by Marcus Brown
Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase “Walk softly, carry a big stick.” A small phrase with large implications. In a way, this is a statement about deterrence. In a more modern sense, deterrence against warfare is paired with nuclear weapons. Mutually assured destruction was one of the main forms of keeping the world from destroying each other. Hideo Kojima uses this theme of peace by force in his most recent iteration of the Metal Gear series, Peace Walker.
Peace Walker was released in 2010 on the Playstation Portable and later on the PS3 for the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. While matching some aspects of the previous PSP title Portable Ops, this game added a whole new element to the mix. The game was no longer about straight espionage and accomplishing missions single-handedly, but rather about
creating the Outer Heaven that Big Boss is destined to run. Players can recruit enemy soldiers and volunteers to grow their teams and base. The bigger the base, the more weapons and items the players is capable of making, as well as a strong base for sending soldiers out. This game has a strong RPG element to it which makes for an interesting play. Read up on the story of the game here.
This game focuses heavily on two major plot points: what some people believe it takes to create true peace in the world, and Naked Snake’s continued journey to understand the motives of his mentor, the Boss.
First, the climate and setting of Peace Walker set the perfect stage for the discussion of peace. The Cold War is trailing to an end, but enemy forces in the game are still trying to drag it on longer. In order to create a worldwide peace, the antagonists in this game are trying to create the biggest stick to fight with. What’s worse is that the deterrent, a prototype form of Metal Gear, is supposed to be a defense that’s completely run by an artificial intelligence, thereby taking out the human decision in deciding whether or not to retaliate. The idea of MAD, or mutually assured destruction, relies on the idea that fear of being destroyed by a retaliatory strike is what keeps the world from creating a nuclear winter. However, an unmanned nuclear tank that will automatically strike back at any oppressor does two things: it removes the possibility of someone going back on their word of striking back, and it completely solidifies MAD even more. Peace through incredible fear and strength is a certain type of peace; one that may not necessarily be the best.
Besides having to deal with potential nuclear destruction, Big Boss has to try and sort out why someone he knew almost all his life would betray him and everything she used to believe in. Big Boss struggles deep down with trying to figure out the Boss would defect to the Soviet Union and do a mission that requires her death. It isn’t until the very end that he begins to learn a whole new side to the Boss. In this, the player finally sees the transformation from Snake to Big Boss, though the perspective of the player concerning Big Boss’ choices may have changed since first fighting him in Metal Gear.
Peace Walker is a whole different type of game compared to the other titles in the saga. Though the game is on a portable device, a fact that sometimes make other portable titles unimportant to console gamers, it is still a very important game to play, especially with the next numbered title, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is coming within a year. Make sure you check out this game on the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.