This post *may* contain some minor spoilers for The Phantom Pain! Nothing to ruin your experience if you haven’t played if before. I will only be talking about different locations and characters within the game as I have played so far. I won’t be spoiling any big game plot points as I wouldn’t be comfortable ruining a game for someone.
The first time I tried to play The Phantom Pain, I was overwhelmed. I was really bad at shooters, I had no concept of stealth. I was a pro only at equipping the chicken hat. I gave it a chance but I don’t think I was ready for the vast amount there is to do in it. Afghanistan was amazing, it looked fantastic but I found myself constantly in the same couple of locations. I eventually threw it by the wayside.
I don’t think I’m alone in that, especially as someone who was really unfamiliar with the Metal Gear franchise. The story made not a lick of sense to me, in what I had done so far. I had little appreciation of the game, but I was seriously missing out.
I played various different games for a few months but the call of The Phantom Pain was there, stalking me at every turn.
So, I was playing The Witcher 3 and after using swords and crossbows for a long time, I needed a good gunfight. I revisited TPP and I am so glad I did. It’s one of the most intimidating games you will ever play but if you give it the chance, you will have a new favourite. I should note that I’m nowhere near finished The Phantom Pain, this is just a post about the game so far.
Why is The Phantom Pain so enjoyable?
I never thought I would enjoy a game like this, but I love how tactical and militant it is. Basically, you’re tasked with missions that involve extracting prisoners or skilled soldiers (as side Ops). To do this, you need to scope out an outpost from afar and tag your enemies. As you progress you will be able to see if these enemies will be of any use to you. You can then head on into the outpost and capture it.
You can approach outposts all guns blazing or stealthily. But here’s what I love; the enemy will soon learn your tactics if you do the same method often. You need to switch up your play style every now and then. I like to snipe enemies and then run in and clear out the rest – the enemy soldiers will soon start wearing helmets. It’s that deep. Not your average shooter.
That type of mission doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on what The Phantom Pain has to offer. Yes, I will say going back and forth to the same outposts can be a bit tedious, and I needed to shut off the game for a while so I wouldn’t get bored again. However, if you can see past that, it is just fantastic.
Are you alone out there?
You by no means need to do things alone in The Phantom Pain. You start off with a great Buddy, D-Horse. This horse is fantastic for Afghanistan, helping you to get between outposts easily. You can call the horse to your side if you lose track, which is something I think is really important for horses in games! You can work up your loyalty levels with D-Horse, and they will perform extra commands for you.
You will more than likely come across DD or D-Dog, a favourite of all the companions you can choose from in The Phantom Pain. He takes a while to become usable, but he is a great buddy. He will help you tag enemies, wildlife and materials. He also helps distract enemies in outposts. As you can see here, he is a lot like snake; missing an eye of his own.
You will also be given the chance to get a buddy named Quiet, I won’t be spoiling the story line with her (which I vaguely remember from playing it before) but I will say, if you want the sniper Quiet to accompany you on missions, be careful – the story could go another way! I may have accidentally ended the mission differently, making her unavailable for use. Quiet is a good companion though, I just can’t deal with that creepy humming.
The good thing about that is, I can go back into the mission and end it differently. As in all missions, there will be a list of objectives along with it. Sometimes, there is no way for you to achieve all objectives in the one play-through of a mission – the game wants you to go back in and do them again and I can dig that.
What about the story?
Well, like I said at the beginning I won’t be going deep into the story, I’m not a spoiling person! All I will say on the subject is if you haven’t played any Metal Gear games before, you’re going to find he story a bit weird. Don’t let it phase you, you will begin to piece things together.
Listen to the audio logs! You will need them for briefings and background info. The cassette tapes are a great addition to the game, there are Music Tapes that have some 80’s classics. Clear out an outpost to Take on me by A-ha. Or Flight of the Valkyries.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is the prequel to the game, so it might be worth giving that a go for even more background to The Phantom Pain.
Who’s in charge here?
Well, that’d be you! You run Mother Base. There’s a small bit involved with it, but again I don’t want to say too much! Ocelot will run you through what you need to do with the base.
You will have teams, soldiers you extract to the base. They help you develop weapons, medicines and much more.
From the chopper, you can create your own emblem for the base!
What about weapons and armour?
There’s so much to the things you can use in The Phantom Pain, I won’t be able to talk about it all without forgetting some!
You will use Mother Base resources to develop weapons. There are lethal and non-lethal guns and grenades. You can develop C-4.
There are items you can download to help safely rescue animals and wildlife. Cardboard boxes and decoys are also craftable!
You will be able to develop different fatigues and sneaking suits for snake to wear. There’s rating armour rating really, but the description will help you to decide what to wear. Some fatigues are suitable for night, some suitable for grass or marshy terrain. You get the drift.
Is it worth sticking with?
I think the more you play The Phantom Pain, the more rewarding it is. I plan on seeing it through now! I love the story so far, the different environment, the weapons the sneaking and shooting. It’s a good introduction to the series for me. I can see myself playing other titles in the series after this one.
Honestly, Metal Gear Solid V is a daunting, intimidating, confusing but fantastic wonder. It’s not easy to follow, but it’s not supposed to be! You will enjoy it more, the more you play and it will all start to fall into place for you. I can definitely see how the game scored so highly in reviews, whereas at the beginning I just didn’t understand it.
It’s a different class of game, Hideo Kojima smashed it out of the park for his last venture with Konami.
I hope you enjoyed my discussion on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. If so, let me know in the comments!
Sign Up to my Newsletter to be in the know with the latest from Maggie the Muser.