Editor’s note: We’re a bit late with this. I like to think you’ll forgive us this terrible sin, given that we’ve been covered in hack-juice for what’s felt like forever. Also, bear in mind that this isn’t a full review of MGS V, because Pippa is a mom. Which means that if she sat in an Undisclosed Location playing a video game non-stop for four days, her children would literally EXPLODE. And even though that’d be quite the spectacle, we’re not monsters. She did manage to squeeze in a good few hours with the game, and this is what she thought of it. Expect a full review in the near future.
Everyone knows the name Solid Snake. The character is synonymous with not only the Metal Gear Solid franchise, but in many ways with Konami itself. On that note, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t played and finished all the Metal Gear Solid games. Sad I know.
Moving on from that startling confession, I did get the chance to preview the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and all I can say (because I’m not allowed to say that much to be honest [Aren’t NDAs great? – Ed.]) is… wow! Yes, right up front I will admit that I am impressed. It has also completely renewed my interest in the MGS franchise, which for a variety of reasons had waned slightly.
You play as Snake, and the game is set during the Cold War with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1984. We see the return of Snake’s companion Ocelot as Snake undertakes a solo mission to rescue his former partner Kazuhira Miller, who is being held by Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
I won’t lie, my first thought as I was playing the introductory mission was, “What the f**k is going on?” There was so much sensory overload and so many elements that just didn’t add up that I was incredibly confused. But even at that early stage, my overwhelming confusion didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the gameplay, which is undeniably solid. Once you move on to the rest of the game things begin to make a great deal more sense and the gameplay never disappoints.
The combat is good. Actually, that’s an understatement. The combat is exceptional. The weapon selection mechanism is intuitive, and in true MGS style, the narrative is engaging. Naturally the missions get more challenging and require more forethought and strategy as you progress. There’s the usual range of weapons – shotguns, sniper rifles, hand guns and so on, so there is a sense of familiarity that doesn’t inhibit the learning curve or detract from the gameplay.
Additionally, you have a base camp that you can not only upgrade, but also use to research and upgrade your weapons. It’s from here that you select your missions (both main storyline and side missions), as well as select your gear load-out. Of course this base camp needs to be staffed with personnel, so you need to recruit people to keep things running while you’re out and about, which simultaneously expands the skill set and resources available to you during missions.
The wonderful thing about The Phantom Pain is that it will appeal to a wide cross section of the gaming population. The collecting of resources, the stealth elements, the combat and mission structure – all of these things will appeal to fans of third- and perhaps even first-person shooters, as well as fans of role-playing and management games. You can do as much or as little as you like. Can’t be bothered to collect resources while you roam the land? It’s not a requirement. Don’t want to do side missions? No problem. Of course if you want to do all of these things, they prove to be an awesome supplement to the storyline, and make the world you’re interacting with completely engaging.
So, to sum up:
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a great amalgamation of styles and although I can’t at this stage speak to specifics, the narrative was engaging throughout the portion of the game I played. I’ll definitely be playing the full game!