Author Topic: [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Review in Progress)  (Read 1510 times)


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[PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Review in Progress)
« on: September 03, 2015, 08:08:32 PM »
This game is way too massive to play through and THEN review, so I'll just be updating this as I progress and new things come to mind.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is, in a nutshell, a conglomeration of ideas, themes, and game play mechanics from some of the more popular games of today, sewn together with that trademark Metal Gear Solid zaniness and "WTF IS GOING ON" style story.

Thankfully, the cut scenes are kept to a minimum. There are a few long ones, but nothing anywhere CLOSE to the ridiculously long cut scenes of MGS 4. In fact, for the most part, you can play for extended periods of time completely bypassing most of the cut scenes, as long as you choose to remain in the field and not return to your base.

And there's the biggest "love it or hate it" thing about the game: Base building. You have no choice but to gather supplies for, and manage your home base. Sure, it's kinda neat to watch the place grow as you send it supplies from the field, but the only benefit so far is the assistance that certain units provide you in the field. For example, Research and Development does just that - researches and develops new weapons and equipment. You have to continually gather required supplies to aid in their development, but it's the only way to gain access to new weapons and technology throughout the game.

You also need to recruit new members to your base. You can do this in a few different ways - just wait for people to volunteer, rescue PoW's, or straight up kidnap enemies. Every enemy combatant you encounter has their own skills and stats - some are better in Research and Development, some at Combat, some at Intel, so on and so forth. So you need to use your little scope thing to magically determine their skills and whether you should take special care to kidnap them as oppose to kill them, if perhaps your R&D department is lacking skilled workers.

It's VERY deep and complex, and I could see putting some real time into it in another play through, but right now I want to focus on the story and the missions, not spend my time dicking around with base management. Thankfully, you can still progress for the most part without dealing with it, however the game will be much, much harder as you encounter situations in which you need better weapons and equipment.

One of the ways to rescue/kidnap personnel and gather equipment from the field is to use the Fulton Recovery Device, which is basically a balloon on a string that gets collected by a passing cargo plane. Attached the Fulton to the person/equipment you want to take back to your base, and watch it fly away. This works for everything from Birds (if you can tranq one) and gun emplacements, to Jeeps and cargo containers. Of course, you need to incrementally upgrade your Fulton Device to be able to lift the heavier objects. I never gets old sticking the Fulton on an unsuspecting enemy and watching them fly away, screaming in fear. As a nice touch, the PoW's you rescue usually shout in excitement when being carried away.

The entire map is always open, and it's set up much like FarCry 3/4. There are enemy encampments and outposts. You can go in to any of these, eliminate or subdue the enemy forces, and capture the stronghold. The only disappointing thing is that you can't KEEP the encampment/outpost, enemies repopulate the area after you launch a new mission. Thankfully, enemy infrastructure remains destroyed, so when you destroy their anti-air radar or communication equipment, you don't need to worry about it next time around. I personally like to clear out a base of personnel and then use their gun emplacements/mortars to destroy all of their assets, ensuring that the next time I have to deal with that particular base, they won't be calling for backup, and they won't have any heavy weapons to take me on.

Destroying anti-air radars also open up new landing zones for your chopper, which is VERY important as getting around the map otherwise is a huge pain in the ass.

You do have access to an immortal horse (it can be knocked down but will always get back up after a few seconds) that you can call to your location at any time. This makes getting around a little easier, but the horse controls are just as clunky as they were in Red Dead Redemption, so navigating complicated terrain can be a major pain in the ass.

You CAN drive vehicles, but there's almost no point because of the aforementioned outposts. You have to be lucky to drive by one and not be spotted by the soldiers stationed within. The vehicles are not fast enough to make it worth the chase, you'll almost definitely take damage and lose points. (You have regenerating health, but every hit you take deducts 100 points from your post-mission score.)

Calling in the chopper requires a designated landing zone, which almost always means that you have to travel SOMEWHERE to get on the chopper. And once you're on the chopper, you can't simply choose to land in another area, you have to wait for it to gain altitude, give you a "sit-rep" (tells you what's going on back at the base), and then select a mission. This is annoying.

The enemy AI ranges from superb to questionable. Sometimes they'll spot you through walls, sometimes you can sneak right up next to them. Granted, it's rare that they will see you through objects. In my 10 hours so far I've encounter two cases where I was spotted despite being completely concealed.

LOSING the enemy is another story, and can be a lot of fun. They will always engage your last known position, and you can use this to your advantage. Much like in the original Metal Gear Solid, leading the enemy around so you can sneak up behind them is a good tactic. Once you get behind them, you can hold them up and interrogate them for valuable intel (a-la Splinter Cell) that tells you enemy locations, item locations, or more mission-specific information. You should always try to interrogate as many enemies as you can until you start getting repeat information. Then you can just knock them out/kill them instead.

One frustrating thing is that there's no way to kill an unconscious enemy. You have to wake them up by hitting them, grapple them again, then choose the kill option. This is annoying because unconscious enemies eventually wake up, and that's a problem, so when you have to punch someone's lights out in a panic move because they spotted you, and you want to permanently neutralize them, wasting ammo/suppressors to cap them in the dome is just frustrating.

Yeah, you only get a few shots from each gun before the suppressor degrades.

Frustratingly, a suppressed sniper rifle is long way away from the time you start the game. I guess it would make life too easy, but I would almost prefer a balanced loadout system that weighs the benefit of having a suppressed sniper rifle against the ability to carry heavier weaponry, but instead you can customize your loadout entirely, so they decided to lock away the more useful weapons instead.

In true Metal Gear Solid fashion, the obvious approach is not always the only or best approach. Yeah, you can kill your target, but you can ALSO extract them which earns you extra points and gives you access to more intel. Sometimes you can't afford to risk an attempted capture, however, so just killing them outright is always an option.

The game does an excellent job of letting you approach things your way. Missions are very much like FarCry 3/4, in fact it's borderline plagiarism. If it MGS-V weren't way more in-depth, and I mean WAAAAAYYYYYYYYY more, I would actually complain about this, but Kojima took what was fun about FarCry 3's base capture mechanics and took it to the next level.

Should you plan your assault under the cover of night, or in broad daylight? It's up to you. A random, passing sand storm can provide you the concealment you need to slip by a heavily guarded area. I'm not certain yet if there's a way to view a weather forecast, but the weather can help or hinder depending on when a storm occurs.

The gunplay is alright, but the game is way more satisfying to play as a stealth game instead of going all Rambo. If you WANT to go Rambo, however, MGS-V allows you to do so with much more freedom than previous entries in the series.

For example, I was sneaking into a base to rescue a prisoner but had trouble getting past the guards at the main gate. After the Alert went away, I climbed up the side of the hill, killed a guy at a small hut manning a mortar, then used the mortar to rain down hell on the rest of the base, starting with the communications equipment so that they couldn't call for backup. In a matter of a minute, I cleared out every single enemy and was free to extract the prisoner with no resistance.

I could have just done this from the start, but...

The next mission I played was another prisoner rescue at a different base. This time I successfully sneaked into the base. A truck pulled up on the road nearby and the driver got out, so I capped him and hid his body, then positioned the truck for easy access. Then I made a bee-line right for the prisoner, carried him out to the open and Fulton'ed him the hell out of there, then continued sneaking through, planting remote-C4 charges on their communications and radar equipment. I made my way back to the truck and detonated the C4 just before climbing in, then hauled ass out of there while the base went on alert. I was never spotted, but I effectively disabled that base permanently.

So yeah, sneaking is way more satisfying when you pull it off.

The story is insane. Just balls out insane. The gameplay is so good, I almost despise the story for being attached to it. Kojima's trademark juvenile humor is ever present with ample focus on poop jokes and boobs, and then there's also the super weirdness of the character design that's really off putting to me.

Right from the beginning of the game, it immediately starts confusing the ever loving fuck out of you. There's a whole portion where you have to go into a character creator and "redesign" Big Boss' face, as the doctor explains that he's too recognizable. So you spend a while customizing the look, and then when you return to game play, nothing has changed. I don't know what the hell the point of the character creator was, but it certainly hasn't made itself known just yet. Maybe it's for your online character? I don't know, but the game DELIBERATELY stated that you were changing Big Boss' face... then it just drops it and nothing happens. wtf.

Well that's all for now... I'll have more to write as I get farther into the game.


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Re: [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Review in Progress)
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2015, 08:06:33 PM »
That Fulton recovery system is the real deal...  I don't know that they have ever picked up a vehicle with it, but people and equipment for sure.