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Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition (2011) - Review

Never owned a PSP so didn't get a chance to play this on it. But luckily we got it ported to PS3/Xbox 360 in a HD remaster and since The Phantom Pain was right around the corner, I thought it was the best time to play this. This game isn't a spinoff or a non-canonical sequel or something just because it was released on the portable system. This is what I initially thought when the game first came out( :p ). It is actually a proper sequel to Big Boss's prequel story that we got in MGS3.

The story takes place a decade after MGS3 events and we see Big Boss leaving behind all the government duties/ties he had with USA and leading his own group of mercenaries aptly named MSF or Milataires Sans Frontieres(Soldiers without borders). The game starts off with us getting a mission from a new client.

The game's story is told through these beautifully crafted comic book style cutscenes, which often contained QTEs, and I'm glad they went with this option because real time cut-scenes would not have looked good due to PSP's hardware limitations. A lot of new characters are introduced and there is tons and tons of information about them. The codec call system that usually delivered info and conversations was ditched (Missed that) in favor of tapes that you could listen about each character. The voice acting was mostly good as one would expect from an MGS game. The one I found a bit disappointing was Big Boss himself. I don't know what happened with David Hayter but he sounded like he had something stuck in his throat throughout the game. Was too gruff. I mean it worked great in MGS4 because the character was old but I don't know why he did a mix of that old voice and his previous young voice here. The result was not good. I guess this could be the reason Kojima went with someone else in MGSV.

The game-play in this game was a bit disappointing when you're on the field. It was dumbed down/stripped as compared to the previous parts and the areas themselves were pretty small and usually consisted of even smaller portions linked together with loading screen. But once you accept that this is what you'll be getting throughout the game and is because of the platform's limitations, it got pretty good. But since the scale was so small, some stuff just felt stupid like you standing pretty near your enemy and them not seeing/noticing you and stuff.

I also found the game to be pretty easy. The only time I was kinda challenged was during the first proper boss fight (The Pupa) where I died a lot and that too because I was doing some stuff in the wrong way and was not patient. Once I realized how to do these fights, the rest of them felt quite easy and didn't die once in any of them. Although, they were lengthy and felt satisfying when you finish them and the bosses themselves had some fight in them.

This game featured something new in the franchise gameplay wise, operating a full mother base. Now this aspect I really liked. You had to take care and further develop the mother base of Big Boss's MSF organization. It was the base of operations for everything. You could assign members to different areas, sent soldiers on missions, develop new items and weapons etc. All the development helped you in the main missions and the side missions as well. To recruit more members, you could use an item to send knocked out enemies or POWs during missions and recruit them for your base. It added an extra incentive to play the missions in proper stealth mode instead of going in guns blazing. It made you really feel like stepping in shoes of BIG BOSS.

Since the game was originally released on PSP, the game's graphics were pretty poor. But they do feel impressive when you consider it with PSP's standards. Plus, the HD remastering was done beautifully. The game ran at 60FPS and had some Anti aliasing and other filters to improve the look on a higher resolution.

The soundtrack of MGS games has always been good and it was no different here. I really liked how in flashbacks of Big Boss and The boss, the track played was a soft piano version of the famous MGS3 song, Snake Eater. Was a nice touch.

MGS: Peace Walker is an overall great game despite its shortcomings. Took me about 20 hours or so to beat it and I never felt bored once in all the playtime. IT further tells the story of Big Boss and his change and how his organization grew and puts you at the helm of it. Any MGS fan owe it to themselves to play it and it is definitely a must play part to properly enjoy MGSV.



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