls and move sideways, and you can't move when crawling, so no more vent infiltration action. Like MGS3, though, it still uses the Camo Index.
Unlike before, you don't have to equip face paint, and you don't select camo out in the field.
Before every mission, you are given the chance to select a load-out. You can equip any camo that you've unlocked, and some of them have special abilities. You cannot switch anything in the load out once you start the mission, so choose wisely.
The Sneaking Suit eliminates footsteps, which is very useful, but it's camo index isn't all that great, and it has a low inventory capacity.
The Battle Dress increases defense, but you'll be as visible as a Japanese otaku. It also has the most capacity for items, and can carry three weapons.
Everything you develop you will be able to take into the field. Some items require online partners, and the only way to get Co-OPS partners is to use Ad-Hoc Party if you don't have local friends.
There are many cool ways to use these items even. You can throw supply markers and when you call in the box for a drop, you can have the cardboard box dropped right on top of an enemy's head, which knocks him out instantly.
What is even cooler, however, is that there are passages in the game that can be traversed if you have two people to pull each other up. However, if you don't have a partner, you can still get up there if you drop one of your cardboard boxes under the ledge.
During the MGS:Peace Walker Torture sequence, you can actually have a partner there with you. If one person is being electrocuted, your partner can help you out by going to the control room and decreasing the voltage. Not only that, they can basically help you make a quick escape.
It's kind of depressing that the game is very fun with a partner, but it also becomes way too easy. When you're alone, it IS the full MGS experience, but with coop there, and since Big Boss has a full army at his command basically, why not get a partner? However, as Hideo Kojima said himself, "It ain't Metal Gear Solid if it has Online."
It's a kind of mixed-reactions thing.
After you complete the game, but before getting the Chapter 5 missions, there are some, *ahem*, certain special missions you can get.
The infamous "Date with Paz".
Metal Gear Solid: Pantsu Walker, lolicon adventures, Boss likes 'em young !! A whole new meaning to the term SOLID SNAKE.
I couldn't resist, ;)
The game does indeed have more than 100 missions, but it would be cool if most of those missions were not constant rehashes of the last one I did. Come on, I just captured this mech, why am I fighting a "slightly" stronger version of it?! And there are a ton of those. Not only that, the AI weapons you fight all have upgraded and custom versions. There are only about 80 genuine Extra-OPs missions, including the bonus Monster Hunter missions.
Also, to Monster Hunter: *yawn*
As I mentioned, you can capture enemy vehicles, but you can only use them for Outer Ops missions. It's a big pain when it comes to capturing them, but you can either blow them up, or Fulton all of the enemy troops guarding it and then tranquilize or kill the commander. It's quite a head ache this way though.
There really isn't much to say that hasn't already, but it's not a perfect game. It's not a bad game, it's just "Good". It's plain fun, highly replayable, and addicting, but there is a distinct lack of some features that could make it an overall better game.
Overall. it's a good piece of history in the Metal Gear Solid lore. It gives you more insight into how the very first game came into play, and some other things.
Also: SUN LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!