Reviews: ‘Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain’

Metal Gear Solid V
Box shot from Konami.

What a wild ride this series has been. Here we are with the 5th numerical installment of the series, and I can’t help but look back at the history this game has made. Being of the original stealth series on consoles, “Metal Gear Solid (MGS)” for the Playstation is fondly remembered for its characters and story, which brings a hefty sense of confusion to those who are outside looking in on the series for the first time.

Who is Solid Snake? Is that a sort of euphimism? NO. Why is that guy floating? Why is the game named after a machine part?

Unfortunately, most of that confusion will continue into the 5th installment if you decide not to become knowledgeable of the series’ lore. Thankfully, for this installment, you only need to know the details of the follwing games: “MGS 3: Snake Eater,” “MGS: Peace Walker” and “MGS: Ground Zeroes.”

There is a Youtube channel  under the name “KefkaProduction” that has edited footage of the games into ‘movies.’ If you are looking to get into TPP, consider this the bare minimum requirement to be familiar with the lore. Fans should find the story and plot to be adequate, with the reason for saying it’s just adequate being the result of one major complication: reports  of a completely cut chapter of the story, and missions surfaced online recently. The cuts are pretty substantial, with recorded lines, cut scenes and more.

Story and lore aside, I am happy to report the gameplay is extremely satisfying and hard to summarize in the space I have. To put it simply, TPP has many rules that will be tough to learn for newcomers but familiar to fans. As Snake, you are tasked with various missions with an even more variable range of possibilities, with incentives to completing the missions with stealth.

If you want to follow the spirit of the series and be perfectly stealthy, you can do that–and get props from me. If you want to be the opposite and attach C4 to a tank and drive it into a guard post, you can certainly do that too.

Although killing enemies isn’t always beneficial, as you will need to extract staff from the battlefield for your private force, Diamond Dogs. Fulton Extraction is an important and hilarious feature of the game, as you will extract resources, animals, vehicles, and of course, people. Strapping a giant balloon to them and watching them rocket into the sky, possibly screaming, is honestly something that never gets old.

Contrary to most triple-A releases of the last few years, The Phantom Pain’s release wasn’t plagued with bugs, and the game’s engine runs beautifully on a wide variety of hardware. It is seriously fun to play – although it will kick your teeth in at times. When I am being beaten into the dirt and am having fun, I have found something truly exceptional.

★★★★☆ Great – Has some flaws keeping it from excellence.

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