Review of the game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - Metal buried in the sandbox

Author: Przemysław Zamęcki
Date: 2015-09-09 10:02:00
The review was based on the PS4 version. Also applies to the XONE version

I would like to say one important sentence at the very beginning. Well, for years I have been a devoted lover of the talent of Hideo Kojma, and the Metal Gear Solid series in particular. It was with great pleasure that I completed all of its previous parts, including Portable Ops , considered as non-canonical, at which this deserved industry creator was only a producer. I was also very impressed with The Phantom Pain , the Ground Zeroes prologue released last year, which gave hope that the next installment of the series would bring fans a great game. Or otherwise. GZ gave hope for the perfect MGS . A title that will skilfully combine the sandbox structure of the open world and another unique story full of exciting cutscenes and memorable characters.

I decided to approach the new MGS carefully and coldly, without too much fever. Later, many hours of contact with Big Boss assured me in one: The Phantom Pain is a very good game, which, however, did not avoid many mistakes and simplifications. It's also a good Metal Gear Solid , but definitely not the peak achievement of Hideo Kojima. I do not know how much of the blame the creator himself, and how much the publisher, Konami, with whom he came into a sharp dispute, which resulted in the removal of the developer name from the game box. We will probably never know the true causes of these disagreements and we will not find out how they actually influenced the final shape of the product.

It is an indisputable fact that MGS V is the most accessible part of the series for new players , an adventure with which you can start properly without any preparation. Yes, it is good to know the previous achievements of Big Boss, but information about them (in a fairly short, but sufficient form) can be assimilated from the cassette tapes received from the collaborators of the main character, containing dialogues and monologues about the current situation and events happening in the background of the main story , and expanding our knowledge of the Metal Gear universe.

The fun begins with an hour-long, delightful prologue, which is in my opinion one of the best openings in the history of electronic entertainment. Earlier, the beginning of The Last of Us had almost as great an impression on me, but Kojima played his game in an even better, more emotional and engaging way. Introduction is the essence of the series, hope for the author's magnum opus, pressing the jaw drop sequence into the armchair. However, when the actual game begins, emotions also fall, fall and ... fall ...

Big Boss wakes up after a nine-year coma caused by injuries received at Ground Zeroes and the first steps, after getting out of the siege by a bomber hospital and the necessary convalescence at a base in Seychelles, goes to Afghanistan. It is 1984, the Soviet occupation is underway, and the mercenary organization Diamond Dogs created by our hero is looking for military contracts on which one can earn and develop Motherbase - a new platform located on the high seas, serving as a base.

Hideo Kojima entered a new area he had never known before and together with his team prepared a real sandbox. The maps available in the game are not too huge, but we can navigate them in any direction and in one of at least several ways. Apart from military vehicles, we travel a long way backwards, and as the situation develops, also a small battle mech, called the D-Walker. Big Boss is a master of infiltration, so we spend most of our time on missions, trying to avoid enemy patrols, blow up military equipment and free detained prisoners. Ground Zeroes gave a foretaste of the stealth features of the game a year ago, and basically not much has changed in this respect. With time, we use more and more perfect equipment, which facilitates the performance of tasks. A more effective and deadly weapon is useful in sub-gate situations, but keep in mind that secretive and silent execution of tasks is the most rewarded. "Act so that the enemy does not guess your presence right behind your back," says the handbook of every fan of the genre. Snake, without signs of fatigue, runs a sprint, making a lot of noise, but also creeps into squatting or like a real snake winds up on the ground, hiding from an unconscious patrol located at his fingertips.

We can try to get away from behind every typical opponent and catch him to interrogate him. While we have kidnapped a translator of a given language before, we have a chance to find out exactly where the prisoners are kept, where are the plans for a weapon or device and which soldiers are specialists in skills useful for us in the development of the base. After stunning, you can leave the body on view, which will sooner or later end in an alarm and raise the readiness of all nearby soldiers. So it's best to use a balloon (in extreme cases, when the character is wounded, for example, you need to call for a helicopter), put the delinquent in the base. Alternatively, put it in one of the outcrops or garbage containers nearby. However, it is likely that the poor man will wake up and bring hordes of friends to our heads. So what remains? The final solution is killing opponents, which - unfortunately - along with the development of available equipment we are quietly encouraged by the game itself. Killing is quick, easy and doesn't lead to the dark side. At one point we have such firepower that breaking up a large post and a group of standard soldiers stationed there becomes a piece of cake.

However, it is better to use the most important gadget of all Snakes, i.e. the sleeping arrow gun. Hitting the head instantly puts the enemy to sleep. The so-called Reflex Mode. When we are covered, the game slows down for a few seconds, giving valuable time to react. This can be easier to turn off in the game menu, which I recommend to people who want to get the highest scores for completing missions. Unfortunately, I regret to say that artificial intelligence responsible for the behavior of guards makes the most of the matter. One of the simpler methods of eliminating them is worrying about their location on earth. In most cases, the guard comes up to check the suspicious place, and we take care of him with just a few meters with one silent shot. The enemies are sometimes so stupid that this kind of maneuver can easily be carried out even for larger groups. Getting three or four soldiers to sleep with them in a row won't make Snake a problem. All the time I had the impression that, compared to other parts of the series, guards can see over longer distances, but at the same time it is easier to lead them to the field. Perhaps also due to the open area, giving the player more freedom. In the narrow corridors of the buildings at Shadow Moses or Big Shell, it was not that easy. What's more, the 3 % information about the effectiveness of the camouflage used has also disappeared. What about the fact that this time we can dress in leopards like in small cases, since we can never be sure which of them will be the best in a given area.

What captivates The Phantom Pain the most is the immense possibilities in mission planning. Every way is good, so we can adapt the game to our play style, and not the other way around. In the initial phase, you can even succumb to real fascination. After all, we have a big world - it is nothing that is largely limited by mountains, between which narrower or narrower spaces with a road and a large side are hollowed out. At first, we only see fantastic progress made by the Hideo Kojima team. Here Metal Gear Solid broke through another barrier and became almost perfect stealth. In my case, however, the charm was broken at some point. When for hours I sneaked between the rocks of completely deserted areas, with only a dozen or so species of animals and hostile soldiers guarding their bases (before whom, why, if outside of the army or a living spirit?), I began to doubt Kojima's decision to make the "five" sandbox .

Don't get me wrong. I really like games with open worlds, only on condition that the creators have done everything to make their virtual space look even credible. Meanwhile, at MGS, I listen to tapes describing current events - well! - I am even taking part in the mujahedin offensive against Soviet tanks and not a single Islamist aiming his CIA weapon towards the attackers! Null, empty! I chase one horse from one end of the map to the other to shoot as many armored vehicles as I can in fifteen minutes. No sorry, Koijma, but this case was much better settled years ago in Rambo III .

Big Boss can't swim. He can't. In contact with deeper water it dies immediately. Once a similar complaint did not prevent Red Dead Redemption from being the best game of the previous generation, so in this case there is nothing to dramatize. Fortunately, all the rivers here are a few centimeters deep. However, there are places where an unconscious engineer built an invisible wall. And even if you insist, you will not be able to reach the factory from the back, because the designer decided that instead of getting around it, you have to get in the company of drumming drummers. These are minor flaws, but depending on your expectations, they can become a big problem. If you turn a blind eye to it, then in fact - you get a stealth not only extensive, but also successful, and most importantly: also addictive. Maybe not like a swamp, but it is a solid aspect of this title. The more that while playing on joint expeditions we also take companions and to a large extent the ability to complete the mission depends on their ability. Present on many trailers before the premiere of the game, the dog snarls to know where it sniffed the opponent, barked at him, distracting him, and after equipping with the right equipment, jumps on the guest's back and simply daggers him in the world. Quiet Sniper rifle not only marks the location of enemies, but also eliminates them from a great distance on request. And there are more of this type of helpers - I would not, however, unnecessarily reveal too much of the plot. Suffice it to say that this is, for one of my favorite series, engaging as usual, but it is far from the "epic" known from previous installments of the series. In addition, Kojima quotes himself too often in places - see another sniper duel.

We can also move around Motherbase, though - to tell the truth - not much work here. Sometimes we are forced to have a conversation with one of the supporting characters, but not only. Individual sections (unfortunately, really solid apart from each other) offer additional training missions. It is also worth doing a run near the guards wandering everywhere. It raises their morale. We can also hurt them, for example, by crushing the larynx, in order to force information about the finds hidden on Motherbase. Oh, one of the Koijima variations on the loyalty of colleagues. After a hard day's work, Snake is dirty and his face is bloody, so you should use the shower cubicle from time to time. Like a trifle, but it enjoys such an attachment to details.

Hours pass, Big Boss penetrates the available areas, and the fan of the series suffers from torture due to the lack of more cutscenes, seemingly - elements inseparable from MGS . Unfortunately, the movies are like medicine, and I must confess that I did not expect it. I wanted 'epy', banal monologues with a flag waving in the background and drama tailored to what the ground Zeroes ending presented. Koijma, however, arranged his accents differently. The Phantom Pain is a game in which there is the least element metal in the metal. In return, however, it is also the title with the most games in the game . This memorable sugar in sugar, which in turn may appeal to people who are unfamiliar with the cycle's meanders. Personally, I also missed the characteristic voice of David Hayter, the long-term alter ego of all Snakes. Kiefer Sutherland doesn't have much opportunity to prove himself, because Kojima has limited the talks with Big Boss to the necessary minimum. I am also sorry to say that the original soundtrack does not reach heels with the compositions of Harry Gregson-Williams, and a dozen hits from the eighties on average save the situation. How many times can you listen to Kids in America or Take on Me over and over again?