Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

aka: MGSPW, Metal Gear Solid 5: Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - HD Edition
Moby ID: 46999
PSP Specs
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Description official description

After the events of the third Metal Gear Solid game, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake isolates himself from the United States and sets up home in Colombia. Here, he creates Militaires Sans Frontières (Soldiers without Borders), a private military group that provides support for countries in need. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's story will explain the events which lead to Militaires Sans Frontières becoming Outer Heaven in later games and also see him finally accepting his role as Big Boss. Snake is still struggling with the guilt over the murder of a person who was very close to him.

One day, Snake is introduced to Ramón Gálvez, a peace teacher, and his student, Paz Ortega. The two want to ask for Militaires Sans Frontières hand in helping the country of Costa Rica. Recently, an unknown armed force with high-tech weapons has been creating trouble around the country and because Costa Rica's constitution forbids a military army there's nothing anybody can do about it. Snake at first refuses to help, believing that it may cause more tension in Latin America, which many believe is the centerpiece of maintaining power in the East and West. But after being presented a tape recorder by Gálvez which accidentally recorded a conversation between two women, Snake agrees, believing that one of the voices on the tape belongs to The Boss herself. Snake then sets out on a journey, a journey to not only bring peace back to the land of Costa Rica, but also bring peace upon himself.

Peace Walker is set between the events of Snake Eater and the original Metal Gear. Snake is controlled via the analog stick and the rest of the buttons vary depending on the type of button configuration you choose; shooter type, action type, or hunter type. Gameplay consists of that usually seen in the Metal Gear series, which is stealth-base movement. That doesn't mean you always have to be stealthy though, if you want you can just let go and shoot up your enemies with different weapons ranging from the M16A1 to a Stun Rod. Cutscenes are presented in an artistic comic book style similar to that of Portable Ops, with some being interactive.

Near the start of the game you will be given a central mother base to use for a number of different things. It is here where you can save your game, develop weapons, and embark on quests. At the Mission Selector screen you can replay previous missions to gain a higher score and also participate in extra ones not necessary to the main story. Cutscenes in which you have watched throughout the main campaign can be seen once again. Developing and upgrading weapons is done by spending currency known as GMP in which you obtain doing quests. At Mother Base you will be able to assign your MSF staff into different teams depending on their abilities and skills. Putting the right people in the right place will open up more opportunities to develop more items and weapons.

Multiplayer in the game is limited to ad-hoc mode and co-op. All story missions can be played with up to two people and the other co-op missions with four people. After completing certain missions and meeting certain requirements, Snake will be able to head to an island where you and some friends can engage in hunts against monsters from Capcom's Monster Hunter series.

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Credits (PSP version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 54 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 32 ratings with 2 reviews)

Not exactly the Metal Gear experience I was hoping for.

The Good
The year is now 2013 and "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker" has been out for some time on both the PSP and the PS3 & 360 as part of the "Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection". I own the PSP and PS3 versions. For a PSP game, it is a technical marvel. It's amazing how they could pack this much stuff into a tiny UMD. The game is also surprisingly easy to control and Konami has learned a few things from "Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops". We also get full voice over for all of the characters, including David Hayter and Christopher Randolph, who return from previous entries in the series. Finally, Hideo Kojima is back, directing and producing this pocket sized adventure.

The Bad
Beyond the technical aspects, I found "Peace Walker" to be mediocre at best. I've been a Metal Gear fan since receiving MGS2 for Christmas back in 2002. I consider myself a huge fan of the series and was really looking forward to "Peace Walker". Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations. To start, the story is really thin. I'm actually surprised Kojima had a part in this one because it felt more like the plot of one of the games he didn't direct, like "Metal Gear Solid" on the Gameboy Color or "Metal Gear Acid". Naked Snake (aka Big Boss) returns, 10 years after the events of MGS3. He has started a band of soldiers call the Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF for short) and they are called upon by some KGB guy to investigate some nukes in South America. Snake, along with his friend Kaz Miller (there relationship is never explained too much) go there, but soon discover an even bigger situation. Beyond that, I can't remember too much as all of the cutscenes are presented in a comic book fashion (just like MGPO). This really took me out of the story and I often found myself staring at the wall as these segments played. I really wished that had done cutscenes using the games engine. I know the PSP can only handle so much, but I don't think anyone would have complained if the game was on two UMD's.

Then we come to the gameplay. While for the most part it gets by, there are a few things that bring it down. First, aiming weapons is pretty frustrating. Gone is the ability to snap to 1st person and the reticle is huge, so getting head shots is very tough and not fun. Also gone is the ability to crawl and move along walls. The camo index is back, but there is no way to swap out camo during a mission, so it's basically useless.

Finally, we come to my biggest gripe with the game; the difficulty. This game is HARD and with no option to change the difficulty, many of the boss missions will leave you throwing your PSP across the room. There is an option to play these missions over CO-OP, but I don't know too many people with a PSP. The PS3 version gives you the option to play CO-OP online, but no one ever seems to play, as I just see "waiting for other players" in the player slots. Your only left with one other option to beat these levels: grinding. MGPW has a system of recruting soldiers to help you build better weapons and items, but in order to acquire some of the better weapons needed to beat the final bosses, your going to need to spends hours and hours replaying the same missions so you can get more soldiers and level up. For example, I needed a LAW rocket launcher Ver. 3 to beat one of the last bosses. Okay, I don't have it and I need to level up my R&D department to L.56. I'm only at L.30 though. Uggghhhhhh!!!! After hours upon hours, I got to L.46 and just gave up. It simply wasn't worth the grind to be able to see the rest of a story I really didn't care about.

Fortunately, I got a save game off the net that had maxed out the R&D so I could beat the final missions, and lo and behold, the ending was lame and the entire game added nothing to the "Metal Gear" canon. This game is toted as the next chapter in the saga, yet it added very little to the over arching story of the series. "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker" is a frustrating game with a weak story that never pays off. I really have no idea why most of the video game review sites have given it such high praise.

The Bottom Line
Even as a huge Metal Gear fan, it's not worth playing. It adds literally nothing to the overall story, it's incredibly hard, and it doesn't even come close to the caliber of any of the other games in the main series.

PSP · by Alex Rocco (19) · 2013

Give 'Peace' a chance

The Good
Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker is one of the stranger entries in the MGS series. While there were several Metal Gear games released on the PSP, Peace Walker was the only one to be directed by series mastermind Hideo Kojima. Released in 2010 during the PSP’s twilight era, the game received great critical acclaim, and while many considered it to be one of the best games on the system, the increasing popularity of smartphone games and tough competition from the established Nintendo DS meant that the game went overlooked by many players, as evidenced by the poor sales outside of Japan. Peace Walker eventually made its way to the PS3 and 360 about a year and a half after its original release, which is likely where a lot of Metal Gear fans, myself included, ended up playing it. Since it’s not a numbered entry, it might come across as a spinoff at first glance. However, this is actually a canon, main entry to the series, and one that points its way to the future of MGS, both in story and gameplay. In fact, this game was originally referred to as MGS5 during development.

Peace Walker begins about 10 years after the events of MGS3. Snake has recently formed a new army called “Millitaires Sans Frontiers” (Soldiers Without Borders), a ragtag team of mercenaries which provide an army to whoever needs it. One dark and stormy evening, Snake is visited by a professor and a young student named Paz, who request Snake’s services to help take back Costa Rica from the CIA, since the country lacks an army of its own. At first, Snake has little interest, but a mysterious tape the professor brings has a very familiar voice which spurs Snake on to accept the mission.

Peace Walker does make its status as a lower-end game known pretty early on, as the cutscenes now consist of comic-book style moving panels, which look stylish but were obviously cheaper to produce. These are probably the biggest reason why the game initially comes off as a spinoff. Despite this, however, they still manage to be pretty enjoyable to watch. The developers did something pretty fun and added in interactive elements to certain cutscenes - ranging from quick-time events and button mashing to more esoteric actions such as searching through trucks, firing rockets, and zooming in or out of a layered image. It helps to keep things interesting, and offers up some really funny surprises for those who fully investigate the interactive scenes.

Peace Walker is a game designed with portable play in mind, through and through. It manages to take a series that is notoriously long-winded and chops it up into digestible chunks. Rather than present the game as a continuous series of cutscenes and sneaking gameplay, Peace Walker is doled out in bite-sized missions that can take about 5-15 minutes a piece. Before each mission, you can choose your weapon and item load out as well as your camp outfit, so there’s no need to fiddle with the backpack during gameplay unlike the last two games. You’ll have both traditional story missions with Snake as well as side missions called “Extra Ops” to play through. In addition, what would have been Codec conversations in previous games are instead stored on tapes which can now be listened to optionally on the player’s own time. During missions, codec responses are short and quick, and don’t disrupt the gameplay.

The gameplay during missions is by and large what you would expect from a post 2008 MGS game, but it’s been streamlined a bit for the less powerful console.. Your character (more on that later) is able to lie prone, but can’t actually crawl along the ground. Looking out from behind corners and shooting is no longer possible, and sidling along walls is a thing of the past. And yet, despite them taking away a few mechanics, the game still works surprisingly fine without them.

Peace Walker’s enemy guards are perhaps a bit more near-sighted than in the previous games due to smaller maps, but are more sensitive to sound. Even walking in the crouched position is enough to alert enemies to your presence this time out.

In addition, CQC has been given a few tweaks, the most notable being the ability to take on multiple enemies at once in a sort of QTE battle. It looks and feels awesome to perform, and though it might seem overpowered at first, you will be grateful for it once you reach the tougher sections of the game.

The biggest addition that Peace Walker makes to the formula is base-building elements. During main gameplay, the player can knockout, then send enemy soldiers, as well as POWs, back to base using a balloon. Each soldier has different level of skills and different stats. You’ll use these soldiers to build up Militaries Sans Frontiers, placing them in divisions such as R&D, Combat, Intel and Mess Hall. In turn, you’ll be able to research and unlock various weapons and items - from guns and grenades, all the way to building your own Metal Gear. After a certain point, you can even send soldiers out on special Outer Ops, side battles, which can net you further intel or unlock side missions. As your base grows, you’ll start to see new plants and struts forming, which is a really cool effect that keeps you invested throughout the game. In addition, some items have blueprints which you’ll need to find during the missions in order to research them. Items are leveled up the more that you use them. These allow you to evolve your own play style throughout the course of the game.

You can even play as the soldiers you recruit during missions - leveling up their stats as you play. The reason for this is that the player can now play many missions with a friend in CO-OP mode. This is the first MGS game that has done this, and it’s a neat addition, with up to four players allowed in some missions. The game also offers a competitive multiplayer mode called Versus Ops, that is pretty fun but hampered by tiny map sizes. All together, Peace Walker has a lot on offer, and it’s probably the most content-packed Metal Gear to date.

The Bad
There is one problem with Co-Op, and it is pretty difficult to ignore. The difficulty balance on certain missions is decidedly tilted in favor of co-op play. There was a couple of boss fights that I spent hours stuck on because I simply didn’t have the necessary firepower needed to do it solo. You are encouraged to replay other missions to capture more soldiers increase the stats on your weapons and earn those coveted S ranks, which is all well and good, but it does mean that you might be hindered at times if all you want to see is the main story missions. I personally found the side-ops to be a lot of fun, especially if you take your worst soldiers and gear out into the field and try to see how far you can push them. It’s still a bit disappointing to see these occasionally grindy elements appear, however. The difficulty balance is really the only sour note that Peace Walker manages to strike, but thankfully the game is able to make up for it in other areas.

The game falls a bit short once you reach the endgame. You'll have a lot of side missions to do, some of which are VERY unexpected to see in an MGS game, and are clearly not meant to be taken seriously. The variety is excellent at first - until you see just how many armored vehicles, tanks, and helicopters you have to go up against. These are pretty fun the first time that you fight them, but it seems like the entire back-half of the game consists of grinding for more powerful equipment just so you can gather up mech parts and vehicles for Outer Ops. Which is a shame, as there is a secret ending that unlocks once you complete building the Metal Gear.

Peace Walker was upscaled from a PSP game, and you’ll have to keep that in mind when playing this on a console. The visuals are not on par with what you would expect from a PS3 game, and are even lackluster in comparison to the other two, much older games on the HD Collection. You’ll notice a lot of blurry textures, jagged, low-poly-count models, and simplistic animations, and even the occasional bit of screen tearing. Obviously, the game doesn’t necessarily translate well from the much smaller screen. That said, the game runs pretty well and I never had any big issues, unlike the other two games in the HD Collection. The real reason to play this version is the addition of the second stick. The original’s camera was controlled by the PSP’s face buttons, and anyone who has tried controlling a camera with face buttons knows that it doesn’t work out real well. Going from that to an analog stick can only be considered an improvement, especially on the tough boss missions.

The story is .. not the greatest. Compared to the more plot-driven stories of the rest of the series, Peace Walker is more character driven, and thus it can feel kind of slow at times. The character study that it offers of Snake as he tries to deal with the events of MGS3 is reasonably compelling, and its smaller scale suits the portable platform and game structure pretty well. The fact that so much character development and background is on the tapes means that players who decide not to listen to the tapes will end up missing a more complete story. While it is definitely worth listening to the tapes, it’s not very exciting staring at a static image of a character while you listen to dialog. This was really meant for someone to pick a tape and listen to it on the train, like an audio book. This static presentation doesn’t translate to someone sitting in front of a TV.

The Bottom Line
Overall Peace Walker is a very good entry in the series. The focus on gameplay content over storyline pays off to make one of the more gratifying MGS experiences to date. It might have been compromised a bit by being designed for a portable device, but playing on console fixes most of its glaring issues. This game obviously pushed the PSP to its limits in terms of creating a game with high playability and console-quality, and the jump to HD only makes it that much better.

PlayStation 3 · by krisko6 (814) · 2015

Trivia

References

By choosing a certain truck in the game during the mission "Infiltrate the Crater Base", players can unlock Metal Gear Solid creator and director Hideo Kojima to use for their team at Mother Base. Kojima has an S-rank at both Medic and Intel.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2010 – Best PSP Game of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Caelestis.

Xbox 360 added by Sciere. PlayStation 3 added by MAT. Xbox One added by Eufemiano Bullanga.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Crawly, Patrick Bregger.

Game added July 11, 2010. Last modified January 31, 2024.