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Hands-On: A Second Analog Stick Adds A Lot To Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

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At Konami’s booth, I had a chance to try out Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD’s new control setup, and found myself quite pleased with the results!

 

Based around the original game’s "Shooter" control scheme that used the face buttons (square, x, circle, triangle) to aim while shooting, playing with two analog sticks simply remaps those functions to the right analog stick. While this sounds like a little change, it actually adds a lot to the game, making it feel much smoother and easier to line up headshots. The PSP game’s auto aim option and (very helpful) aim assist are still in the game, but this just feels like the way Peace Walker was meant to be played. The default sensitivity when I wasn’t aiming at things was a little too twitchy for my taste, initially, but that was quickly remedied by lowering it by about half in the options menu.

 

Only two of the newly-freed buttons are utilized under this new control scheme. The triangle button has become the go-to action button, appearing on prompts where up on the d-pad used to be. However, I used up on the d-pad to interrogate one of the soldiers I had in a headlock (it was instinct! I’ve played a lot of Peace Walker…), and discovered that it worked just as an action button as triangle. X is now the button used for crouching or going prone, making Peace Walker feel even more like its predecessors. Once again, its positional counterpart on the d-pad did the same thing.

 

Speaking of Peace Walker’s predecessors, Peace Walker’s weapon and item menus have now been lifted from their former positions on the d-pad to their rightful places as R2 and L2 respectively. While I still couldn’t navigate these menus with the left analog stick, it was really nice to be able to browse through them with the d-pad as opposed to using square and triangle to move left and right through them.

 

Peace Walker HD will be out in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for PS3 and Xbox 360 this Winter.

Kris