Konami Digital Entertainment continues forth the 'Metal Gear Solid V Experience' with the latest chapter, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Ushering in a new era for the franchise with cutting-edge technology powered by the Fox Engine, MGSV: The Phantom Pain, will provide players a first-rate gaming experience as they are offered tactical freedom to carry out open-world missions. Metal Gear is a member of video gaming's old guard. It has been consistently popular since its inception in the 80s, which is a rare distinction it shares with revered names like Mario and Zelda. Unlike its peers, Metal Gear has been telling a continuous story the whole time - a major strength and a strange weakness all at once. Invested fans adore the series for its narrative just as much as its tactical espionage action, but the sprawling story makes it intimidating for newcomers. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is different; it puts the saga of Big Boss and his sons in the background, emphasizing dynamic gameplay and a player-directed approach to progression. The story is still important, but it isn't the driving force in this installment. As Big Boss, you build an army and work against a villain named Skull Face (introduced in the MGS V prologue, Ground Zeroes). The premise of building Big Boss' legend is interesting and it evolves to include compelling and unexpected themes that I won't spoil. However, Kojima Productions' decision to offload key story information into optional audio logs means that major developments can occur without necessary context, only letting you learn more about them after the fact. As a longtime series fan, I would rather deal with a few more cut scenes than spend hours listening to audio tapes to get the proper background. Though all of the information comes together eventually into a tale worthy of the Metal Gear name, the ending didn't satisfy me, presenting few answers and a lot of questions.
Concept: Bring Metal Gear's signature stealth into an open world focused on individual missions
Graphics: The visuals look great and run smoothly, with some occasional texture pop-in when your focus changes
Sound: Kiefer Sutherland does a good job, but speaks so rarely that the change from David Hayter in the lead role feels more like a PR stunt than a new direction for the character
Playability: Some of the contextual commands can be finicky, but the basic stealth and combat mechanics are rock solid
Entertainment: Many missions feel like puzzles, forcing you to use your available resources to find one of many ways to complete your objective. Applying your rewards to building, expanding, and improving your base is an irresistible joy