Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain Review

Snake is back in Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. Yes, get your cardboard box ready and be on alert for exclamation points, because we are going to Afghanistan and Africa.

As the Story Goes… 

It’s been nine years since the events of ground zero and things are not looking for Snake… or big boss. You wake up at a hospital. Trying to focus your eyes while the nurse tends to snake. Then Skull Face‘s men come to track you down. Snake must escape before they kill him. It’s a good thing he has helped! This starts Big Bosses journey. One with many explosions, child soldiers, saving animals, and slow motion. The game goes through two chapters, but it felt incomplete. There could have been more story to the game, or that chapter two needed more to it. I will not give away anything but chapter one felt like an action movie, chapter two hit that melodramatic note. It was like viewing a reality TV, that actually wasn’t trying to be “real.” The great parts about it were the inclusion or child soldiers when Snake/Big Boss travels to Africa. It was a welcome inclusion to not shield use from what happens in other parts of the country. Even though it may be trivial it helped bring some reality to a virtual game world. All the characters seemed to be common archetypes.  Silent hero fixing the world, the gunslinger with a cool demeanor, the commander out for revenge and much more. The story does play out like an 80s action movie (mostly). There’s also a forced love story, that is tragic. It all adds up to a great 80s action movie. So, if you’re looking for a spectacular game that mimics 80s action movie, you’ll love this game.

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How it Plays

Even if the story is uneven at times; the gameplay was stellar. Firefights are fast and impressive. The developers let players play as they want. Play it stealthy or blow up everything in sight. It does not matter, just be sure you bring the right tools. That also means the right partner. Each one of your companions has their strengths. It’s all about the situation. There is DDog, DHorse, Whisper, and Dwalker. It’s all about the D! No, not that one. Companions can get hurt and spotted as well. Snake can sprint, run, crouch and crawl. The enemy AI is forgiving enough, but can put up a fight. They usually will not see Snake crawling, but running/sprinting will alert them. When they see something suspicious, they first radio it in and then investigate. The funny part I found was crawling in broad daylight and could not see me. It was funny, but I understood that if they allowed the AI to be too realistic, then, it would be impossible to move around in missions. The day and night routine also changes, this makes it more realistic. Soldiers use the lights on watchtowers and huddle around fires for warmth and a light source. They will use flashlights to investigate suspicious sightings.

Another complaint is that every time a player “capture” a base once Snake leaves for Mother Base the base would be reoccupied by enemies again. It was the same common problem with FarCry 2. The problem lies with Snake needing to go back to Mother Base every once in a while. If Snake does not, he will start to smell and enemies will be alerted to the stench. He also needs to take a shower recoup his strength and take away the blood if he takes damage from a battle.

Mother Base is the main hub for Snake, but it lacks enough substance to be considered home. Even having enough men, it still feels desolate. I only come back because the game made me. Other than that, I usually stayed in the chopper. The game has an upgrade mechanic. The player can upgrade and expand Mother Base. Each expansion gives snake additional resources, men, intel and more.  There’s also side ops for Diamond Dog soldiers to accomplish. These missions consist of sabotage enemy supplies, recruit volunteers, acquire materials and more. from enemy soldiers to recruiting  soldiers to Snake cause.

 

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My main complaint was in one later mission where I had to fend off waves of enemy forces. The tanks had impeccable shots. It was the only time the game was punishing. Even the boss fight was not even this difficult. Which always made me wonder, why the final boss fight was the mid-point of the game will always baffle me, but it was. There are plenty of side ops or secondary missions to complete but late game you’ve seen just about all of the side ops and they repeat. The side ops are not varied at all, which has become a problem with most open world games. However, this is a minor annoyance and does not deter from the great atmosphere the developers have created. A great game mechanic is the elements.

Each map has a different element and they offer different advantage and disadvantages. Sandstorms will limit visibility. That means enemies will not be able to see snake unless he’s really close and the same goes for Snake. The sandstorm will not allow the chopper to land until the sandstorm is over. Africa has the rain. The rain masks the sound of footsteps, so the player can run or crouch walk.

Is it Pleasing to the Eyes and Ears?

The short answer is yes! The brown dusty hues of Afghanistan, to the tropical forest of Africa, the fox engine brings the 80s to life! I have never wanted to flip my collar and grow out my mullet more than ever before. The constant changing of clouds and the dust picking up lends to the immersion. The changing of the day and night cycle make some spectacular evenings. It also brings a nice artful touch to the chaos of battle. As your weapon dangles as you walk it all. When the chopper hovers above and the dust kicks up, or footprints left in the sand shows that the little touches go a long way.

Final Thoughts:

Metal Gear Solid is a good game. Even with flaws in the story and most of the game mechanics becoming repetitive, it still delivers on the action scenes.

good

Brett Deister
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Brett Deister

Founder/Host at Digital Coffee Podcast
PR/Marketing Pro, writer, live stream gamer, the host of Digital Coffee Podcast.
Brett Deister
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Medal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain

$59.99
Medal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain
6

Graphics

9/10

    Gameplay

    8/10

      Story

      7/10

        Streaming Friendly

        6/10

          Pros

          • Graphics are amazing
          • Allows players to tackle objectives how they want to
          • Story is strong in the beginning
          • Interesting characters

          Cons

          • Story falls a part at the end
          • Gameplay can be repetitive
          • Multiplayer is lacking
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          Photographic brew

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