Metal gear solid 5: the phantom pain review

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By Vince Ingenito

I had planned it all very carefully. There were way too many guards still looking for me, and with sunrise coming shortly, I had almost no chance of making it out khổng lồ the nearest safe landing zone with an injured prisoner on my shoulders. But I wouldn’t have sầu to lớn. During the night, I planted some C4 on this outpost’s radio communication equipment, the anti-aircraft battery, và most importantly, their AA radar. So I took a deep breath, detonated all three at once, called in a chopper, and watched it all unfold. After a short while, my ride swooped in, blasting an APC lớn bits with a ferocious rocket barrage, và cutting infantry down with heavy machine gun fire as I scrambled from my hiding place to the main courtyard, prisoner in tow. I hopped in with my precious cargo, and then jumped on the side-mounted minigun to lớn keep the newly arrived reinforcements at cất cánh as my chopper smoked & sputtered its way out of the hotzone.

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That’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain almost all the time, and what’s truly incredible is that none of this escape was scripted or directed. My mission was simply to lớn get that prisoner out alive. The rest of it, from the time of day I chose to approach lớn crippling the base’s ability to khuyến mãi with an aerial assault was a testament to lớn how perfectly all the pieces of Phantom Pain’s gameplay fit together. It is, unquestionably, my favorite Metal Gear khổng lồ play, though I vì wish its story delivered as many memorable moments as its sandbox empowered me to lớn create for myself.

The number of different factors to lớn consider makes every bad situation you find yourself in a fun puzzle khổng lồ solve sầu.

Right from the moment you’re told khổng lồ get on your horse và explore the Afghan countryside, Phantom Pain feels intimidating, almost overwhelming in terms of the freedom its open world affords & the number of concepts it expects you lớn grasp. It’s almost too much, especially given the relative linearity of previous Metal Gears. But what initially appeared to be an overly dense tangle of features to fiddle with instead unraveled into lớn a well integrated set of meaningful gameplay systems that provided me with a wealth of interesting decisions to make.

Let’s take another look at my daring prisoner rescue for instance. Phantom Pain’s day/night cycle & dynamic weather played a big role in my decision khổng lồ pull the trigger on that C4. While I knew I wouldn’t have the cover of night, I was also fairly certain I wouldn’t have fog, a sandstorm, or even a little rain to make my footsteps harder khổng lồ hear, because my intelligence team baông chồng at my base forecasted the weather in advance. I also knew that I needed a closer extraction point, so I sought out that anti-air radar to lớn open one up. Then there was the comms equipment, which I messed up on. Since I didn’t destroy all of the transmitters, reinforcements from nearby outposts came to lớn complicate things at the over. The number of different factors to consider makes every bad situation you find yourself in a fun puzzle to solve sầu.

More importantly though, you’re không lấy phí lớn solve those puzzles your own way because of how flexible Phantom Pain’s core gameplay is. The transition between careful stealth & going loud is a lot more organic than in any previous MGS, & getting aggressive never feels “wrong” the way it often does in stealth games. If someone spots you, you get a few seconds of slow motion (called Reflex Time) khổng lồ take them down silently and prsự kiện a full combat alert. Not only does this create a lot of tense, sweet-looking movie moments, but it gives you the freedom khổng lồ take calculated risks with room for exciting mistakes.

Even when things bởi get out of hand, missions progress accordingly. Your carefully planned sneaking mission might turn into lớn you chasing down a fleeing target on horsebaông xã, or a white-knuckle showdown with an enemy gunship instead, but going “off-script” isn’t a one-way ticket to lớn failure and frustration.

The fact that it’s relatively painless to experiment & get a little (or even extremely) aggressive makes playing with the many fun toys Phantom Pain provides a literal blast. I can Call in a gunship for cthua thảm air tư vấn, desgiaithuongtinhnguyen.vnate targets for a massive sầu sleeping gas bomb, or have sầu a customizable combat walker dropped in for me lớn wreak havoc with. Gunplay feels responsive, direct, & so very right, and unlượt thích Ground Zeroes, I can use all this stuff guilt-không lấy phí since it doesn’t completely tank my mission ratings.

That isn’t lớn say that playing lượt thích a trigger-happy maniac doesn’t have sầu ramifications, because it most certainly does, thanks to Phantom Pain’s fantastic base-management layer, Mother Base, which is far deeper và & more detailed than it has any reasonable excuse khổng lồ be. It’s essentially the full realization of all the good ideas Peace Walker seeded. From Mother Base, you manage the construction, staffing, and R&D needs of your growing mercenary group, the Diamond Dogs. Every soldier I kill và every supply truchồng I mercilessly blow up in the field is missed potential. In other games, enemy outposts are simply filled with threats to be eliminated, but in Phantom Pain they are opportunities to lớn gain resources and new recruits.

And as it turns out, it takes a whole lot of money, manpower, & materials to run a successful private military corporation. There's an outrageous number of guns, gadgets, & abilities to lớn unloông xã for yourself, and for the vehicles & sidekicks you’ll employ throughout the story - and many require you khổng lồ meet several criteria to lớn snag them. You’ll need khổng lồ keenly new recruits khổng lồ an arm of your infrastructure suited to lớn their talents, send well-rounded combat groups out on side contracts lớn keep money coming in, & direct research efforts much lượt thích you would in an X-COM chiến dịch. The breadth of options lớn choose from & decisions khổng lồ make isn’t the most impressive thing though - it’s the fact that all of it has a relevant, meaningful impact when you head out onlớn the field.

Granted, re-assgiaithuongtinhnguyen.vning newly conscripted soldiers across different branches of my base sounds about as sexy as balancing my checkbook, but when, for instance, my R&D team threw me a newly modified version of my favorite assault rifle, or when re-routing personnel into tư vấn and logistics led to lớn me gaining access to off-maps artillery bombardment, I was glad I took the time lớn sweat the details. The door swings both ways too: just as those back-end decisions become tangible boons in the field, the choices I make during a mission have ramifications for the resource crunch at home page as well.

Resource management is, in fact, the blood coursing through the veins of this open world, giving its many interconnected infiltration spaces their reason to lớn be. While Phantom Pain’s thoughtfully structured sandboxes provided the freedom lớn sneak by smaller outposts on my way to my primary objective, I rarely did. After all, those unsuspecting guards could have sầu vital intel, and they sure aren’t going khổng lồ interrogate themselves. They might know the location of a supply truông chồng I could steal khổng lồ drive sầu inkhổng lồ the next base unmolested, or they could spill the location of a talented gunsmith for me to rescue. Sure, it’ll take me out of my way, but I’d finally be able to lớn retìm kiếm that sweet new anti-material xạ thủ rifle I’ve sầu been lusting after. This masterfully woven relationship between The Phantom Pain’s many systems, both management and action-based, elevates its gameplay to a wholly different plane than its many open-world action contemporaries.

However, where Phantom Pain’s gameplay systems are far richer and meatier than any the series has ever seen, its story feels insubstantial and underdeveloped by comparison. It opens confidently, with Director Hideo Kojima ready to fully embrace the techno-fantasy, live-action military anime identity that Metal Gear has been courting for the better part of two decades. This spectacular opening establishes a mood và a bundle of plot-related questions that are more or less abandoned until the time comes, some 30-60 hours later (depending on which answers you’re seeking and how you play). Though some connect lớn the greater Metal Gear lore nicely, those answers are generally rushed & unsatisfying, lacking any real build-up or thematic relevance.

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This is doubly disappointing in a series known for (sometimes clumsily and exhaustively) exploring its subject matter. The opposite is true here though. The Phantom Pain brings up topics like the personal cost of revenge, child soldiers, and torture to name a few, but it has positively nothing lớn say about any of them other than that they exist. Thankfully though, it never wasted my time pretending khổng lồ say more, as cut scenes were sparse & brief, so as lớn let me get back to playing. As nice as that might be though, I’d rather have sầu the “problem” that Guns of the Patriots had, where there were “too many” awesome moments và plot twists.

For their part, Phantom Pain’s story elements are at least well produced, with beautiful cinematography, and workmanlượt thích performances from everyone, including Keifer Sutherlvà, who sadly has practically nothing lớn vì chưng as Big Boss. His inexplicable silence through even the most crucial story beats towards the end go beyond mere stoicism, và were positively jarring. Almost gone are the off-topic codec convos, climactic trùm battles, & memorable character moments of Metal Gears past. Everyone seems to lớn exist solely lớn walk on screen, deliver information, & then stvà there dramatically.


The only real exception to this is the sniper Quiet, whose warm, childlike sincerity and battlefield ferođô thị cause her khổng lồ steal every scene she’s in. Her preposterous laông xã of clothing undercuts those qualities a fair bit though: one particular moment later in the game comes off a bit creepy instead of endearing solely because of her outfit. You seriously could have put her in generic army fatigues và she would still have been the most interesting character here - the fact that she’s also required to lớn be a lust-object is disappointing.

It’s surprising, though, how little Phantom Pain’s story woes actually impacted my experience with it. It takes an almost completely hands-off approach to lớn both story và gameplay, which means that the lion’s chia sẻ of the takeaway moments will almost certainly be the ones of your own orchestration. But given how readily Phantom Pain facilitates the creation of those moments, it’s difficult for me to feel bad about that. In a decade, I doubt there will be a single mission I’ll be able to lớn point khổng lồ & say “remember when you had khổng lồ vì that,” but I could fill a book with stories about how I dealt with a mission going south, or a brilliant plan I came up with that worked just like I thought it should. This is certainly the least “authored” Metal Gear, but it’s also the most player-driven, và I’d gladly take the helicopter escape story I shared earlier over any scripted event or set-piece.

That memory creation doesn’t kết thúc with the story missions though. Phantom Pain still has more layers of depth khổng lồ unfurl with its online Forward Operating Base, which allows you to construct additional fortresses aside from your main Mother Base. You’ll allocate resources, manpower, and fixed defenses that you’ve sầu secured out in the field to lớn defending these bases from online invaders. You’ll also invade the bases of other players in an attempt lớn secure resources, high-ranking recruits, and most importantly enemy nukes. FOB is, ultimately, about nuclear proliferation, where you can choose to lớn build up a massive sầu WMD stoông xã, or steal và disarm those of others. I only got a couple of hours lớn mess around with it, but since these extra bases require resources just like your main one, they provides ample incentive sầu khổng lồ continue to explore and plunder Phantom Pain’s sizeable sandboxes well after the credits have rolled.

Metal Gear Online could easily have felt tacked on in the grand scope of what Metal Gear Solid 5 achieves, but thanks khổng lồ excellent bản đồ, & modes that make meaningful use of Metal Gear’s mechanics, it doesn’t. It’s probably too light on modes & maps khổng lồ compete directly with multiplayer-focused games, but what it lacks in quantity, it mostly makes up in quality.

Each of MGO’s modest pool of five excellent maps feels wide open. There’s plenty of room for 16 players lớn maneuver, as well as a wide variety of encounter spaces within each bản đồ. Stairwells lead from dangerous courtyards with 360 degrees of engagement angles, down to networks of tight, narrow corridors. Large, small, day, and night bản đồ variants, along with a dynamic weather system add further wrinkles, forcing you to lớn adopt new tactics when visibility is impaired. Plentiful nooks và crannies and a healthy variety of routes from A to lớn B make these maps igiảm giá khuyến mãi playgrounds for tactical espionage shenanigans. Tricks lượt thích hiding in boxes, sliding down ramps, and luring enemies to lớn their doom with an adorable puppy that forces them to lớn uncontrollably cuddle it are even more fun lớn pull on humans than against the AI.

These maps are ikhuyến mãi playgrounds for tactical espionage shenanigans.

Even in its closest analog to team deathmatch, called Bounty Hunter, MGO makes great use of The Phantom Pain’s sophisticated stealth mechanics without boiling them down lớn run-and-gun. The objective is simply lớn drain the opposing side’s tickets by killing them, but there’s a fantastic twist. Every kill you score raises the bounty on your head, & if someone manages to take you down non-lethally và Fulton you out, all the tickets you’ve claimed go bachồng to your opponent’s total. Not only does this create value for using stealthy, non-lethal tactics, it adds a tangible risk lớn using lethal force, which leads to tense, tactical showdowns with the potential for some thrilling last-second comebacks.

MGO’s other two modes are the asymmetrical attack-and-defover Cloak and Dagger và the territory-control variation Comilimet Control. They aren’t quite as inventive as Bounty Hunter, but they still make smart use of The Phantom Pain’s gadgets and mechanics. Interrogating foes reveals the positions of the entire enemy team, và Fultoning stunned enemies nets your team a ton more points than just killing them. These points decide the winner in a draw, cleverly rewarding players for playing lượt thích you would in a Metal Gear game.

The one really disappointing thing about Metal Gear Online is that it doesn’t tie back inlớn the single player experience in any way, a stark contrast to The Phantom Pain’s brilliant FOB mode, which feels like a direct extension of the main’s themes và mechanics. By comparison, MGO seems like a really enjoyable, but unrelated side-activity, which feels lượt thích a missed opportunity. That said, it still adds yet another well-done element to lớn The Phantom Pain’s already impressive sầu gameplay super-structure.

The Phantom Pain is the kind of game I thought would never exist - one where every minute gameplay detail has true purpose. Its laông xã of story focus is sure to lớn be divisive for the Metal Gear faithful, but the resulting emphasis on my story, my tales of Espionage kích hoạt, easily make it my favorite in the series. There have sầu certainly been sandbox action games that have sầu given me a bigger world to roam, or more little icons lớn chase on my minibản đồ, but none have sầu pushed me to plan, adapt, và improvise the way this one does. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.

Part of the mysterious twin game projects that khung part five sầu in the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues the complex saga of the Snake soldier line.
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Svào Language, Suggestive Themes, Includes online features that may expose players khổng lồ unrated user-generated content