Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developer: Kojima Productions
Platform: PS4, XOne, PC, X360, PS3
Nominations: Game of the Year, Best Score/Soundtrack, Best Action/Adventure, Best Art Direction, Developer of the Year (Kojima Productions)
I’m among those die-hards who had this game make into an angry person for a while. I bought a PlayStation 4 to finally play this game. The problem is, whatever the drama behind the scenes actually were between prestigious developer Hideo Kojima and publishers at Konami, the final result that is Metal Gear Solid V is a game that is meant to appeal to literally everyone. There is no linearity, no over explanations, no traditional commentary on nuclear weapons… just a legend set loose on the world seeking revenge. Never would I have imagined that I could talk about a Metal Gear Solid game with my brother, my father, my co-workers, all people who haven’t the slightest clue of the “Les Enfants Terrible” or the true significance of Big Boss, Revolver Ocelot and Kaz Miller in the series’ grander lore. Where previous Metal Gear stories had been as exaggerated as some of the most ridiculous Japanese Anime ever created, The Phantom Pain shows Hideo Kojima’s love for explosive American action films. Sadly, that means the story has about as much depth as one of those films, but spread thin over 50 missions and nearly 100 hours of possible gameplay. But my gripes on this game’s story presentation, and lazy twist endings, is a dialogue for another time.
Luckily for most, there’s no need understand the story to have enjoyment out of The Phantom Pain when strictly playing it as an open world game of Tactical Espionage Operation. Carrying its style of control and User Interface from MGS: Peace Walker, Phantom Pain drops Snake into the open world to complete operations in the long and short form, and allows players to complete said missions any way in which they choose.
Where an explosive entrance and manslaughter is an option here, the series continues to reward players for achieving their goals with no trace, or shot fired. Adding to the traditional espionage mechanics, players are put in control of a Mother Base by recruiting staff via balloons, build weapons in R&D and sending troops on missions to affect adversaries in-game. The management looks overwhelming as a whole, but is dispersed through the game’s first act. But, when mastered on the player’s iDroid, it begins to feel less and less like grinding for upgrades, and more making every action and objective in the open map an addictive goal to better your base and grow Diamond Dogs into something worthy of Big Boss’ legacy. – Evan Griffin