Not every game series has a perfect record. For every AAA game that grabs the attention of media outlets and fans worldwide, there is a spinoff or two that either underperforms or is simply overlooked by the general populace. Even the great Solid Snake is not immune to this curse, diving into everything from card games to fighting free-for-alls, but titles like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker definitely fall into the latter. Many, including yours truly, tried giving this game a stab on the PSP, but the platform just didn’t gel with me. However, I feel I’ve finally found the way it was meant to be played – with the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Truth be told, I did attempt to beat Peace Walker when it hit the PSP a few years ago. However, between the considerable depth and its oh-so lengthy cutscenes, the game sat shelved before I even completed the first chapter. Now that it’s on a convenient disc I can pop into my PS3, I can enjoy a title of this depth on my comfy leather couch and plasma TV instead of a rock-hard train seat and a tiny screen.
It’s not just the presentation that benefits more from the big screen; the PSP’s hardware itself proved to be a hindrance as well. Simultaneously controlling Snake and managing his inventory with only one-analog stick and two fewer shoulder buttons was a headache in and of itself, especially when it came to switching your inventory or executing his trademark CQC attacks. Unlike other entries in the series, the action does not freeze when Snake cracks open his inventory, so taking out that tank and fleet of oncoming soldiers becomes that much harder. Needless to say, when you have a game that revolves around stealth and a ranking system, precision is key.
Thankfully, this scheme has been thrown out the window, replaced with not one, but three control schemes. Not only does dual analog control come standard (the way god intended), each control scheme is based off of a different entry in the series. It helps to add some much-needed variety to Peace Walker, especially for those who prefer their Metal Gear in the vein of Monster Hunter.
Peace Walker has taught me that sometimes one’s work can be over-ambitious for its original platform. This PS3 re-release helps to fully unleash developer Hideo Kojima’s original vision, and show what he originally planned for our hero all along. After all, as the great Snake once said:
"Killing is one of those things that gets easier every time you do it."