Allow me to begin the obligatory trick by saying that the story is bananas. It's more bananas than you could imagine. The opening is crazy long and not remotely indicative of the contents of the game, the cutscenes following are shorter but still complete lunacy. In essence, you play as Big Boss and your job is to build up a private army so grand that nobody can ever screw with you again. You and your friends Ocelot and Miller kidnap soldiers and convince them to join your cause, the whole time seeking revenge on the man who destroyed your last attempt to do exactly what you're currently doing. It's adolescent power fantasy at its grandest, a militant reaction to bullying so epic it involves torture, giant robots and a dog with the ability to parachute people away to an oil rig in the Indian Ocean.Click here for Joaby's in-depth Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain review.
Along the way there are invisible people, rock people, people who can rust vehicles, tanks, helicopters, more robots and more. You can, if you like, skip every single cutscene just to move on to the game itself -- and if you hate whacky stories about all of the above, you should do exactly that. Because if you avoid this game just because you can't invest in a mad man's story, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Because the gameplay is beyond reproach.
The game is gorgeous. It runs at a solid, flawless 60 frames per second on PS4, the loading times are disgustingly short and it looks beautiful. Hair is probably the only area it falls short in, a problem many games have. The lighting is fantastic, using HDR Bloom to create pockets of mystery out of any indoors environment -- during the day anyway. During the night darkness is your ally -- as it should be in a stealth game -- but even then the way torches and spotlights create a blinding flare is used to fantastic effect.Click here for Joaby's complete MGSV: TPP review in progress.
More important though -- it plays brilliantly. As Snake, or Big Boss, or whatever you want to call yourself, you always feel like you're in control -- once you know how the game works and the systems work, you always feel like you possess the tools you need to complete a mission. If you like, you can sit outside an area of operation for minutes at a time marking out guards on patrol before heading in to complete your mission. Some Metal Gear purists might feel like this removes the challenge, but I see it as a logical evolution of the Soliton Radar (which is absent in TPP). On top of that, the guards operate on shifts, so if you take too long to scout things out time will catch up with you and your hard work will be for naught.
FREEDOM OF INFILTRATION - Gameplay DemoAdding to the end of the year's already heft videogame payload, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is set to release September 1st on next-gen and PC.
1. Partnering with Quiet:
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN introduces a unique ‘Buddy’ system, wherein the player can select a recruited ally for use in missions. Quiet is a selectable ‘Buddy’ in the game, who possesses incredible sniping abilities. The first video showcases footage which demonstrates a mission where the player approaches a remote outpost using Quiet to orchestrate coordinated attacks to quickly incapacitate enemies and provide cover for Snake as he completes his mission.
2. Surgical Air Raid:
Missions can also be tackled in a more overt manner, and the second video shows METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN’s more action-orientated elements. Having equipped series hero Snake with heavy riot gear, the player uses the artillery equipped on their helicopter to take out key installations within a night mission. Using automatic weapons, Snake then storms the outpost in a huge firefight, before locating and retrieving his target.
3. Remote Assassination:
Patience is a virtue in METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN and the final video is used to show how missions can be completed from afar and also shows Snake’s Blast Arm in use for the first time. Having entered the area with a heavily-armoured D-Horse as his Buddy, Snake waits until night time before taking out a guard using a blast from his prosthetic arm. The arm’s projectile weapon capabilities are then showed as the player uses ‘Missile Cam’ to take out a central target akin to the Nikita System introduced in past METAL GEAR SOLID titles.
4. Thinking "Outside the Box”:
The METAL GEAR SOLID series is famed for its stealth gameplay, and the third video is used to demonstrate how old favourites and new skills combine to create even more sneaking options for the player. The footage begins with Snake intercepting troops en route to an outpost having used the famed cardboard box in clever new ways. Via careful planting of explosives and an unwitting sentry, the mission is completed without even entering the base.