Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review – Greatest Stealth Game Ever Made

Sep 4, 2015
TheGuardian

The latest Metal Gear instalment somehow lives up to the hype and expectations, providing a luxurious cinematic gaming experience without equal


When Hideo Kojima was a young boy, his parents introduced a daily ritual. Each evening, the family would sit down to watch a movie together. Kojima wasn’t allowed to go to bed till the film had finished, even if it contained sex scenes. His experience was, he has said, the “opposite” of how it is for most children. Those kids had to finish their cauliflower. Kojima had to finish his Coppola.


This childhood ritual seeded in Kojima a deep love of cinema, which can be seen running throughout the Metal Gear series of military-themed video games that he’s directed over the last three decades. These expansive games of khaki-coloured hide-and-seek are routinely interrupted by an overabundance of exposition-laden cutscenes, something that has led some to suggest that their creator is just a frustrated film director. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain puts an end to all that talk. This is sumptuous, deluxe, groundbreaking game making, and proof positive that Hideo Kojima is a master of the medium.


The year is 1984 and you are Big Boss, the leader of a private military contractor, primarily working in Afghanistan and Zaire, taking on freelance assignments to, for example, rescue prisoners of war from the Russians, or blow up strategic military assets. You work without moral judgement. “The world calls for wet-work,” says one of your company’s co-founders, early in the game. “And we answer. No greater good. No just cause.”


Big Boss is a crack, lone wolf soldier who carries a Mary Poppins-esque bottomless bag full of tools and toys, and who is supported by an increasingly competent support team back home.


Metal Gear’s familiar rhythms of commando-crawling through the tall grass, ducking behind walls, luring guards with careful taps and whistles, and popping off tranquiliser darts are all present. Veterans of last year’s Ground Zeroes amuse-bouche will also recognise the pleasingly clutter-free screen and the now essential Reflex Mode, which triggers a few seconds of slow motion the instant you’re spotted by a guard, offering a moment’s grace in which you can attempt to incapacitate your captor. Less familiar is the vast playpen in which you operate, traversed either on foot, by horse or other means, and filled with things to do.


Unlike so many other open-world games, this field is not littered with meaningless trinkets and treasures (although, if you do find a diamond in the rough, it will contribute to your company’s purse). Rather, everything you find and harvest, every piece of information you cajole out of a guard at knifepoint, every single weapon and vehicle you commandeer works toward a unified goal: success.


Read full article at TheGuardian

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