Metal Gear a solid series for gamers


Stuart Benjamin, Arts Editor

After receiving high marks from almost every major newspaper, website, and magazine two weeks before its release, “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” has proved it changes not only the “Metal Gear Series,” but gaming in general.

It’s been eight years since “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” was released, and fans have been on edge waiting for new content from the mastermind behind the franchise, Hideo Kojima. When he released “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes,” the prequel to “Phantom Pain,” in 2013, fans were a bit disappointed at the lack of content, and were devastated to hear they would have to wait another two years for the full game’s release, and Kojima recognized that. He stated in his official

“Metal Gear Solid Debriefing” that he was terribly sorry for how long the game took to develop, and that he wanted it to be the ultimate “Metal Gear” Experience.

And what an experience it is. The smooth and immersive gameplay will have you constantly doing something new and exciting.

The story of “Phantom Pain” revolves around Punished “Venom” Snake (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland). Snake awakes from a nine-year coma in 1984 and finds himself with a large piece of shrapnel sticking out of his head and missing an arm in a hospital bed in Cyprus.
After being found by his enemies, enemy-turned-ally Revolver “Shalashaska” Ocelot arrives to rescue him and fill him in on what has happened since 1975.

Snake learns that Skullface, the man who destroyed everything he had worked for, and who had put him into a coma has been searching for him to finish what he started. Skullface is driven to create a weapon to make nuclear deterrence obsolete and change war forever: Sahelanthropus, a straight-up walking nuclear weapon. The storyline takes you between Afghanistan and Central Africa, working as a military group known as Diamond Dogs.

The game is built in an episodically, resembling a T.V. miniseries of sorts. Each episode has its own credits reel at the beginning and end.

In addition to the story, players can build up their Mother Base, a large offshore military base run by Snake, by recruiting other soldiers in the field. This is done by completing missions or kidnapping enemy soldiers in the field or extracting them via the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system, which involves attaching a weather balloon to an unconscious soldier, sending them flying into the air where a helicopter waits to retrieve them. Players can also use the Fulton system to acquire vital resource materials that can be used to create new weapons and items and steal enemy mounted weapons or vehicles.

The buddy system allows you to bring one partner on missions with you. Each buddy has a unique set of tactics. Quiet is a beautiful and deadly sniper with keen spatial awareness. She can mark targets and enemies for you from long distances. She can also perform special tasks such as “Shoot Grenade” which will allow you to throw a grenade while Quiet redirects its path with a bullet.

D-Horse is the first buddy you get, right at the beginning of the game. Although the horse offers nothing combat-wise, he is a great way to navigate the vast desert of Afghanistan.

D-Dog is found in Afghanistan, a cute little puppy that quickly grows into a full sized war dog, or “Diamond Dog,” ready to hop into action with Snake. He can mark enemies in an area and sniff out plants, resources, and other materials that Snake may need.

D-Walker is Snake’s very own bipedal vehicle. It is customizable and can hold a tranquilizer pistol as well as either a rail gun or rocket launcher. It also has a very speedy driving mode, but it is hard to navigate both through the jungle and the desert.

As with any “Metal Gear Solid” game, there are many obvious themes throughout “The Phantom Pain.” Snake, and his military partner and friend, Kazuhira Miller, have lost everything and revenge is the one thing on their minds. With all of the hatred and anger throughout the game, it’s no mystery that this is the darkest game in the series.

Revenge: After losing everything at the hands of Skullface, Snake is ready to take him down. Fueled by hatred, Snake and Miller have become bitter with anger, and Ocelot is the only one to mediate them. But Skullface is also fueled by revenge, determined to wipe out those who took his life, language, and face. Both Snake and Skullface seem to be fighting against each other, but with similar goals.

Phantom: At the end of “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes,” Snake’s left arm had been amputated and Miller lost an arm and leg. They both talk about their “phantom pain,” or the ability to still feel one’s limbs after they have been amputated. In addition, we see some major characters from previous games brought back to life, including a certain GRU commander with powerful feelings of revenge.

The time: “Metal Gear Solid” has always reflected the era in which each game is set. “Snake Eater” from 2004 takes place in 1964 during the cold war. The Phantom Pain is set in 1984, during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. The game is also filled with colorful 80’s propaganda and music such as “Take on Me,” and “Maneater.”

What should fans expect now that both Big Boss and Solid Snake’s stories have been linked and the game storyline has come full circle? Officially, Kojima has stated that “The Phantom Pain” will be his last “Metal Gear Solid” game. Obviously Konami will try to continue the series with other writers, but will it be the same? Kojima may be finished with “Metal Gear Solid,” but I don’t think he’ll give up on “Metal Gear” as a whole anytime soon.