Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker review
After being burned from Hideo Kojima’s last outing within the Metal Gear Solid franchise on the PlayStation 3 (Metal Gear Solid 4), serious doubts arose when entering the world of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (otherwise known as Metal Gear Solid 5). Would it run the same course of ridiculous storytelling? Or would it turn the corner and instead focus on delivering solid gameplay? Thankfully, the latter was chosen even though it does contain a few flaws along the way.
As a portable title, Peace Walker was designed with cooperative play in mind through bite-sized missions that aren’t more than 15 minutes long at times. The cooperative play supports up to four players and, often, the missions – especially the extra missions – are better off being completed with friends. Since it was developed with co-op in mind, the solo play at times suffers since the boss battles were designed with more than one player in mind. Often times, players may have to resort to using rockets to bring down a baddie.
To non-Metal Gear Solid fans, the boss fights may cause for spikes in difficulty that could influence players running to the cooperative play to overcome the challenges. From the nightmare that ensued throughout the Chrysalis boss fight to the awkward design of the Hind encounter, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker definitely changed up the boss battle design from previous iterations. Relying on uninspiring vehicle battles and often rinse and repeat tactics, the boss fights are a hurdle that players have to rise above to see the bright side of Peace Walker.
Rather than letting players strategize and put their thinking caps on as previous Metal Gear titles have done so in the past, Peace Walker is much more about confronting boss fights head on. While sneaking does play a part from time to time, it’s more or less an afterthought with the ease of cooperative play aiding the player as a handicap. There are a few times though that begs players to quit playing, such as the torture scene where they have to tap the triangle button repeatedly to the point that they will be switching hands.
If, and when, there’s a next Metal Gear Solid title released on the PSP, the developers need to invest in providing a lock-on feature so players don’t constantly have to rotate the camera to scan the area to find the boss. The more time spent going toe-to-toe with the boss and the less time devoted to trying to find them will result in a more exciting experience.
Even with the PSP’s limitations, such as iffy at best control scheme, graphical output and the like, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker still ends up being one of the better action titles to have released on the handheld device. With such a poor outing with Metal Gear Solid 4 and Portable Ops, Peace Walker didn’t have to do much to top the recent installments in the franchise. Plus, playing the extra ops cooperatively with friends helps give Peace Walker a luxury that previous titles didn't necessarily have in the past.
It’s more about gameplay and less about the story, which means a win-win for everyone. There’s sneaking, explosive action and even a little cinema thrown in for good effect. It’s frustration and glee all rolled up in one excellent multiplayer title for the PSP.