Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain early impressions –
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a really long game.
I managed to complete Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes in just under twenty five minutes. In The Phantom Pain, however, I hadn’t even completed the game’s prologue in this time.
Due to its length, I won’t be able to provide a complete review yet, but I have been able to play enough of the game to explore its gameplay thoroughly. For now, I am simply reviewing the game’s gameplay, with a “last impressions” article coming later once I’ve completed its story.
At this point I can confidently confirm that The Phantom Pain is a much better experience than Ground Zeroes.
In comparison to Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain is liberating. I have complete freedom over my equipment, my tactics, and my army.
When I arrive into battle, I do so in a bright pink helicopter, wielding a sniper rifle and a non-lethal submachine gun. I then begin to stealthily kill my foes from a distance, picking my prey one-by-one, before approaching to kidnap (rather than kill) any remaining targets. Once my job is complete, I am collected by my helicopter and fly back home. Behind me, I leave a trail of destruction and death.
From there, I recruit the kidnapped enemies as my own soldiers, engineers, intel agents, and so on. I decide each character’s role, because this is my army and it’s mine to control.
I can return to my army’s home to raise moral, as I often do, and explore my ever expanding base. Whilst I’m there, I usually test out the latest equipment I’ve requested that my engineers create.
All of these tasks don’t have to be completed by the game’s protagonist (Snake) either. The player can use as any character in his army.
Exploring The Phantom Pain‘s variety of mechanics.is extremely enjoyable, and has filled the majority of my time playing the game.
Despite the adaptability of its gameplay, I still prefer Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence over The Phantom Pain.
Even with a countless amount of toys to play with, I believe The Phantom Pain is a less interesting game, mainly due to its more forgiving gameplay.
In Subsistence, any mistake made by the player resulted in a consequence. For instance, if the player is shot, they won’t be able to fully recover health until they extract the bullet. This forces players to be more careful, as any mistakes could result in the player dying, and force them to restart from the last checkpoint.
In The Phantom Pain, the same threat doesn’t occur. When shot, I can simply retreat and my wounds will heal themselves (much like most modern shooters). This feels sloppy in comparison to Subsistence, where all of my successful missions felt carefully planned.
This action orientated Metal Gear Solid is an interesting and fun experience, undoubtedly, but it’s not as rewarding as previous instalments of the series because of its decreased difficulty.
Creating a hybrid of the game’s trademark stealth and new action mechanics is definitely the preferred way to play. Attempting to play stealthily often feels strangely paced. Whilst characters are now quicker than earlier in the series, traversing the environment is still much slower than games like Batman: Arkham Knight, even though both game’s characters move at a similar speed.
If you want to play the game more aggressively, you will definitely struggle. Simply running into a war zone and gunning enemies will result in inevitable death, due to the The Phantom Pain‘s AI being more intelligent than most games.
Even with my objections against the game, I still cannot believe how much fun it is to simply play with. Exploring uses for items and creating ridiculous tactics is extremely entertaining, helping make The Phantom Pain standout as the most fun Metal Gear Solid yet. It’s not as interesting to play as Subsistence, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.