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Compared to Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Portable Ops was a tame and bare-bones experience. Portable Ops was the Metal Gear experience made shorter, easier, and more segmented, which worked for the portable intentions, but the game lost some of its appeal by lacking a more cohesive story between missions. That, and the one analog stick made for some persistently awful camera issues.
Peace Walker, on the other hand, discards its portable aspirations in favor of providing a better Metal Gear game. From the demo released on the PSN a while ago, it seems as though the game will offer much more meat than its predecessor. Replaying missions for rankings appeals to the completionists that aim to sneak by enemies undetected, and the "Co-Ops" that allow for four people friends or online strangers can tackle objectives together, which seems like it could lead to either heated debate or flawless cooperation, both of which are entertaining.
Of course, there are also the numerous product placements and crossovers that have divided the Metal Gear community. Though the series never took itself completely seriously, it at least kept its authenticity as tight as possible. If you haven't played the series, let me inform you: there have as of yet not been any giantic lizards present in the Metal Gear fiction.
Monster Hunter creatures and Axe body spray t-shirts may seem to desecrate the fiction of Metal Gear, but I find these things fun. The Monster Hutner crossover takes place on an island separate from the rest of the game, and the product placement… well, it doesn't really bother me. Will I wear a Doritos shirt? Probably not. Will I direct my anger at Kojima Productions and Konami for including it in the game? Not really.
There are really two things that I'm concerned about for the sequel: the mission structure and the control scheme. Having played the demo, I'm fairly confident in saying at least one of those things has been largely improved. Alloting the camera control to the face buttons rather than the d-pad isn't something new — it was an option in Portable Ops — but it's the restructured interface that's responsible for the biggest improvement. The streamline interface allows for easier selection of weapons, while the third-person aiming option lets you move and shoot, which is a lifesaver.
It's difficult to ascertain whether the mission structure will be revamped this time around, but the demo is promising. The four missions in the demo were longer than missions in Portable Ops were, but I'd still like to see a more connected overworld rather than a series of missions. However, many of Peace Walker's improvements — as well as some of its… oddities — are welcome, and will hopefull deliver on the "MGS5-class game" Kojima has been promising.