Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP, a new installment of Metal Gear from Hideo Kojima and his team at Kojima Productions, is familiar and yet different at the same time. Peace Walker packs the feel and core gameplay of a home console Metal Gear Solid title while adding a whole bunch of new features, such as a new type of mission structure, base management and recruitment, weapons level-ups and Metal Gear assembly. Regardless of whether you’re a tried-and-true hardcore MGS veteran who needs a little help or a newcomer who has never played a stealth game before, there are more than enough details in the Prima Essential Guide for MGS: Peace Walker to not only help you get through the game, but enough to score high ranks on every mission as well.
Peace Walker itself has some new and different features for a MGS game, so perhaps it’s fitting that Peace Walker has a new and different type of strategy guide. The PW guide is spiral-bound and has pages laid out horizontally instead of vertically. This way, gamers can keep the guide close to them and have easy access to flipping guide pages while playing Peace Walker on your PSP. The design decision is a great one; while playing Peace Walker, I had no problem easily navigating the pages back and forth. More handheld game guides should come with this type of design or at least use spiral binding.
The pages in the guide are good quality and are accompanied by detailed maps and good quality screenshots. The maps used in the guide are literally the exact same ones as used in the pause menu, except the guide’s maps are detailed with enemy positions and all prisoner/item locations. Not only that, but there’s a red line on every map detailing the exact route that you should take. Alongside the guide’s advice, practically everything you can expect from any given mission is spelled out for you, including cut scene prompts.
When I say missions are spelled out for you, that means every mission is spelled out. All of the missions have loadouts, stealth suit selections, and detailed advice. Most missions also include marked maps with the same amount of detail as in the story missions. No matter what mission you’re on, this guide has the best and most direct advice possible.
The loadout and stealth suit advice is spot-on for the most part, although there were a few missions where I preferred using the Sneaking Suit, rather than the recommended suit in the guide for my non-lethal playthrough. This could be my preference, though; I’m sure that the guide chose the suit with the highest camouflage index, which is most likely, given the accuracy of the rest of the guide.
The Peace Walker guide gets bonus points for: 1) having detailed advice on how to access the “true” ending, which I didn’t even know existed prior to receiving the guide and 2) having mostly non-lethal playthrough advice in the story mission, with advice that advocates the use of the Mk. 22 (tranquilizer gun) and other non-lethal takedowns. Metal Gear fans who choose not to engage in a non-lethal playthrough won’t have any problems, either; engaging in a non-lethal playthrough is more challenging than a lethal playthrough.
For those who will be investing time and effort in Mother Base (Outer Heaven), the guide has detailed Quick Reference tables that show you when and under what circumstances weapons and gadgets upgrades will become available, in addition to how many points you’ll need to start making them. The guide also has details on how to build the absolute best Metal Gear possible, which is important to the story and to certain other Ops available in the game.
The Prima Essential Guide for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker spells out everything and gives enough detail where even gamers inexperienced in MGS can get all the way through any mission they want to play. Combined with its unique handheld gaming-friendly design, the MGS: Peace Walker guide is a fantastic resource for those who need any degree of help getting through Big Boss’ latest adventure.
The Prima Essential Guide for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker earns a 5/5.