Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review - We Know Gamers

Welcome back Snake, it's been 9 long years since the Ground Zeroes mission and the destruction of Mother Base, it's about time you got out of bed and rebuilt it all.

If you're new to Metal Gear, you may be wondering if this is a good place to start, while you won't be too familiar with the characters, it's perfectly fine to jump in here as the gameplay from previous titles has changed a fair amount. If you picked up Ground Zeroes, you should already know what you are in for, however be warned, the game has been out a while now and I'm going to be dropping a couple of spoilers here and there so read on with caution.

The Boss and Quiet.

I must admit, when I first heard Metal Gear was going open world, I was a tad worried as I'm not a huge fan of open world, and it turned out I was half right to worry. The 2 areas you can free roam around, Afghanistan and Africa, are fairly sizeable, but there's not a whole lot to do in them. The points of interest dotted around the maps are well laid out and unique enough to warrent multiple visits to fully explore, plus there's a fast travel system so you can skip past the boring nothingness that fills the space between said places once you unlock them. The open world aspect really shines when you're tasked with actually infiltrating somewhere, as you can attack places from any which way you choose, something that's massively different from any other Metal Gear to date.

Once you get past the rather slow paced and tense hospital escape mission, you get into the real meat of the game. You start with Ocelot telling you that you have 3 days to rescue Miller and from this point on, you can pretty much do whatever you want. The story kind of takes a back seat here as it becomes a revenge tale against Skullface, the man who ended Mother Base the last time. This is also where you get to see the buddy system for the first time. You start off with D-Horse, a useful companion that helps you get around the deserts of Afghanistan. Later on you find D-Dog and the now rather infamous Quiet, the silent sniper with an aversion to wearing a t-shirt, there's also D-Walker, a large robot that you can jump on the back of to run about in.

A man's best friend?

Mission structure is fairly odd, you start out in your gunship and from here you select a mission, you then select the drop zone and head off on your merry way. The weird part is while you're flying in on any main mission, there's a credits sequence to tell you who you'll be seeing in said mission, it's kind of a spoiler and takes out the surprise element, it's also a massive ball ache when you see "guest starring the XOF Skulls Unit". Seriously, I hated every mission that they popped up in. Side Ops are also available and serve as a distraction from the main storyline if you want to pad the game out a little more, they're also fairly useful for recruiting special soldiers to your base among other activities.

Bosses are usually a big part of the Metal Gear experience, but Phantom Pain doesn't live up to its series potential. Spoilers here, most of the characters you would presume would be bosses, you don't even get to fight with, Skullface had potential to be a fairly interesting fight, but then something happens and he's just taken out. Both Young Mantis and Eli just up and disappear and there's no resolution there. The Man on Fire who is set up to be an unstoppable force, ends up killing himself by walking underneath Sahalenthropus, the latest Metal Gear unit in the series. The only real special fights you have is against the XOF Skulls Unit and they straight up suck as they're just bullet sponges that teleport around and generally just ruin your day. The only real fun I had was battling out against the snipers, both Quiet and a special all female Skulls Unit take up some long range combat and these gunfights seem to be the most interesting to play against, mainly as it reminded me of the phenomenal battle with The End in MGS3.

Lots of different weapons that can be customised even further!

Along with the whole infiltrating missions, there's also a secondary game where you build up Mother Base. Capturing soldiers and stealing resources from the enemy all end up back at your base, from here you earn GMP, the games currency, you can then spend said currency on expanding the base or on developing new weapons and technology to make cooler stuff for you to equip.

In terms of  a multiplayer, There are two aspects of it available for those that are interested, Forward Operating Bases (F.O.B.s) and Metal Gear Online (MGO). During the single player campaign you'll come to a point where you have to develop a second Mother Base, this is your Forward Operating Base and it holds extra resources and soldiers that you have captured and the more you develop it, the higher it's usefulness becomes. The only downside to it, is that it can be invaded by other players who can then steal all your goodies. If you're online while someone invades you, you can opt to go and defend it yourself, taking out the intruder will net you a huge boost in supplies, fail and they kidnap a bunch of your troops. Personally I'm not a fan of F.O.B. mainly because once you activate it, you can't turn it off and every time I load up my game, a bunch of people have nicked a load of my stuff.

If you want full on multiplayer, there's MGO, here you can create a new character and pick from 3 different classes, Enforcer, Infiltrator and Scout. Enforcers are your heavy armoured soldiers, they can equip heavy gear, so they can take a few extra shots before going down and can also wield the bigger guns. Infiltrator is your more traditional Metal Gear player that specialise in sneaking, they can equip stealth suits and have tranq guns as default. Scouts like to keep some distance and go with sniping and have perks that make spotting enemies easier.

The online squad!!

There's a few different game types to pick from as well, Cloak and Dagger pits attackers against defenders, attackers need to infiltrate a base, steal some Intel and get it to an extraction point, while defenders have to kill everyone. You only get the one life in this game so it's pretty tense. Comm Control is the Metal Gear twist on King of the Hill, with you capturing certain points across the map. Finally my favourite game type, Bounty Hunter, here you have free rein to run about and take out the enemy without doing objectives. Each team starts with 25 tickets, every time you take out an opponent they lose a ticket, the twist here is if you manage to tranq someone rather than kill them, you can Fulton them and regain some tickets for your team and depending on how many kills that enemy has will modify the amount of tickets you get back.

While no game is perfect, Phantom Pain has a damn good crack at it. The only thing really lacking is in the story department, as the later half of the game had me craving more as it felt incomplete. I think one of my friends summed Phantom Pain up perfectly when he said "it's a good game, just not a good Metal Gear game". That being said, it's probably my game of the year so far, nothing else has captured my attention like this in a while, the single player is ridiculously fun and filled with all those unusual quirks that Metal Gear is famous for, and MGO is fairly addictive.

What did you think of Metal Gear Solid V? Pumped about the single player story or are you more in it for Metal Gear Online? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on twitter @ChaosRiotZero

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