Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been hailed as a masterpiece and one of the best games so far this generation. But can it live up to the hype in my eyes? Absolutely not.
I’ll start off by saying that this is my first proper Metal Gear Solid game (I have played Ground Zeroes) so I don’t want to talk about the story too much but I had no idea what was going on, as I was expecting by jumping in with a fifth instalment in an established franchise. But I will say that it was underwhelming, especially after being told by many people that Metal Gear games have fantastic stories. I found some of the story choices baffling, such as having Big Boss hardly talk, it makes some of the more emotional moments lose weight because one character is pouring their heart out or speaking of how important something is and Big Boss just sits there staring like an infant who hasn’t learnt how to speak yet. The direction by Hideo Kojima was well done and he has a great cinematic eye but his story choices bring down these moments. Another decision by Kojima that confuses me is why he has credits at the start of each main story mission, I know he wanted the missions to feel more like episodes but it spoils who will be in the mission which takes all the fun and surprise out of the story.
The game play and open world is what Konami and co have been touting the most. With two big open worlds and over 200 missions the game is massive, but the scope weighs the game down. There are 50 main story missions and 160 or so side ops which are basically side missions. You will partake in these within the two areas in the game, Afghanistan and Africa. These missions are really nothing we haven’t seen before and you will be doing the same sort of thing over and over again. In short the game is repetitive as hell. After doing about 30 or 40 missions I was bored and didn’t want to play anymore. The main story missions are a whole different beast though, during the 50 or so main missions only 10 or so of them pushed the story forward, the others were just contracts or side ops that have been promoted to main story mission just to make the game longer, that decision was incredibly stupid and after mission 20 I wanted out. The actual game play is great and it’s incredibly rewarding doing a full mission in stealth and not being caught but after about 15 hours the game play becomes boring. I will also add that the game has really bad difficulty spikes, you can tell that you are doing a mission that pushes the story forward because it will be incredibly harder than the missions that don’t push the main story forward, which are super easy. Konami and co have touted that you can play in multiple ways which should keep the game play fresh but the game only rewards you by playing one way which I will get to soon.
The other big thing about The Phantom Pain is Mother Base. Mother Base is your base of operations, where you build up your resources and become stronger, recruit soldiers, build weapons and much more. This is the most well done part of the game, but only if you play one certain way. Mother Base is hinged on you recruiting soldiers to become stronger and being able to build new and better gear for you, which you do by fultoning enemies back to base and making them work for you. This clashes with the many different ways you can play The Phantom Pain because the only way you can manage to build up mother base is if you go non lethal stealth. There is no reward for going lethal stealth or just guns blazing because if you kill the enemy you can’t take them back to Mother Base can you? The game is just incredibly deceptive in the way it says you can play, because you need Mother Base to be strong so you can get better gear so the later missions aren’t hard. It’s just silly.
The game also has some other things that work beside Mother Base. The buddy system is great and with a variety buddies to choose from that give you different tactical advantages they are useful. The graphics are incredible and some of the best I have seen on PS4.
I will also add that the game is quite sexist in terms of how they portray woman. There were countless shots of woman’s boobs and butts in the game for absolutely no reason. One of your buddies in the game, Quiet is also portrayed in a very sexist way. The game gives you an explanation on why she dresses the way she does but it isn’t good enough, I could think of countless ways that they could overcome this problem. It feels like they have complete disregard for woman and just think that the core audience is males which is completely untrue (I will add that I am a male).
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s gameplay is fun for a short time but the incredibly silly story choices and repetitive missions weigh down a game that had the potential to be a masterpiece. It seems as though Kojima bit off more than he could chew.
But the all important opinion is you own, so what did you think of The Phantom Pain? Let me know below!