Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developed by Kojima Productions
Published by Konami
*Please Note: This Review is of the PlayStation 4 Version*
Set 9 years after the events of Ground Zeroes, Snake awakens from a coma after the hospital he is in is attacked by the group known a Cipher, Snake escapes with help from a patient named Ishmael, he afterwards meets up with Ocelot and forms up the Diamond Dogs to replace his older MSF group destroyed in Ground Zeroes. Snake then sets out to rescue his old friend Kazuhira Miller who has been captured by an enemy force.
I would go on further about the story but honestly I can’t even remember how this games story actually plays out, all I can really say is this games story is horrible, especially for a Metal Gear game, it follows the Peace Walker style of more missions instead of Story which really makes me think that it should’ve been called Peace Walker 2.
I also have to mention that without spoiling it this game features a pretty major change to the series story as a whole which I personally hated, because I don’t like how this game of all games that easily has the worst story of them all decides to essentially devalue certain things that happen in the series.
So since the story is so bad, you’d think the gameplay would shine through right? Well Yes, yes it does, in fact I would go so far as to say that Metal Gear Solid V has the best stealth gameplay ever created. Firstly I should say that MGS5 has been simplified in some ways, such as the camouflage being gone now in favour for some sort of Natural camouflage which can be provided by using Darkness and Grass, it takes some getting used to but as soon as you do, it works extremely well, part of the learning curve is adapting to the enemies themselves, their AI has been vastly improved with the guards being able to see you from quite far away unless you are crouched moving slowly or prone, I will say however that this game doesn’t punish you as much as the previous MGS games because Snake has a pretty good variety of weapons to mow down enemies pretty easily and being spotted doesn’t always mean the end, especially with the addition of reflex mode, a sort of second chance to instantly aim at the guard who spots you and take him out, it’s very nice to have for people who aren’t that great at stealth games but I would actually recommend turning it off as soon as you get well acquainted with how the game works due to how easy it can make the game.
MGS5 adopts an open world style of gameplay, now this open world isn’t on the scale of say Witcher 3 but for a stealth game it is incredible how well they have integrated this style of game into an open world. MGS5 does have a style of side missions that take the form of side ops, these can range from taking out a particular group of enemies or extracting a prisoner for example, and it works pretty well, you can accept these side ops when in the open world or get taken straight into the mission area from your ACC.
Since I’ve mentioned the side ops, I have to talk about the main missions which I personally have a huge problem with, most of these main missions in the game basically feel like side ops, there are very few missions that really have a story or some sort of real cut scenes, it doesn’t make the main missions feel special or anything like that. On a positive note, every mission does have quite a few different ways to handle it, as well as a bunch of extra tasks you can do inside of them, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the missions all feel very similar, apart from a few.
Now to get onto probably one of if not the biggest feature of this game and that is the Mother Base, this feature works pretty much identical to Peace Walker (Again this should have been called Peace Walker 2) in that you can extract enemy guards to come and work for your army, these guys you extract can be put in either the Combat Unit, R&D Platform, Base Development, Support Platform, Intel Platform or Medical Platform and the more people you put into these sections give you additional bonuses, especially if the soldier is experienced in a certain area, these bonuses can be simply to unlock extra equipment to create to getting new Intel when out in the field such as enemy movement patterns and where to find different herbs and such, it is really addicting to try to get the best base possible and you can easily spend tons of hours trying to build your base to incredibly high levels.
Really there are a ton of features I haven’t even gone into such as using buddies and different means of stealth like using Cardboard boxes or that enemies adapt to whatever tactics you use for example taking out enemies with a ton of headshots will cause them to wear helmets and performing more night operations will make them use extra equipment like Flashlights and Night Vision Goggles but really I don’t feel I need to say anymore about the gameplay as what I’ve said should suffice, basically if you never really got into the Metal Gear Series because of its heavily story based style then this is the one for you, the gameplay is truly spectacular and I will say again it is hands down the best Stealth gameplay ever created.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has a fantastic sound section that can really immerse you into the experience of the game. The game features a stellar soundtrack full of songs which you can play on the go through Snake’s iDroid which include classics such as Take on me, True, The Final Countdown and The Man who sold the world. Another good feature of the music which you can acquire through the game by collecting music tapes is that you can set the music as an entrance theme that will play as your helicopter brings you into the world for your mission.
Voice acting wise, the game is pretty mixed, now this is because apart from Audio Logs and things like that, there really isn’t that much Voice acting in this game. I’ll first address the huge controversy with this game and that is the replacement of David Hayter (The long time voice actor of Snake) From the series, now I was absolutely furious with this decision as Hayter has consistently given stellar performances every time, so this time they decided to replace him with Kiefer Sutherland (24) now I am not at all judging Kiefer Sutherland’s performance, and I can understand that Kojima probably wanted Big Boss to feel like a different person to Solid Snake but my question is….why on earth do you replace a beloved Voice Actor with a more mainstream star and then give the Mainstream Star literally like 10 lines throughout the entire game? It absolutely baffles me, I could have forgiven them if they decided to have David Hayter included in some form (I personally know exactly how they should have included him but saying so would be spoiling the game.). Okay now that my “Rant” is over, I can address the other voices in this game, I’ll start with Ocelot, I mean what is there to say, Troy Baker does what he does best and that is talk, he really does a great job of sort of matching Patric Zimmerman who voiced Ocelot in the majority of the MGS games, while making him sound his age. Robin Atkin Downes does a fantastic job as Miller as well, The only other performance I can think of mentioning is Christopher Randolph who voices Huey Emmerich, Randolph is a mainstay of Metal Gear Solid and Like Hayter has been in nearly every game, this doesn’t however mean I like him as a voice actor, honestly I have never liked his work, of course he does a good job of portraying his nerdy style characters, but I just don’t think his actual voice acting is that good, I find his voice very annoying and I just don’t think he has the best range.
So basically that’s every performance I feel like commentating on, every one I didn’t mention weren’t in the game often enough or just gave average performances, really my only problem with the sound in this game is the choice of Sutherland instead of Hayter, apart from that everything is pretty damn good.
Graphics in this game are very nice with the open world looking incredibly detailed and the models on the characters looking fantastic as well, especially Snake and Skullface and all of the other Main Characters. My personal favourite part of the visuals are when it is raining, I’m a sucker for Rain in general and I love to see it in games, seeing the water trickle off of Snake as you sprint and dive is stunning and I absolutely love it.
The Vehicles and animals all look great as well, I’m actually surprised that they got a decent variety of Animals, but I actually wish they somehow played into the gameplay somehow, kind of like how MGS3 had a Stamina bar and Snake had to eat animals he found to keep his stamina up.
Basically the visuals in this game are fantastic, especially when you consider the scope and size of this game as a whole.
Metal Gear Solid 5 is by far the longest Metal Gear game, now I am honestly unsure how long this game took me to finish (Every mission and Side Op cleared), I think it was somewhere around 60-70 hours or so, however since I have been playing the game a lot more now, basically trying to get the Platinum trophy, this game has passed 100 hours and it still looks like I have at least another 20-40 to go, that is pretty impressive as I very rarely get passed 100 hours on a game in a single playthrough but I find that the gameplay is great enough to warrant trying to get an S Rank on every mission and to complete all mission tasks.
Overall this game is incredibly re-playable due to its mission based style, Mother Base Meta game and trying to get S Ranks and Mission tasks completed, plus a whole set of Achievements and Trophies to obtain, you will definitely not be disappointed with the amount of content included in this game.
So my final thoughts on Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain are that I think that this is one of the best stealth games ever created thanks to the absolutely smart and incredibly deep gameplay, add onto that some incredible visuals, a killer soundtrack and some pretty good performances as well as a TON of content, you really have an absolutely astonishing stealth game……BUT this is a METAL GEAR game and what does Metal Gear do best? Story that’s what, and this game’s story is quite frankly horrendous, that and the replacement of David Hayter are honestly my only real gripes with this game, if it weren’t a Metal Gear game then frankly I’d say it would be one of the greatest games ever made, period, but because it’s a Metal Gear game it strays too far from what made the older games truly great, however if you can look past that and see the game for what it is and that is a damn incredible stealth game then you are truly going to love it.
Score = 9.3/10
- The best stealth gameplay ever created.
- An outstanding soundtrack
- Amazing visuals
- Staggering amounts of content
- Highly re-playable
- The Story is non-existent
- Kiefer Sutherland is not needed.
- Should’ve been called Peace Walker 2 (Doesn’t affect the score)
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is available now on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360,Xbox One and PC. Thanks go to Konami for supplying the game & Assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review By Jonnie Dixon