Hands On With Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD on Xbox 360

Being a huge fan of the Metal Gear series since the ‘80s, I was excited (to say the least) when Solid Snake made his return with Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation in 1998.  Since then, the MGS series has grown to immense popularity with three additional sequels on the PlayStation platform as well as additional releases on Nintendo consoles and the PlayStation portable.  Point in fact, Metal Gear Solid 4 was the only exclusive title that I was interested in on the PlayStation 3 for the longest time, and it wouldn’t be until earlier this year that I was finally able to enjoy it as I had gone the way of the Xbox 360.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was released for the PlayStation Portable in June of 2010.  And like any other game with first or third person shooter mechanics on the PSP, it suffered from a clunky camera system that simply made the game too difficult for me to keep an interest beyond the demo.  However, this last August at Konami’s Gamers’ Day Event during the Toronto FanExpo, I was treated to something spectacular;  not only was I able to play Peace Walker on a console, but on an Xbox 360!

Now this is the point where someone is going to jump on me for being a fan boy because I played in on the 360, but that isn’t the case, and this article isn’t about that.  What it is about is how much better MGS: Peace Walker plays on a console with two analog sticks as opposed to one.  So how is it?  Absolutely, without a doubt, hands down, far better.

The control scheme was lifted straight off of the PlayStation controller, and lovingly grafted onto the Xbox 360.  I was literally able to pick up and play the game with the button and control scheme completely intact, allowing me to enjoy Peace Walker without any learning curve whatsoever.  Moreover, the addition of the second analog stick for Peace Walker made gameplay as silky smooth as any of its predecessors.

The demo started me in the middle of the jungle on a mission to free rebels from a mercenary group.  Armed only with a tranquilizer gun, I was able to quickly dispatch the six or seven guards that descended on my position, and move on to the next area.  Then, using my sneaking skills, camouflage, and tranqulizer gun for good measure, I rapidly took down anyone who threatened to discover me as I made my way into the mercenary camp.  From there, things got a little more heated and I had to rely less on stealth, and more on the weapons and ammunition that I picked up along the way.  Long story short, the mercenaries were dead, the rebels were freed, and I was a hero.

In a nutshell, everything about the MGS: Peace Walker experience has simply been made better with its move to the console.  Between the updated HD 1080p graphics moving along at a gorgeous 60 frames per second, introduction of the second analog stick control for the camera, and the addition of trophies and achievements, this is a re-release that Peace Walker very much deserves.  Regardless if you purchase it on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, it’s guaranteed to make everyone happy.  My only complaint is that our Japanese brethren will have available to them an exclusive Limited Edition collection that’s just to die for.  Not only will they get the game, but a soundtrack CD and a Kai Arts Play Solid Snake Action Figure as well.

I just may have to check on the importers for this one…

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