Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (MGSV) is a stealth action game starring the legendary Big Boss (aka Punished Snake, Venom Snake, or Snake). This is the latest installment of the franchise directed by its creator, Hideo Kojima. With this game Kojima gives the series the send off it deserves, and fans the game of which they have been dreaming.
Take control of the legendary soldier
Ambitious, full of opportunities, and perfectly designed: that is the adventure that awaits you in MGSV. The game offers you huge open-world areas to explore - a first for the series - and fills them with a myriad of primary and secondary missions. While your objectives may not be that original - you will find yourself rescuing people a lot - the game leaves you to formulate any method you like to achieve each goal.
During the first hours of MGSV I found myself overwhelmed by the possibilities – do I sneak in and out unobserved, or wreak havoc at every turn? But as I explore and learn, I find out what works for me – and as I gather resources, arsenal, allies, and more, I begin to expand the options available to suit my style.
It doesn’t take long until this initial confusion dissolves into delight, as I become the legendary soldier Big Boss. You can do what you want, how you want, where you want, when you want, with whoever you want. Do you infiltrate the enemy base during daylight, or will you wait until dusk? Steal the truck or distract your foes with an explosion? Kill or capture a mercenary? Snipe, or go in guns blazing with your faithful dog to distract guards? The choices are exhausting.
The result is that MGSV is the freest sandbox I have ever seen in an action game. Even GTA V, which offers so many possibilities, feels restrictive when the two are viewed side by side. MGSV places a premium on being clever, stealthy, and cautious – while still providing the tools to deal with situations if things go wrong.
Every time you arrive at an enemy base you must carefully scan the area, scoping out the soldiers and planning your approach. Sure things can go wrong, and often you will find yourself improvising. But, when it works, you feel unstoppable.
Perhaps the one downside of MGSV for fans of the series is that it is not as story heavy as previous installments. Featuring notably fewer cut-scenes, most of the plot is told through tapes that you can collect during missions. After the dramatic two hour prologue – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros – this may leave fans more than a little surprised, but this is a game about making your own story on the battlefield rather than having it told to you.
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes (the two hour demo that came out last year) controlled wonderfully – and The Phantom Pain is even better. It's spectacular that a series that once demanded a third thumb to control well is now so intuitive. And you have so many options. Along with the stealth and gunplay seen in Ground Zeros, Phantom Pain includes a Fulton system to enable you to kidnap enemies, you can steal resources to improve your base, give orders to allies, ride horses, driving all sorts of vehicles, and all without ever feeling like the controls are working against you. The Big Boss is at your service: you're in charge and he will follow your orders without question.
No matter what platform you play MGSV on – Xbox, PlayStation, or PC - it looks sensational and controls even better. As a result you feel the speed in the action scenes, you inhabit a vast and unrestricted open-world, and you hear yourself saying "more games like this, please!"
The legend of Big Boss, your legend
Many games today have an open-world filled with repetitive activities, but Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is filled with original content, and offers the freedom to approach it how you choose.
It is your spy story and action movie. You decide the grand finale of the saga. You dictate Big Boss’s fall from grace. By respecting your intelligence and creativity, MGSV manages to delight, with unexpected moments that force you to improvise and alter plans on the fly to meet new challenges.
Metal Gear Solid 5 is not only the best game in the Metal Gear Solid saga, is a game that redefines what stealth action means - and you are, still thinking whether or not to download it.