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'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' Review

Johnny Flores, Jr. |
September 8, 2015 | 12:38 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Take the first act of Guns of the Patriots, combine it with the elements of Peace Walker, themes from Sons of Liberty and a story as amazing as Snake Eater and you get "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain" -- a fitting end for "the man who sold the world."

This is "Metal Gear Solid" at its best. By effectively taking the best portions of each entry in the storied franchise, creator Hideo Kojima has created arguably the best entry in the series and a fitting end to decades’ worth of storytelling.

Taking place nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes, we resume control of Big Boss as he attempts to clear his name, reestablish his paramilitary organization now known as Diamond Dogs and rid the world of Cipher once and for all. It is a gut-wrenching tale that explores various themes such as genocide, child soldiers, the act of killing, death and war itself. The Phantom Pain will have you on the edge of your seat from cutscene to cutscene before delivering an ending that will have you reeling. 

What’s best about "Phantom Pain" is the sense of freedom its open world provides. "Metal Gear Solid" games have been for the most part very linear. However, "Phantom Pain" drops all notions of linearity. The world is massive and the Afghan desert and surrounding African countryside is your playground. How you choose to do each main story mission and “Side-Op” is up to you. From the time of day to your approach there is absolute freedom. Want to go in guns blazing? You can do that. Want to stealthily incapacitate all enemies? You can do that as well. There is no limit to what you can do, rather the game itself encourages you to try different methods. Nevermind that you can choose from an array of unlockable "Buddy's" that will aid you in your quest, each equipped with various skills making each mission and "Side-Op" entirely unqiue. The possibilities are endless only held back by one’s imagination. 

"Phantom Pain" takes the familiar Peace Walker style of missions, collecting, and base management and amps it up. You are free to tackle the story missions sequentially, however, there are also a number of “Side-Op” missions that range from capturing enemy soldiers to finding blueprints for new weaponry. These missions allow you to not only boost your GMP (in-game currency) but experiment with the various weapons and items at your disposal. All the while you are tasked with rebuilding and strengthening Mother Base by recruiting soldiers using the Fulton Recovery System and placing them in the appropriate field such as Research and Development or Intel based off their statistics. At no point did I ever feel rushed to breeze through the story mode. Rather, I would find myself playing through the various “Side-Op” missions for hours on end or building and assigning my Mother Base. You are your own Big Boss and how you choose to do things is up to you. 

Graphically this is not only the best looking Metal Gear game to date but also the best looking next generation console game. Boasting 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second on the Playstation 4 this game is a beauty to behold. Sprawling vistas and lonely deserts flourishing with flora and fauna took over my screen. A full day/night cycle with various weather elements made the game feel even more realistic. It is one of the first games on next generation consoles to truly feel “next-gen.”

In terms of sound, it is top notch. Various scores fill cutscenes and gameplay sequences. The sound of my footsteps crunching the dry earth beneath me, the hot wind surrounding me and the various banter between soldiers all help aid in immersing you into the Metal Gear world. More so, various licensed tracks such as “Kids of America” and others from that era can be heard at various guard outposts and are indeed collectible. Helicopter rides to and from Mother Base aren’t particularly lonely when you have some solid tunes to keep you company.

Voice acting is also fantastic with various famous voice actors such as Kiefer Sutherland and Troy Baker lending their vocal chords. My only gripe with this would be that dialogue from Big Boss is almost absent. Save for a few lines here and there and the typical grunt from running and climbing there is almost no dialogue from Big Boss which comes as a shocker considering that in past games Big Boss voiced by David Hayter had tons of dialogue and exchanges with the various characters. As a result, much of the games story and exchanges are left up to Kaz and Ocelot to dictate. This is by no means a huge issue but considering how high profile an actor such as Kiefer Sutherland is and the controversy surrounding David Hayter’s absence I expected more. 

Voice acting aside, there are relatively no problems within the game. Bugs are almost nonexistent and I have yet to find a single glitch. If anything, there are a few issues in terms of pacing, however, nothing game breaking. 


All in all, "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain" is a fantastic game. Scratch that. "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain" is an amazing game. The sheer volume of content and replayability coupled with the massive depth and freedom given to the player help shape it as one of the best games to come out in the last several years and a fitting conclusion to one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time. The new open world gameplay aesthetics fit right in along with the best elements from past games. It is an amazing ride from start to finish and something all games should play. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got Mother Base to attend to. 

10/10 “Masterpiece” 

Johnny Flores, Jr. is the staff reporter of Neon Tommy's “GameOver Daily” section. To keep up with all of his happenings, follow him on Twitter here and contact him via email here.



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