That’s right, everybody. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been for 1 week now, and I’ve been playing it non-stop. Now, Hideo Kojima wasn’t lying when he said that MGSV:TPP was huge. He’s actually afraid it’s so big, that people wont finish it. Now, as I said, I’ve been playing non-stop for a week, and I’m 15% complete. I have yet to play the FOB portion, which allows you and other players to attack each other’s bases. This unlocks after Story Mission 22. I personally have completed through Story Mission 12 and completed 15 Side Ops missions, as well as various Dispatch Missions. These are where you send out your Combat Unit to do missions and obtain items such as Herbs, GMP (money), Recruits and Blueprints.
It is possible to do the Story Missions out of order, which is a pretty cool feature, if you don’t have the recommended equipment (which is recommended for good reason), you can skip over them for the time being, without missing much. You will easily be able to piece together the one or two story elements from missions you go back to without issue.
As always, they put an importance on stealth, but I’ve been known to drop an air strike to draw enemy attention away from where I’m trying to sneak. They never punish you for going in guns blazing, but naturally, it does make your job a LOT harder than it needs to be, but you can take out key points to get your pick-up point a little bit closer, or keep enemies from getting reinforcements, and once you level your Fulton Recovery System up, you can start stealing enemy weapon emplacements.
One thing I’ve found, is the automatic sorting for your soldiers does a decent job, but it pays off in the long run to sort them all manually. If you do this from the start, it’s a lot easier to manage. Along those lines, if you played Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and import your save data (you need to upload it from MGSV:GZ first) you’ll gain access to a LOT of added benefits, especially if you saved a lot of people and completed all the extra missions. Just to name a few, you get a Gold arm, access to a Sneaking Suit, and access to the original Solid Snake skin from Metal Gear Solid on the PS1, provided you complete a certain extra mission in Ground Zeroes.
All in all, this game is huge. I mean, free-roam about 50 Kilometers of Afghanistan huge. Followed by free-roam a section of Central Africa. As always, it’s a serious game with bits of humor thrown in and a lot of homages to earlier titles in the series. Hideo Kojima truly left on a high note for the final Metal Gear. There is no shortage of things to do and you get to build your Mother Base and your army, and even get to roam around on your Mother Base. The controls are solid, the graphics are amazing, voice acting and general sound are fantastic. The iDROID is easy to navigate and provide mass amounts of information. They removed lengthy cut-scenes and put more emphasis on allowing you to choose to delve into the story by adding cassettes to your list for you to listen to. Some will like this, others will hate it. I personally like it, considering how busy life can get, it allows you to get the story at your own pace.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is easily the best in the series, which is a powerful statement for a Metal Gear game, and for a finale.
As an added bonus to the Easter Egg Hunters, here are a few for you to find:
On your Sick Bay, go to the 2nd floor, and find the door with the blue light that you can enter.
A cassette tape reference to Johnny (Soldier with stomach issues).
and stand near a sign on Mother Base with a falling box hazard on it. Works once per session.
(I will be doing another First Impressions for Metal Gear Online upon it’s launch, which will include my First Impressions of FOB mode.)