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Metal Gear Solid V

September 10, 2015

Metal Gear Solid V (PS4)
metal-gear-solid-5-ps4What’s Good:
-Highly polished open world gameplay
-Satisfying, open-ended stealth/action
-Intriguing story filled with Metal Gear silliness
-Fully realized base and item development systems

What’s Bad:
-Rare instances of frame rate drops
-Rampant server instability
-FOB invasion/defense more fun on paper than in practice
-Post game activities become repetitive, with fewer goals to work toward

What I thought: “By leaps and bounds, the best gameplay in the series.”

This is a Sneaking Mission
The idea of open-ended environments and leaving aspects of progression in the player’s hands has been a hallmark of Metal Gear Solid since the first game, but nowhere has it been so fully realized as with MGSV.
Legion are the tools and mechanics available to the player, and while the game gives you ideas for how to tackle situations, the sheer number of methods for completing objectives are astounding. Whether you choose to crawl around and meticulously knock out each guard before exploring what they were protecting, unload into anything that moves and worry about asking questions later, or capture a guard with CQC and ask him politely to give you clues that way, the game’s multitude of systems are almost always at your fingertips, and almost always meet in satisfying and successful ways.
A finicky (and arguably unnecessary) cover system and a few context sensitive button annoyances aside, MGSV plays absolutely superbly.

Our New Home
Outside of missions, much of your time is spent using materials obtained from the field to upgrade Mother Base, which unlike the one found in Peace Walker, can be traveled to and explored on foot (which can sometimes cue up cutscenes or open up side-plots), or to develop new weapons, armor or items for use in future missions.
A dinky little base at the start of the game, becomes a sprawling orange (or white, or red among other colors you can choose for it) mass, and as you complete missions, the options given to you for how you outfit Snake do nothing but increase.
Later into the game, you unlock the ability to purchase waters for Forward Operating Bases, which are built up just like Mother Base, and if taken advantage of, allows you to multiply your development resources at the cost of leaving that FOB open for invasion by other players.
Players can invade whether you are online or not, and the defense of your FOB can be augmented by developments into base defenses such as security cameras or drones. If you are online however (game servers willing), you are able to drop what you’re doing and head home to defend your base yourself.
I never care for invasion/defense mechanics in games. You always either run into someone specifically geared for it, such as with the case of Dark Souls, and the experience is frustrating, or being invaded completely derails you from what you were already invested in doing which was Watch Dogs’ problem.  MGSV has systems in place to pit you up against players of similar strength, but much like Watch Dogs, being invaded brings with it a sense of urgency, and as such, is difficult to ignore, which results in losing track of your original objectives.
Attacking is a different story, or at least I would like to think so, but so far I’ve been unable to successfully initiate an invasion with how sporadic the server instability has been since launch on PS4. What’s worse is if you manage to get connected and infiltrate the enemy base only to have the server drop out then, the game will count that as a loss on your part, and you will owe the other player valuable resources.
The FOB aspect of MGSV is one I could have lived without.

From FOX, Two Phantoms Were Born
There will be no plot specifics here. The story has always been a huge draw for Metal Gear Solid, and for good reason.
I will say however that the method with which previous games fed you the story is not utilized here, which may be disappointing or even frustrating for people like me who were coming in hoping for a huge narrative akin to previous games shot into my brain at a high rate of speed.
Don’t worry, there is a story in MGSV, and it’s an intriguing one, dealing with ideas I have never seen in entertainment, little less video games, but in many cases, you have to meet the story half-way.
It’s an open world and they want you to explore it at your own pace. Tell your own story in the meantime.

Our Story Beyond His Story
Metal Gear Online is promised to make a comeback in the next couple months. While the MGO found in MGS4 had its share of innovative ideas, the game didn’t control anywhere near as well as The Phantom Pain does, and I remember there being severe amounts of latency found within matches. Here is hoping the multiplayer offering is not only more stable than the FOB segment of the game has been since launch, but also offers more by terms of variety and fun. I don’t expect it to become my go-to multiplayer game, but I’m willing to be surprised.
Multiplayer stuff aside, MGSV does allow you to revisit missions to try them again with different equipment or from different approaches, but with a time played of around 70 hours, I feel like I’ve for the most part seen what the game has to offer. I know I’ll be poking my head back in to do a few missions here or there just because the game plays so, so good, but post narrative, there aren’t many things pulling me along.
What a ride it is though.
Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, MGSV is impossible not to recommend.

From → Games

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  1. Spitz’s Year End Wrap Up 2015 | Spitz's Soapbox

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