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By Vince Ingenito

I had planned it all very carefully. There were way too many guards still looking for me, and with sunrise coming shortly, I had almost no chance of making it out to the nearest safe landing zone with an injured prisoner on my shoulders. But I wouldn’t have sầu to lớn. During the night, I planted some C4 on this outpost’s radio communication equipment, the anti-aircraft battery, và most importantly, their AA radar. So I took a deep breath, detonated all three at once, called in a chopper, & watched it all unfold. After a short while, my ride swooped in, blasting an APC lớn bits with a ferocious rocket barrage, and cutting infantry down with heavy machine gun fire as I scrambled from my hiding place to the main courtyard, prisoner in tow. I hopped in with my precious cargo, & then jumped on the side-mounted minigun to lớn keep the newly arrived reinforcements at cất cánh as my chopper smoked và sputtered its way out of the hotzone.

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That’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain almost all the time, & what’s truly incredible is that none of this escape was scripted or directed. My mission was simply to get that prisoner out alive. The rest of it, from the time of day I chose to approach to crippling the base’s ability lớn khuyễn mãi giảm giá with an aerial assault was a testament to how perfectly all the pieces of Phantom Pain’s gameplay fit together. It is, unquestionably, my favorite Metal Gear to play, though I vì chưng wish its story delivered as many memorable moments as its sandbox empowered me to create for myself.

The number of different factors khổng lồ consider makes every bad situation you find yourself in a fun puzzle to solve.

Right from the moment you’re told to get on your horse và explore the Afghan countryside, Phantom Pain feels intimidating, almost overwhelming in terms of the freedom its open world affords and the number of concepts it expects you lớn grasp. It’s almost too much, especially given the relative linearity of previous Metal Gears. But what initially appeared lớn be an overly dense tangle of features lớn fiddle with instead unraveled into lớn a well integrated phối of meaningful gameplay systems that provided me with a wealth of interesting decisions to make.

Let’s take another look at my daring prisoner rescue for instance. Phantom Pain’s day/night cycle và dynamic weather played a big role in my decision lớn pull the trigger on that C4. While I knew I wouldn’t have sầu the cover of night, I was also fairly certain I wouldn’t have fog, a sandstorm, or even a little rain to lớn make my footsteps harder to lớn hear, because my intelligence team bachồng at my base forecasted the weather in advance. I also knew that I needed a closer extraction point, so I sought out that anti-air radar lớn open one up. Then there was the comms equipment, which I messed up on. Since I didn’t destroy all of the transmitters, reinforcements from nearby outposts came to complicate things at the kết thúc. The number of different factors to consider makes every bad situation you find yourself in a fun puzzle lớn solve sầu.

More importantly though, you’re không tính phí khổng lồ solve those puzzles your own way because of how flexible Phantom Pain’s core gameplay is. The transition between careful stealth and going loud is a lot more organic than in any previous MGS, and getting aggressive never feels “wrong” the way it often does in stealth games. If someone spots you, you get a few seconds of slow motion (called Reflex Time) khổng lồ take them down silently and prevent a full combat alert. Not only does this create a lot of tense, sweet-looking movie moments, but it gives you the freedom lớn take calculated risks with room for exciting mistakes.

Even when things do get out of hvà, missions progress accordingly. Your carefully planned sneaking mission might turn inkhổng lồ you chasing down a fleeing target on horsebaông chồng, or a white-knuckle showdown with an enemy gunship instead, but going “off-script” isn’t a one-way ticket to lớn failure & frustration.

The fact that it’s relatively painless khổng lồ experiment and get a little (or even extremely) aggressive sầu makes playing with the many fun toys Phantom Pain provides a literal blast. I can Hotline in a gunship for cchiến bại air tư vấn, desyamada.edu.vnate targets for a massive sầu sleeping gas bomb, or have a customizable combat walker dropped in for me to lớn wreak havoc with. Gunplay feels responsive, direct, & so very right, và unlượt thích Ground Zeroes, I can use all this stuff guilt-không tính phí since it doesn’t completely tank my mission ratings.

That isn’t khổng lồ say that playing lượt thích a trigger-happy maniac doesn’t have ramifications, because it most certainly does, thanks to lớn Phantom Pain’s fantastic base-management layer, Mother Base, which is far deeper và & more detailed than it has any reasonable excuse khổng lồ be. It’s essentially the full realization of all the good ideas Peace Walker seeded. From Mother Base, you manage the construction, staffing, và R&D needs of your growing mercenary group, the Diamond Dogs. Every soldier I kill và every supply truchồng I mercilessly blow up in the field is missed potential. In other games, enemy outposts are simply filled with threats to lớn be eliminated, but in Phantom Pain they are opportunities to gain resources & new recruits.

And as it turns out, it takes a whole lot of money, manpower, and materials lớn run a successful private military corporation. There's an outrageous number of guns, gadgets, và abilities to unlochồng for yourself, and for the vehicles và sidekicks you’ll employ throughout the story chiến dịch - and many require you to meet several criteria khổng lồ snag them. You’ll need to lớn keenly assyamada.edu.vn new recruits to an arm of your infrastructure suited khổng lồ their talents, sover well-rounded combat groups out on side contracts khổng lồ keep money coming in, & direct research efforts much like you would in an X-COM chiến dịch. The breadth of options to choose from & decisions khổng lồ make isn’t the most impressive thing though - it’s the fact that all of it has a relevant, meaningful impact when you head out onkhổng lồ the field.

Granted, re-assyamada.edu.vning newly conscripted soldiers across different branches of my base sounds about as sexy as balancing my checkbook, but when, for instance, my R&D team threw me a newly modified version of my favorite assault rifle, or when re-routing personnel inlớn support & logistics led to me gaining access khổng lồ off-bản đồ artillery bombardment, I was glad I took the time to lớn sweat the details. The door swings both ways too: just as those back-end decisions become tangible boons in the field, the choices I make during a mission have sầu ramifications for the resource crunch at home as well.

Resource management is, in fact, the blood coursing through the veins of this open world, giving its many interconnected infiltration spaces their reason to lớn be. While Phantom Pain’s thoughtfully structured sandboxes provided the freedom to lớn sneak by smaller outposts on my way to lớn my primary objective, I rarely did. After all, those unsuspecting guards could have vital intel, & they sure aren’t going to lớn interrogate themselves. They might know the location of a supply truông chồng I could steal to drive sầu into the next base unmolested, or they could spill the location of a talented gunsmith for me to lớn rescue. Sure, it’ll take me out of my way, but I’d finally be able to retìm kiếm that sweet new anti-material xạ thủ rifle I’ve sầu been lusting after. This masterfully woven relationship between The Phantom Pain’s many systems, both management & action-based, elevates its gameplay khổng lồ a wholly different plane than its many open-world action contemporaries.

However, where Phantom Pain’s gameplay systems are far richer & meatier than any the series has ever seen, its story feels insubstantial và underdeveloped by comparison. It opens confidently, with Director Hideo Kojima ready to lớn fully embrace the techno-fantasy, live-action military anime identity that Metal Gear has been courting for the better part of two decades. This spectacular opening establishes a mood và a bundle of plot-related questions that are more or less abandoned until the time comes, some 30-60 hours later (depending on which answers you’re seeking & how you play). Though some connect khổng lồ the greater Metal Gear lore nicely, those answers are generally rushed and unsatisfying, lacking any real build-up or thematic relevance.

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This is doubly disappointing in a series known for (sometimes clumsily and exhaustively) exploring its subject matter. The opposite is true here though. The Phantom Pain brings up topics like the personal cost of revenge, child soldiers, và torture lớn name a few, but it has positively nothing to lớn say about any of them other than that they exist. Thankfully though, it never wasted my time pretending lớn say more, as cut scenes were sparse và brief, so as to lớn let me get back lớn playing. As nice as that might be though, I’d rather have the “problem” that Guns of the Patriots had, where there were “too many” awesome moments và plot twists.

For their part, Phantom Pain’s story elements are at least well produced, with beautiful cinematography, and workmanlượt thích performances from everyone, including Keifer Sutherland, who sadly has practically nothing to vì as Big quái dị. His inexplicable silence through even the most crucial story beats towards the over go beyond mere stoicism, and were positively jarring. Almost gone are the off-topic codec convos, climactic trùm battles, & memorable character moments of Metal Gears past. Everyone seems lớn exist solely to walk on screen, deliver information, và then stand there dramatically.


The only real exception khổng lồ this is the xạ thủ Quiet, whose warm, childlượt thích sincerity and battlefield ferothành phố cause her to lớn steal every scene she’s in. Her preposterous laông chồng of clothing undercuts those qualities a fair bit though: one particular moment later in the game comes off a bit creepy instead of endearing solely because of her outfit. You seriously could have sầu put her in generic army fatigues & she would still have been the most interesting character here - the fact that she’s also required khổng lồ be a lust-object is disappointing.

It’s surprising, though, how little Phantom Pain’s story woes actually impacted my experience with it. It takes an almost completely hands-off approach khổng lồ both story and gameplay, which means that the lion’s giới thiệu of the takeaway moments will almost certainly be the ones of your own orchestration. But given how readily Phantom Pain facilitates the creation of those moments, it’s difficult for me lớn feel bad about that. In a decade, I doubt there will be a single mission I’ll be able to lớn point to lớn và say “rethành viên when you had khổng lồ do that,” but I could fill a book with stories about how I dealt with a mission going south, or a brilliant plan I came up with that worked just like I thought it should. This is certainly the least “authored” Metal Gear, but it’s also the most player-driven, và I’d gladly take the helicopter escape story I shared earlier over any scripted event or set-piece.

That memory creation doesn’t over with the story missions though. Phantom Pain still has more layers of depth to unfurl with its online Forward Operating Base, which allows you khổng lồ construct additional fortresses aside from your main Mother Base. You’ll allocate resources, manpower, và fixed defenses that you’ve sầu secured out in the field to lớn defending these bases from online invaders. You’ll also invade the bases of other players in an attempt to lớn secure resources, high-ranking recruits, & most importantly enemy nukes. FOB is, ultimately, about nuclear proliferation, where you can choose khổng lồ build up a massive WMD stock, or steal and disarm those of others. I only got a couple of hours to lớn mess around with it, but since these extra bases require resources just lượt thích your main one, they provides ample incentive sầu to continue lớn explore and plunder Phantom Pain’s sizeable sandboxes well after the credits have sầu rolled.

Metal Gear Online could easily have felt tacked on in the grand scope of what Metal Gear Solid 5 achieves, but thanks to lớn excellent bản đồ kiến thiết, & modes that make meaningful use of Metal Gear’s mechanics, it doesn’t. It’s probably too light on modes and maps khổng lồ compete directly with multiplayer-focused games, but what it lacks in quantity, it mostly makes up in quality.

Each of MGO’s modest pool of five sầu excellent maps feels wide open. There’s plenty of room for 16 players lớn maneuver, as well as a wide variety of encounter spaces within each bản đồ. Stairwells lead from dangerous courtyards with 360 degrees of engagement angles, down to lớn networks of tight, narrow corridors. Large, small, day, and night bản đồ variants, along with a dynamic weather system add further wrinkles, forcing you lớn adopt new tactics when visibility is impaired. Plentiful nooks và crannies và a healthy variety of routes from A to B make these maps ikhuyễn mãi giảm giá playgrounds for tactical espionage shenanigans. Tricks lượt thích hiding in boxes, sliding down ramps, và luring enemies khổng lồ their doom with an adorable puppy that forces them to uncontrollably cuddle it are even more fun to lớn pull on humans than against the AI.

These maps are igiảm giá playgrounds for tactical espionage shenanigans.

Even in its closest analog to lớn team deathmatch, called Bounty Hunter, MGO makes great use of The Phantom Pain’s sophisticated stealth mechanics without boiling them down to run-and-gun. The objective sầu is simply to drain the opposing side’s tickets by killing them, but there’s a fantastic twist. Every kill you score raises the bounty on your head, and if someone manages lớn take you down non-lethally & Fulton you out, all the tickets you’ve sầu claimed go bachồng to your opponent’s total. Not only does this create value for using stealthy, non-lethal tactics, it adds a tangible risk khổng lồ using lethal force, which leads khổng lồ tense, tactical showdowns with the potential for some thrilling last-second comebacks.

MGO’s other two modes are the asymmetrical attack-and-defkết thúc Cloak & Dagger and the territory-control variation Comm Control. They aren’t quite as inventive sầu as Bounty Hunter, but they still make smart use of The Phantom Pain’s gadgets and mechanics. Interrogating foes reveals the positions of the entire enemy team, and Fultoning stunned enemies nets your team a ton more points than just killing them. These points decide the winner in a draw, cleverly rewarding players for playing like you would in a Metal Gear game.

The one really disappointing thing about Metal Gear Online is that it doesn’t tie back inlớn the single player experience in any way, a stark contrast lớn The Phantom Pain’s brilliant FOB mode, which feels lượt thích a direct extension of the main campayamada.edu.vn’s themes and mechanics. By comparison, MGO seems like a really enjoyable, but unrelated side-activity, which feels like a missed opportunity. That said, it still adds yet another well-done element khổng lồ The Phantom Pain’s already impressive gameplay super-structure.

The Phantom Pain is the kind of game I thought would never exist - one where every minute gameplay detail has true purpose. Its laông xã of story focus is sure to lớn be divisive sầu for the Metal Gear faithful, but the resulting emphasis on my story, my tales of Espionage Action, easily make it my favorite in the series. There have sầu certainly been sandbox action games that have given me a bigger world to lớn roam, or more little icons lớn chase on my minimap, but none have sầu pushed me to plan, adapt, và improvise the way this one does. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.

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Part of the mysterious twin game projects that form part five sầu in the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues the complex saga of the Snake soldier line.
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Svào Language, Suggestive Themes, Includes online features that may expose players lớn unrated user-generated content