Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
is a fantastic game. At the time of this writing, I have put over one hundred and fifty hours into the game and I'm sporting a completion percentage of only 70%. I would write a full review of the game if it weren't for two things. First of all, I finished the story missions so long ago that some of them have blurred in my memory. Secondly, even if I did remember all the finer details, a comprehensive review would be more than I would be willing to take on. However, I was so excited to play this game upon release that I wrote my first blog post here about playing it with the rest of the world. Since it's almost been a full year since the game's release and that article, I wanted to talk about the game's lasting effects and why I am still playing it.Completing Side-Ops and random killing sprees:
For the past few months I had been playing MGSV
in drips and drabs before diving back into it full-time in order to write this article. During that time, my play style was pretty simple. I would take the Internet famous, female soldier Flaming Buffalo out on missions with Quiet, armed to the teeth with fully lethal weapons, and stalk and murder anyone we came across. Most of the time, this would start as a side-op, and lead to some free-form stalking and mayhem. I had completely left the story behind, and was truly making the game my own personal playground. I would end up paying for all this bloodshed, as the game discourages the wanton slaughter of enemy npcs, but having finished the campaign, I didn't really care.
Playing the game this way, I like to create meta-challenges based on the mission parameters. For example, I like doing the "Extract the highly skilled solider" missions with Quiet and myself armed with 100% lethal weapons. In essence, it means I'd have to CQC the target, but on one of these runs the other night, the target discovered me and I had to scramble to knock him out before Quiet put a bullet in his skull. In MGSV
, the player has complete control over what he brings into battle, even if that means bringing nothing, which adds a serious challenge. FOB missions and the untimely death of Flaming Buffalo:
Forward Operating Bases (FOB) are optional bases players can use to house more recruits to increase the levels of the many departments required for base development. However, unlike your Mother Base, your FOBs can be invaded by other real world players via online play. Opposing players can kidnap your soldiers and steal your resources. When the game first launched, invading someone else's FOB could be a risky venture. With a massive active player base, one risked the chance of a revenge invasion (which becomes available to the defending player if the invader is detected at any time during his infiltration). Because of this, my FOB adventures when the game first launched were few and far between. Nowadays, lightly guarded FOBs are ripe for the picking, and with much fewer people actually playing the game (especially on the PS3), the risk of a revenge infiltration is much lower.
Unbeknownst to me though, the risk of losing any combatant other than Snake is very real. A few days ago I was doing what I thought would be a routine infiltration when I was discovered, things went south, and Flaming Buffalo was killed, permanently. Well, almost permanently. Upon losing her I was very upset, and it was jarring having her replaced by Snake, who is now permanently soaked in blood from head to toe because of all the killing I had done as Flaming Buffalo. For a few days I thought all hope was lost. Playing as any other soldier just wasn't the same, and I almost completely lost interest in the game. While researching the phenomenon of Flaming Buffalo however, I discovered that it is possible to recruit her again by playing the final mission of the game. I was very rusty, but it only took me a few tries to take down the final boss and reclaim my beloved. I'll never be so careless with her again!Microtransactions:
When the game launched, the game's real life analogue currency, MB Coins, were extremely hard to come by without paying for them. They would very rarely be awarded for completing in-game challenges or as part of the game's random daily bonuses. I don't have any hard proof of this, but I feel like MB coins are coming more frequently as a part of the daily bonuses and challenges. Though MB coins can be used to speed up the game's timed mechanisms like base construction or weapon development, I have never been tempted to burn through mine to do this. I have no problem waiting the allotted time for these, so I'm actually more likely to use the MB coins I have to start building a second FOB.Metal Gear Survive:
Konami recently announced the first entry in the Metal Gear
franchise since the messy departure of Hideo Kojima from the company. The general reaction to the zombie based cooperative shooter has been very negative, demonstrating to me that MGS
fans' loyalty to Kojima and hatred for Konami run wide and deep. Many franchises such as Yakuza
and Resident Evil
have taken this route after the success of the Left 4 Dead
franchise, with varying success, but it seems most fans, including myself, do not believe this to be a good fit for the MGS
Almost a year after its release, MGSV
still has me in its grip. If you haven't played it yet, you should, whether you're a veteran fan or a newcomer to the franchise. It will never be the same without Hideo Kojima, and the game he left us with is the best in the series.