Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – a Field Guide

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Since completing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots a whopping three times — once for each difficulty setting! — I’ve been positively fiending for a new Metal Gear fix. Luckily, series mastermind Hideo Kojima has been busy cooking up a new chapter exclusively for the PSP, and this time, it’s a story-centric adventure that picks up where Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater left off. And I got to play it!

Check out the new trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker below, and read on for more details and new screens.

That’s right, the Bearded One himself — Naked Snake, aka Solid Snake’s pops — returns to the lead role in Peace Walker. Set in 1974’s Central America, in a war-weary time at the tail end of the Vietnam Conflict, Peace Walker will further explore the philosophical and political ramifications of war as commerce, as well as its longterm deleterious effects on society, the economy, and ourselves.

But don’t worry. You’ll still be able to blow stuff up real good, too.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Peace Walker has earned much press for being a “true” sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and also for harnessing the strengths of the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots development team at Kojima Productions. Thus far, the results are undeniably impressive: Peace Walker looks and plays like a full-fledged console MGS title.

Take the graphics, which look terrific in still screenshots but positively explode off the screen when seen in motion. Peace Walker is clearly pushing the PSP hardware into uncharted territory with its intricately detailed human faces and lush, MGS3-quality jungle environments. Visually, Peace Walker is right up there with PSP graphical heavyweights like God of War: Chains of Olympus and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. But you don’t have to take my word for it — check out the MGS: Peace Walker playable demo on the PlayStation Store and see for yourself.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Snake doing what he does best: look really, really cool

On the gameplay side, Peace Walker could perhaps be best described as a hybrid of elements from MGS3: Snake Eater and MGS4: Guns of the Patriots. MGS4 fans will feel right at home with the heavier action and shooting emphasis, while MGS3 fans will appreciate the return of classic characters and continuing story threads, such as Snake’s lingering guilt over (SPOILER!) killing his mentor at the conclusion of Snake Eater.

The PSP is a different beast than the PS3’s DualShock 3 controller, but Peace Walker successfully scales MGS4’s legendarily fluid controls to fit the PSP’s button layout. The results are tight and responsive. I quickly learned how to free-aim in the over-the-shoulder aiming mode (while aiming with R, just tap L). With a little practice, I was soon popping headshots and body-slamming fools just like in the old days.

One new feature that caught my eye is the ability to equip Snake with various armor and weapon loadouts, depending on your play style and tactical preference. Some armor sets are more suited to full-on assault tactics; other loadouts are better suited for pure stealth or absorbing incoming fire. This kind of character customization is a promising addition to the series’ classic gameplay, giving newcomers a more forgiving way to get their toes wet while enabling MGS veterans to sneak their hearts out the old-school way.

The custom character loadouts will also make a major impact on Peace Walker’s cooperative play modes, last seen in the previous PSP installment, Portable Ops. Peace Walker takes co-op to the next level by enabling two players to coordinate on main missions; up to four players can team up against the series’ trademark bosses. A host of new co-op maneuvers will give you plenty of reasons to buddy up over WiFi.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Peace Walker’s cooperative play introduce plenty of new tactical approaches, and the four-player boss fights look downright epic.

The wait is almost over, and the pieces are all in place. Peace Walker struts its stuff on June 8th, only on the PSP.

(Protip: Check out the Peace Walker PSP Entertainment Pack, and the ultra-limited PSP “Big Boss” Pack.)

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Code Hunt

MGS-PW-84b2d-2db48ff Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Code Hunt Contest

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