Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a 2015 stealth game, with high features of an action game, published by Konami on all platforms ranging from your home computer to consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation. The game was produced by the recently shut-down company Kojima Productions, which is led by none-other than Hideo Kojima.
This fifty mission game follows the main story of ‘Punished “Venom” Snake’ a war hero, formerly known as Big Boss, the main character from the prequel games Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater and Peace Walker. The main missions of the game follow Snake through his beginnings in Cyprus to Afghanistan and Africa. The game’s final mission’s location or details will not be included in the review, as that has been asked to be kept a secret by Konami through-out multiple public statements.
The player has the ability to take control of many characters, ranging from Snake himself to different members of staff you abduct in the diverse open-world which is Afghanistan and Africa. Each member of staff are taken to your own personal base, known as Mother Base; which was initially destroyed in the games prior prequel: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Gradually over time, you gain access to collecting more resources to upgrade Mother Base, which allows you to develop more weapons and upgrades for your companions in the field.
The buddy system is a very helpful optional feature, starting off from the first mission you are given the companion “D-Horse”, a mobility assisting companion, which helps you get from A to B faster than you can on your feet. One more companion which is mandatory to the story is D-Walker, a mechanical aid who is equipped with firearms, and fully available to customise. There are two optional buddies, known as D-Dog, a wolf which helps you scour the lands for more resources and finally ‘Quiet,’ a sniper depraved of her woods.
The main story of the game focuses on the recovery of Big Boss after the events of Ground Zeroes, as he’s been put into a nine-year coma, only to be awoken to know that the world is his enemy, and thus he must try to escape the hospital with the help of the mysterious Ishmael, who is suspected to be like a phantom, as he disappears after saving you. Shortly after, you’re re-united with the reoccurring Revolver ‘Shalashaska’ Ocelot, who gives you information to help Snake stop Skull Face and save his old crew and build up a new army.
One of the notable features about the game is the bionic arm Snake is given by Ocelot, which is fully upgradeable, ranging from upgrades which allow the device to be a Rocket Fist, or even shock your enemies with hundreds of volts through their body. Helping the Bionic Arm become even more ‘handy’ is the Fulton Device, which you can use to abduct people to take back to your base, further progressing the story. One notable member of staff is ‘Hideo’ a complete virtual rendition of the production leader Hideo Kojima, who of which has been a reoccurring character since Portable Ops for the PSP.
Some locations in the game have enemy outposts, in which you can find cassette tapes from the 1970s and 1980s; some of the tapes are even references to previous games, such as the inclusion of ‘Snake Eater (Donna Burke) in the game. These tapes can consist of “Take on Me – Aha!” “Kids in America – Kim Wilde” and “Rebel Yell – Billy Idol.” These tapes however are not the only collectable items the game has to offer, as it ranges from collecting animals to save them from possible endangerment and neutralizing guard-posts as such to collect emblems for your own creativity purposes of renaming your army from the standard “Diamond Dogs.”
Each mission is treated as an episode, with end credits at the end of each level, showing the specific cast for that mission, initially it gets really tedious, but you end up getting used to it, however; each mission has a boundary so the player does not get too side-tracked. Fortunately, there are still side-objectives the player can attempt to beat to try to get that well deserved ‘S’ rank at the award screen.
Mother Base, as mentioned earlier is a base you spend your time to develop and upgrade each platform, which benefits Snake in the field, even allowing you to upgrade your helicopter for faster speed can rely on your progress with mother-base alongside with all the upgrades this remains. However upon completing mission 21, the player is open to the option of creating a forwards operation base, where other players around the world can infiltrate and steal resources, such as fuel and even some of your security staff, despite the loss of men, you can actually jump into the current raid on your base and stop the enemy player in their tracks, which I find is a really fun way of experiencing a one-on-one match, if you don’t count the other NPC soldiers assisting you or them apart of this one-on-one.
As a final feature of the core game, I felt obliged to mention the point system, which explains things you’ve seen in trailers and pictures from Comic Con and IGN and so forth. Those points being the Heroism and Demonic points, which are the key factors to how large Snake’s horn will grow, the horn itself is shown to be extremely small in the launch trailer of The Phantom Pain, only to stick out like a literal demon a few seconds later. These depend on if you decide to kill people and get spotted and cause there to be a bad name for yourself, or if you’d prefer to keep your appearance similar to how you did in Ground Zeroes, you can be stealthy and infiltrate places and silently tranquillize your opponents, and take them back to mother-base.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is expected to have an online feature which will release on the 6th October 2015 for all platforms with the exception of PC, which is expected their release in early January. Metal Gear Online (the online multi-player feature) the main game allows the player to create an avatar at the beginning of the prologue, which will presumably be the player in Metal Gear Online. This is not the first official release of Metal Gear Online however, as Metal Gear Online has been released through previous games of the series, not even including Portable Ops’ online feature.
With all the knowledge at hand, and the imminent release date of Metal Gear Online, the feature has only been demonstrated at Gaming Conventions, which rarely showcase the different game-modes. Despite this, one of the most highly anticipated features is the hero option, where the player is offered the opportunity to take control of Snake or Revolver Ocelot and fight against other players and the other team’s leader, using all their arsenal possible to score a precious victory.
Overall, I’d say this game is a literal requirement to have, even if you have not played another single Metal Gear game, you get filled in of all the details in the previous games, and are thrown into this gorgeous world of life and its own creatures. After getting this game on the day of release, I’d say I’ve never really played a game as much as I have with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it has a near-unobtainable charm with it – one which Kojima Productions managed to snag after 25 years of trying to perfect the Metal Gear image.