The Metal Gear Solid series has never failed to disappoint. Even back in 2008, when the Metal Gear Solid series graced the original PlayStation console, we were introduced to stealth and tactical espionage orientated gameplay that far surpassed any other title. Fast Forward to 2015, and the Metal Gear franchise has evolved from what could be described as pixelated greatness to cinematic perfection.
After months of waiting, the latest title in the Metal Gear franchise is finally here, and it comes in the form of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. To keep things spoiler free, here is a brief breakdown of the storyline.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has brought a new edge to the Cold War, and in 1984, a one-eyed man with a prosthetic arm appears in the country. Those who know him call him Snake; the legendary mercenary who was once swept from the stage of history and left in a coma by American private intelligence network Cipher. Snake is accompanied by Ocelot, an old friend who saved him from attack when he finally awoke. Now, Snake’s former partner Kazuhira Miller is being held by the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Snake must undertake a solo mission to rescue Miller and prove to the world that the legendary mercenary is not dead and gone. That first step will lead to a path of vengeance against the very Cipher that slaughtered so many of Snake’s men, and to a battle that will embroil the whole world…What started in Ground Zeroes… must finish with V.
Overall, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features a story that is riveting, captivating and beautifully pieced together. To add to the riveting storyline, is the equally riveting gameplay – which throws you into an open-world that is not only hostile, but also extremely large in scale. While playing through the campaign, I found myself exploring the open-world for hours on end in order to just to see how large it actually was.
During my travel’s, I found myself taking on a variety of missions, which ranged from rescuing soldiers to gathering intelligence. There were times where I found myself pinned down in a building with the enemy knocking on the door with weaponry far superior to what I had equipped; however, what they did not know was I had the entrance to that door equipped with explosives. I waited for them to enter the doorway and detonated the explosives… this caused the entire base to scramble to my location, but I was already gone. I had found a grate, within the room, which I used to escape. Unfortunately, a soldier who had been guarding the entrance to the base spotted me, and I had no choice but to put him down using Snake’s CQC techniques. I then sprinted to a nearby extraction point where an a chopper was waiting in order to take me to my next mission.
During my many hours with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I also got to interrogate enemies, go up against tanks, helicopters, and even a highly skilled sniper. This is where one of this titles strength’s lie… There is literally so much to do in that things never really get boring. Each mission is a rush to complete no matter your play style. To add to this, you can play The Phantom Pain the way you want to. You can either go in guns blazing, or alternatively opt to take the stealth route. Granted, going in guns blazing is a risk, but it really gets the adrenaline pumping. When it came to my playthrough, I started with a stealth approach and about halfway through a mission I’d go in guns blazing. This allowed me to make my own choices during a mission, without feeling pressurised or forced to the play this title a certain way.
Overall when it comes to freedom and gameplay, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a prime example of what games these days should be like. You have no restrictions, no rails, and a massive open-world that takes hours on end to explore.
To add to the entire experience, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also allows the player to take control of Mother Base. Mother Base is essentially Snake’s new Head Quarters. Through Mother Base the player can research new weapons and gear, order supply drops, and even go as far as visit the base to increase staff morale. Mother Base will also allow you to deploy teams of soldiers, that you have safely extracted from the battlefield to certain areas in order to complete various mission and tasks given to them. This gives players the opportunity to take a bit of break from the traditional gameplay and experience something more strategic.
With the inclusion of Mother Base, this ultimately packages Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain into what can only be described as the perfect gaming experience. To add to the features, players will also gain the opportunity to team up with in-game buddies. My personal favourite was D-Horse, due to the fact that it allowed me to travel throughout the open-world with ease. I won’t go too in-depth when it comes to in-game buddies, as to avoid spoilers, but they are a great addition to the gameplay mechanics.
Graphically, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a masterpiece. Granted there were a few texture pops here and there, but this is expected when it comes to a game this large. Apart from that, the character models look absolutely mind blowing. Additionally, the open-world is really something to look at in awe. One thing I personally liked was how sandstorms and the day/night cycle affected not only the visual experience, but also the gameplay experience. During the day Snake was spotted more often than not, but during the evening he was practically invisible. This made me want to play the harder missions during the day, just to push my stealth abilities to the limits.
When it comes to audio, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features a superb voice cast who play their role’s with class and perfection. To add to this, the musical score is one that is beautiful and perfectly matched to the entire them of the game.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an absolute masterpiece, and quite literally the best game in the series. It is visually breathtaking, and refuses to restrict the player in anyway, well unless you move out of a missions perimeters, but apart from that… you free to do what you want, which really makes Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain a breath of fresh air for the gaming industry.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was reviewed by Darryl Linington