When people ask me what makes a video game a video game, I say a good story that you can interact with, gameplay that is engaging and an immersive atmosphere that won’t let go of you no matter how long you play. All of these words can be used to describe Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, or MGSV, what I believe to be the game of the year.
Graphically, the game is similar to, if not the same, as last year’s MGSV: Ground Zeroes. Lights shine in beautiful ways, the colors of Mother Base pop out at you, and the flame from the barrel of your gun gives the ounce of reality that Metal Gear games are known for. That’s not to say that the nonsensical themes often included in Metal Gear games are absent. Metal Gears look astonishing and lifelike and all the while threatening to see while on the field. MGSV is possibly one of the best looking games to come out so far in this console generation, and any graphics junkie is going to want to see what developer Hideo Kojima’s Fox engine has to offer.
In regards to the storyline, there isn’t much that I’m willing to say. The Metal Gear games are famous for their intense story, and at the risk of having a spoiler warning put at the top of this review, all I can say is that the game starts off where MGSV: Ground Zeroes left off. Snake (a.k.a Big Boss) is in a hospital, waking up from a nine-year coma caused by the helicopter crash he was in. From there, you leave the hospital you are in and … I can’t say anymore. While others say that the story of MGSV is weak when compared to the story of other games in the series, it holds its own in regards to the stories in games released recently and will not disappoint longtime fans.
Personally, controls are a big deal in any game when I’m judging gameplay. The controls need to be simple and accessible. This is one front on which MGSV stutters. The control scheme is similar to that of other MGS games, but for newcomers may seem difficult and take a couple of hours to get used to. But, once mastered, the controls are tight and responsive. Past the difficult control scheme is one of the most immersive gameplay experiences I have ever had.
If I had to define the gameplay of MGSV in one word, it would be enormous. The number of different facets and playstyles that there are in game is outrageous and has kept me entertained for around 70 hours.
Missions or random encounters can change in an instant thanks to the stealth system implemented in game, which balances high risk for reward when it comes to collecting your earnings at the end of a mission. That is not to mention the newly implemented Forward Operating Base (FOB) multiplayer system, which allows players to invade each other’s custom made mother bases to steal resources, troops and cash. The FOB system is hours of fun on its own, with new gameplay styles being adopted as the situation on an enemy’s home field evolves. Starting out sneaking around and eventually going loud is one possible strategy is that players can play out. But regardless what scenario occurs, the experience is always entertaining.
MGSV has been one of the single greatest gaming experiences of my life and highlights the difference that time and dedication make when creating a game. The endless playability of missions, the freedom of the overworld, and the immersive world all suck the player into the game, and make hours played turn into what feel like minutes. MGSV is certainly a masterpiece of gaming, and anyone that enjoys a good game will find that it exceeds all expectations.
I give Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain a 10/10.