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A Phoenix Factory Review – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

September 24, 2015 Leave a comment

There are some fictional works I consume where there is a striking moment early on where my attitude towards it goes from “this seems interesting and I should finish it” to “this is awesome and I must finish it”. If not for the fact that I have already been fond of the Metal Gear Solid franchise since the first game came out, that moment for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain probably occurred as the main character, Venom Snake, is riding a helicopter on a story mission to destroy the enemy regional communications base rather early in the game. I had previously spent hours freely roaming the enemy-occupied countryside, understanding the lay of the land, warming up to the game by raiding enemy bases and outposts, but I figured it was time to move the story along. As my helicopter flew inexorably towards my landing zone, Kazuhira “Kaz” Miller, my mission coordinator, is explaining my mission to me through the radio and telling me how I have to sabotage the base’s communications infrastructure. Suddenly, Revolver Ocelot, my intelligence officer, interrupts and informs Miller the enemy communications infrastructure has already been destroyed. As it turned out, while wandering around the map, I had already taken out the antennas and satellite dishes in the base without understanding its significance. But the game knew I did this already, so this was reflected in how the mission was already over before it started; I never even got the chance to jump off my helicopter before Miller, as perplexed as I am, utters, “Mission complete. I guess it all worked out in the end.”

And that was how I completed a mission in less than thirty seconds.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a stealth-based third-person shooter sandbox game, the last entry into the twenty-eight-year-old franchise developed by Hideo Kojima, arguably the pioneer in stealth-based video games, and functionally a farewell letter to the franchise as his contract with the intellectual property expires. In many ways, it is a game that’s very different from its predecessors, both in terms of gameplay and narrative style. It also comes burdened with twenty-eight years of backstory and lore, making it intimidating – if not outright confusing – for newcomers to get into as Kojima ties up the last loose ends that connects the Cold War lore to its 20th century storyline. But as a game, The Phantom Pain proves that Kojima still has his chops as the man who revolutionized the stealth genre in gaming, and who can keep up with the times as technologies and gaming changes with the times. Read more…

Categories: Gaming