This is part of an ongoing review of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”. It does not contain story spoilers.
I played Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain since yesterday. My review code wasn’t unlocked until midnight on September 1, and I didn’t attend any of Konami’s “training camps” so I’m late for the party. Never mind.
i had a lot of fun with Phantom pain until now. The graphics are absolutely stunning on PS4. The deserts of Afghanistan are breathtaking and crossing them is one of the best horse riding games I have had since Red Dead Redemption —certainly much less frustrating than riding in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
But the game is not without flaws, despite all the perfect scores it has received. And I’m not even talking about server issues, although there are a lot of them. Phantom pain First days. (I couldn’t log in, and I’m not the only one. Thank goodness the game is mostly single player.)
So, without further ado, the five biggest issues I’ve encountered so far in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
1. It’s basically “Far Cry 3”.
I don’t know if this is really a problem, but it’s weird. Part of me thinks the game should be called Metal Gear Solid V: Far Cry. The gameplay is not the same, but it is terribly similar. You have a large open world where you go out and take control of enemy bases while gathering raw materials to facilitate crafting. It is Far Cry 3/4.
It is not the same type of craft. You have Mother Base and you are developing new weapons and equipment. There is a whole basic management / recruitment system involved that is not in Far cry (although it could be just as well, Ubisoft. You need something to distinguish Far cry 5 of its predecessors.)
I really enjoy capturing basics in the Far cry games and I like that here too, but it feels a bit weird to be in such a traditional open world environment. I don’t like looking for construction materials and miss the linearity of previous titles. Let’s call it a mixed bag, and one that deserves its own post further down the road.
2. The credits between each mission are silly.
Credits are cast after each mission in Phantom pain. We are reminded over and over again that Hideo Kojima is the genius behind the creation of the game. HEY DID YOU KNOW THIS IS A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME ???
It’s enormously boring after a while and there’s a vanity that really rubs me the wrong way. I was bored when Konami removed Kojima’s name from the box-art, but now I would like them to come in and take it out of the game as well. Pride comes before the fall and all that.
Read more: Hideo Kojima and the dangers of hero worship
3. The “Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System” is overused and fanciful.
This is not the first Metal gear game to use the “Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System” — a balloon device that shoots people and objects from the ground and sends them back to Mother Base via airlift — but it feels more overused than ever here before. Maybe it’s just my memory playing tricks on me.
It’s funny at first, of course. There are good little moments. It would be really cool if you could only use it in certain situations — to catch high value targets, maybe. But in an open world, he loses some of his humor and starts to feel really freakish. Could it be that I myself am just abusing it? Very probably. Still, I’m not sure it adds much to the experience.
However, it makes YouTube videos fun.
4. David Hayter is still a better Snake than Kiefer Sutherland.
It’s not that Kiefer Sutherland is bad as the Big Boss, it’s just that he sounds like Kiefer Sutherland — one of Hollywood’s most recognizable voices. Sutherland the Younger has lent his voice to everything from commercials to his starring role in 24. It’s impossible for me to separate his voice from his face — something I have no problem with when it comes to professional actors like Nolan North, Troy Baker or David Hayter.
Hayter has been Snake for years, and his rugged take on the character — like an extreme Clint Eastwood — was formidable. It was overkill in the same way that games are overkill. Ditching Hayter for the final chapter in Big Boss’s story was even stranger and more disturbing than cutting Kojima’s name out of the box. And that did not result in spectacular performance.
5. There are micro-transactions.
While micro-transactions in Phantom pain are geared towards its online components, the “home base” or MB parts that you can purchase to expand your advanced operating bases can still be purchased with real money. Yes there are other ways to earn MB Coins and yes they are not required to complete or enjoy the game but they are present.
I just can’t accept micro-transactions in a video game that already costs at least $ 59.99. (Or more if you count Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes as a prequel that should have been included in the price of the main game.)
DLC? Sure. Complete extensions? Bring them. Nickel and gradation players with “coins” or “gems”? No thanks. Out of shame, Konami. For shame.
Whether this will affect PvP Metal Gear Online the release next month remains to be seen.