Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain could not be more Hideo Kojima


#1

No matter what you may have heard about the messy breakup of game designer Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is Kojima’s game. This is evident throughout. Despite it’s serious stealth gameplay, it’s filled with all the zaniness that Kojima has become infamous for like a cardboard box anime pinup girl distraction tool, balloons that comically whisk people and animals away to become part of your army, and a bikini-clad sniper. The tutorial mission is like a Kojima-fueled acid trip. It also has a birthday present hidden away in the middle of it. Play the game on the same day as your birthday, and you’ll get an urgent message to return to base. What follows is a charming, if characteristically goofy Easter egg. Oh, Hideo!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2015/09/03/metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain-could-not-be-more-hideo-kojima

#2

Oh crap, this game has weather balloon goats? Now I gotta have it.


#3

Just over 20 hours into it and I'm about thiiiiiiiis close (tiny pinching fingers) to calling MGSV one of the best video games I have ever played in 35 years of playing them. Pretty much everything I want out of a modern video game- most of which is rarely delivered by today's designs- is here.

You are absolutely correct- there is no doubt that this is a Hideo Kojima game but more importantly, his touch as a director and a creative mastermind is all over it. I think he is the only games maker working today that DESERVES to be called a director in the cinematic auteur sense of the word. There simply isn't anyone working at the AAA level that is making games this artful, idiosyncratic and innovative. There may never be again.

MGS has always been this fever dream where influences ranging from James Bond to Spaghetti Westerns to mecha anime commingle. But what has always made his work so compelling is the dissonance between his inspirations.There has always been this James Cameron-like obsession with technology and military hardware coupled with a dose of Jodorowsky-like surrealist mysticism all topped with an earthy sense of absurdity. There have always been these increasingly complex and meticulously detailed mechanics partnered with gameplay elements that are quite literally exactly the same as the first Metal Gear game on the NES/MSX. There has always been very serious real-world political and ethics debate mixed up with this fantasy culture of privatized warfare and nanomachines enabling its soldiers to do the impossible.

The list of highlights in my 20+ hours in the game are too many to spell out here. The opening scene is absolutely stunning, a better piece of horror filmmaking than just about anything else you'll see this year. Kojima makes you CRAWL through most of it. The open world missions have an organic, evolutionary flow unlike anything Rockstar or Ubisoft have been able to muster after years of having ceded the director's chair to players. I've seen- and played through- tons of "holy shit" moments where I was building a thrilling narrative without QTEs, cutscenes or any kind of guidance. Except when the hand of Kojima descends and suddenly that routine mission ends up with you hallucinating mechs and running from teleporting Skull soldiers as fast as you can.

His restless obsession with detail and minutiae is all over the work. I've learned about the medicinal uses of tarragon, tranquilized and fulton ballooned a raven and a bear, and learned how to make cardboard boxes. I've heard soldiers talking about how safe Russia's nuclear power plants are (in 1984) and Ocelot has broken down pretty much the entire real-world history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. I've found cassette tapes of "She Blinded Me With Science" and "Rebel Yell". Everything is so meticulously drawn, arranged and presented. You may have complete freedom to approach the game however you want, but there is never any doubt who is orchestrating the whole thing. His signature is everywhere in every little trivial facet and every one of its multilayered systems.

Except on the game box.


#4

No shit its a Hideo Kojima game. You don't even need to know who that is to figure that out, as they (he) plaster his name on pretty much every place they could get away with. I'm surprised it's not on the side of that white balloon up there in the picture.


#5

Typo:
"Despite it’s [sic] serious stealth gameplay"


#6

I upvoted you, but now I have to ask: does that look like a goat to YOU?

EDIT: That being said balloon goats sound like a reasonable surmise I guess.


#7

Whoa, heavy! I mean not the goat, it's apparently lighter than air. But you've made me question my assumptions man. Now I really do have to play this.

But I have done a bit more research into the game and apparently your protagonist can just to slap a balloon on something and float it on back to his home base for later use or something? Which is even awesomer than I thought, because apparently grizzled old one-eyed, one-armed dude came across a goat and said to himself, OK I need me one of those. Then he rigged it up and shipped it off, like some kind of reverse Amazon. I always thought Metal Gear Solid was too weird for me, turns out maybe it's just weird enough.


#8

Well, see, in addition to their primary missions and contract work, the Diamond Dogs are contracted by a conservation NGO to relocate wildlife from conflict areas. So yes, you can use the Fulton Recovery System to airlift any animals you may find out of harm's way. Last night I shot a raven with the tranquilizer gun and had it lifted out of there. I've saved several of these sheep. I also just researched a capture cage so I can help more of these furry and feathered friends.
You mainly use the balloons to kidnap enemy soldiers. Once they get back to Mother Base, they are convinced of the Diamond Dogs' cause and join up. Each enemy soldier in the game has a set of skills that they can contribute to the base-building part of it. So every mission, if you're playing it that way, is also something of a recruitment (or impressment) drive.
As you upgrade the Fulton system, you can use it on bigger stuff. I've been stealing all of the Soviets' HMGs and mortars and making money off them. Later on, you can lift materials containers and vehicles, it looks like.
You can also make your horse poop on command.


#9

Mgsv is the game I always suspected existed when bad men told me far cry 2 was a game that deserved respect because it respected your choices and dared not to be fun at all times

I kept going back to it, hoping to see what everyone else saw as this underrated auteur gem, where it rewards meticulous planning and smart approaches and lets you reap the rewards of your own mistakes. I never could. The systems could never live up to their aspirations.

Mgsv delivers on the promise every young gamer that ever dreamed of crawling up to an enemy base, formulating a plan, and executing it ever had. It's mark of the ninja given 3d form. It's challenging and hilarious stealth in a 3d space perfectly executed, one where you can shoot your way out when things go pear shaped but odds are you're signing away your life to do so.


#10

I just don't get it.. Maybe I'm missing something having not played the last one, or maybe it's just that I don't go GaGa over Kojima's "style"... but what the hell is this weird world this game takes place in? Everything is so disconnected and frantic, over the top and yet completely serious, and all this misplaced sentiment, as if there is some context right away that I should care about.. But I don't.

Right out of be box the game shoves you into a straight up military firefight, and you're ready to do the old sneak out of the hospital-routine... And then BAM, all the sudden there's a flying clown in a straight jacket and the badass bi brother of the human torch blowing up tanks and spawning giant fire snakes??

I'm so lost... Then it's just more go here, sneak in there, kill him (or don't kill him), sigh... Disappointment settles in slowly. I'm only two hours in, but already the most interesting part of the game is hiding on the horse.

I'll keep playing, but I can already feel myself wanting to put it down to play some GTA or some Gwent...


#11

I got about two missions into this game and just stopped caring whether I ever came back. Still haven’t. I don’t know who exactly this open world Hideo K game was built for, but it’s definitely not me.


#12

I about as much a MGS fanboy as you can find, but the game left me cold. Like Mass Effect: Andromeda, MGS5 was strong arming an open world where an open world had no right to be. I LOVE the wacky craziness of Hideo Kojima’s world. The crazy enemies, the inane radio conversations, the fever dream inspired cutscenes. The opening scene of MGS5 was amazing.

I was 20-30 hours into MGS5 before realizing that the intro was the highlight and basically lost interest. It wasn’t a bad open world game, but not what I was looking for in a MGS.


#13

And yet 10/10 gamespot review, best game ever. Shit, just based on the awful and insanely long mandatory intro sequence I would kick it out of 10/10 review contention.


#14

It’s strange because I like what I’m playing but I have no real motivation to come back to it at all after like 5 or so missions in. Also the way the game separates the base from the warzone is really jarring and an unnecessary time kill. Finish mission-ride helicopter for over a minute-load screen-credits?!?-ride helicopter for over a minute-take a bath-say hi to dog-call helicopter-wait 30 seconds for helicopter-ride helicopter for over a minute-load screen-choose loadout-ride helicopter for over a minute-do mission.


#15

I stopped caring for the base pretty quickly (something which went to bite me in the back a couple of times later in the game, but that’s spoiler territory).
The game actually lets you skip most of that stuff pretty easily once you learn to tame it. There is even a very much hidden fast travel mechanics (right in your face, but the game never tells you about it) that makes moving around and even some missions much easier!

But the game is more of the same. If the basic “hide, hide, knock out, make fool of enemies with your dog, snip… OH SH I AM SPOTTED NOW I AM JOHN RAMBO WOOHOO” dynamic isn’t working for you, there is really no point playing the game. I spent many hours in it because I was so fond of that silly action-game loop.
If you are in for the lore, all the story and character development they had in stock was spent in the prologue Ground Zeroes, anyway.


#16

I agree that that slow opening sequence sucked.The helicopter rides sucked.Some of the dialog was painful. But, once I got past that opening mission I thought the gameplay was great. I just pretty much ignored the base, because I’m pretty sure that sucked too. I thought the rest of it was well worth the time though.


#17

MGSV was one of my favorite games whatever year it came out (was that two years ago, now?) - I had just a ton of fun with the momemt to moment gameplay, and just wanted to move around in that space and use all my wonderful toys to try and complete missions and side ops. What a blast. I didn’t do much with the base, but for research and defensive upgrades now and then, but when I was playing the PvP stuff was effectively absent. I think it got more egregious in patches after I had moved on, iirc.

That said, I was tempted to play this again but the idea of going through that opening sequence again sucked the fun out of it. I’ve already done it like twice now, I don’t even remember what made me do it a second time, but I don’t want to do it again all that badly. Plus it sounded like there are some server issues these days. I’ll just fondly remember my many hours with it instead, I believe.


#18

It’s also hard for me going from Breath of the wild where you can climb literally everything that isn’t a shrine to this where you are a badass super soldier who sometimes can’t walk over a rock.


#19

This was also far and away my favorite game the year it came it. For me it was the perfect blend of gameplay and insanity in just the right portions. It was sane just long enough to be comfortable which made the Kojima twists significantly more effective than in any of the previous games.

I also loved the open world gameplay, but I seem to be completely disconnected from others on what I like on this front (I didn’t enjoy Breath of the Wild or Witcher 3). I think I prefer “open world” games that don’t actually use their open world. I prefer when they’re actually a bunch of connected mission maps with nothing interesting in between and an easy way to teleport from mission to mission, effectively removing the benefit of open worlds (which I don’t particularly like).

My favorite part about it is how it changes rules over time. The enemies slowly build up defenses to your preferred strategy which forces you to master one of the other approaches to missions. You’re also constantly gaining new equipment and partners that completely break long-held rules from previous missions. Both of those force a dynamic playstyle over missions that would otherwise play pretty similarly. Unfortunately, if you’re stopping only a few missions in you’ll certainly miss this part. But if you’d want to stop that early I’m not sure you’d enjoy these changes anyways.


#20

Decided to finally give MGS5 a go (largely in part due to a PSN sale dropping it to $10), and wow, that is quite possible the most annoying opening sequence I’ve ever played in a video game. Fortunately things have taken a dramatic turn for the better now that awful sequence is over. Truly that opener was a testament of how not to blend gameplay with cutscenes though.