‘Metal Gear’ gives gamers challenging ride

Mace Mackiewicz, Staff Writer/Copy Editor

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” is a video game I have been excited for since it was announced a couple of years ago. The promise of an open world stealth action game was exciting and the game definitely met the hype in this regard.

I am not really a long-time fan of the “Metal Gear” series but I have been interested in it for a while. Before the fifth installment, the only games I had ever played were the fourth edition and part of the first one. That being said, both games in “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” are completely accessible.

The only thing you really need to play “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” is to read a synopsis or watch all the cut scenes for “Peace Walker” and you’ll pretty much be prepared to play the game.

In the game you take control of the main character Big Boss during the latter of the cold war in the ‘80s. Most of the game takes place on a huge map of Afghanistan and there’s also a hub between missions called mother base.

You select missions from inside a helicopter and then can select where you want to land to start the mission. From there, the game becomes a sandbox where the player can explore the landscape, take over strongholds and find resources.

This game is probably my favorite of the year so far for several reasons. The combat in the game is fluid and satisfying. You’re rewarded for going in to a situation with stealth and tranquilizing in mind over blindly killing enemies and the game gives you the tools to do either.

Some parts of the game can be frustrating for stealth though as several enemies can swarm you and the more missions you do the surrounding bases will better arm its soldiers with body armor, helmets and other items that make it hard to sneak up on.

There are ways to combat this but it still helps make the game dynamic and makes you think about which equipment you’re going to bring in the next time you deploy. Getting through a base with never being spotted and recruiting soldiers to bring back to mother base is extremely satisfying.

The game is also impressively optimized. Most games that run at 60 frames per second (or FPS) are either remasters of games from last gen or have compromised other elements of the game. The Phantom Pain runs in 1080p resolution and a smoother 60 FPS. It’s a shame it’s the only game we’ll ever see utilize the fox engine.

The game also has one of the best soundtracks in a video game ever. The songs are all pulled from the early ‘80s and they’re all pretty much new wave alternative music. You can find more cassettes with more songs from the decade. You can set any of these songs to play when your helicopter drops you off or picks you up.

One of the best moments I have ever witnessed organically in a video game occurred because of this feature. In one of the tougher levels I couldn’t make it through without being spotted and I eventually got frustrated with getting sniped.

I called in the chopper for support fire so the helicopter is taking out enemies while “Take on Me” by a-Ha is blaring in the background and it is glorious.

Without giving too much away from the plot, the first half of the game is fantastic. The game doesn’t flood you with cut scenes and you get to explore the world and story at your own pace but you also care about these characters through the interactions.

The voice actors are all really good at portraying their characters and even though it was hard to get used to at first Keifer Sutherland does an extremely good job at portraying Big Boss even if he has relatively little dialogue throughout the game.

The second half of the game however isn’t nearly as strong as the first half, and it’s been speculated that Konami rushed Kojima to finish the game and this caused the second half to suffer. The story is much more disjointed and there’s much less story missions to do.

There are two extremely good moments in the second half and the true ending of the game is genius. But the ending also doesn’t close one of the plot lines that had happened towards the end of the game.

Overall this game is a contender for game of the year, but I truly believe if Kojima had more time to work on it it’d be immortalized as one of the greatest games of the decade. The game is quite fantastic for what is in it though so I personally give it a 9 out of 10.


Mace Mackiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].