Revel in Kojima's Final Glory
The history is there: Kojima is no longer an employee in Konami having since dipped their sausage hot fingers into the 'pachinko machines' as some have called it. Was it really a disastrous move for the long-standing company? To be fair, there are reasons that I won't discuss that may shed light to the game's disappearing third act, but there is much to savour here that Konami manages to limp beyond the finishing line. It is by no means a 'masterpiece', but it is damn near perfect in every aspect possible.
Kojima's story-telling does lend itself a lot to the game but not by much. There is the villain of Skull Face which we know of from Ground Zeroes, the "prologue" to the series, which seems terrifying upon first meeting but simply fades away when you unravel his plans and schemes. By that time you don't feel as if his plans are all that significant albeit being led by the front of being an 'interrogation master'. Still, the story is not that great, but on the other hand, is a satisfying experience for one who has not yet experienced the previous series. Great characters like Miller, Ocelot and even Quiet manages to pull you in albeit the 'controversy' surrounding Quiet, she has a great end to her story arc. Yes, the game didn't have a third act which paved the way into negative reviews on Steam for being called an unfinished game, but what we got is still an enriching experience that I doubt most people would lament about and rather replay the missions again hoping to get an S-rank or the platinum trophy on PS4. There is so much enjoyment apart from the missing pieces to the puzzle that most players would rather spend time on than talk about what isn't there or lack-thereof.
As far as Kojima's final glory goes, while there isn't a similar triumph of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, many expected a concluding chapter and sadly that wasn't the package. With focus on gameplay, there is nothing anybody could ask more of. Well, maybe a few.
Gameplay is Key
"Gameplay is key", as AngryJoe states in his review of The Phantom Pain. And it is key to the ultimate kingdom of gratification. What Kojima's team had created was an open-world storm split in two halves: Afghanistan and Africa, and both of these countries have a lot to offer. Missions and side operations take place on both of these countries and you're able to tackle them as you please and wish. This is the important thing(!) considering the game is vastly dynamic and allows the player's choices to come into play more often than not. Do you stealth your way into an enemy base or cripple them straight from the get-go? Call in the chopper on a side op so that it can play Take On Me or Kids in America while ripping the base and enemies to shreds? Why not call in a bombardment at a specific area because the tanks and vehicles are just too much to handle? There are a myriad of ways to approach every mission and operation that by the time you finish it, you find yourself at the edge of your seat and glued to the screen because the gameplay is amazing.
Not only do you choose how you tackle a mission, but you can choose an insane amount of things. Choices in this game leaves the player gasping to breathe, and gasping for more. You can customize your vehicles you've fulton (which is an amazing thing to do in-game), your logo, your weapons, the colour of your base, the colour of D-Dog, your bionic arm, develop new weapons, new upgrades and many others. Don't like the colour of your hilariously effective cardboard box? There are tons of other designs. Grab a poster and stick it at the top or the side with a pretty woman and watch the guards run over and dropping their guns in awe. After that, feel free to CQC them to oblivion.
Minor things like not showering decreases your overall health, and by doing so increases your reflex time. Going past guards and hitting them at Mother Base increases staff morale which is crucial so they don't leave. Standing at a construction site with the 'warning' sign drops a crate over your head so you learn your lesson. Quick-travel using your cardboard box around Mother Base or across outposts. The minute things and possibilities stretches a player's imagination to the tenth degree and leaves room for the conscious mind to work it's magic. While some things either don't make sense or have already been done in previous games, there is a sense of rush to the touch that feels organic and doesn't feel scripted. The enemy A.I. can walk in different directions making them slightly unpredictable. They can wear helmets when you headshot too many times. If you've infiltrated bases too much at night, guards will be equipped with NVG - Night-vision goggles. It is astounding that the game pays so much attention to detail to everything that makes you feel immersed in this game.
The Newcomer's Verdict
It is simple to just say Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a game of the year contender because it's the final game in the franchise. While there are missing content, there is enough for the players to savour and swallow that makes it overwhelming. While it's not the perfect game by any stretch and it still has to pit it's strength against juggernauts like Witcher 3 and the upcoming Fallout 4, there is so many little things in gameplay and in choices that makes the game stand out as one of the best of the year. Simply said, if you do not own The Phantom Pain you should check it out, and as a longtime fan of the series, you probably already bought it.
Welcome to the first post of the series that I will be doing on this website titled: theEXP. These are game reviews or analysis in which I talk about the game in question and try to go in-depth about it. As Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the first post, hopefully there will be more in the future! Over the coming days and even weeks there will other series planned of which it will be discussions about games and my thoughts on them.
Thanks for reading and do comment why you like/dislike the game, and why! While I may have glossed over some important aspects of the game, I'm sure you will find much more information of reviews on game sites that truly discuss about the game's strengths and weaknesses. Once again, thanks!
Are reviews/gameplay discussions/first impressions on a particular game. For reviews, the numbers are on a scale from 0-10 with the higher the number, the better.
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Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.