I’ve owned Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain since launch day here in the UK (which was 1st September). I picked it up from GAME using the £45 gift card that my work colleagues generously got me for my Birthday 3 days earlier.
I was always going to buy MGSV based off the previous games alone, it was just an added bonus that Phantom Pain was pulling in high scoring reviews. The thing is though with a lot of games now a days I unfortunately lose the hype in the build up to launch and don’t follow them as closely as I once used to with large games. I think the only exception to this rule would be GTA5 which I was salivating about in the months till launch.
So I picked up MGSV effectively oblivious as to what expect. I had seen screenshots, seen some trailers but I wasn’t aware of the mechanics, the features or what to expect with the story. All I knew is that there would be an awesome puppy and a women with large breasts appear in the game at some point.
Before I dig into the impressions so far after a mere 5-6 hours playing, I’d like to let you know that I’ve not played MGS4 (terrible I know) and while I did purchase Ground Zero’s for PS4 at launch, I haven’t played the MGS series since 3 back on the PS2, so the story itself is a little hazy given the time since playing that and the other adventures I’ve been on with other games since then.
Right with that out of the way let’s get to it, with what I would consider to be spoilers, I’ll be mentioning what the focus of certain missions are in the below.
The Prologue was…interesting, but also gripping. The opening scenes being bed bound getting to grips with where you are, who you are and such. Your first look at the X-ray seeing you are missing an arm and then realising you have a hook for a hand. It was all a very good introduction. Then shit starts to get weird. The nurse and doctor who’ve been aiding you are killed and you’re saviour from certain death is a patient who’s whole face is bandaged up with his bare ass crack visible in all its PS4 graphical glory to see. The next scenes I wasn’t entirely sure if I was playing MGS5 or the next instalment in the Silent Hill series, could Kojima have trolled Konami by including a Silent Hills Demo in the prologue of MGS? It was all very weird, and often creepy. The scenes crawling for your life between wards and hiding under hospital beds as soldiers kill any patients on site were heart in mouth moments.
Now I won’t mention as to why the prologue felt like a horror game, but when you finally escape the hospital and are being driven away thinking you’re safe, the enemy that caused a lot of the creepiness is still after you, and you eventually end up being chased on horseback towards the final moments of the prologue. What an interesting but epic start.
Onto your first proper “Metal Gear” mission. The glorious open world of Afghanistan that’s being run by Soviet soldiers. You’re mission is to recover a hostage. A pretty important hostage at that. It’s now over to you how you wish to get the hostage out. Raid the base guns blazing or sneak in and out. There was still one part of this mission that was a little freaky when you get to the hostage. You’re swarmed by some rather twitchy looking chaps in riot gear. Later I learned these guys are called “The Parasite Unit”. They moved like zombies and when they appeared the area turned dark and misty, so it caused a rather creepy moment of the game. I could see my helicopters new LZ on the map, so I thought “Fuck it”… put the hostage on horseback and galloped as fast as I could past the Parasite Unit to the new LZ. Fortunately somehow I was not spotted and made it in one piece and earned the bonus of not alerting them at the end of the level score recap.
From here we’re taken to Motherbase and this is where I thought business really picked up (not that I’ve disliked the start of the game mind). We’re informed on how we can upgrade items and weapons. We’re told how we can extract any enemy now and turn them into allies and assign them to teams on Motherbase. These teams can then research into different fields that will help the upgrades come quicker. This is awesome, I was not expecting this (as mentioned I was on an information blackout of the game).
And finally missions are now selectable rather than just continuing on and on, when you enter the helicopter it’s like your command fort away from Motherbase. You can choose your next mission or your next side op. The “iDroid” is also awesome and your one stop location for selecting your upgrades, choosing your staff and assigning them to teams, checking your resources. It’s just all awesome.
One thing I noticed is how much credits roll on the game before and after the first 2 missions, from now with mission select it’s the same again. The game is built as if it’s a TV series with a credit scene before the level introducing you to the characters that will take place in this level. When each level is completed you get credits rolling on a black screen of the staff that helped that level with the leader himself Hideo Kojima featuring prominently as the last credit. It’s an awesome approach to the levels and again something I had no idea that happened till I experienced it.
As of now I’ve done the first 5 missions and 1 side op. I was happy to find that on the 3rd mission you get to extract a little puppy to Motherbase. Upon next visit to Motherbase DD is looking adorable and happy to see you. Can’t wait to see him grow and become my mission buddy going forwards.
I’m enjoying that the game doesn’t punish you if you do get caught or make a noise. While the game is intended to be played in a stealthy manner, you can if you wish go all out balls to the wall guns blazing and complete the objectives. It’ll just mean your score isn’t quite flattering at the end of the mission.
Graphically so far it’s just stunning, I’m absolutely loving the environments on the missions (which is a weird thing to say considering we’re in Afghanistan for the majority of the game thus far). While playing it all I can think of is how good a Red Dead game would look on the PS4. But that’s off topic.
So 6 hours in, 5 missions in. I’ve got DD (who’s adorable). I found the start pretty creepy, but enjoyable, but now the Motherbase introduction is over and I’m actively doing missions to rebuild Diamond Dogs to their best I’m loving it. I’m finding I’m going out of my way to find resources or animals to extract back to base, I found I’ve taking enemies out quietly and harmlessly to extract them back to base if they have good enough skills to improve my teams. If not a silenced bullet to the head.
I can’t wait to get back onto it and spend a weekend pretty much devoted it. So far it’s incredible, and at 4% in 6 hours I’ve barely scratched the surface, and that is awesome to know.