Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Reviews

124,113 (82,635)
TA Score for this game: 272
Posted on 02 February 12 at 22:21, Edited on 12 February 12 at 09:02
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Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker is the third game in the HD collection, originally released for the PSP handheld system in 2010 to massive critical acclaim. It is set in 1974, ten years after the events of MGS3 Snake Eater and before the Metal Gear Solid and MGS2 Sons of Liberty games. The story picks up with Snake having founded the private armed organisation Militaires Sans Frontières (Soldiers without Borders or MSF). Cynical and world weary, Snake and his group are now guns for hire waiting for their next armed conflict to arise. After being approached by shadowy figures, Snake is informed that the CIA have established a military presence in Costa Rica and then MSF is hired to investigate the reason for this, and to stop any plans that the CIA may have.


The basic mission based story of this game plays in a very similar manner to other Metal Gear games. Using a variety of gadgets Snake must make his way through each area as he works towards a major boss fight at the end of each of the games’ five story chapters. The main story is quite long (10 – 15 hours) but does lack variety. Most of the main missions involve the same process of working through an area and either killing, stunning or avoiding the soldiers in that area. Every few missions you have to face an all out fight against a group of soldiers with some sort of armoured vehicle backing them up which cranks up the difficulty. The boss fights are also all very similar, seeing you taking on a massive machine and having to work out its weak point to attack.


The story itself gets quite complex and compelling with a lot of characters introduced along the way. It very nicely ties everything into the story established by the other games in the franchise. Showing it's PSP roots, instead of using cut scenes made up of FMVs to advance its story, Peace Walker uses illustrated sketches, and even quick time events use this visual method with button prompts flashing up in the same comic book way. Although it’s well illustrated it does get pretty boring watching these and it is a style that seems more suited to handheld gaming.

As you progress deeper into the game you will find that the main story missions are pretty much the only familiar things to anyone who has played other Metal Gear games. The main mechanic that the game actually relies on is base and resource management which takes a long time to get your head around. After you establish your “Mother Base” early in the game, you must then manage your resources and manpower to develop new weapons and abilities that can be used in the main game. Mother Base has several different departments ranging from Research and Development, a Mess Hall and even a Sick Bay, between which you need to split your resources to maintain the base and develop new items. You can have well over 300 individuals to direct to the areas that best suit them but thankfully you are given the option of complete micro management or letting the computer auto allocate people to area. So the level of involvement you have is completely up to you to decide.

As you complete main story missions you unlock side missions and extra playable areas that you can either play through as Snake or as the other soldiers you have recruited. These missions increase the experience of the soldier and unlock new items and weapons. Eventually you will also have to build your own Metal Gear device, foraging parts from the bosses you defeat.

Recruitment of team members can come from a number of sources and you need to take advantage of each method of recruitment to get the manpower needed. Certain individuals can be recruited through story missions, some are hidden Easter eggs (Hideo Kojima himself being one of these), you can kidnap any enemy soldier you knock out by attaching a balloon to them (!!) and forcing them to work for you, or you can trade soldiers with other real players around the world. Once you have an established fighting force you can form squads and send them off to fight battles while you are completing your missions and then you’ll receive battle reports detailing the result of the battle and any new items found by your squad. All your soldiers gain experience through being deployed in combat situations which benefit the overall running of Mother Base.

This game is really opened up by a number of online modes which again benefit your overall level of skill and equipment you have in the game, and bring the world to life as you get to experience battle as Snake alongside other players. There is the option to play almost every mission in co-op with up to three other players. This works really well, with no increase in difficulty during the mission so if you are really stuck you can set yourself up as a host of a co-op game and wait for others to jump in. It is fully drop in / drop out co-op system, everyone takes in their own items and you can even trade items with other players if they have developed a particularly useful piece of equipment you are yet to find. There are also several competitive multiplayer modes which again are fun and work well. However, I did find very few people playing this game so unless you have friends who own the game you will be waiting around awhile for others to play with.

Peace Walker has a really good sense of humour, featuring many moments that will make you smile. There are loads of Easter eggs to discover that reference other Metal Gear games and other franchises such as Monster Hunter and Assassins Creed. And the ability to attach a recovery balloon to enemy soldiers continued to make me smile throughout the game. I will admit to laughing out loud while playing an online co-op game and another player had upgraded their cardboard box to serve as an ambulance, with a flashing light and siren, which really added a nice touch. There is definitely a feeling that the developers used this game to cut loose and have a bit of fun that they couldn’t normally have bringing a AAA game release to the PS3 or Xbox 360.


The main elements that let this game down are those that they haven’t been able to fix as they transferred this from the PSP to the Xbox. The graphics are pretty poor and the games overall presentation is disappointing compared to the other HD Metal Gear games. Also the menus are poorly presented leading to a lot of confusion and difficulty for the user getting to grips with a very in depth game.

Achievement wise this game is very hard going. You will only find reward in playing missions over and over again to achieve high ranking scores once you have unlocked better equipment. A run through of the story will net you about 200g if you use a guide to find some of the Easter egg achievements.

Overall, this is a very deep game that has the potential to keep you busy for a hundred hours or more. It offers a good story that will engage both Metal Gear series veterans and newcomers alike. Unfortunately it also has a very steep learning curve which leaves you needing a lot of patience to get to grips with the complex resource management systems. It just seems like they could have done a lot more in converting this for Xbox 360 users and I fear it will end up being the least played game in the HD Metal Gear Collection.
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