*contains some spoilers for Mission 12 of MGSV, so be wary*
Kept ya waiti… nah I’m not gonna do that.
Really it has been a while. As with all hobbiest sites, life gets in the way of regularly throwing posts out there and between family, jobs, keeping up with WWE and of course, playing games, here’s not been a lot of time for keeping this thing full of all that juicy hashtag content. There’s also been, from myself at least, a reluctance to be involved in the cess-pit of whiny man-babies that 90% of ‘gaming culture’ has become (the ‘make Cammy more attractive so grown men in their parents basements can masturbate to her again’ campaign was pretty much my tipping point. For shame in listening to them, Capcom).
‘But hey’, I thought late one night whilst sipping on a whiskey by candle light in my library, listening to those lovely guys over at Chomp Chain Podcast, ‘Fuck it, I fucking *like* games and there’s a lot of good out there to balance out the bile-filled, boiled piss that floats around and I want to be part of that good’. So yeah, here we are.
Enough of my inner battles, what the fuck have I been playing? Well, when I’ve been able to drag myself away from playing Plague Inc. with a new-born sleeping on my shoulder (seriously, that game is addictive. Wiping out Humanity should not be as fun), I’ve been getting deep into that Metal Gear Solid V…and as you probably know…it really is fantastic.
One of the biggest improvements from previous games is the controls. I love the series, but controls have never really been a high point: remember having to hold like, 97 buttons down to shoot in first-person in MGS2? Well, thankfully all the years of refinement has finally lead to MGS catching up with modern action games and surpassing them; the controls are absolutely on point. Sneaking around, popping out from cover, creeping behind guards and dropping off ledges is so smooth now and this has fed into the stealth being no joke either. At first I was a bit disappointed that the systems were simplified, as I’ve mentioned before, I liked swapping out camo types to get that elusive 100%. There is an element of this with the different camo types to equip, but you only really have to worry about line of sight and your stance; being low to the ground will hide you until a guard is directly on-top of you…and it really works. Running from cover, diving down low to avoid a guard and then rising up to sprint over a patch of open land is again, amazingly smooth and easy to do, but it never feels like an ‘easy’ mode, never feels like you didn’t earn it. The game ties it all together to make you feel like the Legendary Soldier the series has always promised you were.
The open world works much, MUCH better than most games too. It never feels overwhelming as every mission is locked into it’s own little area, it’s only on the side ops that things start to open out and even then, they’re so focused that it never really feels like you’re swamped; just do the mission, pop back into your Helicopter, choose another and off you go. As much as I liked Assassin’s Creed Unity, the ‘7 billion chest icons’ thrown on a map was just horrible and you’ll get none of that here. The only things marked on the map are mission-centric. Refined to the point of almost perfection.
And have you *seen* this game? It’s gorgeous to take in, the Fox Engine handles lighting so well; I’ll often go into an operation at night not only for the tactical advantage but also for how good it looks:
And seeing the rain absolutely pour down over the African planes for the first time blew me away. The game drips atmosphere in it’s visuals.
Of course, as much as the game excels, there are some parts that irritate the fuck out of me. Really, they’re no more than minor niggles, tiny bumps on the road to greatness. More ‘odd quirks that ‘problems’ but irritating none the less. First up and probably the biggest problem, certainly one I’ve seen other people get bothered by and that’s the credits at the start of every mission. The first mission that sees you come face to face with the Metal Gear of this game announces the surprise whilst you’re on route to the landing zone. (That spoiler is coming up BTW)
PUNISHED ‘VENOM’ SNAKE
METAL GEAR SAHELANTHROPUS
Oh. So, I guess I’m fighting that in this mission, huh?
Don’t get me wrong, the mission was AMAZING.
That giant robot stalking around after you as you try to get to your escape chopper was incredibly tense (I hid with Huey on my shoulders for about 5 mins, slowly circling a rock formation as the Metal Gear searched for me, eventually seeing it turn away and making a mad dash for the chopper), but this would have had so much more impact as surprise encounter, instead I spent the whole mission waiting for it. Same goes for any time it pops up with ‘SKULLS UNIT’, I now know I’ll be facing them…destroying the surprise when they do that popping out thing they so love to do. I get that Kojima was obviously trying to create a ‘TV show’ feel with this, but even shows will not announce a guest star or returning character to make that reveal a little extra special. This is the equivalent of when Netflix decides to spoil plot points in the episode description. But really, it’s easily solved by not looking at the screen during the start of a mission.
Speaking of The Skulls Unit, whoever decided to throw an unstoppable enemy in to this game deserves ‘Casino Royal rope to the balls’ treatment. Considering the only thing (as far as I know) that can kill them is the Honey Bee missile launcher and when the game makes you choose your load-out *before* you see the credits, there’s no way you can prepare for them. What makes it especially bad is if you’re trying to do a non-lethal play through and you roll out with just a Tranq Gun your finest golden robotic hand. Deus Ex got a lot of shit for pulling the same thing with it’s boss battles, but from what I can see MGSV has gotten away with it.
And the last tiny bump is Mother Base. I just do not find it fun to wander around. It’s a big, lifeless place with nothing to do outside of some pretty rote shooting gallery challenges. I only ever find myself back there when I’m automatically taken and then, it’s usually for a pretty cool cut-scene so I’m fine with it (the one with Quiet beating the shit out of some guards before ramming a knife into the teeth of another was classic Kojima), but as soon as I’m back in control, I’m calling Pequod to get me away.
And why are the platforms built so far away?!? There’s a 2 mile bridge between platforms. Madness.
As I said though, these are such small problems in what really is an incredible game. I’ve seen people going off about the ending not being all that, but really, I’m not after any huge revelations here, I know what happens to Boss – I’m just here to see how he becomes the enemy. So far I’m getting all of that, it’s Big Boss in charge, hanging out with a dog, kicking ass, building impossibly long bridges and occasionally dislocating a child’s arm.