Metal Gear Solid has been out in the wild now for over 2 weeks. I picked the game up myself on launch day and shortly after did a brief write up of my first impressions with the game after 5-6 hours with it.
Well here we are now and I’ve been able to put over 30 hours into the game, with most of that coming from the weekend just gone. I’ve just completed chapter 1 which really was intense. The final mission sequence closing chapter 1 were simply incredible. With that, a lot more things have happened since the last impressions post. So I thought I’d do a more updated impressions post as I reach what I assume is the halfway point in this epic game so far.
First up since I’ve had my binoculars upgraded so that I can scout out enemies attributes, I’ve approached missions differently now. Rather than silenced head shots to enemies to kill them, I’ll spend the time scouting them while they’re doing their patrols. If I see anybody of worth I’ll mark them as a sign to not take care of them for good. Other enemies that don’t quite measure up to Diamond Dog standards get the fatal head shot.
I really love the aspects of MotherBase. Upgrading all the departments to enable larger teams. Then filling those spots with my newly gained staff I’ve fulton extracted out of the conflict zone. However there were some growing frustrations as certain staff members were either aggressive to other staff members resulting in some being taken to the medical bay due to injuries from fighting, or some of the staff seem to pass on illness more than others. I went through removing any trouble makers and sick notes. There is a forced part of chapter one where your staff are all at risk of catching a killer disease, so you need to figure out what the pattern is about the first staff members that are diagnosed and send any other staff that have a similar pattern to a quarantine zone till you progress in the story to get a cure. Seeing all my teams levels plummet as about a quarter of my staff were quarantined was a bit sucky.
Another part I’ve been enjoying are Deployment Missions. The Combat Unit which you can also add new staff members too can be sent across the globe on different missions which can vary in time from 10 minutes upwards. You send them out for various rewards ranging from raw material, money or more staff members. It’s another handy way to earn additional resources while you’re out on the line in Afghanistan or Africa. As the game has progressed so have the rewards but also the risks. Some Deployment Missions require vehicles to be sent to, so I’m now looking out for tanks that I can Fulton extract while on operations to send back to Motherbase which will be used by my Combat Unit in larger Deployment Missions.
Going back to the MotherBase upgrades, It’s awesome to see the structural differences that are made to the place between missions as your upgrades to it are completed.
Away from the upgrades (which I can confidently say so far is one of my favourite parts of the game), As mentioned I can now take different buddies out onto missions which has given missions a nice fresh approach.
DD was my first new companion to the field. He’s pretty useful as he can scope out enemies, plants and resources for you which is helpful. But as you’re bond with him grows you get the option to command him to kill for you which is just down right awesome and comes in handy if you’re in a pinch. He takes a knife from his little pouch that you equip him with in his mouth, heads to the nearest enemy and will jump and stab him in the neck / head. As I progressed further through the game though I ended up using DD less. Although he’s great for scoping enemies out, and he can make a kill, He’s not as useful as Quiet.
When you progress a little further the silent sniper Quiet becomes available for you to take to the action. It took me a while to actually figure out how to use her to the best of her abilities, but once I’d cracked it she’s also an incredible asset for missions. You can send her ahead of you to scout out areas. You can then set her up in a nice sniping position. As you approach the danger zone and zoom in on enemies you’ll hear her humming in your ear. This is your confirmation she’s in the right area to assist you with some kills. You then command her to “Kill” and she’ll take out the target you’re zoomed in on. While this is awesome, there was one occasion where I had done my usual scouting the enemies out to see if there are any valuable guys to take back. I came across one that I marked as I wanted to take him back. I approached him silently, not giving any orders to Quiet to make a kill. Just as I’m about to put the target to sleep for extraction she takes a shot and the target falls at my feet just before I pull the trigger on my tranquilizer gun. A little annoying but at least I know she’s got my back.
Thankfully that can be addressed as your bond with her grows. You’ll be giving the option to have your staff develop a tranquilizer sniper rifle. I’ve since equipped that on Quiet, now she clears the bases out before I’ve even reached them. I’ll scan the sleeping guards to see if there are of any use. If so they’re extracted. If not… Then a silenced bullet to the head I’m afraid. I’m not fussy about getting perfect missions scores. I just don’t want to be caught out by a guard waking up after a 10 minute nap.
The final buddy D-Walker I’ve used on one mission. Mission 29. I won’t give details on it. But let’s just say that I did that mission more than most. It’s also the mission I’d read that if you use Quiet on will corrupt your game save. So I avoided using her. After multiple attempts and failures with DD or a tank, I went with D-Walker with his upgraded gatling cannon. Let’s just say that I cleared the mission incredibly quickly and achieved the highest rank you can attain. Perhaps I should use this guy more.
The missions so far have been reasonably varied I guess. Extraction and retrieval is normally the basis of the missions. But now and again you get the odd mission which throws cut scenes in and develop the story further.
I do have one grumble with regards to missions. While the game is open world, each mission has a designated missions zone. I understand this and appreciate that you need to scale the area down for missions. However on mission 12 (Hellbound) you’re tasked with escaping a Metal Gear unit by the name of Sahelanthropus. But it’s not that simple in that you’ve got to out run this Metal Gear while carrying a target you need to extract who can only be extracted by helicopter and not by Fulton methods. The helicopter attracts Sahelanthropus and there within lies the problem. It’s pretty tough to lose this guy. So on my first attempt at this part of the mission (after numerous deaths during the first parts of the mission which involve collecting the target) I leg it on horseback. No stopping me I’m just riding off into the sunset away from Sahelanthropus. This was my first real issue with the mission zone. As I galloped away to safety I get a warning “Your approaching the end of the mission zone, if you cross that the missions over”. Shit… I panic and try to stop. I don’t do it in time and cross the point of no return. Another voice over “Mission aborted”. FUUUCK. No seriously, getting the target in the beginning of the mission really really stressed me out, I couldn’t wait to be done with this mission. So I await where the game will start me once I select restart from checkpoint. Right at the beginning of the level again. I said “Fuck that” put the controller down and took a 2 day break from the game.
Once refreshed and had studied some guides I tackled this mission again. I managed to breeze past it on this occasion frustratingly enough.
But that was one of the only instances of mission zone that wound me up. I found that the missions got much better from around 23 upwards. The final few missions leading up to the end of chapter 1 were brilliant. And the chapter 1 finale itself was a massive rush of adrenaline.
I can tell you though that Hideo Kojima would be incredibly pissed off with the way I’ve cleared some of the missions. Stealth game? I’ll give it a go, but should I happen to miss one enemy when scouting and he spots me and raises the alarm all hell breaks lose and there are rarely any survivors. I’m talking bombardment attacks and support helicopters called in if needed.
So chapter one completed, the credits rolled and then an incredible trailer for chapter 2 occurs which had me pumped up for what’s to come in the game. I went to check my mission log and saw that 2 of the 3 new available missions were repeats of missions I’d done in chapter 1, just with an increased difficulty spike. Now while I enjoyed chapter one and did enjoy the majority of the missions, I can’t say there weren’t many if any I’d ideally want to do again. Especially with an increased difficulty. However It would appear after reading up that you don’t need to do these repeated missions to progress. The new missions that you’ve not completed and side ops should unlock more new missions. Here’s hoping that’s the case as I don’t want the re-use of missions as compulsory for story progression being the one negative thing about this other wise incredible game.
30 hours in, chapter 1 done. Here’s hoping chapter 2 is as good as the trailer made it out to be.