It’s No Cake Walker (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)

I’m not sure how I managed to convince myself that Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was not important, that I could always save it for a rainy day. But now I’m having an uncomfortable sleep in this bed I’ve made, as I spend my days rushing to wrap PW up.

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The truth came to me suddenly. “Shit…MGSV: Ground Zeroes takes place after Peace Walker…what the hell happened in Peace Walker anyways?!” As luck would have this, this realization came just after a sale on PW, a missed opportunity to purchase it for $5.

Oh, but it’s not like I didn’t already own Peace Walker. That game was exactly why I purchased the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection in the first place. But time makes fools of us all, and I could never find enough of it to play the game.
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So I paid the full $20 for the chance to steam roll this B on the Vita. But yet again, things aren’t going as planned.

Peace Walker is hard. If you have yet to notice, I like my games easy (especially when given the choice). My life as a father and husband needs simplicity, I don’t have the time to bang my head against the wall. But here I stand, a massive welt adorning my forehead, and a Vita thrown against the couch.

Years of Metal Gear Solid’ing have prepared me for all this. Sneaking across Costa Rica is old hat for me, I’ve honed my skills in sneaking throughout the years. Peace Walker is as strong as ever in this regard (made only better with the Vita’s ability to remap the camera to its right stick), presenting me with expertly designed maps and situations. It still impresses me how much Kojima Productions can do with a maze and some guards, all the while providing countless options as to how I’ll handle the situation. How the studio can make watching an enemy’s routine fun I’ll never know.
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While Peace Walker continues the tradition of an expertly crafted mission structure, it’s the boss fights that cause me the aforementioned grief. I’ve fought three tanks now, none of which have impressed me to the level that Kojima Productions has in the past. These hulking piles of metal and bullets lack everything that made the studio’s previous encounters so memorable. There’s zero personality (as expected from an emotionless creation of man), and I’ve yet to make use of any strategy beyond waiting for my turn to shoot back. There hasn’t been any hooks or clever mechanisms used to take them down. Beyond that, they’re just hard. Monster Hunter‘s success impacted Peace Walker‘s design, as the game allows teams of four to tackle it’s missions. What this means is that a solo romp against these bosses isn’t quite fair, as the difficulty of them stays the same no matter how many players are involved. It’s a bizarre misstep that scars an otherwise amazing game.
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As far as my plans go, I wouldn’t bet against me completing Peace Walker before Ground Zeroes releases. Despite my issues with the boss encounters, I’m having a lovely time. While I wish I could tune the game a little easier, there’s no denying that I’m having to play smarter than I’m used to. I may not be progressing as quickly as I desire, slowing down has also meant enjoying the game more fully.

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