The Phantom Pain
“Standing on the edge of the crater”
Is hard to put into concrete words such a game as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, more so after so many words have been put out be fans, haters, and lovers of Kojima’s latest (and maybe last) Metal Gear. For me the MG saga will forever hold a special place in my heart. Back in the golden years of childhood in the early 90's, Metal Gear became the third game I had when my stepdad decided to get a NES.
I remember the first time I played it and how confused I was at the fact that this little man who could punch things, was lost in the middle of the jungle. But after many, many tries, I was finally able to somehow beat the game. By the way, I didn’t speak a word of English at the time, but I felt there was something going on with the story. And so with my inexistent knowledge of English I embarked on going at the game again, and again, piecing the words together the best I could, trying to make a sense of the story of the game through the couple of words that I could understand.
Fast forward to September 2015, and after finishing MGSV I feel the wayt I did at the beginning 20 something years ago, with a story mostly made up in my head, and with a lot of questions and nobody to answer them.
I’ve already put above 100 hours on the game, and I sit at 62%. The gameplay is amazing, the side ops are stupid, repeating some of the earlier missions in order to S them is cool, and I will never let her go. NEVER! So, after accepting that I will never have 100% completion and that I will mostly just run up and down kidnapping and collecting people like the the weirdest Pokemon live world convention, doing FOBs, and probably dabbling a little in the online part, although I doubt it. But all of this, the still playing the game, is a result of the gameplay, which is the best of the series by far.
Spoilers… maybe… surely.
But what about the story, would you ask if you were reading this, well… it depends. There is a story, is just the opposite to MGS4. The story here is that you as a player are basically the center of the world, the real Big Boss. And that’s fine and all, but I think that what happened is that Kojima just couldn’t do it.
The way I see it, Kojima fell in love with the character arch of Jack/Snake/Big Boss because he had agency, something that Solid Snake didn’t have. And is by delving into the development of the character, that he realises that he in order to connect the character we have come to know and love since MGS3 he would need more time, more space, more games, or in the absence of more games, then the biggest game of them all. And that is what MGSV was supposed to be, the biggest game, the bridge between two realitites that don’t make sense. And at this… it failed.
Not because of the way in which the story is told, which I’m fine with, nor the pace of the whole thing, nor because of the twists and turns. All of this is fine, and move the story forward. What hindered the game was nothing more than lack of time, money, and faith. And is a shame, because the game is the perfect base for a couple more chapters that could have put everything in place, but let’s be honest. Who gives a flying crap about a MG game released by Konami without Kojima?
In the end, I guess we come full circle. What started as the adventure of a kid trying to figure out the story in a game that he didn’t understand, ends with an adult trying to figure out how the story fits into the whole mythology of it all. The best I can hope is to learn Kikongo out of this experience… oh, wait…