There’s been a lot of commotion regarding anything Konami has touched recently. From stripping Hideo Kojima of his title and team, to canceling Silent Hills, and even an ex member of Konami, Koji Igarashi, becoming a massive success on his own with a genre Konami deemed “dead”. Konami seems to be digging a deeper and deeper hole in the console gaming world but they may not be bothered by that fact since they seem to want to leave consoles behind. But what they do have going for them is perhaps one of the most anticipated games of the year, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
WHY THIS GAME MATTERS
With it’s original title releasing in 1987 the Metal Gear series has become a keystone to many gamer’s experience with the medium. There are many die hard fans of the series after over twenty titles have been released since it’s conception and the latest title seeks to expand that audience even further. With the promise of massive, immersive, open world maps that allow you to do anything and everything with the control scheme of a stealthy, third person, shooter, Metal Gear Solid 5 is something to look forward to.
WHAT MAKES THIS GAME UNIQUE
Unlike the flying HQ of Splinter Cell Blacklist, MGS5 seeks to bring a new spin to how operation gameplay and base building intertwine. Based around freedom and choice instead of simply purchasing upgrades, which you can do as well, The Phantom Pain relies on an airlift system known as the Fulton System which allows you to attach balloons to anything from vehicles and guns, to people and animals so that they fly up high enough for a plane to swoop by and take them away. The people, animals, and equipment you capture are taken to what is known in the game as “Mother Base”. There the equipment is repurposed for your use and the living are taught the ways of The Diamond Dogs, your own personal army.
This system provides a near endless range of possibilities for the player to change the game to fit their style of gameplay. Capture a wolf and train it to be your own personal attack dog. Convert a bilingual Russian and he/she will translate anything Russian to English for your understanding. Find a tape with your favorite classic rock song and you can put it in your helicopter to create your own theme song for when you’re airborne buddy comes to the rescue. Those are just some of the many examples that have been shown to the public to date and the game hints that there will be much, much more to do.
Cool and interesting mechanics are nice but if the actual gameplay doesn’t feel smooth and enjoyable than the whole experience can come crashing down. In that regard, MGS5 does not intend to disappoint. Though only a select few have had the chance to have a hands on go at the game what has been shown to the public is that the team behind MGS5 had an eye for detail. If you can think of clever uses of a game mechanic than it’s more than likely possible. Take the horse for example, if you need to get past a convoy you could slide over to the side of him so no one sees as you pass by, you could leave him in the middle of the road as a distraction, or you could have him defecate on the road so that the vehicles will slide out of control. (The game aims to be fun, not exactly realistic)
WHERE IT COULD ALL GO WRONG
The game has a lot going for it but it could still end up falling on it’s face. The lead designer behind the game, Hideo Kojima, and the publisher Konami have been having issues for some time and this could very well lead to poor decisions during the development of the game. One being that Konami intends on implementing microtransactions into the game which could make the interesting concept of Mother Base just another way to get more money out of the player. Another to consider is that though the majority of the game was completed before the Kojima versus Konami issues became public there’s still a lot of polish that could fall short with a conflict of developer and publisher. Not to mention the conflict could have been on going long before the public found out about it.
ALL IN ALL
With Konami leaving the console market to focus on mobile games, Metal Gear Solid 5 has the chance to be one of the greatest console titles by the publisher ever but we need to also consider every bit of the game we’ve seen thus far has been marketing material. Those who were allowed to play the game were carefully selected and kept behind closed doors. The gameplay shown was chosen and edited to fit what the market would get excited for, and there have been very little opportunities to see if the multiplayer or micro-transactions in the game could take away from the overall quality of the game. The final verdict will just have to be decided by the general public when the game releases this September.