Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the last adventure for the series. It is greatly expanded from earlier installments and allows the player to explore the battlefield. But is this a step too far?
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the final canon installment in the Metal Gear series. It was released back in 2015 for Steam, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and the Xbox One. It was received very well by critics and gamers. However, it did have its flaws. Many of which were due to the falling out between the publisher Konami and the developer Kojima Productions.
The Years Have Been Kind
Considering Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been out for almost 7 years. The graphics haven’t aged badly at all. The character models of the main cast are very detailed. Especially on Venom’s face. You can make out scars and stitches on his face via the up-close shots during cutscenes. However, as perfect as the graphics are, I noticed that up-close shots of characters tended to look rough until they have completely rendered. When this happens this distracts you from everything that is going on once you notice it.
The battlefield itself is a bit mundane. You are out in Afghanistan so there is very little greenery. Each area is populated with guard posts and bigger outposts. The guard posts are usually a roadblock with a few guard posts. These contain a number of guards. While the bases look more interesting but nowhere near as complex as earlier Metal Gear bases. Going open-world I knew there was a risk that MGS would suffer from trying to create a world with not a lot inside it.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s Legacy
As said before the graphics for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is outstanding. But so is the soundtrack to the game. All the background music from the previous games is back in some form. Making cutscenes far more meaningful and epic. There are also some new tracks to set it apart from previous installments which again solidify the soundtrack’s perfect status. On top of the in-house score, there are also some tapes that you can discover in the field which have 80s tracks on them. Tracks such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and You Spin Me Round. Which help to set the scene for the 80s period.
The story this time around is about Venom Snake getting revenge against Skullface and XOF. A force that attacked the original Motherbase during Ground Zeroes. Along the way, there are also whispers of Cypher. An information agency, hellbent on controlling the World’s information and also putting down the Big Boss. There were a few twists and turns that made the story very enjoyable. And seeing some characters from MGS 1 is always a bonus.
The Battlefield is Yours
Speaking of Open-World, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain injects the Peace Walker formula. The player is given a number of Operations that they can complete at a time. The Side Ops involve securing prisoners, blueprints, and extracting skilled soldiers. Unlike the Main Ops, you are not given a ranking for your performance. So going in all guns blazing makes things progress a lot quicker. Though you don’t need to complete the Side ops, they can help with equipment that you may need for the main ops.
The Main Ops are usually longer operations that have multiple objectives and they progress the story along. They can vary greatly from again securing a prisoner, to taking on one of the many bosses. Unfortunately for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the bosses are far less interesting than any of the other numbered Metal Gear entries. There is a sniper battle that forces the player to use everything in their arsenal to track down and eliminate the sniper.
Outside the Ops, you can travel around the battlefield securing blueprints for new equipment, soldiers for your army, and GMP (currency) to purchase various support items and helicopter support. There are multiple ways to travel around the map. Either by horse, land vehicle, helicopter, or by foot. Time spent traveling disrupts the flow of the game. Helicopters have set locations where they can drop you off. Sometimes these drop-off points are far away from your mission so you have to travel a great distance. A good time to listen to those tapes.
Direct Sequel to Peace Walker
The events of Metal Gear Solid V come directly after the events of Peace Walker. You are reintroduced to characters from that installment. So unless you’ve played Peace Walker you won’t know who they are. Though just like in Peace Walker you can listen to tapes on your Walkman. These can bring you up to speed with everything that happened between MGS 3 and MGS V. It’s a much-needed feature though there are drawbacks to it.
For some reason, Kojima decided to drop the codec moments from the series. You can still contact base, but it is random who picks up. I believe this is due to the rush at the end of the production process of the game. To supplement this shortcoming you are given loads of tapes to listen to (No idea how Snake is carrying all these tapes). You can listen to them while playing which can make the mundane sections more tolerable.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain takes a lot of gameplay elements from Peace Walker. CQC and sneaking are almost the same. This made it somewhat easier. Ammo is not as readily available in either game so you learn to use CQC or hold-ups as much as you can. This provides a welcome challenge especially when you get an S rank.
Another feature that returns is the base building element. However, it is mostly automated so you don’t need to manage the staff as much as you did in Peace Walker. The only intervention is deciding what equipment to develop as well as managing the combat unit’s missions. It brings a great sense of pride to see Outer Heaven be rebuilt.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a great game plagued with all the open-world problems other games have suffered. The story is interesting, the graphics beautiful and the soundtrack empowering. With only a few flaws, this is one of the best games I have played in a very long time. It is unfortunate that this is the last game in the series.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in 2022
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the best stealth game ever released and should not be missed.
Operating System: Windows, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Application Category: Stealth Action
- Interesting Story
- Beautiful graphics
- The best OST
- Stealh gameplay mechanics return
- Suffers from the normal open-world tropes
- Sometimes textures pop-in