Metal Gear Solid Noob Diaries #19: Peace Walker
Welcome to the Metal Gear Noob Diaries. This is the recounting of my experience through the MGS series from MGS2: Sons of Liberty all the way to MGSV: Ground Zeroes. I’ll be updating every so often with new thoughts on sections of the games and taking a look back at memorable and enjoyable moments. I’ve never played the series before, so for the fans out there it could be an amusing tale of one noob’s journey, while those as green as myself could well learn a little about the mad world of MGS. Enjoy!
Ahh, back in my sweet, sweet chair of comfort. After a break from the series that felt infinitely longer than it actually was, I’m now back on track to continue playing the rest of Metal Gear Solid indefinitely. Or until I finish the games, I suppose. Now I did have a brief moment of unnecessary panic when I started playing Peace Walker only to realise that it was actually released two years after MGS4, thereby blowing up my core principle of playing the games in release order. Then I realised I could just take the game out and put in Guns of the Patriots - then I thought, hell, I want to continue the Big Boss story so I’m going to keep on playing. I’m a rebel like that.
So Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker it is, a game that was originally released on the PSP in 2010 but later spruced up for the HD collection. They did a fantastic job with it too, while images and videos of the original game look akin to Portable Ops, the HD version looks just as good, if not better, than Snake Eater. The game’s opening was also a lot better than any of the previous games - it actually included a tutorial! Which, based on my experience, has been a long time coming in an MGS game. No chance of me forgetting how to use CQC this time around!
Which is handy, because in my first couple of hours with the game I’ve been using CQC a lot more than I did in any of the other games. Admittedly, this is largely because the controls are now far more user friendly, giving me a lot more options and making the whole ‘taking out the guards’ thing feel stealthier. Obviously I’ve alerted more than a few guards so far (as is my unavoidable style), but either I’ve gotten a lot better at this sneaking stuff over the course of the three games, or Peace Walker is much more familiar to modern play styles. It’s probably the latter. Actually, it’s definitely the latter.
So with the tutorial down it was time for the first proper cutscene of the game to crack me into the story. Which did create a little issue on the off: I was, for some reason, expecting the cutscenes of Peace Walker to be fully animated (à la MGS2 and 3). Turns out they’re presented in comic form just like Portable Ops, and while I did enjoy the slight diversion in style, I do much prefer proper 3D scenes, so I’ll confess to being a little disappointed by that. Although the game did do a lot in that two hours to win me over to the comic style, including some cool interactive sections, like shooting down a robot thingy.
Anyways, the story this time sets up pretty simply - a sign of Kojima’s more modern touch with reality perhaps? Snake, that’s Big Boss Snake of course, has set up a ‘sort of mercenary group’ called Soldiers Without Borders - which, for reasons of sophistication, is officially titled Militaires Sans Frontières or MSF. This all stemming from the end of Portable Ops when Snake gets a twinge in his soldier-womb as his incredible ability to lead men becomes increasingly apparent. MSF, before the game begins, is already a renowned military force. It’s a cool idea that fits well into the team-building element of Peace Walker.
The intro also introduces Kazuhira Miller, a lean blonde chap who’s apparently from Japan. What’s weird about his place in the game is that he’s never properly introduced; while most MGS characters make grand entrances, Miller is just sort of there. There’s no backstory and no real character set-up. He’s Snake’s second and that’s all I need to know, apparently. Well I have the internet, so I can look this kind of thing up. There’s a surprising amount of backstory for the guy on his wiki but I have no idea where it comes from...
I keep going off on tangents here. The gist of the game is this: Snake and the MSF have been contacted by a Costa Rican professor who claims that a secret army has started to occupy the defenceless Costa Rica, potentially with an aim to control central America, thereby throwing the US into panic (supposedly). Snake exposes the professor as a KGB spy, but a young Costa Rican girl by the name of Paz, who the spy brings with him, convinces Snake to help her country. That’s not the only reason though, Paz also reveals a tape recorder that has captured a recording of The Boss’ voice somewhere in Costa Rica recently. In theory, The Boss is alive! I have my innumerable suspicions though.
So that’s the first small section down, now to the rest! After that little break, I’m really quite excited to be playing them properly once again.