Most Anticipated Game of 2015: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Posted by Sam Hale
It’s difficult for me to be excited for the games in this coming year. This is because most of the games announced for this year have been given vague release dates. Certain games, such as Splatoon, The Division and Rainbow Six: Siege have caught my eye but there’s one game I can’t ignore. If I had to pick just one game to play in 2015, it would be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
For a moment let’s ignore that I’m a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. Looking at it from a gameplay perspective, Ground Zeroes was head-and-shoulders above most games last year. That was just one area, so imagine what it’ll be like in a game that’s apparently 200 times larger.
If this game closely resembles Ground Zeroes, there’s little reason to believe it won’t, then The Phantom Pain should be a front-runner for game of the year. It’s set to become one of the largest games with true freedom as opposed to merely throwing an ocean of side quests and checklists at the player.
There are certain aspects to the gameplay I’m uncertain about. The mission structure and the base-building mechanic are examples of things we haven’t seen. It’s easy to give the benefit of the doubt so I remain excited with the tiniest bit of caution.
Metal Gear Online will be returning in The Phantom Pain. We’ve only seen a single trailer but if it’s accurate, it looks to be a lot of fun. Hopefully it’ll be better integrated than the online component from Metal Gear Solid 4 and actually be fun.
Let’s be honest, the real reason I’m excited for this game is for the story. From the trailers and clips we’ve seen, Kiefer Sutherland looks very comfortable playing Big Boss. This is something I never felt in the brief time we saw him in Ground Zeroes. As much as I’ll miss David Hayter, I’m going to welcome Sutherland from open arms providing his performance is consistent with the trailers.
The Phantom Pain is set to be the darkest chapter in the Metal Gear Solid saga. In 2004, we first met the man who would become Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It was the first step in this character’s development on his path to becoming the infamous leader we hear about in the first game.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker showed Big Boss eventually moving on with this life and deciding to forge his own path. He’s broken off from his mentor’s philosophy and become his own person.
The Phantom Pain promises to show Big Boss turning into a proverbial demon. This game will be the moment where Big Boss becomes a villain in the name of revenge. This brings him closer to his character from the original Metal Gear games.
It’s easy to be excited for a story when you know that a character is going to end up a different person by the end. Too many stories avoid development or clumsily do so.
If you recall, my main issue with The Last of Us was that the writers were seemingly unaware of how to handle their asshole protagonist. The Phantom Pain has already avoided that mistake because it’s outright declared that Big Boss is turning into a bad guy. We’re not meant to agree with him, we’re meant to understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.
If Ground Zeroes is any indication, it’s possible that we might finally get a Metal Gear Solid game that isn’t cluttered with cutscenes. It’s been an issue that’s plagued the series since 2001 and Ground Zeroes held back the story as much as it could.
Obviously, The Phantom Pain is going to have more story than Ground Zeroes but the key detail is the principle. There were cutscenes in Ground Zeroes but very few gameplay interruptions. The gameplay is finally a priority over the story; a series first by the way.
It remains to be seen whether this will be true for the Phantom Pain; I won’t know until I play the game. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.
The Phantom Pain could potentially be the greatest game in the Metal Gear Solid series. The team at Kojima Productions is working hard to produce the most open-ended yet precisely designed stealth experience ever made. There’s a lot of pressure to deliver and my expectations are high,
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is without any doubt, my most anticipated game of 2015.