Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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JaySevenZero
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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Post by JaySevenZero »

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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Ben77000000
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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by Ben77000000 »

Three Word Review:

With a whimper.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain

Post by KSubzero1000 »

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

Post by Mechner »

Gameplay is pitch perfect and the story suffered greatly for it, it was an anaemic version of Kojima's usual prowess as a story teller and world builder, it obviously suffered mostly from Konami's recent and unusual, business practice. I found myself longing for the 70 minute cutscenes... to be honest I am one of the few that thoroughly enjoys sitting back and taking in a nice long Kojima exposition dump after a hard boss battle.

The staggered release of Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain was also highly unusual... and again is down to Konami "jumping the shark". Sure, it was lovely getting to play MGS5 earlier than expected, and the Camp Omega mission was a great introduction to a new, more mature, MGS.. it still felt wrong, not being part of a bigger whole.

If I was to pick one thing I absolutely 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"... though, 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 though is absolutely amazing to play, fluid, responsive, fun and gorgeous. Nothing to say negative on the gameplay front.

The change of voice actor from series veteran "David Hayter" to 24's "Jack Bauer" is a bone of contention for me... When many famous video game series, axe a character's regular voice actor, it often feels like a betrayal to the audience, certainly, it feels like a betrayal to me. Many people often point out that David over egged it, more and more as the series progressed, and that he lacked the subtle performance of a "professional actor" that was needed for this game. This story went to much darker places than any of the previous games... but I just don't see the point in changing the voice actor this late in the "game", particularly when David brought so much "character" to the series himself. I feel "Kiefer" did do a fabulous job, though I think this could have been fixed way back in Metal Gear Solid 3, if they followed through with having a different voice actor than "David" for Big Boss, like they did with "Richard Doyle" at the end of MGS4. Solid Snake is a clone of Big Boss sure, but that doesn't mean they have to sound the exact same. If they cast someone else for Big Boss from the start, it wouldn't be as much of a bone of contention for me, and would have been a smoother transition for the audience. I do feel sorry for "David Hayter" as well, unceremoniously kicked from the series he helped define. Though, when all is said and done, "Kiefer" did a fantastic job, and definitely brought a weight of seriousness to the series previously unseen.

I have to commend the ending as well, I think it hit home more for me at the time because I played "Metal Gear (MSX)" shortly before The Phantom Pain's release, without knowing it had any involvement with the story line, it had a really nice cyclical feeling to it, and in my opinion nicely wrapped up plot lines and explained why Big Boss comes back in Metal Gear 2.

I must say despite the lack of many of Hideo's hallmarks, No "David Hayter" and the decidedly darker tone... I enjoyed every second of "PLAY"... all 100 hours... though, the lack of typical Kojima story and cutscenes has left me with a phantom pain.

(Maybe that's what Kojima intended to do to us... as he often trolls his audience)

I always came to the MGS series for story first and gameplay second.

This is a gameplay game.. not a story game.

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

Post by Rich Uncle Skeleton »

Mechner wrote:
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.
My thoughts exactly--including the eye-covering, haha.

MGSV is stealth gaming perfected, but if it's open-world nature came at the expense of traditionally wackadoo cutscenes and characters, it starts to feel a bit like a "monkey's paw" wish. The game has all of the Kojima ego-stroking I've learned to tolerate from the series, but much less of the director's narrative flair for self-serious spy game gobbledygook. Just because we were all mystified by the last entry's 70 minute cutscenes doesn't mean they should be excised altogether, Hideo!

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

Post by Abesloincloth »

The Metal Gear series tells the story of a maverick Japanese computer game developer and his slow descent into madness. Famous for its equally daft and mostly impressive boss fights, sometimes groundbreaking stealth gameplay and its beloved by all codec calls and cutscenes, there’s no denying the impact and influence this series has had on the industry and players.
Metal Gear Solid V trimmed away most of the aforementioned features. No more staring at almost static codec call screens, no more fat blokes on roller skates or bee men, severely reduced exposition videos and unfortunately (to me anyway) no more David Hayter.

All of this initially had me expecting the worst, “it’s just another generic open world game now” I cried into the ether. However, Ground Zeroes’ short but intense preview left me feeling equally optimistic about the Phantom Pain, and silly for doubting Hideo Kojima’s mad genius.

The story is your typical Kojima nonsense that gets you thinking, usually “What is going on? Why is that woman writhing around in a cage while we all watch?(because Kojima is a creep) Who set that horse on fire? Why is nobody else concerned by any of this?” The cutscenes are generally much shorter than previous games in the series with optional cassette tapes now containing a decent amount of backstory, and more detailed explanations of events occuring in the main plot line. Some of these tapes also serve as a kind of replacement for some of the more casual codec conversations from older titles.
The story isn’t something I totally understand, I’ve always been more into the gameplay in this series.

I think the gameplay is incredible, many games brag about letting you do things your way but this is the first I’ve played where it actually feels true. You can load up with a silent tranq rifle and pick your way through missions from a cowardly distance with your dog keeping guard, ride in on the back of your miniature flamethrower/minigun/rocket equipped metal gear or go in with nothing but a water pistol a pair of green trousers and a horse. All of it fun and almost always a viable option as the game rarely funnels you down a particular path to complete a mission.

This game still has it’s flaws though as it definitely feels a little bit unfinished in places, “Snake” barely says a word (though this could be explained away by the surprise ending, the one that’s definitely the ending and was in no way cut down before it was finished), the side missions are also extremely repetetive and seemingly never ending and to me the game could feel a bit empty sometimes when I wasn’t doing story missions. The spoiler riddled opening credits and chopper ride combo at the start of every single main mission gets extremely annoying after the second time you’ve endured it. I even started to miss the old codec calls after a while, and despite the fact that I now commanded a military base containing my very own army of sycophants I’d never felt lonelier in a Metal Gear game. It seemed like the funny codec conversations and support characters had been replaced by Ocelot and Miller informing me I could destroy generators to turn the lights off, and the iDroid voice over telling me she’d spotted a sandstorm or an enemy patrol over and over and over and over and over again.
I also found the “romantic” subplot between Snake and Quiet extremely weird and out of place and it felt like Kojima let the fifteen year old work experience boy write it. In fact almost every time Quiet was shown on screen the camera seemed to linger on her arse and chest and her whole characterisation in general was quite childish and left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. Grow up, Kojima.

It’s still in my opinion a near perfect stealth game, and definitely still feels like Metal Gear despite its changes and missing or reduced series staples. The sneaking and general handling of Snake feels really solid and is easily the best in the series. I rarely felt cheated by the AI when I got spotted due to the consistent “rules” the game has for who can see you/hear you based on your actions. Weapons and gadgets are all great fun to use, and the initially frustrating encounters with the Skull Unit and other bosses eventually give you the opportunity to test out some of the games bigger and louder weapons later in the game, once you’ve attached enough shipping containers and unconscious blokes to balloons to make them for you of course.
I rather enjoyed the tense but short fight against the Man On Fire and a tiny Psycho Mantis, but the Sahelanthropus battle really filled me with dread when the cutscene faded out to that giant creepy mech looming over me with his bug eyes.
Even the open world is mostly fun to navigate via cars, cargo trucks, Walker Gear, D-Horse and helicopter though it’s bases and guard posts aren’t as fleshed out as Ground Zeroes’ Camp Omega.

This is a game I’m still sinking time into after nearly four years (200+ hours between PS4 and PC) and many other great game releases since and I find it hard to put into words how much I love it. It genuinely makes me a bit sad that we’ll likely never get to play another legitimate Metal Gear again.
Thank you Kojima you absolute nut case.

Enemy presence detected.

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

Post by Good Shot Janson »

Remember when George Lucas made a magical trilogy of films that inspired and entertained nearly everyone that saw them? Do you remember when he made that second trilogy that...well...didn’t? That second trilogy is not the allegory for MGS5. MGS5 is worse. MGS5 is the Last Jedi.

I’ll skip to the end of my personal story, suffice to say MGS came out when I was 10 and I grew up with Solid Snake. I still have my Pizza Hut Demo Disc. Anyone playing MGS up until V had cause for both excitement and concern, and ironically Kojima was at the center of both emotions. MGS IV was so far up its own ass in high-school level philosophy and fan service , spending hours upon hours frivolously wrapping up mysteries that would have been better served had they remained enigmatic. The gameplay, however, took the mechanics from Subsistence and polished everything. Peacewalker’s gameplay was forgivable considering its origins, and the mediocre story was worth cringing through because at the end we got to hear Naked Snake truly become Big Boss. The post credit speech and the MGS logo turning red with the shift in Bog Boss’ personal philosophy and moral standing sent chills down my spine.

What peacewalker brought to the table was the framework of what I imagined would be a fully flushed out system in MGSV: A deep management mechanic involving base building, resource gathering (maybe a cocktail party mission to find sponsors, putting that MGS3 tux to use!) along with recruiting, training, deploying, and recovering troops and equipment in an immersive “private military company simulator.” (How’s that for a run on sentence.) Sure, Boss would undertake infiltration and espionage missions to sabotage defenses, gain intelligence, and rescue POWS, but this game had potential for full scale “Executive Operations in Rhodesia” level PMC operations. Remember “the colonel” in Blood Diamond? That’s you, Boss. Welcome to Outer Heaven.


In terms of narrative, I hoped the story would be stripped down and bare bones, focusing on Big Boss and his breakaway from civilization. The two best stories in the series, MGS1 and 3, had many working parts and twists but the themes were, at their very base, the same: the use of soldiers as expendable tools used merely to further Political agendas. It would be interesting to see Big Boss flip the script on the Patriots and their new world order.

When David Hayter conformed he was not voicing Big Boss, I was actually excited. “Well obviously he can’t voice BigBoss if he’s voicing SNAKE! Snake will make an appearance at the end of the game infiltrating Outer Heaven!” I told myself. I KNEW it would happen.

Ground Zeroes came out. And it was everything I was hoping for. The gameplay was tight. The atmosphere was dark and menacing. The antagonist was mysterious “suit”, a perfect foil for the legendary soldier, and seemed very “agency” (as in CIA.) Camp Omega was the perfect backdrop, and the shady feeling I had (being an American) acting in a way that was definitely not in my nation’s interests was a welcome change from the gung-ho recruitment fodder in most military themed games like Ghost Recon or Call of Duty. America does some VERY shady shit and Ground Zeroes pulls no punches. I loved everything up through the ending. Paz and Chico were wiped out along with MSF. The slate was being cleared. The final straw had been broken. Not to mention, I consider the intro/trailer for Ground Zeroes to be the single greatest bit of directing Kojima pulled off in all of MGS. Here’s to you, Hideo. See what I did there? Anyway, the stage was set. MGSV would be the tale of the rise of Big Boss and the founding of Outer Heaven.

Only it wasn’t.

I don’t know how to eloquently say this, so I won’t try. MGSV was a finely polished half turd. I don’t care that the game was released in an unfinished state...because I hated the game. Keifer Southerland’s sparse and phoned in performance neutered Snake. The story was batshit, and not in the good MGS3 way. It was STUPID. Worse...it was lazy. Right away, Kojima jumped the shark in the first act with zombie volgin riding a ghost unicorn. And it only got worse from there. Sahalanthropis (I don’t care enough to look up proper spelling) is the stupidest mech design... in the world. Where’s clarkson when you need him? The design makes no sense, and is a terrible boss. Plus, why was all the tech in the 1980s more advanced than everything in MGS1 (2005)? The story of Ocelot joining the Diamond Dogs, his motivations and activities since Snake Eater are completely absent. Liquid Snake is a child soldier in Africa? Could have sworn that was Jack aka Raiden’s story, HIDEO. By the time I got to the end I was numb. The stupid parasites, the dumb metal gear, the disappointing villain, and the garbage story left me empty, and I could care less that I was playing as some lame medic from Ground Zeroes instead of the real Big Boss... spoilers. Who cares. Fuck this game.

MGS, like Star Wars, is best experienced as a single great trilogy. Start with MGS1, end with MGS3, skip the rest. If you want to check in on Big Boss maybe play Ground Zeroes. You’ll walk away with more questions than answers, but that’s how MGS should be, and your imagination will fill the gaps much better than Kojima ever ended up being able to.

So, my three words?
Wasted, WASTED Potential.

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

Post by DaMonth »

Never played this. Don't think I will. The gameplay is incredible and all that jazz, all those Kojima details, but something about a game after MGS4's very concluding conclusion sits with me the wrong way. And Triple-A'd cutscenes where you walk and listen to a person speak while you do things instead of 3-hour codecs. I think this game would be a lot more suited to be called Peacewalker 2.

Oh, and Quiet. Kojima, if you wanna make a girl with boobs, make a girl with boobs. Don't try to write it off as "breathing through her skin." Imagine how awful Eva would have been if she breathed through her skin.

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

Post by TheEmailer »

The core gameplay is compelling... for a while. Each base is a self contained puzzle with multiple strategies. Stealth and non-lethality is encouraged with the carrot not the stick; fultoning enemies to build up your strength is motivating.
However, one the player gets a silenced sniper rifle with tranquilier rounds the tendency is simply to rely on this and remove much of the compelling challenge.
Many MGS games have suffered from action boss fights that jar with the stealth tactics the player has learned. It's much worse here because of the RPG elements, stranding an underpowered players in scenarios they'd not trained or resourced for.

The story is forgettable. Whatever context is buried in dull audiotapes and the story is sandwiched between an beginning and end that are plain silly and overwrought. I enjoyed ignoring thew narrative during standard missions, which isn't an endorsement for a player here since the original.

I don't think the game benefitted at all from being open world. The space between bases were barren and uninteresting. It introduces tedious commuting and endless return to base cutscenes that added nothing.

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

Post by FemalePheromones »

I only played Phantom Pain a couple months ago after seeing you were doing it on the podcast and getting it when it was free on Games With Gold last year or the year before. I did intend to play Ground Zeroes first as it was on Game Pass but by the time I got around to it it had rotated off so I just dove straight in to Phantom Pain.

At first I really wasn't sure I would be able to get into it knowing how weird Kojima's games could be but actually pretty quickly got the hang of it and realised it was more like any other open world game than a typical MGS game. I quickly got into the gameplay loop of choosing a mission, picking the loadout and then dropping in again and again and again. I thought the progression system worked really well and I was always keen to extract more enemies to build Mother Base to unlock upgrades and new weapons.

I actually got to 94 hours in the game which is way more than I have ever spent on a single player campaign before which shows how much I must have enjoyed it. However, I ended up giving up on the game early when I got to what I would call a game breaking mission. Mission 42: Extreme Metallic Archaea. I'm sure everyone knows the one. The super hard redux of the mission after the helicopter crash where oyu have to fight off the Skulls at the airfield. I lost count of how many times I attempted it and no matter what I did I just couldn't seem to complete it. I came close quite a few times but even when I was down to the last Skull with not much health left it would end up killing me. I was actually enjoying the game so much that I tried a lot more times than I would have expected to as I really wanted to carry on with the rest of the game but after a certain amount of retries I just gave up and uninstalled the game which really is a shame. I can't remember ever doing this on a game before (unless we count the first level of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance on the hardest difficulty) so it really left me looking back at the game with a different view than I would have done if I could have got to the end.

One quick thing. Quiet's design is a joke isn't it? I don't buy into the nonsense they tell you about how the parasite makes it so she can only breathe through her skin so she has to be nearly naked all the time or she will suffocate. Bollocks. They just wanted some sex appeal in there which is bad enough as it is but then they make damn sure you are paying attention to it it when you extract in the helicopter for her to jump on board right next to you with her boobs always being right in the middle of the screen or when you are browsing the menu while on board the helicopter and she starts getting onto all fours and either basically thrusting her arse in your face or making sure you can see a full shot of cleavage. IT is completely necessary and really stood out to me every single time. I was really happy when I finally unlocked costumes for her and could actually fully dress her.

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

Post by The Baboon Baron »

Discussing Metal Gear Solid 5 is difficult, because for me, it’s a question of how much we separate the game from the story, and how much do we separate the story from the creator. These lines blur for us all, but I will try and articulate why this has such bearing on MGS5, but first an announcement:

I don’t think Hideo Kojima is very good at telling stories.

I replayed all the MG games (including the NES and PC engine ones) a few years ago, and yes, I will agree that some of them are truly some of the best games ever made, but they all contain several very strange moments, and some downright bad decisions. Particularly in the story telling department. I don’t just mean the long cut scenes of MGS4, or the sexism and scatological humour that peppers all of the games, narratively Kojima is frankly unable to tell a cohesive story. Its not complicated, or clever, or detailed, its just often bad.

And this is what is made clear in MGS5- both Phantom and Zeroes. The “plot” is now so crowbarred into the setting that with so little glue holding the thing together it falls apart. The characters make no sense, their action makes no sense, people come and go, torture each other, shoot each other and gawk at each other with little to no effect. Nothing makes any sense, and the missions themselves don’t flow into each other with any coherence. If we were aiming for narrative, why are we replaying missions? If its aiming for constancy, why does it become Resident Evil at one point? If this is the future of inclusive and thought-provoking games, why are we forced to believe there’s a good reason for semi-naked female characters? There is no consistency, no taste and perversion and arrogance on display everywhere.

The end, if you can even call it that, was framed so we would bask in Kojima’s brilliance, however it cemented my opinion that he is a complete prick. The “reveal” was clear to me soon after the opening scenes. I would have rather had some sort of finality, a boss fight, SOMETHING remarkable, something that tied it all together, not replaying missions until I earned a man looking in the mirror. The Usual Suspects this wasn’t, and as the credits rolled AGAIN, I reflected on how this final whimper of the MGS Saga was fitting in a way- It showed what a talented game maker, but an awful writer can do when the reins were off- They go too far, push the envelope too much, so much so that the holes in Kojima’s talent became gaping chasm’s.

But as I Insinuated at the start of this merry little rant, we have to separate the creator, the story and the game. And the game- the real game, where you run, and shoot and drive tanks and blow up buildings, and attach Fulton delivery devices to bears…. Well frankly that’s a masterpiece. It was the logical result of not only the MGS universe, but of Syphon Filter & Splinter Cell, as well as several other espionage & action games. Not to mention several million other sandboxes. Its graphicly wonderful, with a soundtrack of eighties hits to warm the ears, play is varied, guns handle well and there is a fair difficulty curve. The locations where a little on the empty side, but in terms of mood, there was something rather wonderful about sneaking into a base undetected and fleeing into the night when your nefarious mission is complete. I particularly appreciated the different options available to the player. Allowing for non-lethal sneaking missions or carpet bombs if you so wished. Its just such a shame that the cheapest part, the stuff that holds all this gaming together, is such absolute garbage.

I was crushed with disappointment by the end of MGS5- but I don’t blame Konami. Kojima had spoilt it long before they rushed it out. Zeroes was a glorified cash grab, when it should have been a demo of sorts, but at least the cash grab was coherent. By the time Phantom Pain wrapped I’d lost all interest in the MGS world. I could’ve accepted some of the madness, as long as it made a shred of sense. But Instead we ended up with a mess of arrogance, poorly written characters and inconsistency. The Story and characters were so intrinsic to the MGS world, as was the auteur director (idiot savant perhaps?) I wish I could separate the wonderful spy action from the dross story, but I cannot. These two elements are so entwined in MGS, that this final effort must ultimately fall flat, I wish Kojima had compromised his vision for the greater good, then perhaps an actual story and ending would have been possible. It was Batman Vs Superman all over again quite frankly….

3WR- Kojima Vs taste

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

Post by The_reviewist »

I'll say this up front, I've never been a fan of MGS. I've dabbled in Twin Snakes, and Sons of Liberty, but played a decent amount of MGS4. But in each case, despite some nice mechanics, the games never really worked for me and after a short while, I'd lose interest. Maybe it's the jarring clash of the self-serious tone and heavy handed message, with the ridiculous pantomime villains, wacky dialogue and over the top moments? But something about Kojima's writing and plotting makes me feel like I'm inside the head of a teenager with ADHD. One who grew up on a diet of sugar, caffeine, War films and anime. And frankly I'd find myself wishing I was playing something more serious, like Splinter Cell, or alternatively something completely and deliberately over the top.

So I was more shocked than anyone to find that Ground Zeroes really appealed to me... On my third attempt. Having received both GZ and Phantom Pain as Games with Gold on Xbox, I thought it work giving them a stab, and lo and behold, I ended up finally having a good time. I crept and sneaked through Camp Omega. Rescued prisoners and airlifted out foes and had a great time. The campy and ridiculous GI Joe bad-guy "Skull Face" (really?) notwithstanding. But I was finally convinced, so THIS is what all my MGS loving pals are getting out of this series. Wow.

Phantom Pain equally surprised me, as I crawled out of that hospital with the Durden-esque hallucination of Snake, helping me along ( I presume that's what he was, as it's so plainly belaboured that he's not real in the opening scene. God alone knows how that ties into the plot ) But after we escaped the hospital and got into the game proper, despite the gorgeous graphics, and insanely huge map... I felt empty. I lasted about an hour before I was bored of it, and turned it off, and it has remained so ever since. I didn't even get to see the notoriously controversial Quiet. Maybe one day I'll start it up again, but maybe... it's just not for me.

TWR: Kojima Please Stop.

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

Post by Pitwar »

To say I'm a fan of the Metal Gear series is an understatement, I've a Kojima fox tattoo on my shoulder and have played and finished every game.....expect MGS5.

Metal Gear Solid 4 was the perfect end to the series I fell in love with, and would have been quite happy with that being the end of the franchise. So, when MGS5 was announced I was a bit confused, then I played the game.

MGS5 just doesn't feel like a Metal Gear game, heck it doesn't even sound like one due to the baffling decision to remove David Hayter as the voice of Snake. The open world isn't exciting to explore, and seems almost unnecessary and is there just to pad things out.

I actually reinstalled the game just the other day with the thought of jumping back in and finishing it off, but then I uninstalled it pretty much right away without even booting it up.

It's such a shame that a franchise I love so much didn't know when to end, and we got a really disappointing follow up to 4 that I don't think anyone really asked for.

3 word review: 4 Was Closure

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

Post by FemalePheromones »

Pitwar wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:17 pm

MGS5 just doesn't feel like a Metal Gear game, heck it doesn't even sound like one due to the baffling decision to remove David Hayter as the voice of Snake.
The change in voice actor actually makes sense when you take into account that...
Spoiler: show
It's not actually Snake

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

Post by KSubzero1000 »

FemalePheromones wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:51 pm
The change in voice actor actually makes sense when you take into account that...
Spoiler: show
It's not actually Snake
But...
Spoiler: show
We still see Naked Snake / Big Boss in Ground Zeroes as well as a handful of scenes at the beginning and end of Phantom Pain and it's all Kiefer. Actually bringing back David Hayter for those select few BB scenes would have gone a long way to redeem the game in my opinion.

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

Post by FemalePheromones »

KSubzero1000 wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:56 pm

But...
Spoiler: show
We still see Naked Snake / Big Boss in Ground Zeroes as well as a handful of scenes at the beginning and end of Phantom Pain and it's all Kiefer. Actually bringing back David Hayter for those select few BB scenes would have gone a long way to redeem the game in my opinion.
Spoiler: show
Ah I haven't actually played GZ and didn't finish TPP to see that and I actually forgot about the start of TPP. You're right though Having Hayter play the real Snake would have made a big difference.

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

Post by Pitwar »

FemalePheromones wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:51 pm
Pitwar wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:17 pm

MGS5 just doesn't feel like a Metal Gear game, heck it doesn't even sound like one due to the baffling decision to remove David Hayter as the voice of Snake.
The change in voice actor actually makes sense when you take into account that...
Spoiler: show
It's not actually Snake
Well I'll be damned! That's what I get for not finishing MGS5.

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

Post by FemalePheromones »

Pitwar wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Well I'll be damned! That's what I get for not finishing MGS5.
I didn't either. Just went online and read what happens after I gave up.

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

Post by Superuser »

I'm an MGS fanatic. This is the best and worst game in the series. I'll say upfront that I ended up 100% completing The Phantom Pain (211 hours) and playing 49 hours of Ground Zeroes. Normally, I play MGS more for the story, but the gameplay has always been strong too. For this one, I was utterly disappointed in the story but the gameplay kept me going.

Ground Zeroes is the best one and a half hour I've ever played. Never had I been so utterly enthralled with a game. Superb graphics, controls, an incredibly fluid AI and masterful level design. It's so brilliant how many situations are possible, and all the ways you can de-escalate after you've been spotted - or indeed that you can escalate and that that's a perfectly valid choice. I could go on, but imagine a game full of this! And then it ends. It's still the best MGSV level, but it's just so little. It is however full of promise in how diverse your options and approach can be.

The story was pretty disturbing and a sea change from the series' usual time, including the dramatic moments. This is of course compounded by its dark and well-executed aesthetic. The Paz rape and torture tapes were uncomfortable and unnecessary to include, they could have merely been hinted at. The scene where the bomb is extracted is even worse. Mercifully, it's skippable, and the scene right after of Big Boss defending the precious Mother Base I spent a whole game building has some of the best direction I've ever seen for any war film. Kojima went all-in on long takes in the MGSV duology and for the most part, they worked well. It's an interesting point to continue from.

It would be a long wait after this, especially with what were arguably some of the greatest trailers ever made for a video game. I can't recommend the Elegia trailer enough. Stop listening to this podcast and go watch it now, I'll be here.

Then I played The Phantom Pain. The first mission was... dull, and full of questions. I could tell the Man on Fire was Volgin, but I couldn't tell why. Psycho Mantis is way more powerful than he used to be. And what's with the blatant Moby Dick references? I found the first mission unenjoyable, but the cutscenes are so well-shot you can get through them.

Next you're in Afghanistan on your first mission and... boom, you're in the game! I love this as an intro and it almost made me forget the on-rails first hour. The first 6 or so hours were just superb. I went through so many buildings, and because I was underequipped and unaware of the finer points of the alarm system or how to mess with guards. I explored the first large village really thoroughly and still have a good mental map in my mind. I found new equipment all the time. It was surprise after surprise. It was all so fluid, the controls were brilliant, enemy interaction was just as good as in GZ, and all these cool toys like D-Horse added to the fun.

The initial feeling started waning as the game went on. The game has a really dour, melancholy vibe. Snake is effectively mute, for reasons made clear later. Kaz is undergoing severe issues - fair enough. But Ocelot has lost almost all his charm and personality. As a whole, the camp factor was conciously and significantly reduced for this game. It's just a boring melancholy tale with a tiny uninteresting cast. Mother Base is empty. There's the odd patrol man, but there's nothing you can do with them, and nothing to do there. It begs the question on whether something had to be cut or if it's there solely because the FOB system meant they had textures lying around to also make mother base.

Quiet is there but your relationship is only established with a single cutscene where you and her play in the rain. Why not have more moments like this? And for the love of god, get rid of that awful costume and the even worse explanation for it. If Kojima wanted a dumb, oversexualised costume, he should have just dropped any logic, much like the developers of Dead or Alive have for years.

The game wears on, but the plot doesn't. Most of the time, you're doing shitty side jobs like 'Angel with Broken Wings', where you must rescue an Afghan fighter (or interpreter, I forget) from the Soviets. He shows up in your staff list and that's the last you see of him. The game feels like it's more lonely than was planned, as one of the late Afghanistan missions has rebels doing fighting in the background, but you never get to meet them.

If you've 100% completed TPP, you'll know there are a lot of conversations between guards you can listen to in story missions. These add a lot of flavour, but they're so poorly signposted that you need a guide to find them, not to mention that spending time so close to the enemy is such a threatening situation that you'd normally never do this. Even then, it's a very flavourless game, which I never thought I'd say about MGS.

V has a soundtrack, but it's hidden in various tapes. Cutscenes continue the long take tradition, but there's maybe three cutscenes that have more than the most ambient of music. The licensed music is a great touch though I'm slightly worried that KP blew too much of their budget on top 80s hits and the peak of voice talent (and Kiefer, a brilliant Hollywood actor - who I think did a great job with what he was given; Hayter's campy take would be a poor fit for this Snake).

The game rolls on, and you start to notice that there are simultaneously too few, and too many bases. They are usually linked to each other with corridors. Your freedom of approach is nonexistent in many cases, though there's still fun to be had inside the base. It's a shame that there's only one genuine mink-Shadow Moses/Camp Omega in the form of OKB Zero at the climax of Chapter 1.

I'll skip the end of the story. By this point I stopped really caring about the plot. Even if it was finished, it would still be a lousy and boring take with very few twists and turns and not a single interesting character. I quite like the twist at the end but it doesn't do anything to redeem the story, and again there's a litany of missed opportunities, like more of a glimpse at what Outer Heaven looks like, or even an unwinnable boss battle against Solid Snake. One can dream. I think Big Boss was firmly enough established as a villain in this one and he really wasn't in Peace Walker, so at least that's been done, however subtly. I am disappointed by the fact that almost all this characterisation of Big Boss and Zero is done through tapes and not cutscenes. There's a lot of loose ends, like the Moby Dick symbolism and what happens to Liquid and Sahelanthropus (chapter 3 preview on the blu ray!), but I digress.

The gameplay was still very strong, though maybe it lost something as it moved towards a standard control scheme, you can't do all the goofy things you could in 3, but it's much more approachable for sure. One big missed opportunity is not offering subsistence, hardcore mode or more placement/equipment-based challenges for more missions because let's face it, most of them are dime a dozen with no plot relevance. I didn't mind the repeats as they offered interesting challenges for the most part.

TOne of V's strongest points is the seamless blend of action and stealth and swift escalation from one to the other. This rule is really only broken for the FOBs, which are by far and away the biggest stealth challenge in the game. They don't force stealth, but the enemies are so poweful that you'll almost never stand a chance. Even if you take them out, it's nearly impossible to de-escalate. I still respect it and had fun, but it was a lot more binary. Some level diversity would have gone a long way.

MGO3 felt very tacked on and limited in scope. I think it was reasonably fun, but the low time to kill hurt the game and it could have done with more matchmaking options and game modes. It's also a shame it was released so late, by which point the player base had declined a great deal.

Why did I complete this game? If it hasn't come through - it's still the best stealth-action game ever made from a strictly mechanical point of view, despite its missed opportunities. Only towards the end could I refine my playstyle to a mirror sheen, which speaks the great amount of choice the game offers you - perhaps too much in the sense that you'll never use the majority of your upgrade tree but it helps pace the game so you don't get too powerful. Adaptive AI also helps in this regard, and the level of challenge remains appropriate almost throughout the entire experience.

It's such a mixed bag. Like the characters in V, it's like something is missing. And this goes for all of it. In some cases, like the story, it would still be rubbish if it were complete. In terms of gameplay and progression, there are so many little changes I see as trivial, along with more substantial ones. This isn't a complete game, but I strongly commend KojiPro in putting it out in a very stable and optimised state. It's a real shame the engine will be used exclusively to make Pro Evolution games (MG Survive too, but we don't talk about that). It's an unnecessary sequel that I don't think anyone wanted to make, but it at least proved that Kojima still has the game design chops if not writing, and on that account alone, I'm looking forward to his next game.

Three word review: Flawed, Boring, Ingenius

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Re: 383: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Post by Peditis »

EDIT: I have re-uploaded this post to the appropiate Phantom Pain discussion since I couldn't delete this one from this thread

I've never been more conflicted about a game as I am about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I love it and hate it in almost equal amounts.
I played all the previous Metal Gear games in the span of a year back in 2014 and it immediately became my favorite videogame franchise ever: gameplay so tight yet so flexible, which allowed me to tackle each challenge in many ways; and a story and characters that, albeit sometimes bizarre, sometimes over-the-top, sometimes everything in between, engrossed me like no other series of games had before, that made me laugh as much as it made me cry and had me on the edge of my seat at all moments.
This is why I was incredibly excited for the then upcoming fifth numbered entry. I fully boarded the "hype train", so to speak. The trailers hinted at a story that would finally unearth the missing link of the overarching plot: Big Boss' turning point, his descent from hero to villain.
And Ground Zeroes served to fuel this idea. With Mother Base destroyed and Big Boss put into a coma and awakening 9 years later, it seemed like a great starting point for Phantom Pain.
The first mission, while a bit of a slog gameplaywise, felt very MGS in terms of tone, storytelling and cinematics, which were the things I was most excited about: a new MGS story.
But after that initial excitement this aspect of the game seemed to be left by the wayside. The first red flag was Big Boss' lack of dialogue. I was disappointed they didn't recast David Hayter, but I also thought that Kiefer Sutherland could bring a somewhat more serious tone compared to Hayter's iconic-yet-sometimes-campy performance, but he barely spoke throughout the game, making some important moments feel weird by him just staying silent.
Many of the missions felt like they had no relevancy to the plot, they were just “kill this”, “rescue that”, “destroy this”, etc. The game also took the criticism the previous games had to heart and went the complete opposite way: instead of long cinematics, it relied on long cassete tapes to deliver the story. Admittedly the cinematics in the other installments were too long, but they were far more entertaining than to just sit and listen to hours of dialogue. There were a few interesting ones, like the final moments of Dr. Strangelove, but as a device to tell most of the surrounding plot it felt lackluster.
MGS V has its moments storywise. Huey Emmerich's story arch not only served to establish him as a fully-formed character instead of just Otacon's father that looks and souns just like him, but it could be argued that he is the villain of the game: he hates Big Boss and the Diamond Dogs and he completely believes that all of his actions are justified, that he has the moral high ground. The use of languages to spread a disease was an interesting concept, and trying to desperately figure out why a lot of your recruits were getting sick put an unexpected kind of pressure, which shows how well handled that story moment was. This leads to one of my favorite moments: Mission 43, in which you have to manually put to rest several of your soldiers, brought memories of having to actually pull the trigger at the end of MGS3, and recognizing some of the names before killing them was heartwrenching.
But these moments are far outweighed by several other problems.
Overall weak characters was of them: Ocelot served only to tell you basic information about the gameplay and deliver some exposition, but, contrary to his every other appereance throughout the series, he had no actual character nor he contributed to the game's plot in any relevant way
Quiet is a divisive character for me. Initially I didn't much cared about her appereance since I was intrigued to see her story unfold, but when she started to suggestively pose in the helicopter and after that embarrassing “dancing in the rain” cutscene, my interest started to wane.
But the most disappointing character was Skull Face. He could've been one of those villains that is compelling not only for making you empathize with his personal reasons behind why he is doing what he is doing, but also because he fights you with his brain, masterminding several events and putting people against you, all while always being one step ahead of you. But as the game went on he started to feel less threatening and more boring, specially after that awkward silent car ride (I'm still baffled and somewhat amazed by how Big Boss' didn't say a single word during or after Skull Face's villainous speech, not even a SINGLE retort).
My other major problem with the game (and in my opinion, its biggest) is the final plot twist.
The reveal that you're Big Boss' “double” felt very rushed and out of the blue, but most of all, undeserved. You're supposed to believe that your character, someone who was never mentioned before outside of this game's context, is as good as "The Greatest Warrior of the 20th Century”. If it was someone we knew, like Frank Jaeger for example, it could have been a great reveal or at least have a little more gravitas, and the suspension of disbelief wouldn't be ruined since the facial reconstruction technology they have in the game seems to be way more advanced than the one we have in the real world, but as it stands, it falls flat on its face because at no point we have any sort of attachment to the unnamed medic.
Where the game truly shines though is in its gameplay and graphics. The Fox Engine is one of the most beautiful and smooth engines I've seen, and I have to give props to Kojima Productions for releasing a flawless PC port from the start.
You're given so many different options to face each mission. There are endless loadouts that you can select and customize, and each one is as valid as the next one, since the game doesn't punish you for picking one playstile over another, on the contrary, it encourages variety, adaptability and exploration, and after 130hs of playtime I still feel like I haven't seen most of what it has to offer.
If I have one complain about the gameplay is the bosses. Given the track record MGS bosses had, I expected this to be no different, but they felt incredibly lackluster and uninspired in this game. The Parasite Unit were interesting conceptually, but facing them devolved into shooting bullet-sponges, and the one-off bosses like the Man on Fire and Psycho Mantis were boring as well. The fights against Sahelanthropus provided some variaty, but still, they weren't all that great.
All in all, the gameplay aspects are what makes MGS V an amazing and very enjoyable experience, but with such a disappointing (and unfinished) story, and knowing that this is probably the last “true” game in the series, I can't help but feel that it fails as a Metal Gear, and that it sadly marks a bitter end to such an amazing franchise.

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