By Joseph Valencia ’17
“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”–Kojima Productions
Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
9 out of 10
To begin reviewing “Metal Gear Solid V,” I have to first explain the “Metal Gear” franchise as a whole.
The franchise began with the game “Metal Gear,” which was made in 1987 by game developer Hideo Kojima. Since the release of “Metal Gear,” Kojima and his development team have expanded the series in ways that wouldn’t have seemed possible with the technology they were working with.
The “Metal Gear” franchise has two major hallmarks: metal gears and a cinematic feeling to each game.
Metal gears are basically enormous tanks with legs, capable of obliterating large cities in minutes. Every “Metal Gear” game has a metal gear that the player must destroy before it can be used for war.
Every “Metal Gear” game is saturated with cutscenes, some of which can be over an hour long. Rather than detracting from the gameplay, the cutscenes added a cinematic flavor to each game, making them feel like playable movies.
“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” is perhaps the most important game in the franchise. Due to disputes over who owns the “Metal Gear” franchise, Kojima and his team decided to relinquish the rights to Konami, their parent company, shortly after finishing the game.
In essence, this game is a sendoff to one of the oldest and most respected franchises in gaming. Fortunately, the game delivers in almost every way to remind players what made the “Metal Gear” franchise so great.
The story of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” focuses on Jack, code-named Big Boss, who was the protagonist of “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.”
Big Boss has awakened in 1984 from a nine year coma following a deadly helicopter crash. He and his comrade Colonel Miller both lost one of their arms in the crash, and seek revenge to end their “phantom pain.”
The gameplay is amazing, taking place in the open areas of Afghanistan and Central Africa. Both areas are massive, and allow the player to roam as they please.
As the game progresses, Big Boss can abduct enemies on the battlefield, drafting them to aid his cause. Abducted soldiers can be used to upgrade Big Boss’s equipment and weapons.
Players have the freedom to tackle missions with brute force, stealth or a mixture of both. Players can kill enemy soldiers, or abduct them if possible
Dynamic events such as sandstorms can aid or hinder the player. The sandstorm makes Big Boss harder to see, but obscures enemy soldiers as well.
The game puts a lot of emphasis on using the environment to your advantage. The player can plan to do missions at night to aid in a stealthy approach, but they would have to plan to use night vision goggles to compensate for lack of visibility.
One large problem with the game is that it relies on the previous “Metal Gear” games for background story. Catching up on the story can be daunting to new players, but I found looking online to be very helpful.
Another lackluster aspect of the game is the story, which is excellent on its own, but pales in comparison to the other “Metal Gear” games.
Many complaints about the “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” were centered around the game’s excessively lengthy cutscenes, which could last up to 70 minutes.
In response, the cutscenes in “Metal Gear Solid V” were shortened to last no more than 10 minutes at a time. I felt that the shortened cutscenes sacrificed some story context that would’ve helped bring new players like myself up to speed.
“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” is an excellent send off to a stellar franchise, and is a superb example of how to go out with style.