Way back in 1998, Konami published a little game by the name of Metal Gear Solid. It was a pioneer of sorts within the stealth-action genre, and has since then grown to be referred to as nothing short of a technical and gaming masterpiece.
Before Metal Gear Solid, games were largely (but definitely not entirely) filled with sprites and simple backgrounds which was understandable, as the hardware at the time only allowed for this. But not MGS. Suddenly, players could experience a fully realised 3D world in which you had to infiltrate the mysterious Shadow Moses island, and behold graphics fairly revolutionary for their time.
Fast-forward around 3 years to 2001, when the sequel titled ‘Sons of Liberty’ was released, which is also when I discovered this incredible franchise. The already striking graphics were now progressively cinematic in their aesthetics, and an even more complex plot of espionage and treachery was unleashed upon new players. Our collective jaws hit the ground after a huge plot-twist changed the entire experience (you know what I’m on about), and since then, I’ve been hooked.
Even more recently, I decided to pick up all of the Metal Gear Solid titles on my Vita – including the amazing original – and immersed myself in their intricate story by playing each back-to-back, all the way up till the phenomenal Guns of the Patriots on the PS3. Then, this year, a little game by the name of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was released. And it blew me away.
This brand-new chapter in the Metal Gear story followed Big Boss in the 1970s as he infiltrated yet another intimidating base like the original, and saw the return of fan-favourites from the series, and then suddenly it ended as quickly as it all began. A mere couple hours into my game-time, the credits began to roll. “What, how can that be?!” you might ask. Well, Ground Zeroes was never really meant as a standalone game like some may expect. In fact, the sole purpose of it was to advertise a far longer, more exciting, and scarily engrossing game being released in the near future. Was I angry at this blatant advertising? Of course not. Because that game is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Ever since those credits rolled in Ground Zeroes, I can’t stop thinking about it. The multiple teasers and trailers released for The Phantom Pain have done nothing but build excitement among MGS fans to unbearable levels, due to the incredible-looking technical achievements Hideo Kojima has shown off.
The game is set to take place across multiple locations, similar to the other games, although this time it will be within an open-world area; a clear departure from the previous titles in the series. Not only this, but the game will also feature innovative multiplayer which is available in a multitude of ways. For example, one mode will allow players to attack other player’s ‘Mother Base‘, which will be familiar to anybody who has played Peace Walker – one of the PSP Metal Gear titles.
And if it isn’t clear from the trailers, The Phantom Pain is going to look incredible. Running on the all-new FOX engine, many of the released trailers and gameplay footages appears to be almost photo-realistic in some aspects. The Metal Gear Solid games have always looks stunning on their respective consoles, but now, thanks to the new hardware of the PS4 and the Xbox One, it’s going to look even better. Really, if you don’t quite know what I’m talking about, see for yourself.
So back to the title of this, why is The Phantom Pain “driving me insane”? Well, for one simple reason: there isn’t a release date. That’s right, despite the initial trailer being shown at least two years ago, not even a year of release has been announced for this highly-anticipated release. Many suspect that a late 2014 / early 2015 release is likely, but there’s absolutely no confirmation of either of these. It’s driving me insane because it seems so within reach, and yet so far away.
The previous iterations in the MGS series have often been hailed as the best on their respective systems, so why will The Phantom Pain be any different? It’s driving me insane, because The Phantom Pain could, quite possibly, be one of the best games released to date.
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