Arts in Review

Final installment of Metal Gear series goes out with a bang

Hideo Kojima’s highly anticipated final addition to his Metal Gear series hit shelves on September 1, and has received widespread critical acclaim as one of this year’s must-play games.

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By Kat Marusiak (The Cascade) – Email

Hideo Kojima’s highly anticipated final addition to his Metal Gear series hit shelves on September 1, and has received widespread critical acclaim as one of this year’s must-play games.

The fall gaming season kicks off with the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which has been scoring incredible reviews all across the board. The game has even received perfect ratings from several notable gaming websites, including IGN (10.0/10), Gamespot (10.0/10), and the Japanese magazine Famitsu (40/40).

A direct sequel to 2014’s Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain is an open-world stealth / action-adventure game, and part of the Metal Gear series’ intricate story, which spans over five fictional decades of events from the Cold War in 1964 to the present. The Phantom Pain is the 11th game to be released in the Metal Gear series, and the fifth to occur chronologically. It is essentially a prequel to the first game in the series, Metal Gear, which was released in 1987.

Gamers play as special operative Big Boss (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland), who wakes up in 1984 after being in a coma for nine years following the events of Ground Zeroes. With no memory of his former self, and now going by the codenames Punished Snake and Venom Snake, he leads a mercenary group called the Diamond Dogs, and heads to Afghanistan and Angola to get revenge on the people who destroyed his last team and nearly killed him as well.

The Phantom Pain is the first game in the Metal Gear series to have open-world gameplay, and offers players a great deal of freedom in how they choose to approach the game’s objectives. In terms of overall size, designer, director, co-writer, and co-producer Hideo Kojima, the original creator of the Metal Gear games, reports that the gameworld is “200 times bigger than Ground Zeroes.” The game employs a third-person aiming view that gives players the option to switch to first-person, the same as in Metal Gear Solid 4. It also includes new methods of travel, a base-building feature called Mother Base (similar to that in seen in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker), and much more.

As in previous games, players are encouraged to use non-lethal tactics throughout the game, emphasizing the stealth combat aspects of gameplay.

The Phantom Pain also features two different multiplayer modes: Metal Gear Online, and a second Mother Base mode, which entails using the base-building feature to create further “Forward Operating Bases” able to produce money and resources for the single-player campaign. Players can also attack each other’s bases to steal resources.

Kojima has stated that as the final installment in the series, The Phantom Pain completes and closes the loop on the Metal Gear saga. After several disputes between Kojima’s development studio (Kojima Productions), and the publishers at Konami, Kojima announced that he has decided to sever his ties to Konami, which ensures that even if Konami chooses to do anything else with the Metal Gear franchise in the future, he will not be involved.

“In that sense, this will be the final Metal Gear Solid,” Kojima said. “Even if the Metal Gear franchise continues, this is the last Metal Gear.”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC (Microsoft Windows).

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