by Manuel Alexander Lopez-Aguayo
September 1, 2015 marked the end of Hideo Kojima’s beloved franchise Metal Gear Solid. After 24 years of diligently working on the series, Kojima has decided to put it to rest and no doubt will leave faithful fans feeling emotional and nostalgic about the series ending. Despite this, the game has lived up to its legacy.
The Phantom Pain takes place between Metal Gear Solid 3 and the original Metal Gear, finally tying the series together and ending the seventeen year gap lasting from 1974 to 1991. Although the story takes place in the middle of the series, the player does not need any prior knowledge of any of the previous installments in order to understand the game.
The game begins with a quick synopsis regarding the previous installment Ground Zeroes. The protagonist, Big Boss, a highly regarded war hero, is attacked by a military group called Cipher. Through a series of events, it is revealed that Big Boss miraculously survived, but ended up in a coma. The plot takes place 10 years after the raid, when Big Boss wakes up. He then swears vengeance on Cipher and all others who oppose him.
The game takes place in both Afghanistan and Africa, using an expansive map 200 times larger than the previous installment. One of the many features that this game offers is that the player is able to utilize the open world concept and is able to scout the mission area and plan routes. The game also offers a dynamic weather system that spawns sandstorms, rain, and other natural disasters that can affect the enemy’s perception. Also, enemy patterns are now fully random and offer more difficulty when trying to complete missions.
Another feature is the option to fully build, customize, and explore Big Boss’s
“Mother Base”, which is the main hub of the game. The more effort the player spends on upgrading the “Mother Base”, the more the game allows one to unlock more weapons and tools to use at one’s disposal for later missions.
Overall, the game itself, is a wonderful and exciting journey which keeps players at the edge of their seats, and maintains an adrenaline rush throughout. This is truly one of Kojima’s finest works in terms of gameplay and storytelling, with enough additional content to keep fans hooked for days.