Sunday, December 9

Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain Review

Available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Price: £10.46
I played on: PS4
Notes: N/A

Metal Gear Solid V may be one of the largest games I have ever played, the amount of content is staggering. In order to write this review, I played through to the real ending which took me a grand total of 37 hours. I would also like to point out that this is quite a bit faster than my original play time in which I didn’t know how to get to the real hidden ending. While for first-time players this length will be a rather nice thing it does make going back and replaying it less appealing. I honestly find myself less interested to go back to this game just due to the extravagant length.

The first thing that stands out about the Phantom Pain is how magnificently beautiful it is. The animations are wonderfully fluid and detailed while still feeling fast and responsive. Textures and water effects blur the line between gameplay and cutscenes rivalling even the likes of animated films. If I had to nitpick at the visual presentation then it would be that you do get the odd bit of clipping with certain weapons and outfits. I also encountered some pop-in when entering new areas but all of this takes nothing away from the truly mind-blowing visuals on this game. The way this game uses lighting effects is awesome from certain colours highlighting plot points or even just lens flares highlighting parts of the scene. Kojima could release this as an animated film and it would work on its own. The audio presentation is almost just as impressive only truly being let down by Kiefer Sutherland’s performance as Big Boss. The issue with Sutherland’s performance is not so much that he’s bad it’s more because David Hayter had been playing Big Boss for years and he brought a certain personality to the character that is lacking with Sutherland. I honestly feel like replacing Hayter was a major mistake but one that if done better could have worked well when you understand the twist to this game. I don’t want to say too much but if you had Hayter playing Big Boss in Ground Zeroes and then Sutherland in this game it would make sense but just flat out replacing him altogether was a bad call.

The gameplay at its core remains the same as most if not all main series Metal Gear games with the player having to sneak into an area avoiding enemy patrols. Big Boss can run, sprint, crouch and crawl while using hand-to-hand combat or a wide range of weapons and tools. The controls feel like the most responsive and polished version of any Metal Gear game which is really impressive.  Moving around, sneaking and combat feel almost effortless in their controls and due to this, the game is an absolute dream to play. I also enjoyed most of the boss fights with Quiet’s fight being a delightful nod to the End from Metal Gear Solid 3. I also enjoy the mission system taken right from Peace Walker but I did find having to wait for your helicopter to land and take off at the start and end of each mission to be annoying. The credits rolling after each story mission also becomes tedious rather quickly and just makes the pacing of the story feel disjointed. I’m not really sure what the creative choice for this was other than Kojima responding to Konami removing his name from all promotional material. Once again Big Boss is in charge of his own private army and as such you will have a base to manage. This works very much like it did in Peace Walker with Snake recruiting soldiers via the Fulton recovery system. Once you have convinced a soldier to join your force they will be automatically placed into the department they are best suited to in your base. These are R&D which build weapons and tools for you to use during missions, Combat which can go out on missions and gain you currency or resources. Security which will defend your base from rival players who are able to attack your base. Base Development which does pretty much what it says on the tin and expands Mother Base for you. The Support team which will provide fire support and increases the success rate of Fulton recoveries. Intel which will provide information on locations and enemy bases around the two maps. Lastly, we have the medical team which will heal any injured soldiers and works on non-lethal weaponry. While this base building may sound like a large part of the game it never manages to overshadow the main gameplay or experience instead only flushing it out and adding depth.

The enemy AI has been improved from the earlier games in the series and now provides a wonderful challenge. This is complemented with the new buddy system which allows Big Boss to bring one of 4 buddies with him on his missions. The first of these you will encounter is D-Horse and he will allow you to travel cross country with ease and speed. D-Dog will be able to sniff out enemies, plants, and prisoners making him very useful when you don’t want to be noticed. D-walker which is a miniature bipedal tank which can be upgraded and customised with rockets, miniguns and more. Lastly, for the buddies, we have Quiet who is a sniper and will provide support for the boss from a distance both lethally and non-lethally depending on the weapon you equip her with. I really enjoy this system as it allows you to mix up your gameplay style depending on who you bring with you. Simple but adds a lot to the game.

As you have two open world maps to explore this game allows you to use snipers in a way that no other Metal Gear game has. This is wonderful because for the first time in Metal Gear history your sniper will be one of your most useful weapons instead of just being used for a one-off boss fight like in most previous instalments.

Now it’s time to talk about the story which is where I have most of my issues with this game. Let’s start off positive however and say that the main plot and twist are things I loved. Certain plot holes get explained here and it really helps to connect the Big Boss story to the more modern Solid Snake story bridging the gap between eras. We find ourselves 9 years after the events of Ground Zeroes in a hospital before we escape with help from a mysterious stranger. Now, who this man is, acts as the big twist at the end of the game but I guessed it first-time thanks to the voice actor. I found this twist just super obvious but I did enjoy it as it explained a few questions I had after playing Metal Gear 1 and 2. The story follows the traditional 3 act structure until around halfway through and then it kinda gives up on this. I don’t think this is a good or bad thing but it’s interesting, to say the least, and could really have worked if it included the final mission. That’s right MGS V is unfinished in a real sense with mission 51 not being playable and only viewable if you have the collectors edition of the game. I would recommend you watch it on YouTube if you don’t own this edition because it’s vital to understanding the plot and how it connects to later games in the series. I love this story but the sad truth is we only got around 90% of what was intended in the final game and that’s a real shame.

Now despite this being my longest review ever written I want to talk about Quiet. The way this game treats this character is horrible, gross and many other things. She is infected with the same parasite as the End from MGS 3 which means she doesn’t need to eat or drink and only needs water and sunlight to live. She is a master of stealth able to cloak herself and moves faster than most normal humans. But unlike the End, she is objectified almost every minute she’s on screen. We have two separate cutscenes which act as nothing more than soft-core porn of her undressing and splashing about in water while the camera gawks at her breasts and bottom. This gawking and objectification continues even while she is being tortured in one scene. She wears nothing but a thong and bra with torn tights so she is able to absorb sunlight ignoring that the End who did the same thing wore a full Ghillie Suit. It also makes no sense to include a new female sniper to the series to work with Big Boss as in the first Metal Gear Solid we learn that Sniper Wolf worked with Big Boss. Why was it not her in this game, as Quiet has no dialogue it’s not like she has a personality. The reason is obvious, Kojima is very scary when it comes to women and she is only there for the presumed male player to admire. It’s the worst part of this game and I long for a version where we learn more about Sniper Wolf instead of gawking at a mostly nude woman rolling around in the rain.

Is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain worth playing? Hell yes, it’s amazing and I would give my right eye to get a remake of Metal Gear 1 and 2 with this engine. Despite not being the best MGS and having a few major issues such as Quiet or just not being finished it’s still a great entry into this series and you most certainly should give it a play through.

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

No comments:

Post a Comment