One of the biggest disappointments of this generation
(This piece contains some spoilers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.)
I like many others are fans of the Metal Gear Solid series. It’s a stealth- action game that has a great intriguing yet convoluted story. The story for Metal Gear Solid is confusing and open-ended and this allows fans to go crazy with theories.
Gameplay has always been simple but with enough complexity to make it feel good. It’s best to sneak around do things stealthily using the equipment you have. You can go all-out action which is fun but it makes the game more challenging.
Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots released in 2008, it was more action oriented but for those who enjoy the series story, this game had a lot for you. Aside from a few side-titles the majority of which are canon (Metal Gear Acid isn’t canon), the Metal Gear series went dark.
Metal Gear Solid V was teased back in 2012 and as you’d expect it sent fans into a frenzy. A year later it was officially announced and the hype was immense. The game would be set in a huge time gap that hadn’t been explored yet which for fans of the story like myself, this was very exciting.
The gameplay had changed back to a more stealthy feel for MGS5 which many were very pleased about. Another change was that the fifth entry would be open-world which was something the series had never done before.
Brilliant trailer after brilliant trailer and the release of MGSV: Ground Zeroes, the prologue to The Phantom Pain all helped to create buzz and excitement for the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Then the game released and it was critically acclaimed, it has a Metacritic score of 93 on PS4. I agreed with that score… for a while at least. As I was playing the game I noticed a few cracks.
The best part of MGSV was the first few hours. The opening segment carried on right after the end of Ground Zeroes and it’s a wonderfully cinematic and weird introduction that at the end of it I was very eager to find out what was going on.
The next couple of hours after the intro are really good as they lay the groundwork for what’s to come and introduce you to your base of operations, Mother Base. From here you can select your missions and venture off into the open worlds of Afghanistan and later on in the game Africa. Your first shot of Afghanistan is breathtaking as you realise how vast the area is.
There are side missions you can do in the world but if you want to do a story mission, you have to go back to Mother Base and this is one of the game’s flaws. (I don’t know if this has been changed via a patch but this was how it was at launch.)
Some of the main missions you do are good and serve as a vital part of the story but others serve as padding and are basic ‘go into a base, kill or extract target and exfiltrate’. These missions mess up with the pacing of the story. Just when I was really getting into the Phantom Pain’s story, a ‘padding’ mission would come up and break the flow. It was weird, just as it gets going it pulls you back for a little while and then pushes you back into the story.
When the ‘main’ story missions (the ones that actually push the story forward and have meaningful cutscenes) do come around they are pretty good because they are always different and bring a bit of tension. One mission near the end tasks you in protecting a character called Code Talker and this mission will challenge and boy is it tense when the enemies just don’t stop coming.
Then a few missions after that, the game ends or so I thought. After a big cinematic finish and a fight against Sahelanthropus there’s a prologue and then it reveals more missions. Now some of these missions aren’t new no, some are more difficult versions of missions you have already done. When I came to this point, it felt like a slap to the face. In order to get the ‘true’ ending, you need to do these missions and when you do them guess what? It isn’t worth it the frustration, struggle and time you’ll go through. Honestly just look up the true ending for the Phantom Pain.
Oh, I nearly forgot, did you know that the game was technically unfinished? It would explain why there were so many plot holes. Now, I know that there were an insane amount of things that led to the content being cut but it is worth mentioning. If it was all included, I may not be here writing this but what’s done is done.
I think I might be one of the few people that think Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was just an average game. It had its fun moments like using a Fulton Recovery on a sheep and fighting Salenthropus but that’s just it, they were fun moments, the whole game should have been enjoyable.
It’s because of these reasons that I think Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is just an average game. The problem with The Phantom Pain being average though is it following on from four brilliant mainline entries. MGS1 through 4 are fantastic games and I enjoyed every moment I played of them. I wish I could say the same about MGSV: The Phantom Pain believe me I do, but there are many flaws with the game and because it is technically unfinished. I can think of more things as to why I think this way about The Phantom Pain, I am just scratching the surface here.
Maybe I need to play through it again and something might click with me then. As of now, however, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is sadly an average game and in my opinion, one of the most disappointing games of this gen.
Hot Take Friday –
These articles are opinionated and it is okay if you disagree. Different opinions are what makes each one of us unique.
What do you think of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below.