Community Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

11 Metal Gear Solid V. Since it’s such a massive video game — in scope, in ambition, everything — I thought I’d give you all an extra week to familiarise yourself with it. Now that a week has passed, it’s time for the Community Review.

Before I provide my take: a confession. I am something of a Metal Gear Solid fanboy. I fell in love with the series around Metal Gear Solid 2 and have studiously played every game since. I’m one of those weird people who have a soft spot for Metal Gear Solid 4.

Yes. Metal Gear Solid 4.

I realise my credibility has just taken a severe hit. I am okay with this.

That being said: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an incredible video game. It’s a game that strips out things I dislike about the series – self-indulgent dialogue, cut-scenes – and focuses primarily on what I do like about the series. Everything else.

The sneaking, the enemy AI, the tension, the ridiculous amount of detail placed into the most pointless and important things. The craft of it. The fact that Metal Gear Solid exists in it’s own strange little bubble and the normal rules of game design don’t apply.

All this and more applies to Metal Gear Solid V.

Best of all it’s as refined a version of the game as I can remember existing. The CQC, the combat, the sneaking, the movement: it’s never been better. And it exists in a world with new rules and new mechanics that all interplay perfectly with one another.

It truly caters to a number of incredibly divergent play styles. It really does. I honestly can’t wait to watch how other players approached the missions I approached. Me? I try my very best to play like an artiste. Sneaking, interrogating, putting them to sleep, using the Fulton selectively. But in my mind I’m looking forward to a second playthrough where I just try out the most bizarre ideas possible and wreck shit.

I could go on and on about this game, but I’m keen to hear your thoughts. How are you finding Metal Gear Solid V so far?


    I haven't played it yet.
    BUT - Arsenal Gear just toppled, swiftly replicating the fate of Shadow Moses, and I've just been thrown off a bridge. I'm making progress!
    I'll be booting it up for the first time before too long!

    I haven't hit the apparently horrible ending yet so my experience so far is all positive. Fantastic. Absolutely loving it.

      Horrible endings are fine, as long as the rest of the game is good. Its the Journey that matters the most, which is why the end of Mass Effect 3 didn't bother me too much.

      Still only about 10 hours into it, still very enjoyable. Goodbye free time!

      eh, ending isn't that horrible, a bit strange sure but it has been done before. the game, occurring before most of the other MG games needed to create and tie up a lot of stories. If you listen to all the recordings you get after the second credit roll the game does a pretty solid job of ironing out a lot of strangeness

    So far (20+ hours in I think) I think it's very a Solid game (pun intended). While it is probably the biggest departure from the series norms that doesn't mean it doesn't carry the saga's spirit and principles. It's far from perfect and the difficulty does ramp up rather suddenly if you weren't investing in R&D. I actually really appreciate the new story approach as MGS4's long cutscenes left me a little bitter. Mission 18 is one of my most hated moments in all MGS history but the game does manage to salvage itself from that with a large open world that encourages free thinking. I do also miss David Hayter but Kiefer Sutherland fits this version of Snake better.

      I don't think Kiefer works as Snake, this version or otherwise. He's too softly spoken. I'm not buying that he's been smoking cigars for 11 hours non-stop. It's almost like his voice is not cliched enough.

    I am absolutely loving it. I have to confess that I have never played a major Metal Gear Solid game before this unless you include Ground Zeroes. Not that far into it though, D-Dog is still a puppy and Quiet has only just been mentioned by the guy on the radio (Miller or Ocelot?).
    Overall, this game will keep me going til Christmas most likely.

    Since I haven't really played any Metal Gear Games since the playstation one, the game is great, really enjoying it.

    As an open world game that lets you do missions your way it's excellent.

    Sorry Mark, can't review the game... Too busy playing.

      But, you're commenting on this website...

        Unfrtunately I have to take breaks for sleep and refueling my body... and bathroom breaks.

    first of all. ive never touched a single metal gear game before this.

    so im a first time player walking into the PC version.
    - excellent open world game allowing you to complete missions how and when you choose to and all the gear you can research and use is frankly amazing

    - who ever designed the mouse and keyboard menu system for the game has never actually touched a pc game before, its painful but useable

    - the supernatural and weird ass elements i understand are part of the series but honestly feels like someone put the wrong mushrooms on their lunch and im finding the game is better when i frankly ignore the story

    - very melodramatic voice acting and characters

    - great game and im enjoying it

      If you've played through the rest the super natural aspects slowly grow on you and just become the norm. Ranging from cyborg ninjas, ghosts, guy that can channel lightning, psychic dude that can read your mind, immortal vampire guy etc etc etc. They try to give scientific reasons sometimes for characters being the way they are and that's probably when the series is at its weakest. Some things are better left unexplained.

    Quick review. Currently about 19% in and loving it. To be honest, I don't care much about the story as MG games have always confused the hell out of me so the 'Ending is disappointing' comments don't really mean much to me. If the gameplay wasn't as amazingly polished as it was, then maybe the story would take more of a priority, but for me, being given the ability to play how I want is brilliant and will keep me coming back until the game is finished.

    Ok, need to play now.

    I'm only up to mission 13, but here's my thoughts so far.
    + Amazing and fun stealth that gives you a wide array of options other games rarely even touch on.
    + Fantastic graphics that make even a yellow and sandy environment exciting.
    + Interesting layouts and maps that allow for multiple approaches.
    + The music selections and relevance to the game is a treat.

    - Overly long tutorial that does little to explain its relevance.
    - Spending 10-15 minutes just moving from one stealth zone to another mid-mission.
    - Mother Base. I just want the tools to do my job, and a simple research tree that doesn't require micromanagement and a clunky, RNG based personnel acquisition system.
    - Quiet was not the interesting and fun fight as people made it out to be. I was just running around playing whack-a-mole with the tranq gun. I didn't even get to CQC her when I got close enough.

    Overall: It's an enjoyable game when it's letting me play a stealth game but to be honest I prefer the focussed map, design and gameplay of Ground Zeroes more.

      Yea the Quiet battle for me took about 3 shots and it was over, definitely couldn't hold a candle to the battle with The End on MGS3. THAT was epic.

      The relevance of the start is only apparent at the end, which granted isn't the greatest of story telling quirks but it eventually gets there.

    I spent ages searching for a PAL copy of MGS HD Collection for the 360 because I hadn't played Snake Eater or Peace Walker and meant to remedy that before getting stuck into PP.

    When I finally started playing it, I realised how terrible the controls are compared to modern games and that the 360 doesn't have pressure sensitive face buttons like when I played through MGS 1 & 2 on the PSX and PS2 respectively... a bit frustrating that I can't aim and move around at the same time with automatic weapons.

    I was just wanting to rush through the story aspects so I could get up to date without reading synopses and actually witness it for myself, but now it seems I'm pretty much going to have to play through it meticulously to have success.

    In the meantime everyone is kicking on with PP and it's sitting there going stale in my indecision. Think I might just have to bite the bullet, play it and maybe go back to the older games when I'm done.

      Just do what I did. I missed Peace Walker so I read up on it/watched the youtube video for all the cutscenes.

    knocking everyone out with rocket punch. 10/10

    I'm only a couple of missions in so haven't really formed much of an opinion except to say that I've started replaying MGS3 in the HD compilation coz that's a better game though I'm kind of planning to play all the Metal Gear Solid games in chronological order to see if I can make some sense of it. Like you I also have a soft spot for MGS4 cutscenes and all!

    Also just started playing Mad Max which is an excellent palate cleanser.

    49% of the way through up to mission 40 where you have to do the Quiet mission again on Extreme. After reading ahead **spoiler** that Quiet becomes unavailable post mission 45 or something I'm now using her on old missions to get her buddy level up for the steam achievement + unlocks + also using it as a chance to S/all objective older missions.

      I am in post game and I haven't lost access to quiet yet, granted I didn't use her a great deal though I am now to level up bond and get access to side mission 150 and the final story mission dealing with quiet. I gather that those are requirements to losing her so if you don't actually do the mission, you may still have access to her

    I love it, but pushing on through the story I find that I am really missing the cut scenes. The in-between info from Miller is ok, but I want/expect more character development, story progression and balls out weirdness through crazy cut scenes, I feel like they are a part of what makes MGS unique.

      I'm definitely also really missing the cut scenes.

    Great game for casuals.- Bad Metal Gear Solid game.
    Fails to deliver the incredible MSG story line and it has an unfinished script.

    Let me put it simply: While I'm working or otherwise living my life, I can feel Phantom Pain where my controller used to be.

    Liking it a lot so far - about 17% completion after 26 hours playing.

    Honestly, when I first got the game, I was positive it was going to be my favorite metal gear solid. The way the first mission is structured and how it leads into the fantastic open world is simply stunning, and the numerous side ops are still going to keep me entertained for hours on end! That being said, I do find myself at a bit of a loss for how certain story elements and mission repetitions part of a finished product.

    I understand that Kojima employs several tactics into his games' structure that are self-referential and often ask the player question their relationship with both the game itself and its story, but that didn't quell my immediate disappointment with the way things turned out.

    That being said, my anger with the ending didn't last for long. I went through a couple stages with this game, in terms of what I thought of my experience, that reminded me a lot of my time with MGS2. The initial gameplay and all around excitement of a new chapter in the series forced me to look past what I perceived as flaws, yet some of the unmet expectations I had slowly began to ware my enthusiasm down as I continued the story of the game. By the end, I was mad that I received a different experience than I expected. Looking back on it, I realized that these "story flaws" added to the experience in a way that could not possibly have been pulled off in any other medium.

    Kojima's talent for handling meta subjects at the cost of player expectations is completely legendary, and provides us with an experience that, while frustrating after completing the story, provides deep meaning and spectacular gameplay.

    I've never had the patience for stealth games, and I'm not too fussed about achieving S ratings for missions, so I'm glad it caters to my "Dynamic entry" play style.

    It's seriously good fun, and contender for GOTY.

    EDIT: having my gunship blare "Take on me" as it swoops in to explode things deserves special mention.

    Last edited 14/09/15 12:43 pm

    I'm progressing so slowly in this. I think I'm at 6% and I've already spent like 15 hours in it. And it's not like I'm a perfectionist, my attitude towards all missions, is 'just get it done' (I got my first E yesterday...). So I'm thinking I'm just really bad at it. I wish it had a difficulty setting that I could turn way down, but I'm still having tonnes of fun with it though!

      I wish I could ramp UP the difficulty haha! sometimes I feel like I am breezing through it (mainly the side ops) but then a mission pop up that kicks my ass multiple times.

      No I don't want to wear the stupid chicken hat, I'm just trying to hijack a truck godammit.

        haha way to make me feel worse about myself. It's all good. I got my E just fine without the help of the chicken hat or anyone else gagnamit! Also have not actually died that many times or restarted. Maybe it comes down to my complete lack of stealth and slowness. A testament to the fact that MGSV lets you play how you want to!

    loving it so far.

    but cant seem to get enough spare time to play the dam thing, stupid real life getting in the way.

    Early to late 40%ish completion mostly due to the religous use of Sideops and trying to make money to stay on top of my development needs. Just cleared a certain section in the story that goes a long way to explaining the abilities of a certain enemy you come across in some ops.

    Really enjoying the game, and I can just sink hours into it given the chance. Now if only I could get some time off work!

    Mark welcome to the club!!!!!

    Quick review: Absolutely loved this game (the 3 day insomnia session is a testament to this)

    yes the ending is a little annoying and open ended (but does make sense if you played Metal Gear and also explains a plot hole in that game), also love how they incorporated "the man who sold the world"

    Really want to replay it as I love taking Quiet on missions and her being my patsy while I go in and wreck stuff

    Last edited 14/09/15 2:06 pm

    I'm at 68% completion, considering how much I've done surprised its not higher.

    Working on building my zoo now, a lot more tedious than I imagined.

    Apart from that I'm really enjoying this game, I'm planning on platinum but we'll see how that goes.

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