I’d never played a Metal Gear Solid game before, so when Playstation offered the 2015 METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN free for PS+ members, I decided to try it. From a few Youtube videos, the game looked like an open world military stealth adventure with really good graphics and a few weird elements, such as hiding in cardboard boxes and capturing things with balloons.
Well, based on the hour-long totally over the top tutorial level, the game is even weirder than that.
As the protagonist, “Snake,” I woke up in a hospital to discover I had no left arm, been in a coma for nine years, and contained over 100 pieces of shrapnel, some of which were other people’s bones and teeth. Then an assassin killed my doctor and nurse with a wire, and a guy without pants (or underwear) helped me escape. We were chased by the X-men’s gimp on a flying flame unicorn, an army, Pippi Longstocking, and a helicopter-eating red whale, but were saved by a cowboy. And, no, this wasn’t a dream sequence. Then I picked flowers and went on a mission to return a man’s sunglasses.
If that makes any sense to you, maybe you’ve played a Metal Gear Solid game before. Honestly, the whole thing felt like someone watched a 10-year-old boy playing with a box of old toys at a yard sale, and then turned that into a video game prologue.
None of it seemed to have anything to do with the actual gameplay, which — once I got into it — was pretty much like DISHONORED without the corpse-eating rats, lore books, bath salts, and crumbling Victorian architecture: Sneak around, kill people, hide bodies.
From what I understand, if I continue playing, I’ll have my own secret base where I can kidnap soldiers to work for me, punch them for morale, and ogle at a woman who is medically required to wear a bikini.
The Phantom Pain also used this amazing song, written by David Bowie, which somehow I’d never heard before.
~ J.L. Hilton
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