Metal Gear has always attracted quite a “niche” audience in my opinion, either due to its difficulty, storyline or overall gameplay. However, with the combination of an open world and the ability to customise almost anything, this historically predicable stealth espionage series has been transformed into an experience that a fan of any genre can enjoy.
Set before the first Metal Gear game, the protagonist within this title is “Big Boss”, formally known as the source of Solid Snakes future development and/or cloning. “Big Boss” is very well respected and admired as a dog of war which becomes apparent as the story progresses.
In previous games of the franchise the story had been based solely around military compounds, making the title feel linear or claustrophobic in some circumstances. This title offers a full range of indoor and outdoor objectives with exploration aplenty. This allows you to examine each area of the vast deserts of Afghanistan and Africa.
Within these deserts lie enemy bases, valuable collectibles and wild animals. Pretty much anything you would expect to find in such places is there. Not only does this provide the player a soft sense of accomplishment while exploring, but it also allows them time to decide what tactics to use in specific situations. Do you go for classic espionage? Or a cod style guns blazing mash up? Some of life’s tough choices right there.
Movement throughout this world is handled with superior responsiveness, yet it is sometimes difficult to decipher which rock is climbable, jumpable or just a damn right mountain. This can sometimes cause problems if you’re planning a quick escape. Nothing says espionage like a horse stood behind a huge rock waiting like a moron.
One of the most impressive qualities within Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain is the portrayed expression of trying new things. Many of the previous titles were very predictable. Not this one.
As you progress through the main story, you can acquire “buddies” who you can give orders to. Various “buddies” either expand your tactical options, or provide a faster method of mission completion. For instance, D-Horse (quite obviously a horse) can transport you around the map with great speed, and even allow you to hide from oncoming enemy vehicles. D-Dog (yes, it’s a dog) can boost your options of espionage by distracting enemies, or sniffing out collectibles and prisoner locations. The final obtainable buddy is an extremely skilled sniper called “quiet”, but I do not wish to go too much detail regarding her, you honestly need to see her to believe it.
Now, it’s time to discuss my favourite new addition to this franchise, and that’s the Motherbase HQ!
Along with a young Ocelot and Miller, Big Boss creates a private army called “Diamond Dogs” in an attempt to eradicate the oncoming terrorist threat. (Corny name, I know right!)
With extreme precision and delightful commentary, you are handed the responsibilities of hiring new staff, expanding your surroundings and levelling up your various units. There are various units, an R+D (research and development) team who construct your weaponry, a medical team who heal your staff and provide anaesthesia for your weaponry and you can have a combat team, who you allocate missions to, and by doing so provides bonuses and rewards. Staff skills fluctuate, dependent on allocation, which once again, you can manage.
The customisation and attention to detail came as such a surprise for a genre such as this. Not only did it provide me with the excitement of building my own army, it also gave me plenty of additional objectives which lets face it, are always welcome.
The fun bit? …. HIRING THE STAFF!!!
I’m afraid that there isn’t a Metal Gear job centre, or a CV library on your hard drive.
So, after scanning enemy combatants for their skills sets, you are able to extract them from the field using the Fulton Device, which is pretty much a parachute that you attach to their back when they’re asleep. (Incredibly humorous to use)
This extraction sends them straight to the Motherbase, where Ocelot and Miler reside permanently and convince them to defect and join our ever growing army! Once they have accepted, they are allocated to the most appropriate unit based on their particular skills and rating.
Objectives and missions are shared amongst “main missions” and “side-ops”. Main missions are very in depth and repeatable, making it simple to eventually attain a good rating and complete all of the objectives. However, side-ops can only be completed once. But have no fear, 157 of them should keep you pretty busy! Your success on main missions and side ops determines how much “GMP” and “Heroism” points you receive. GMP is used as a currency within the game, which can be spent on staff/Motherbase development and weapons.
Heroism is a numerical rating, plainly showing your popularity around the world, making your army infamous. The rating works simply, the higher your heroism, the greater skilled your acquisitions. Common sense.
In all honestly, it feels like I could talk about this game forever, but it’s probably best if I sum it up and leave it to you to discover it’s true beauty for yourself.
Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain is a vast, yet beautiful game, with enough detail and quality to engross any gamer for hours and hours on end. Not only does the gameplay provide rewards, it also allows you to feel that your intelligence is being tested, bringing you an astonishing amount of accomplishment. None of which has been provided by any other game as of late.
I feel that not even a thousand words could justify how spectacular this game is. I genuinely never believed that a game like this would be made. I feel that hundreds of games have tried to be like this, but always fell at certain hurdles. This game has changed the future of gaming, trust me.
A definite must buy.