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Why Metal Gear Solid V Is One Of The Most Important Games This Generation

MGS V header

Is the return of Metal Gear a solid blockbuster, or should it remain undetected?

The Metal Gear Solid series has always had a knack for pushing the boundaries. From fourth-wall-breaking boss battles to utilising the technology of the platform its on to full effect, Hideo Kojima and his team challenged and awed players for decades, while never undermining their intelligence throughout each adventure.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ticks all these boxes expected of a Metal Gear game, and further takes the series to new heights thanks so one key element: evolution.

Everything in the game adopts this evolutionary trait – from the intricate gameplay mechanics, detailed inventory system, customisation options, open-world missions, breathtaking visuals, and story – every facet of the game is so meticulously detailed that’s quite overwhelming at first, yet so incredibly rewarding when embraced.

MGS V

Oh, and as for the story, it’s as convoluted and bizarre as you’d expect. Just so we’re all on the same page, with apologies to series fans for the simplification: Metal Gear Solid V is a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3, which was a prequel to Metal Gear Solid, which was a sequel to Metal Gear, a game in which Solid Snake, the character you play in Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 4, kills Big Boss, the protagonist of 3 and V. Got it? Probably not.

The shift of the game’s direction from relatively semi-linear to open-world type missions works excellently, as players now get the chance to fully realise their inner-action-hero qualities, letting them choose exactly how they want to tackle objectives, and this feeling of freedom is glorious in the context of a MGS game.

MGS V Phantom Pain

Metal Gear’s familiar rhythms of commando-crawling through the tall grass, ducking behind walls, luring guards with careful taps and whistles, and popping off tranquiliser darts are all present, and veterans of the series won’t be disappointed.

As for the missions themselves, they can vary in terms of their objectives, with the focus on hostage extraction, target execution and item destruction. Players have to build up a Mother Base which is essentially a hub world between these chaotic and tense missions. On Mother Base, you’re able to customise gear, select “buddies” who help you on the battlefield, and, most importantly, build an army from enemies you’ve captured during missions.

MGS V Phantom Pain 5

At times, it feels like a mesmerising habit of re-equipping and re-deploying to the battlefield, but this routine effect is quite deliberate as it highlights the ‘cycles of revenge’ theme which is prominent throughout the game, showing how someone’s hero can become someone else’s enemy with a single action. Kojima understands pacing and lulls are almost always followed by an unexpected plot revelation, boss battle or shift in tone.

The story is also told through cinematic in-game cutscenes rather than the drawn-out codec conversations of yesteryear’s titles. They’re not as long as Metal Gear Solid 4‘s sometimes prolonged 2-hour mid-game back-stories, but they’re poignant, punchy and effective in the best of ways. 

Metal Gear Solid V screenshot

So why is it so important? Well, Kojima has created something that’s more than the sum of its parts – its a massive step forward for narrative direction in games and how to create a sequel that’s not just a formality of the industry, but rather a well planned, beautifully created piece of art; and this should inspire other developers, as it truly sets the bar of what a big triple-A game should be.

With that all said, Metal Gear Solid V is so big it’s hard to put into words. Not just the levels themselves, but the finer details in all the game’s different elements. The Phantom Pain is a game-changing triumph and easily one of the best stealth games ever made (arguably only contested by its predecessors). This is the final evolution of a video game director’s singular vision which started out in the pixelated eta of the 1980s, and one which awards players for creativity and bravery to take risks, rather than racing to the finish.

MGS V Phantom Pain 2

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. James

    October 23, 2015 at 16:57

    The title of this article could have simply been: “Metal Gear Solid V is the most important game of this generation” and I think everyone would have agreed.

    • Snake is the ultimate BOSS!

      October 23, 2015 at 16:58

      Here here!

    • marshal_

      October 23, 2015 at 16:58

      Agreed.

    • Trap Lord

      October 23, 2015 at 16:59

      I couldn’t agree more!

    • A.$.A.P. Snake

      October 23, 2015 at 17:00

      Dude totally.

    • Andre_N

      October 23, 2015 at 17:03

      Come on!!!!!!!

    • Matt

      October 23, 2015 at 17:08

      Yes!

    • Ditto

      October 23, 2015 at 17:09

      Fair call

    • Xavi

      October 23, 2015 at 17:09

      This article really did get me amped to play. Well done MS

    • VenomSnake421

      October 24, 2015 at 17:11

      Fallout 4 is a thing you know.

  2. 011 King

    October 23, 2015 at 17:00

    So goddamn excited for this ish

  3. Nate

    October 23, 2015 at 17:02

    Yoh someone needs to stop drinking the MGS coolade

    • Chilly Pip

      October 23, 2015 at 17:02

      Haters gonna hate

    • angry gamer

      October 23, 2015 at 17:03

      Obviously not a gamer

  4. Jack J

    October 23, 2015 at 17:04

    What a time to be alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • XD Champ

      October 23, 2015 at 17:18

      I agree. King Kong and Godzilla. Dino riders. The new tomb raider.

  5. Matt

    October 23, 2015 at 17:06

    I love MGS story lines and how they jump from game to game. Once they are finally done they should release the whole series again. Just in the right order.

    • KK

      October 23, 2015 at 17:07

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • Leigh

      October 23, 2015 at 17:07

      That would make for an incredible box set.

    • Ditto

      October 23, 2015 at 17:08

      That would tear families in two and ruin relationships. If I had that I’d quite my job.

  6. Not so angry gamer

    October 23, 2015 at 17:11

    I dig the cinematic story telling within the game. The codec thing was cool but when you spend two hours talking to Meryl about some random shit that has nothing to do with the game starts to get annoying.

    • Tribe X

      October 23, 2015 at 17:12

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha I feel sorry for the actors that had to sit for hours and hours doing take after take to get some of those convos right.

      • Nx

        October 23, 2015 at 17:13

        Ha ha ha ha ha

      • Leigh

        October 23, 2015 at 17:13

        A job is a job.

        • Is anyone hiring?

          October 23, 2015 at 17:17

          Ain’t that the truth

      • Leo

        October 23, 2015 at 17:14

        I’m sure they walk with their heads held high. They made history.

      • Wes_24

        October 23, 2015 at 17:14

        I’m sure they work in call centers.

        • Clive

          October 23, 2015 at 17:15

          That would be a trip…. Needing help with Eskom and it was Snake on the other side.

        • Jesse

          October 23, 2015 at 17:16

          Hahahahahahahaha

        • Lol

          October 23, 2015 at 17:16

          Hehehehehehehhehe

    • Kool

      October 23, 2015 at 17:15

      It adds something that other games didn’t have.

  7. Ray

    October 23, 2015 at 17:19

    Very good article.

  8. Adam E

    October 23, 2015 at 17:19

    Getting amped

  9. MGS V for Very Exciting

    October 23, 2015 at 17:20

    Awesomeness!!!!

  10. Jack

    October 24, 2015 at 11:55

    As a long time MGS fan, MGS V is the best Metal Gear Solid.

  11. Diego Guedes

    October 24, 2015 at 12:10

    Excellent game, great gameplay. But I have to completely disagree with you guys concerning de story telling here. Boring villain (we are supposed to feel motivated to defeat the villain, and that’s never the case here) and protagonist were a huge problem this time around. And then there are the incomplete arcs (Eli’s story, everyone? Why were Kaz’s eyes white? Why does Code Talker tell Venom Snake to keep an eye on Kaz when he’s there alone talking to the parasites?
    And then, there’s the fact that story wise, the game advertised is completely different from what we got. And not in a good way, when we are mislead and shocked afterwards. I mean it in a very bad way. The story was supposed to be engaging and interesting. We were supposed to be shocked and see Venom in anger, or something like that. We didn’t get that. Actually, he does nothing for most part of the game.
    There is no build up. The game ends abruptly (with a plot twist that seems nice but is poorly developed and implemented) and makes you play through the whole prologue again without any changes (even the tutorial remains there; in my case, even after 200 hours of playing, I’d have expected to know how crawl by then).
    Conclusion: Excellent game but average Metal Gear Solid game.

  12. Senna4ever

    October 25, 2015 at 12:43

    The game is terrible.
    Repeatative missions, badly designed maps that are mostly lifeless and horrible to navigate, bland main character and in fact all characters and the story is asinine.
    Plus it lacks any of the classic MGS humor.

    This is by far the worst MGS game so far.

    • sri aurobindo

      October 25, 2015 at 17:40

      Completely agree. The game is monotonous. The missions repetitive. You can only do the same essential 3 missions only so many different ways before the gimmick wears thin. The environment repetitive. It maybe an open world game, but the player is terribly restricted from exploring any of it, except a few designated cracks to climb. Otherwise there’s a lot of world you can look at, but don’t touch. The story is terrible. And chapter 2 is filled with dumb re do missions and filler.

  13. XD Champ

    October 27, 2015 at 21:23

    Everything I learnt about being a man I learnt from Snake

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