Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Top 10 Games of the Seventh Generation Consoles - #9: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
A proper sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Peace Walker explores the impact the Boss’ training and philosophy have had on Snake in the years following her death. It’s very much a story about Snake – in typical Metal Gear fashion, there are plenty of other cast members to intrigue players, to flesh out the experience, and to better connect the dots that make up the Metal Gear lore. But through all of Kazuhira Miller’s radio chatter it’s quite clear that this is the story that is meant to bridge the gap between the Naked Snake era and the rise of Big Boss’ Outer Heaven. David Hayter puts on a more gruff tone to convey how Snake has aged both physically and emotionally, and the shift in his presentation of this iconic gaming character goes a long way in sowing the seeds of both Big Boss’ new identity and the goals of the Militaires Sans Frontieres.
Much like with MGS3, Peace Walker offers a slightly greater range of freedom with picking an approach to countering Snake’s foes. You can distract them by making noise and then carefully sneaking around them, or you can take them head on thanks to a more-powerful-than-usual arsenal. A few of the boss fights do require a more straightforward combat approach, as foes will attempt to flank Snake and force him out of a well-defended spot. This results in the need to balance your strategy between taking out these lesser enemies and dealing blows to the tank, helicopter, or mech that is Snake’s primary target.
While the individual areas in Peace Walker are nowhere near as expansive as those in MGS3, they are still structured as a series of connected sectors. For a handheld game, these look gorgeous due to their high level of detail. The soundtrack is classic Metal Gear and, again, of impressively highly quality. The multiplayer mode and RPG elements worked into building Snake’s forces are both unusual choices for a Metal Gear title, but they work surprisingly well.
Peace Walker is a bold spin on everything you’d expect from a Metal Gear game – at its core, it’s the same tactical espionage action you’ve come to know and love. But the gameplay elements give it a whole new flavor that makes it a fresh experience for MGS veterans. Peace Walker is not only among the best entries in one of my personal favorite video game franchises, it’s one of the best handheld titles I’ve ever played.