The following review may contain spoilers.
The final installment of Hideo Kojima and Konami’s love child finally has arrived. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain delivers in every way possible. From the game play to the storylines, from the online integration to the side missions, this game does everything right in what arguably might be the best game of 2015 so far. Yes, The Phantom Pain is the fifth installment in the Metal Gear Solid series, but as someone who watched only portions of the last four parts in this franchise, I can say confidently that it doesn’t ruin the experience if you didn’t play the other games. The game revolves around Big Boss, the main character of the series as a whole and who coincidentally has been cloned and put into a coma and now has a piece of shrapnel stuck in his head. I know what you’re asking, and no, I’m not kidding about any of those things. You, as Big Boss, wake up from said coma and fight to find a criminal mastermind whose main objective is to wipe out everyone in the world who doesn’t speak a certain language. Along the way, you complete side missions, grow your army and gain your infamy in the process. Saying much else could severely spoil the plot for you, and I don’t personally enjoy bricks being thrown through my windows. They just got replaced. As previously stated, the game does a million things correctly. One of its main attributes that shine brighter than the others is the open world aspect. Built on this feature, the game play is completely open to interpretation. You can do side missions all day, follow the main mission lines or even just ride your horse around the maps and explore a world with such character and attitude that it just begs to be explored. Say I’m doing a side mission, rescuing a prisoner from a camp, when suddenly a couple of enemies who were coincidentally walking around run into me, and now they call in reinforcements. Suddenly I’m facing a mini-army just to do a quick side mission rescuing a prisoner. Nothing is guaranteed nor expected while you’re doing missions in this game. You’re in a living, breathing world, and anything is possible. The game play also is seamless and natural in The Phantom Pain. Once you initially learn the controls, you never really forget them, because they’re extremely intuitive and feel right in the environment even though you’re dealing with somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 weapons and even more accessories. You never feel overwhelmed, and that’s an accomplishment in this big of an experience. The online aspect is what will take this game and make it able to be played for months to come. Taking traditional, multiplayer tropes and spinning them on their heads, The Phantom Pain handles online play beautifully. Every player gets his or her own mother base, a base of operations where the player can build an army, check on gear and grow to unimaginable heights. The Phantom Pain isn’t just a great stealth game. I would reccomend this game to anyone. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gets five out of five stars and four out of four meows from my cat. However you calculate it, The Phantom Pain is a flawless experience and one that any player should pick up.