It’s here. It’s finally here. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the game whose trailers I’ve been spamming all over this website since we launched, has arrived. To say I was “pumped” to play the most likely last Metal Gear game by creator and eccentric master-of-the-long-con Hideo Kojima would be an understatement. The day I brought the game home was the same day I officially moved into my sweet new place, and I wasn’t having any of that get in the way of my tactical espionage operations.
LoadScreen’s review of the game was written by Aaron Birch, so if you want a concise insight into the game as a whole, go check it out. I’m not here to review the game, (what am I, some kind of games journalist?) but rather to give you, dear reader, a taste of my journey; a journey that has been coming for nearly 20 years. A journey that will be filled with ramblings, ravings, glorious victories, brutal chaos and, most likely, a lot of swooning.
My name is Tom Heath, and this is my Metal Gear Solid V diary.
Note: I’m only about three hours into the game at this point, but obviously there be spoilers ahead.
So, the prologue of Phantom Pain wasted absolutely no time in bringing out the weird. Following a realistic, and therefore appropriately, excruciatingly long, wake up sequence from a nine year coma, and discovering he’s lost half his left arm and has shrapnel lodged in his brain, Snake witnesses his doctor and nurse being strangled by a woman who looks an awful lot like that Quiet lady that has featured so prominently in trailers.
Before I could think too much about that, she was promptly set on fire and then dove out a window, presumably leading to her being an overtly sexualised sidekick later. That’s how that works right? Kojima said there was a reason for the way she dresses, was that it? We shall see, but if I’m right: did not see that coming…
Once the Quiet-looking woman was taken care of, Snake is led around the hospital by a bandaged up man named Ishmael who also happens to have the exact same voice as Snake and has an awful lot of screen time devoted to his amazingly rendered butt-crack. No seriously, that’s not a joke, the graphical realisation of his butt through his backless hospital gown is supurb. Not in a “‘dat ass” kind of way; more it actually looks like the awkward, two-deflated-basketballs-slapped-together kind of butt crack we all recoil away from seeing whenever a tradesmen comes to “fix our sinks”. The gorgeous visual fidelity is one of Phantom Pain’s biggest selling points, and it all starts with Ishmael’s fantastically captured derrière.
Anyway, back (hah!) to the weird. It wasn’t long into Snake’s painful staggering throughout the hospital avoiding soldiers who’re coldly slaughtering innocent patients (seriously, this prologue got dark FAST) before my thoughts started screaming: “DEAR LORD, WHY IS THE ENTIRE CORRIDOR CATCHING FIRE?!” Well, turns out that was because someone resembling Marvel’s Deadpool showed up, and he’d just popped over to visit Satan a little earlier and brought the fires of hell back with him.
Actually at my current status in the game I have no idea why he’s a magic fire man, but this is Metal Gear Solid so I’m assuming it’s “because nanomachines.” Anyway, to cut a 70 minute prologue short: Snake bests him with water and a shotgun and is rescued by Revolver Ocelot.
Ocelot, as well as bringing in the bad-ass rescue, brings in the actual real game: he sets you up with gear, weapons, a bionic arm and sends you off on solo infiltration missions. Classic Metal Gear Solid.
After I got over how stunningly gorgeous the Afghanistan map was, and the fact it was thankfully devoid of realistic butt-cracks, I was able to begin appreciating the mechanics of Phantom Pain. I rode past enemy guard posts on horse-back, but leaning to the side so they had no idea I was there. I almost wanted to go back gloat to them, tell them how much they’d been duped and how bad they should feel, but given that would defeat the purpose of my feat I decided against it.
Instead, I promptly wandered into the enemy camp, which allegedly contained information vital to rescuing my old comrade Kaz, tripped over a pot plant and alerted the guards nearby.
…Classic Metal Gear Solid…
Those little quirks. I very quickly learned the hard way that nearly every object in Phantom Pain is not bolted to the floor and can be bumped into, broken and used to create a lot of unwanted noise. It is an amazingly brutal way to teach me to be more cautious, but was very effective. I certainly don’t confidently stride around like I’m the king cobra of this damn desert any more!
Anyway, I eventually got to Kaz and carried him out of his cell. Getting him out was pretty easy, just a couple of well thrown empty ammunition magazines kept the guards distracted. What became a worry was the four soldiers that showed up who brought with them a weird gas cloud, glowing blue eyes and who ran like a zombie having a seizure!
Oh yes, this certainly escalated quickly…
We made it out, just, and Kaz started monologuing at Snake in the helicopter. This was when I started noticing that Snake doesn’t really say very much, and I found myself screaming “goddamn it, SAY SOMETHING!”
But that thought was short lived, for then we arrived at Mother Base for the first time…
To be continued…
Tom is so overwhelmed by the prospect that Metal Gear Solid V is here that he can’t even think of anything witty to quip here, so maybe follow him on Twitter and he’ll have something later, @tomdheath. For more Phantom Pain and other awesomeness, follow LoadScreen on Twitter, @load_screen, and Facebook.