Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - PSP - Preview
Every generation, Hideo Kojima and his development team(s) at Konami consistently remind us that they know how to take advantage of the current hardware. They blew our minds with the first Metal Gear Solid on PSone, dazzled our senses with MGS2 and 3 on PS2, and reinvented stealth combat with the fourth edition for PS3.
You wouldn’t think that Konami could – or even would attempt to – do the same thing on Sony’s handheld. But just as we saw new hope for PSP with the release of LittleBigPlanet, Tekken 6 and other high-end titles, Konami hopes to push the system’s technological boundaries even further. Thus far, it appears the developers have succeeded.
Next May, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – the follow-up to MGS: Portable Ops – will arrive on PSP not merely as another sequel, but as a solid attempt at redefining stealth combat on a handheld. Drawing its gameplay inspiration from MGS4 and featuring new hand-to-hand combat moves that’ll let you fight effectively even when no guns are available, Peace Walker is a direct sequel to MGS3.
The story is presented with an intro of brief real-time sequences that quickly cut into a series of hand-drawn images. When combined with voice-overs, music and sound effects, this presentation style is very similar to Konami’s digital graphic novels (such as The Silent Hill Experience and the MGS graphic novel, which were brought to PSP a few years ago).
Rambo or James Bond
Though the developers have added new action elements to each MGS sequel, it seems that Peace Walker will be the first to truly enter the realm of action gaming. Do not misunderstand – this is still a series that focuses on stealth. But if you check out the public demo available on PSN, you’ll get the opportunity to sneak through four short (but amazing) missions. And if things go horribly wrong, you’ll get the chance to blast your way through to the end.
Peace Walker uses two control schemes: one that feels like Portable Ops, and another that was designed to mimic the running and gunning excitement of MGS4. The latter uses the face buttons (triangle, square, X and circle) to manipulate the camera, while the thumbstick handles your movement. Hold the L button to enter firing mode, and hit the R button to pump your enemies full of lead.
The controls aren’t instantly intuitive – after all, the console Metal Gears have access to two thumbsticks and two additional shoulder buttons – but they work very well. You will be amazed by how the game feels, how smoothly the camera moves, and by the unprecedented visual detail that covers each of the four missions in the demo.
Launching peacefully on May 25, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is easily the most anticipated handheld game announced for 2010. Once you play it, you’ll know why. Stay with GameZone for more on this highly anticipated – and highly promising – PSP exclusive in the coming months.