Game Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [PS4, 2015]

I originally played MGSV:TPP on PS3 when it first came out but I’ve recently got the PS4 version of the game. The weeks leading to the release were amazing, replaying through the series, reading up on fan theories, it was nuts. It was a blockbuster release, everyone was talking about it. When it finally came out everyone was playing it, and then it kind of faded away.

Phantom Pain

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Visually the game looks amazing, the sheer size and depth of the mission locations is incredible. Seeing that you spend so much time during the game staring through Snake’s Intel Scope it’s only fitting that you’d be able to see across a huge area, even being able to identify characters, plants, animals and more from huge distances away. The frame rate is solid, especially when you look at how much is happening across the map. You can identify a soldier, and track him as he, or you, travels across the map to other bases and missions, it’s really impressive.

There are so many different weapons and “tools” that you can develop that really change how you play the game. You can really mix up how you approach missions. You can try to be stealthy, quietly crawling around, subduing the enemy without anyone knowing that you’re on the hunt. Or, you could call in for a tank to be dropped off, heavy armour and some big weapons and just get a little bit nuts. It’s far too easy to start a mission and then suddenly realise you’ve been running and hunting and diving around all evening, everything about this game creates a really immersive experience. Alongside the theatrical missions, in MGSV you also have a base that you can develop and expand throughout the game. This gives you so much freedom when choosing how you might approach a mission. The gun development and customisation is also crazy impressive, changing stocks, scopes, barrels, everything. At one point my Snake was running around with a silenced stun shotgun because, why not? You can set new weapons and gadgets to be developed at mother base and then jump right back into the action. Since there is a real-time countdown cost when developing, you can call to get new equipment during missions as well as order commands to have items developed on the fly. You can also develop equipment for Snake’s companions, who are badass, DD is one of the most useful and adorable video game teammates around, like Fallout’s Dogmeat or any of Skyrim’s dog followers.

The first chapter of this game is really something else, it’s gripping, there’s loads going on and the story is incredible. There’s absolutely loads to do at the beginning and the story just keeps you invested. Chapter 2 however is riddled with repeats of previous missions that don’t really add much, just a tougher version of something you’ve already done. The ending left me feeling like there should’ve been something more, it didn’t tie up all the loose ends, it just kind of ended. Being honest, it’s a pretty disappointing ending, especially by Metal Gear standards. Despite the ending, the game is still incredible, but it will leave you wanting more.

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About Dave Jamieson

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