“V has come to” is how the game begins. Such a simple phrase and yet has so much behind it. Minutes after “V has come to” the game ascends and shows us what we have in store. Big Boss, our main protagonist awakens from a 9 year coma in a hospital in Cyprus missing an arm and having a large chunk of shrapnel lodged in his head, Big Boss’ awakening is only cut short when the hospital is invaded by a covert military force dubbed “XOF” on the hunt to kill him. With the help of a mysterious man named “Ishmal” Big Boss is able to escape a narrow death. Soon later the halls of the hospital begin to fill with smoke and fire when suddenly a man covered in head to toe in fire arrives in the hospital and begins searching for Big Boss. The Man on Fire has Big Boss in his clutches until the “XOF” force returns with reinforcements and goes toe to toe with The Man on Fire. Big Boss seeing this as his chance to escape hijacks an ambulance with “Ishmal” and rushes off the scene. Just when he’s home-free he is accidentally run off the road by a fire-truck and crashes in the middle of an open canyon. He awakens later, with the ambulance totaled and “Ishmal” missing, Big Boss crawls out of the wreckage only to have an attack helicopter fly over him and aim a spotlight over him, just when the helicopter is about to attack a small young boy wearing a gas mask appears and slows down time. The little boy then looks up at the helicopter then a large explosion is heard and a huge whale covered in fire flies out of no where and destroys the helicopter, sending Big Boss flying. Big Boss gets up to see an old adversary named “Ocelot”, He tells Big Boss to get on his house, take his shotgun and begin shooting. Big Boss turns around and sees The Man On Fire standing behind them on a unicorn covered in fire. A chase scene begins with Big Boss shooting at The Man On Fire. After a long stand-off in a forest Big Boss and Ocelot escape The Man On Fire. After stopping to take a rest the two talk and Ocelot catches Big Boss up on what has happened over the last 9 years and together they decide it’s time to bring the legend of Big Boss back to life and rebuild their former army. They rest up, prep up and begin a long journey to Afghanistan. The screen fades to black and we are finally introduced to the game. Welcome to “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”.
“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” or as i’ll refer to it from hear on out “MGSV” is an open world action adventure tactical espionage operations game made by Hideo Kojima, a legendary game developer who’s been making awesome games for more than 25 years. Although he has mostly dedicated himself to the “Metal Gear” games. In case you’re not familiar with the “Metal Gear” games, they’re an amazing game series spanning over the course of 25 years with the first game aptly titled “Metal Gear” which was released back in 1987 to amazing acclaim and has created a whole universe around itself with multiple protagonists, antagonists and supporting characters. I would try to explain the story but honestly that would take me about 2 hours just to get across the basic gist. The main themes of the games are war, peace, nuclear deterrence, sacrifice and free will. The series was suppose to end after “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” which did bring a lot of good conclusions to characters and endings to story-arcs but it missed one well really rushed one and that was Big Boss. He randomly shows up in “MGS 4” but thankfully he did have a story in “MGS 3”, “MGS Portable Ops” and “MGS: Peace Walker” but that was the last of Big Boss we saw, until now. “MGSV ” and its prequel “MGS Ground Zeroes”. I’m not gonna review “Ground Zeroes” because it came out last year and really didn’t have much substance to it, all you really need to know about “Ground Zeroes” is that it showcases the events leading up to how Big Boss ended up in his 9 year coma and now “MGSV” is now filling in the plot holes left by “Ground Zeros” and “MGS 4” so of course many of the missions in the game are filler nut is still able to have an awesome story that both creates a really intriguing story on it’s own as well as fill in the plot holes it was made to do.
Now set in 1984 the game has you playing as Big Boss now code-named “Venom Snake”, he sets out to get revenge on those that destroyed his life 9 years ago, rebuild his army and restore his name as the legendary Big Boss. Of course though it’s not that simple and just like every “Metal Gear” game it evolves into more and has you averting total nuclear destruction and more. “MGSV” is filled with tones of content, I have put about 90 to 100 hours in the game and I have not even come close to finishing it! They’re hundreds of things to do from main mission levels to side ops and more. “MGSV” has hundreds of weapons, items, tools and gear that can be developed to help you with your missions which you can tackle in many different ways from either totally ghosting it or going full war machine and destroying everything in sight. You can call in a tank or you can use invisibility camo, options are limitless. “MGSV” adds an additional layer of content with the building of mother base. Made popular in “MGS Peace Walker” you are given the responsibility of re-building your mother base of operations dubbed “Outer Heaven”, when you are on the battlefield you have to search for supplies to help in building the additional platforms you need to make mother base, you’ll also need to be very conservative with you currency called “GMP” it’s used to run all of our operations, so don’t go spending it all be cause if you go in the red, morality at mother base will lower and soldiers will leave. Speaking of soldiers another aspect of the game you to keep track of is soldiers at mother base. At mother base you have 6 different teams that you have to build yourself. There is Combat, R&D, Security, Base Development, Intel and Medical teams that you have to stock up with soldiers that you recruit in the battlefield. How do you recruit soldiers to mother base exactly? Well that’s where one of the funniest aspects of the game comes in, The Fulton Recovery Device. A real life system but of course numbed down for video game reasons. What you basically do is you knock an enemy out unconscious whether it be choking them out or shooting them with a tranquilizer, you then proceed to attach a balloon to them and it sends them flying out of the map and sends them to Mother Base where they are evaluated by their skills and placed in the team that suits them best. It becomes really addictive to do and really has you start evaluating on how you play and makes you not just wanna run through and kill every one but slowly take them out one by one. Eventually leading to you being able to capture and extract vehicles, supplies and weapons. It’s a real rudimentary system placed in the game and leads to some really impressive moments and really only benefits you, with the exception being it costs “GMP” to use the Fulton System so again be very conservative.
The last thing I’d just like to touch on in this awesome game is the buddy system. Every time you deploy on a mission you get the choice to choose a buddy. In the beginning you really only have one choice, D-horse. A fast reliable horse that’s good at getting you from point A to point B but as you progress you unlock new more helpful buddies. My personal favorite is D-Dog , a wolf you find as a pup and rescue from Afghanistan who you train and raise to become your best friend and a helpful adversary who can detect and distract enemies and either knock-out, injure or kill enemies depending on what outfit you equip him with. The third buddy is D-Walker, a metal gear prototype that walks on two legs and can be equipped with a large variety of weapons from two pistols, to a flamethrower to a detachable head that turns into an attack drone. He’s awesome to use when you are forced to battle and can’t stealth. The last buddy you unlock is Quiet. A super sniper that has extreme speed and deadly aim. As you use her more she can unlock better weapons and different outfits for her to wear, including a blood soaked outfit. Now her design is a little bit throw-away and dumb, there is a reason as to why she’s wearing nothing but a bikini but it’s a bit of a spoiler honestly though, it’s not that good but she is still very efficient to use.
Honestly, I can go on for hours on why this game is so amazing. I has a wonderful story, smooth gameplay and load of content “MGSV” is the best game in the series and a legendary conclusion to a legendary game series, Great job and congrats to Hideo Kojima and his development team. I give “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” a 10 out of 10. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” available now on all consoles and PC.