Ask me what my favourite game series is and I’ll tell you Metal Gear Solid. Ask me my favourite MGS game and I’ll tell you, without a blink, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. A new rival is set to join the series, with the PSP taking another bite of the action.
“I’ve learned something… I’m not living unless I’m in battle” – Big Boss
I’m pretty certain that a great deal of you reading this are nodding in agreement. MGS 3 is undoubtedly one of the highest points of the Playstation 2 era. The story had me hooked, yes there were a lot of cut-scenes and they were very, very long at times; but it just added to the epic scale that has become synonymous with the series. The jungle setting was fantastic, hiding in lush vegetation waiting to sneak up on an unsuspecting sentry just seemed so right. I felt like an animal hunting its prey, like a stalking tiger or perhaps more appropriately, a slithering snake.
After so many fans were left feeling burned by playing as Raiden in MGS 2, Kojima made sure that his main man wasn’t going to let fans down next time around. Solid Snake was a cool character, he was every action hero rolled into one. He broke necks and shot guns with a cigarette hanging from his lips. Gamers loved him and found it difficult to switch from him to the self doubting and, at times, whiny Raiden. MGS3’s Big Boss took the Solid Snake template and turned it up to eleven. He’s old-school, the cigarette replaced by a cigar, sporting an eye patch, and fixing his own broken limbs; that is truly bad-ass.
When Konami announced Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, many fans of the series couldn’t wait to play more Big Boss. That anticipation soon turned into mild disappointment when the game finally launched. An awkward control scheme, annoying camera and a story that just wasn’t up to its home console counterparts were some of the biggest problems with the game. It wasn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt like a missed opportunity.
That missed opportunity now has the chance to be rectified as Kojima and co. bring us Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in 2010. Announced at E3, the game will be the “missing link”, showing us Big Boss’ formation of Outer Heaven.
Stopped jumping up and down in anticipation yet? Good, I’ll continue.
The trailer shows a jungle setting, with Big Boss sneaking up on an unsuspecting guard. A return to the jungle will be a dream for fans of MGS 3 and possibly see the return of the camo system in some form. It will be interesting to see if the PSP can do justice to the forests and long grass that were featured in Snake Eater, the recently unveiled footage of Gran Turismo PSP shows that the handheld is capable of wonderful visuals and should be able to pull it off without much compromise graphically. From the trailer we can see that the game is, at least in part, set in Costa Rica and as mentioned will be the “missing link”, showing us Big Boss’ formation of Outer Heaven.
Control-wise it seems to be taking its cue from MGS 4, with the ‘crouch-walk’ featuring and anyone who has played it knows how often this move is used and is most welcome in the new game. Giving Big Boss all the moves that Old Snake had at his disposal would be very appealing, advanced CQC techniques being mapped to the PSP could be a possibility. Portable Ops had an interesting feature in capturing unconscious enemies, building up a small army of soldiers with differing skills. Dragging these soldiers back to the truck every time made it quite a chore, however, at 2:10 into the trailer we can see Big Boss attaching a balloon to an unconscious soldier and launching him into the air, perhaps this is the solution to the problem?
At 2:46 in the trailer, the words “Solitary infiltration? Tactical coordination?” appear, followed by four snakes forming up, ready to take on a massive flying enemy. Has Kojima got some co-op stealth action in store for us? Picture the scene: sitting with a friend, each with a copy of Peace Walker on your PSPs. Imagine one player knocking on a wall to distract a guard, while another sneaks up behind him and takes him out. Now imagine unlockable characters; Big Boss and Solid Snake teaming up? It could be possible. At the moment its all just speculation, something Metal Gear trailers create by the truckload. I’m sure if this is what Kojima productions has in store for us then we’ll see some fantastic use of multi-man infiltrations.
Kojima himself has proclaimed the game as the next true sequel in the MGS story. His involvement, coupled with Sony’s determination to see a rebirth in big name games for their PSP platform should mean that no shortcuts are taken and the game has the scale and storyline we expect from the franchise. The game is still a long way off and very little has been shown, “the cries for a hero bring the dawn of a new era” the trailer proclaims, let’s hope so.