I first played Metal Gear Solid on my PS1 in the late 90’s and remember instantly falling in love with this stealth based espionage game, the storyline was different, slightly odd but a groundbreaking masterpiece that has grown in popularity. It’s one of those legendary cult series that has spanned nearly twenty years over multiple generations of gaming console.
Ground Zeroes the controversial demo, introduction or teaser arrived back in early 2014 acting as the prologue to The Phantom Pain, it got mixed views with some speed runs taking a handful of minutes to complete the main mission. I remember playing it and being vaguely interested until i pre-ordered the game off steam and got a free copy which I’m glad I played through as you get to learn the combat system, the build up to the storyline and a fantastic save file to carry you into the main game giving you a ton of fantastic extras.
Metal Gear Solid – The Phantom Pain named after the feeling you get after you lose a limb literally pulls no punches, the game starts you off as Ground Zeroes left off and it drags you into an immersive, brutal struggle from the minute the game starts. The first thing that hits you is the graphics, they are incredible, the audio and music from the 80’s which is when the game is set is a beautiful addition being all played on collectible files in the form of cassettes. The storyline is incredible but you expect nothing less from the legendary Hideo Kojima as ever it’s a weird, strange affair that you piece together as the game progresses.
Earlier this year I played the Witcher 3 which brought open world gameplay to a new level, The Phantom Pain has in my option made that even better. There aren’t any bugs or glitches in the game and it runs flawlessly as my PC hardly struggles to run it on the highest settings. Set in Afghanistan (and a bit later Africa) the environment and landscape are exceptionally well detailed from small villages, rolling sand dunes, mountains to waterfalls and streams shrouded in forests. The weather can change in an instant from bright and sunny to fog, rain and sandstorms each giving you and your enemy’s pros and cons in combat.
Speaking of combat it’s done in a completely customisable, fantastically intricate way that can be adjusted and altered depending on conditions, environment, play style and personal preference. Select a mission at night with a full load out for silent takedowns and stealth your way to the target, if it’s a communicant, radar or satellite you can place some C4 walk away and blow it to pieces from a safe distance. A prisoner of war or a hostage can be taken to a helicopter and extracted back to base or shot up into the atmosphere on a Fulton aerial retrieval system (or Skyhook) which is a great in the field tool. Not limited to humans, friend or foe, cargo containers, vehicles, gun emplacements and goats (not a joke) but it is limited depending on your development level and the weather, it can also be shot out the sky,
I rarely say this about a game but there is too much content, I spend hours listening to the tapes you collect from missions. Recruiting members of staff for my ever-growing base which you can fully upgrade by collecting ore, metals and fuel in-game or by sending out teams on their own missions. The iDroid screen (used as the in-game menu, map and mission screen) will be you best friend unless you count the horse, dog, walker or scantily clad female sniper called Quiet. You will spend hours sending troops out on missions, collecting materials, upgrading all your gear, weapons and base that you’ll sometimes forget you have well over one hundred side missions to complete and oh yeah.. the main story.
I can’t believe the amount of content squeezed into this beautiful created masterpiece that is rumoured to become this years game of the year (unless Fallout 4 can bring some serious firepower to the table). I haven’t found many bad points about this game except it claws hours out of my life, drags me away from things I need to get done and immersed me in a world I don’t want to leave. The servers do drop out quite regularly but it’s not a massive issue really and you don’t really notice unless you want to collect your daily reward. This game easily scores 10/10 for a long time a game has come along that actually warrants it’s £55 price tag.
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