Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Big Boss readies a comeback in the latest PSP Metal Gear.
Thus far, Konami has done en excellent job bringing its Metal Gear Solid franchise to PSP, between the strategic Acid games and the action-oriented Portable Ops. But the latest in the series came out over two years ago, and players have itched for some Solid Snake action. Fortunately, Kojima Productions listened, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is set to arrive sometime next year. However, you'll control a different Snake this time around.
Naked Snake, aka Big Boss, steps into the spotlight. We haven't seen him since he raised havoc in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and its Subsistence follow-up back on the PlayStation 2. This time, he deploys to Costa Rica in 1974. A nearby military group has set up shop close by, with enough weapons to cause a tremendous rift between the West and the East. The Costa Rican government is powerless to stop them, since they're unable to assemble a task force due to government laws. It's up to Big Boss and his team, Militaires Sans Frontieres (Soldiers Without Borders) to push them back before it's too late.
Peace Walker offers plenty to do in single player, but if you really want to experience everything the game has to offer, you'll need to bring a friend. The game relies heavily on co-op support, with two players across the main missions and up to four working together in the side boss stages. Four different variations of Snake are available, but with unique perks. Armored Snake, for example, moves slower than the others, but carries more weapons. Naked Snake is speedier, but isn't that great at blocking attacks.
When two Snakes stand next to each other, various options are available. You can hold hands (awwww) through "Snake-In", where one player leads the way as others shoot surrounding enemies. Holding doors that are about to close and performing CPR on fallen comrades also prove useful over the course of the game. In addition, if a player runs low on a specific item, such as health or ammunition, you can share. Best of all, those little boxes that Snake used to crawl around in before? They're back, but now they're big enough for two. We're not sure how anyone could miss a box the size of a fridge moving around, but hey, whatever works.
This game also has a heavy emphasis on stealth and action. You'll move around with the analog stick, perform crouching and co-op actions with presses of the d-pad, execute melee actions with the right shoulder button and man weapons holding down both shoulder buttons. Peace Walker also has an over-the-shoulder shooting perspective, similar to Metal Gear Solid 4 on the PlayStation3. That way, you'll have a clear view of your target, while keeping your own character in plain sight. There are certain technicalities that are hard to overlook, however. If you're on the ground, you won't be able to move, not even crawl. Furthermore, you can't pick up an item by running over it. You'll need to crouch.
So far, Peace Walker looks stellar. Kojima Productions put a lot of effort into the game, so it looks just as attractive as Snake Eater. The jungle environments are impressive, with plenty of foliage to hide in as guards pass by. The wide-open areas are a plus too, although you won't be able to access some areas until you earn certain abilities with Snake. The game also includes a solid voice cast, with veteran David Hayter returning once again as Big Boss.
We're not quite sure how the team aspect will work in the final version (we have to see more of it in action), but Konami hasn't let us down with Metal Gear, so Peace Walker should be in good hands. Be sure to check back for a full hands-on report with the game soon, as well as more gameplay details.