The end of May brought a massive game to Xbox’s Games with Gold deals in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, an action-adventure stealth game from the mind of Hideo Kojima, with amazing game play and incredible graphics from publisher Konami. This edition into the Metal Gear franchise brings Punished “Venom” Snake into the deserts of Afghanistan where he must search for the people who destroyed his men and nearly killed him at the end of the previous MGS game, Ground Zeroes.
Confusion and Even More Confusion.
Not being familiar with the events of past MGS games, the story of The Phantom Pain (TPP) was confusing to say the least. The prologue before the true game started was just as interesting as it was confusing. Snake was bedridden in a hospital and he lost his arm and was given a bionic replacement. Then soldiers began invading the hospital and Snake had to escape with another patient.
While all of this was going on, some sort of fire demon showed up and started setting the whole place on fire, and at one point, it summoned a giant fiery whale that took down the enemies. Granted, I have not completed the entire game as of yet to see how this fire demon ties into the TPP’s military-style campaign, but the entire thing was just confusing. However, the story wasn’t the only confusing part of TPP, for me. The entire experience, no matter how fun, interesting, or visually stunning, had a tinge of confusion that left me rifling through menus trying to figure out what I was doing.
The first thing I noticed was that there was no mini map. With such a large, open world, I found myself continuously pulling up my iDriod to make sure I was heading in the right direction towards my destination. There were also collectables you need to gather throughout the world such as minerals and plants to create consumables. Managing Mother Base can also be quite confusing if you are new to the game. I found it difficult to navigate the Mother Base menu and allocate the correct recruits to the proper team. I am sure with more time put into the game this will become less confusing.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gameplay.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been hailed as possibly the greatest stealth game ever created, and after playing for only a few hours, it is easy to see why. The depth and complexity of this open-world shooter is beyond comparison. The open-world nature of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain allows players to complete main missions to progress the story as well as side missions to gain intelligence, items, experience, and more.
What stuck out the most to me was the varied and essential night/day mechanic and the random weather (rain, fog, sandstorms) that play a crucial role in how you go about your mission. Enemies have a harder time spotting you in the dark of night, but you will also have to work harder to see them. Rain dampens your footsteps, making it easier to sneak up on your enemies. And everyone is blinded and confused when a random sandstorm blows by.
Fight Your Own Way.
Another game-changing aspect of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the aforementioned “Mother Base,” which allows players to build up their very own mercenary group by extracting stunned enemies and equipment back to Mother Base. Once part of Mother Base, recruits can be added to the R&D team, which help upgrade equipment, your horse and helicopter that you can call in to help you in battle.
This type of detailed game play lets players decide how they want to approach each and every mission. Need to sneak around the disable enemy communication systems? Head out at night and pick off your enemies one by one. Want to go into a mission guns blazing? Call in your chopper and blast enemies away until your heart’s content.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Verdict.
Overall, I feel that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a masterpiece of a video game, but as someone who is new to the game it felt as if it was trying to be too many different games at once. It has the shooter/stealth of a Metal Gear game, the open world of a Grand Theft Auto instalment, material gathering aspects like a Far Cry, and a base management game thrown right in the middle.
Also, the confusing nature of it for new players took away from the overall experience for me. As I continue to play, the confusion should dissipate and navigating the menus and all the various things to do in the game will become easier to handle.
For my first go at playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I would give it a 7/10.
Written by Anthony Giudice
Images: PlayStation Europe