Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker | 10

If this game was called Metal Gear Solid 5: Peace Walker, I would not hesitate to call it that. This game is astounding. It's a technical marvel. A feat on portable platforms. There was not a single time where I said I wanted this game to be on a console. In fact, if this was on a console and cost $60, I would buy it in a heartbeat. From the gameplay, to the graphics, to the sound, to the length of the story, this is a huge console adventure, right in the palm of your hand. It's absolutely amazing that so much could be crammed into a little disc. I still can't get over it.

Unlike Portable Ops, the controls did not hinder the gameplay. Apparently, the developers learned from their mistake and made the controls work. Not once did I wish for a second analog stick. It works. It's Metal Gear Solid on a handheld. No exceptions. Do you remember the ability to recruit soldiers and use them in Portable OPs? Well, that's now more streamlined, it's improved, and overall more enjoyable. Knock out a soldier, hook a Fulton Recovery System balloon onto him, and continue your mission. No more dragging across the map anymore. Just pop on on there and continue your mission. When you go back to your Mother Base (GEE I WONDER IF THIS COULD BE THE START OF OUTER HEAVEN) you can put them in different units (such as combat and engineering) to have them do missions or build weapons or do other things of great wonder. However, you mainly want to build up your engineering (called R&D) sections. This is highly improved, because instead of getting random weapons ever so often like in Portable Ops, you choose which weapons to develop, and you can upgrade them. You can even upgrade your items, like your sonar system and Fulton Recovery System. It's awesome, useful, and you actually want to spend the time to upgrade it. And not only do you have this wildly improved Portable Ops system, but you have the main story missions, which are on-par with the likes of any of the console predecessors, and you have side-missions as well, which you can complete at any time. Let's just say this game will last for a long, long time.

The graphics are without a doubt amazing. I honestly kept forgetting I was playing a handheld. There is a ruddy texture or two, but let's cut the PSP some slack, eh? The graphic novel cutscenes are not only well done, but they fit the game. They don't feel out of place. Also, there are quicktime events inside the graphic novel cutscenes, which are beautifully animated. Also, did I mention the quicktime events don't suck?They're (shock and awe) fairly exciting, and do not seem forced at all.

The sound is also wonderfully done. Usually, I hardly ever pay attention to the sound when playing handhelds, because it usually ranges from 'alright' to 'mediocre'. Or maybe I don't even notice it at all. Well, I did this time. Do yourself a favor, play this with headphones. You won't regret it.

Storyline is your typical Metal Gear Solid fare: unmanned robots, nuclear weapons, Snake grunting in agreement, remembering the basics of CQC, etc. For those of you who have played Metal Gear Solid from the beginning will enjoy many plot points that tie in various people and objects from different games. Overall, very enjoyable, but I presume many will prefer the story lines from the console brethren.

I have only one gripe with this game: co-op. Now, usually, I would be extremely happy with having co-op for the game, but the developers put so much emphasis on co-op that some missions nearly require it, even if they don't say so. This can lead to frustration, but it is not impossible. Prepare for some difficult times, but most of the time, you will be having a blast.


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