– Tom Heath
When we last spoke, or more I wrote words and you read them, I was the overlord of an army of kinky troopers and about to go toe-to-toe with a fabled sniper. Well, I did just that and a lot more so brace yourself, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
Right, so I’ve met Quiet. That’s a thing. If you don’t know who she is, she’s the scantily clad, mute sniper who we were promised had a justification for her seemingly pointless exposure. Well, there is a reason and it’s pretty bad: she breathes through photosynthesis and thus needs to have maximum skin exposed to stay alive. “Clothes would suffocate her,” is a direct quote from the game…
My fellow editor Charlie Braithwaite explained why the gratuitously sexual nature of Quiet is terrible much better than I ever could, but I’ll just add two things. One: the photosynthesis explanation is bullshit because the Metal Gear Solid series has used that one before (they even mention it in Phantom Pain) and nudity was not a factor. The character’s name was The End, he was a nearly 100 year old sniper, a crack shot and, wait for it, was FULLY CLOTHED. No dice Kojima. I love you, but no dice.
Secondly, if it weren’t for the whole “a set of breasts decided to stand up and learn to shoot” look, Quiet would be an awesome character! Her introductory sniping of a fighter jet pilot was amazing. And while I’ve been harping on about Snake not using words when he really should, I love it when he and Quiet are being silent together. To me, there’s a chemistry and sexual tension there that would be really subtle if it weren’t for Quiet visually being anything but subtle.
My favourite example of this is when you’re riding in the helicopter together on a mission, and if you look at her she might catch you looking, nod and smirk slightly before turning away. It’s kind of cute in a way, but quickly ruined when she starts doing yoga and flexing her butt in your face.
But enough about Quiet, there’s a lot more to cover. Snake has rescued Huey Emmerich, the scientist from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, from Skull Face’s troops and he’s been rambling about rumours of a weapon being developed to surpass Metal Gear itself. To chase this lead, the action has moved to Africa, where not only is the terrain more forest-based but some of the enemy forces are full of child soldiers.
Again, Charlie has a great story about rescuing (or in his case, not rescuing) the child soldiers. But the missions involving infiltrating their camps are very interesting to play since non-lethal is compulsory (can’t imagine any game allowing the killing of young kids) and you can’t use the Fulton to airlift them out, meaning it’s more important than ever to hide them once you tranquilise them. Believe me, it’s the worst when another kid finds a sleeping one and they raise the alarm together.
But the craziest thing I’ve noticed, now that I’ve sunk more time than I care to admit into Phantom Pain, is how disobedient your support buddies can be. OK not disobedient as most of the time it’s not that they defy my instructions, it’s more they start to making judgement calls on the fly that I don’t approve of. D-Dog seems to decide when my telling him to “stay” no longer applies, and hopefully that is something that changes once I bond with him more, since I’ve seen him stay for a lot longer in trailers.
But Quiet, oh boy has she done some things I’m not happy about.
For example, I’d be tailing a guard I want to extract because he has sweet stats. I’ve marked him on my iDroid so I don’t lose track of him, and am just about to go in for the strike to knock him out.
In my haste, I bump a barrel and the noise makes him turn around and spot me, subsequently sending the game into the slow-motion “reflex mode”. I quickly whip out my tranquiliser gun, about to knock him out cold before he raises the alarm, when Quiet decides to “save me” and puts a bullet in his brain. Not only has she killed the guy I wanted to extract, but her un-silenced rifle has alerted the entire base to our infiltration and now we have to go loud.
Those mishaps aside, my team is getting better, so I look forward to more fun, chaotic missions together as we waddle through the vague storyline to come.
As a die-hard Metal Gear Solid fan, in case you didn’t know, I’m a little disappointed that the story has less focus this time around. Yes, the cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4 were horrendously long, and yes, there were codec calls in all the games that dragged, but they at least they had a stronger sense of purpose.
I’m not a fan of the dull cassette tapes, they would have worked better if they were shown to us as they happened between story missions.
If for nothing else, it would make it feel like we’re playing a story rather than a tactical operations simulator. Don’t get me wrong, the simulation of tactical operations is incredibly fun, maybe even the most fun I’ve had gaming all year, but they’ve shafted the storytelling as a result. And if it’s one thing I love, it’s good storytelling.