The final ‘Metal Gear’ is a bittersweet journey

By Grant Meyer l @GrantMeyerDe l Daily Egyptian

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: The swan song of one of gaming’s most legendary developers.

This open-world stealth game could very well be famed creator Hideo Kojima’s last ‘Metal Gear’ installment. Because of complications with his company Konami, the series he started in 1987 might be seeing its final installment.

Despite this sad turn of events, Kojima is leaving on a high note and created one of the best entries in the series.

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Taking place in 1984, Big Boss awakes from a nine-year coma after being attacked on his private military base, Mother Base. He sets out for vengeance and to build a new Mother Base.

Much has changed with ‘The Phantom Pain,’ but the game still reaches the quality of previous installments.

First of all, it became an open-world game — a drastic, but not bad change. This could turn some people away, but Kojima Productions is able to create a fantastic world to explore.

The best thing about the open world is that it lets the player choose how to approach a situation. Options allow players to engage an enemy base, camp by going in stealthily from multiple angles, use different items or attack head on.

On top of exploring the open world, there are 157 side quests and 50 primary story missions. The missions range from extracting prisoners, taking out enemy targets or destroying vehicles. The player can choose an equipment loadout before every mission or have a personal helicopter drop supplies mid-mission to provide items.

The only potential disadvantage to this method is pacing can be pretty broken if a player decides to do side activities in the middle of the story. Furthermore, in some instances a player can be in the middle of a heated or dramatic cutscene and the words “to be continued” will display — breaking up the moment.

Metal Gear is often criticized for the amount and length of its cutscenes. It is hard to say if this criticism affected the development of the game, but ‘The Phantom Pain’ drastically changes the formula.

Cutscenes are short and sparse. The few available are entertaining and do a good job telling the story, but they are not typical Metal Gear Solid cutscenes.

As a hardcore Metal Gear fan, I cannot help but wonder if this change is for the better. The story seems scarce — in previous entries, players were rewarded with a long and entertaining cutscene after playing for a while. Some people will praise the game for this, but as a long-time Metal Gear fan, it seems out of place and disappointing.

Another important part is building the player’s own Mother Base. Through Big Boss’s journey the player earns currency, followers and materials needed for building the base. By rescuing prisoners and abducting enemy soldiers, players can put them on different squads. These groups unlock additions to Mother Base as well as new weapons, upgrades and equipment Big Boss can take on missions.

This is a great aspect because no matter what the player is doing, it feeds back into Mother Base and helps the player progress. 

My only complaint is that Mother Base is not customizable. Only the color can be changed. It would be have been great if players could layout the foundation and buildings.

FOB is a fun online mode that allows creation of a second Mother Base used for competitive play. This base can be invaded by other players and have guards and resources stolen. Likewise, players can invade other’s bases and do the same. Fortunately a player’s primary Mother Base is safe from this mode. FOB is an enjoyable distraction which is high risk, high reward.

Another online activity is a competitive multiplayer mode, although not active yet, it will be in the future.

There is a lot to this game but it has some issues. It does a poor job of explaining details in the game. I had to ask a friend or look things up online to figure out certain details. Also near the end of the game some of the missions are repeated with limitations put on the player. This is meant to add challenge but only creates frustration.

Despite the changes to the formula and minor gripes, this game is nothing short of fantastic. I could write 10 more pages on this game. It is sad to see Kojima go, and if this is truly the last ‘Metal Gear’ game players get, the series is going out on a high note. 

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” a Hideo Kojima game.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

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