Even by Hideo Kojima’s standards, Metal Gear Solid V is weird.
Actually maybe weird is the wrong word. Disjointed. Inconsistent. All over the shop. Those are better.
Metal Gear Solid feels like a jigsaw puzzle that’s missing a few pieces. And if you listen to rumours about the way Konami handled its release, and the scenes that were deleted from the final game, that actually might be a literal truth: Metal Gear Solid V wasn’t quite the game Kojima wanted to release.
But that’s okay. With that being said, Metal Gear Solid V’s crowning achievement is this: despite the weirdness, despite the tonal inconsistencies, despite the fact its story is a convoluted mess — Metal Gear Solid V still works. It’s still incredible. It’s one of my top three gaming experiences of this year, in spite of how strange it is.
The reason is this: the core of Metal Gear Solid V is remarkably strong. It’s as accessible as it’s ever been but doesn’t necessarily sacrifice the depth.
And as an open world game, Metal Gear Solid V is incredibly functional and almost perfectly malleable. The strength of MGS as a series has always been that flexibility of approach — allowing players to approach different situations from a number of different perspective. Allowing players to ask, ‘would that work?’ And then have it actually work.
Metal Gear Solid V takes that aspect of the series to a whole new level. And instead of forcing you to replay the same sections over and over again to experiment, Metal Gear Solid V just provides players a metric butt-tonne of missions with which to play with. It’s almost overwhelming.
In fact if I had one complaint about Metal Gear Solid V (I actually have loads of complaints, but let’s limit it to just one) it would be that it’s almost too long. It’s overwhelmingly stuffed with ‘content’, some of it probably too similar to other sections. I honestly believe that Metal Gear Solid V could have done with a bit less fluff and bit more meaningful missions. Missions that got to the point a little quicker.
Let’s put it this way — 30 hours in and I had 20% completion rate. Who has time for this shit?
Honestly, if I didn’t write about video games for a living, if I didn’t feel the need to be across new releases, I’d probably be playing Metal Gear Solid V right this second. It would probably be the only game I played. It’s that damn good. That core — that central core — is just perfect.
Oh and it has D-Dog. D-Dog is the best video game dog of all time.
Long live D-Dog.