The Road to Outer Heaven Is Paved With Good Intentions

We've played Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for days. You should probably pay for it in full now. No, seriously, go plunk the money down for it and hug your PSP. Here's why.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 3, 2010
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Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is taffy.

We know that might sound like a strange analogy (though it would certainly fit in Hideo Kojima's games' particular brand of craziness), but hear us out. If you've ever seen the stuff -- the really ornate stuff with lots of interesting flavors -- being made on any of those behind-the-scenes food shows, you'll know what we mean. First, a familiar outer shell is laid down after being pulled until itís the right consistency, then the core is plopped on top, then more intricate, smaller pieces are laid on top of that, each with their own colors and flavors, then the whole thing is rolled up and eventually extruded as a little bite-sized piece with a complex middle and an overall sensation that's sometimes familiar but new at the same time.

That's Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. No, really, it is.

When we first sat down at Konami's Boot Camp a few weeks back, we fired up our PSP, threw on a pair of headphones and let the stylized intro (which you can see in our video section) wash over us. We drank in the familiar title screen, futzed around with the options a bit and then dove headlong into the adventure, still not fully prepared for what we were about to experience.

Things start fairly simply after picking between English, French and Spanish languages. If you've played the demo or watched any of the early reveal stuff, you'll no doubt be familiar with the arrival of Big Boss rolling up on his hog to a rain-drenched beachfront where mercenaries being inducted into the Militaires Sans Frontieres (yes, Soliders Without Borders, smart French-speaking duder) are schooled on close-quarters combat. As the cutscene continues, Big Boss (who has since abandoned that name among his fellow mercs and just goes by Snake), strides out onto the stand and proceeds to school the recruits on the intricacies of unarmed combat.

This is, of course, a clever way to introduce newcomers to the controls, which include three different control schemes each tuned to a familiar game style. Shooter Type syncs up loosely with the controls from Metal Gear Solid 4, Action Type is tailored to players of Portable Ops and Hunter Type, in a neat little crossover between Konami and Capcom, is patterned off the best-selling PSP game released thus far. Each has its own quirks, but we opted for the most familiar, Shooter Type, and quickly got used to using the face buttons to control the camera.

Things advanced to a new form of CQC which allowed Snake to take on multiple enemies in range, by grabbing an enemy and then throwing them, Snake can either bowl over nearby enemies or open up a short window where the next enemy in range can be immediately thrown with CQC, leading to combos of more than a half-dozen dazed enemies all laying on the ground. As we would soon find out, this would become a lesson well worth learning, though if you've already played the demo or are feeling brave, the tutorial can be skipped.
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