Snake In!

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker may well end up being the greatest game ever released for the PSP. You should go buy it now. Here's why.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 1, 2010
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Four thousand three hundred fifteen. That's how many words I wrote about Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in our mega-preview blowout a few months back. That's six pages, 55 paragraphs, 25,439 characters and 319 lines about a game so ridiculously deep it's possible most people never actually got to the end of the preview because it read more like a manual. That's a shame, because I honestly can't bring myself to go over everything again -- at least not in that kind of depth -- and the lazy bastard in me would rather just point at that as to an explanation of why the game is so good.

That same lazy bastard is also responsible for this review being so late, but in a way, that's almost a good thing. Almost. Now that the dust has settled, many an Ad-Hoc Party-assisted online co-op match has been played and the critical reception has been ironed out, I can come waltzing in with statements like "this is the single best game on the PSP right now" and "it's a must have, go buy it" and it won't seem like a product of the hype wave surrounding the landing of arguably the biggest game to hit the PSP this year(at least until God of War: Ghost of Sparta streets).

That's not coming from a place of hype, that's coming from dozens of hours with unblinking eyes and headphones surrounding my ears, processing just what Kojima Productions have done here. The short version is that it's Metal Gear. Not a side project or a canonical but otherwise divorced continuation of the main console versions of the series, but an honest-to-god sequel. This is Metal Gear Solid 5, and as such is resonates in a way that those experiments and expansions of the core gameplay cannot.

But this is a game that's also deeper and filled with more breadth than any mainline MGS game before it. Yes, there is sneaking, bent and reworked to best capitalize on how the PSP presents things, but there's so much more. Light strategy and RPG and collecting elements are all here and while that sounds like it would pull away from just skulking through the jungle in a direct continuation of Metal Gear Solid 3, they end up bracing the main experience not unlike buttresses. They add flavor and distraction that helps to overcome some of the... difficulties in playing the game on the PSP.

Despite the obvious story continuations, though, this is not Metal Gear Solid as you know it -- not entirely. The addition of managing hundreds of mercs under your command, sending them out for side missions and collection of intel that you receive almost passively fits. It fits perfectly, in fact, with the idea of the beginnings of Outer Heaven, and the themes of honor and disillusionment that have changed the themes from MGS3. But these changes aren't the sole reason why this is a difficult assignment. For that, one must examine how Hideo Kojima has envisioned his opus as a PSP-centric affair.
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