Metal Gear Solid V : The Phantom Pain - Critique

Author: Vince Ingenito
Date: 2020-03-02 21:07:26
Translated from English by IGN France.

I had taken care of the preparation. There were far too many guards looking for me and with the approaching sunrise, my chances of arriving at the landing zone, with an injured prisoner on my shoulders, were almost zero. At night, I had put C4 on the outpost where the radio communication equipment was located, on the anti-aircraft battery, and more importantly, on their radar. So I held my breath, blew up the whole C4 at the same time, called the helicopter and watched the fireworks. Shortly thereafter, the pace of my journey increased in intensity, detonating an armored vehicle with a fierce barrage of rockets and sweeping the infantry with a heavy machine gun and then trudging from my hideout to the main courtyard with a prisoner. I embarked with my precious package, then grab the mini-gun mounted on the helicopter to contain the arrival of reinforcements on the bay before our departure from the danger zone.

This is what Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looks like and what is really impressive is that nothing was scripted during these moments. My mission was to save the prisoner. The rest, the time at which I wanted to start the mission, the ability of the enemy camp to face an air assault, the guards, their patrols, etc. all this is one of the variables proposed in The Phantom Pain. It is without a doubt my favorite Metal Gear, even if I really hope that its history delivers as many memorable moments as its open world allowed me to create myself by my actions.

From the moment you are asked to ride a horse and explore the Afghan countryside, The Phantom Pain is intimidating, almost frightening in terms of the freedom brought by its open world. It's almost too much, especially compared to the relative linearity of previous Metal Gear. But what seemed like a confusing mix of possibilities turned out to be well thought out gameplay mechanics that allowed me to make real decisions that were full of surprises.

Let's take a look at another daring prisoner rescue for example. The day / night cycle of The Phantom Pain, as well as its dynamic weather played a major role in my choice to use my C4 in this mission. I was aware that I would not benefit from night cover, I was certain that I could not benefit from the fog either, from a sandstorm or even a light rain which would conceal the noise of my steps, like My intelligence team had told me so. I also knew that I would need a closer extraction point, so I went in search of the area's anti-aircraft radar to destroy it with my C4, in order to avoid my enemies spot me during my escape. Unfortunately, there was communication equipment, which I missed. By not destroying all the transmitters, reinforcements from the nearby outposts came to complicate matters at the end of my mission. Whatever the conditions, all the different factors and other details are to be taken into consideration. But rest assured, even if you miss, even in bad shape, there are always decisions to be made to try strategies and hope to get out of it.

The greatest soldier of the XXI century

The most impressive thing about this game is that you can solve the puzzles as you see fit thanks to the flexibility of The Phantom Pain's gameplay. The transition from stealth to direct approach is much more visible than in previous MGS games, and playing aggressively doesn't seem like a "bad" option, unlike most other stealth games. If someone spots you, you have a few seconds of slow motion (the famous reflex mode that you can deactivate) to lower it discreetly and avoid being spotted by the entire base. It is not only a style effect because it gives you the freedom to take calculated risks with a certain margin of error.

Even when things don't go as planned, missions evolve accordingly. If your meticulously prepared plan fails, it can nevertheless lead you to a chase on horseback or a confrontation with a combat helicopter, everything is possible! But even when your plan doesn't work, it doesn't mean failure or frustration.

The fact that MGS is not a painful experience and that a little (or even a lot) of aggressiveness makes, thanks to all your combat tools, the adventure incredibly digestible and it is a real treat. I can, for example, call a combat helicopter to get air support, mark targets to throw a huge bomb of soporific gas at them or have a combat walker, directly dropped on my side on the battlefield, to make a massacre if I feel like it. The weapons, thanks to a redesigned gameplay, are extremely reactive. And then, unlike those of Ground Zeroes, I can use them without necessarily seeing my note (at the end of the level) sealed as much.

But that does not mean that being a trigger maniac is of no consequence, and we realize this in particular in the management of the famous base of operations of Snake, the Mother Base. It is essentially Peace Walker, the PSP episode, that we owe its operation. From the Mother Base, you take care of building, recruiting and researching (and developing your arsenal), as well as your mercenaries, the Diamond Dogs, who you can kidnap or recruit on the battlefield . Thus, each soldier that I eliminate and the supply trucks that I explode are wasted because if I had been more meticulous, I could have recovered them alive, or in good condition, to use them in the Mother Base. In other games, enemy camps are just full of dangers, but in The Phantom Pain they are a way to gain resources and recruit new units.

And believe me, succeeding in leading an army requires a lot of money and, above all, a lot of manpower. There are an incredible number of guns, gadgets, and unlockables in the research department of Mother Base. And the same goes for vehicles and soldiers' specializations, which you can also use in the main adventure to bring you resources. You will have to make sure to assign your new recruits in a sector of the Mother Base and this according to their talent. The breadth of options on offer and the decisions to make are not the most impressive things in the game, however. No, the most amazing thing is that it is all linked and has consequences when you explore the battlefields during your missions.

Distributing soldiers to Mother Base is as interesting as trying to manage cash, and when, for example, my research and development team brings me a new, modified version of my favorite assault rifle, or when staff that I redirected to support and logistics allows me, finally, to fire heavy artillery, I finally realized that these management details really counted. And know it, I was then happy to have paid attention and to have invested time in the management of my base. It was worth it ! Note also that in missions, my actions are also important for obtaining resources.

Resource management is actually the engine of this open world. While the open areas of The Phantom Pain offer the freedom to bypass the small outposts on my way to the main goal, I have rarely done so. Because after all, the guards present could be in possession of vital information, scarce food, or equipment that I might need. It is always possible that they know the location of a supply truck that I could steal to make it easier for me to the next base, or they may as well know the location of a soldier to be rescued. Sure, it distracted me from my main goal, but it was also an opportunity to discover new things, new tools, new possibilities. The different game systems of The Phantom Pain, both management, action, infiltration, information retrieval, discoveries, etc. elevate its gameplay and, in that, the title largely differs from its competitors .

However, if the gameplay of The Phantom Pain is richer and more consistent than that of its predecessors, its history gives the impression of being underdeveloped. Indeed, the open world of the game is spectacular but the narration, really present at the very beginning of the adventure, asks a lot of questions which we will not finally have the answers until 30 to 60 hours later (it depends on the answers that you expect and how you play). In general, these answers seem a little too quick and unconvincing, all lacking in arguments and relevance.

This is really disappointing for a series known for the quality of the subjects it explores. Here it is the reverse. The Phantom Pain tackles important subjects such as the price to pay for a personal revenge, the danger of child soldiers or the horror of torture, to name a few, but there is nothing to say positive above, except that they exist. Fortunately, there is not too much unnecessary chatter since the cutscenes were rare and brief, and let me quickly play again. Although this seems to be a positive, I would have preferred to have as many cutscenes as in MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots, with finally many more epic moments and reversals of situations.

Quiet ...

Anyway, the elements of the history of The Phantom Pain are nevertheless well brought, with beautiful cinematics, and neat performances, including that of Keifer Sutherland (Big Boss), which unfortunately does not have much to make. His inexplicable silence, even through the most crucial moments in history, goes beyond stoicism and turns out to be overwhelming. Quite a few things have disappeared in this episode of MGS, starting with the conversations via the codec, the epic boss fights and some important characters related to the mythology of the saga. Most of the characters in the game seem to be there to appear on the screen, give information and stay in your field of vision with a dramatic air.

The only real exception to this is none other than the sniper named Quiet, whose childlike sincerity and ferocity on the battlefield give her a charisma that makes her the most important character in the scenes in which she finds herself. . Unfortunately, her lack of clothes makes her a little ridiculous so much that at one point in the game, she no longer seems credible. It would have been better to dress her in military trellis, she would still have remained the most endearing character. You will understand, the fact that she is an object of desire is a little disappointing.

It is surprising, however, to see how much the horrors of The Phantom Pain history actually moved me. It takes an objective approach to both story and gameplay. In ten years, I doubt that the scenario of the missions of the game reminds me of incredible memories, however, I could write a book as there are so many ways to fill them with brilliant plans that I had developed and that have unfolded as expected. It’s without a doubt the worst `` written '' Metal Gear in the series, but it’s probably also the one that gives the player the most room to progress as they want, and I much prefer this, as I indicated with my helicopter flight at the start of this test.

The basics of advanced online operations

The Phantom Pain goes even deeper with its advanced online operating base system, which allows you to build additional fortresses in addition to your Mother Base to expose them to other players. You then distribute resources, manpower and repair the defenses that protect you from other online attackers. You can also try to take over the advanced operating bases of other online players in the hopes of collecting more resources, recruiting their high-ranking units, and most importantly, taking the nuclear bombs. The Advanced Operations Base is associated with nuclear proliferation, where you will choose to build a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons, or to steal or defuse those of others. I could only touch it for a few hours, but so far I have found that this is sufficient motivation to continue playing and looting the areas offered in The Phantom Pain, even after the end.