Don't Think You're a Metal Gear Solid Fan? The Phantom Pain Will Change Your Mind

Don't Think You're a Metal Gear Solid Fan? The Phantom Pain Will Change Your Mind

After two straight days of playing the newest installment of Hideo Kojima's long-running stealth series, Bob returns with great news for fans and non-fans of Metal Gear alike.

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The Elephant in the Room

Because we played The Phantom Pain within Hideo Kojima's former L.A. studio—a Kojima Productions decal remained affixed to the door leading inside—there's some curiosity about how much Konami has whitewashed his history with the series. In the build I played of the game, at least, his name was absolutely everywhere: Each standard story mission comes with opening credits, which lists the series creator roughly three or four times throughout. It's unclear if these attributions will stick around for until the final version of The Phantom Pain, but, at least in the version I played, Hideo Kojima's mark on the game couldn't be ignored. Before we sat down to play it, another member of the press assured me his name would be removed entirely, so I was certainly surprised to see it pop up 40 or 50 times over the course of a few days.

We may never know what caused Hideo Kojima's ouster, but, regardless of our ignorance, it's come at a very unfortunate time. As a longtime fan of Metal Gear, through its ups and downs—and well-aware of its many flaws—The Phantom Pain represents a new life for the series, one removed from its story-focused roots that emphasizes actual gameplay above all. And for me, it's the actual play of Metal Gear that's lasted long after our fascination with cutscenes ended—name boss fights more well-crafted (and damned amazing) than those found in Snake Eater, and I'll buy you a Coke. My tongue is forcibly tied about certain elements of The Phantom Pain, of course, but most of the narrative—as with Peace Walker—has been made optional; if you want to listen to the casette tapes that contextualize just why Punished "Venom" Snake is doing what he's doing, that's your call.

That said, even there's a lot I can't mention, there's tons of stuff I can that might not fit neatly within the boundaries of a humble preview—so please, if you have any questions for me, ask them in the comments below. That said, after these two days of Metal Gear Solid V, I felt legitimate pangs of sadness when I had to leave it behind after 48 hours. With most of these extra-long preview events, you eventually get sick of playing video games, but my affinity for The Phantom Pain gave me such a Metal Gear craving that I've been playing my way through the entire series again after making it back from Los Angeles. If that isn't a winning endorsement, I don't know what is.

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