383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

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383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 1:38 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by Ben77000000 » January 14th, 2019, 9:34 am

Three Word Review:

With a whimper.

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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 14th, 2019, 4:20 pm

Playing Ground Zeroes for the first time in early 2014 after watching that superb Guns of Navarone-inspired introduction made my heart beat faster at the thought of experiencing what could possibly be the glorious conclusion of my favorite video game franchise. Almost 100 hours of repetitive missions and underwhelming story beats later, I was left with little more than a crushing sense of heart-breaking disappointment instead.

Gameplay in general is really tight thanks to the refined controls, great visibility and a very broad spectrum of polished mechanical options that allows for a great deal of agency without ever devaluing its core principles. It's clear that the developers wanted to give the player the tense feeling of infiltrating these intimidating enemy bases, and I think they succeeded in doing so for the most part. Negatives would have to be the boss fights, the sheer amount of empty space in-between relevant locations, and the uninspired checklist-style side missions, however.

Ground Zeroes probably remains the game's mechanical highlight, perfectly showcasing the brilliant enemy AI and condensed level design of Camp Omega while leaving plenty of room for strategy and experimentation, all within a neat little package with enormous replay value. Diving out of the way of an inquisitive spotlight, waiting for a patrol to pass, sneaking up behind a guard and taking him out without being spotted, and shaving a precious few seconds off of your flawless Ghost run has quite simply never felt so good than in this game.

Onto a less positive subject, let's talk story (and I'll try to limit myself to the bare minimum observations here)...

Characters are merely a shadow of their former selves, especially Ocelot who is being reduced to an exposition-spouting bore devoid of any personality and a far cry from his Magnificent Bastard status of previous entries. The overall plot is disjointed and weak, with most of its interesting scenes and visuals feeling unearned due to the lack of connective tissue, its obsession with "parasites" being just as silly as MGS4's "nanomachines", and generally feeling like a framing device to accommodate the gameplay rather than a true labor of love and vision. One particular aspect worth mentioning is that "RACE & REVENGE" were supposed to be the two thematic pillars of MGSV in the continuation of MGS1's GENE, MGS2's MEME, MGS3's SCENE, MGS4's SENSE & MGS Peace Walker's PEACE, but the game doesn't appear to have anything particularly insightful to say about either subject, and the impeccable thematic cohesion of the previous games is also nowhere to be seen.

Retcons involving Skullface's past and Volgin aside, I like the premise of the plot, I appreciate the clever way in which it re-contextualizes Metal Gear 1 & 2, I find the overall cutscene direction to be truly excellent in terms of editing and cinematography (especially the GZ opening), and I have to admit that the epilogue scene between Big Boss and Ocelot in Cyprus made me well up a little. Sadly, I also think the game squanders the vast majority of its narrative potential, leaves more questions open than it answers, undercooks its main twist and most of the character arcs, seems to have lost a few of its vital organs in the editing room, and is in no way, shape, or form the prestigious send-off that the 28-year old franchise would have deserved.

Helicopter rides, mindless radio chatter, an underwhelming third act and empty levels are no substitutes for the carefully constructed puzzle rooms, heartfelt codec conversations, brilliant sense of narrative progression and ludicrous attention to detail of past entries, and as much as I would like to see other developers take inspiration from MGSV when incorporating mechanical systems in their open world games, I honestly don't see myself revisiting this game any time soon.

It's important to note that all of this was written from the point of view of a massive fan of the franchise who happens to hold MGS1, 2, 3 (and even 4 to an extent) in incredibly high esteem, warts and all, and who will probably remain deeply attached to their lore, themes and characters for the rest of his life. Living up to the sky-high expectations that the exceptional E3 trailers had created would have been a herculean task, and as bitter as I am about some of this game's aspects, it's safe to say it could also have been a lot worse. Let's also keep in mind that we'll probably never know for sure what went on behind the scenes at Konami during this game's development cycle and how much of the final product is the result of Kojima's creative vision as opposed to political circumstances...

Three Words Review: "Tactical Espionage Bastardization"

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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by Mechner » January 18th, 2019, 11:09 pm

Gameplay is pitch perfect and the story suffered greatly for it, along with Konami's recent unusual recent business practice.

If I was to pick one thing I hated about MGS V it is the credit sequence you had to sit through before every single mission, I understand it was a way of Kojima making sure you knew it was a "Hideo Kojima game" but it often ruined missions for me by spoiling characters involved... I was covering my eyes before each mission by the end of the game.

The game itself is absolutely amazing to play, fluid, responsive and gorgeous.

I must say I enjoyed every second of it.. though the lack of story and cutscenes left me with a phantom pain. I came to the MGS series for story first, gameplay second.

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