Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Faults And Fixes

I woke up this morning in a bright new world, a world in which what may be Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear game [official site] is available on PC. It still seems like an impossible dream, that a series that has only sporadically stealthed its way onto our machines should be here day one, the same time as the console launch, so I was expecting something to go wrong. Performance issues due to the port from console to PC? A sudden stepback in visual quality as compared to ‘prologue’ mission Ground Zeroes?

Remarkably, The Phantom Pain hasn’t gotten its cape into a tangle and seems to be running smoothly while looking devilishly handsome. There are some caveats and snags though, as always.

The most pressing concern, and one that will hopefully be fixed so quickly that I’ll feel like a fool for having written about it, relates to CPUs that don’t support SSE4.1; that includes the still-common Phenom II series. People with those CPUs are reporting crashes, often at launch. There is a possible fix but the developers are on the case already and reckon they’ll have a solution ready later today. Good work.

There seems to be some confusion as to whether all AMD GPUs and CPUs are affected but that’s not the case. As far as I can tell, the problem relates directly to SSE4.1 support. If you’re not sure whether or not your CPU supports SSE4.1, this might help.

There are also reported problems with borderless fullscreen, ranging from screen tearing to an occasionally visible mouse cursor for those using controllers. Switching to regular fullscreen appears to fix both issues.

I’ve also seen reports of crashes on Windows 10. Since I’ve already sold all of my data to the highest bidder, I’ve been using the new operating system for a couple of weeks now and early tests this morning show that Metal Gear is happy to play along. I suspect there’s some crossover with the SSE4.1 issues mentioned above and a statement that MGSV doesn’t officially support Win 10 has helped to stir the pot. Presumably, the lack of support is simply a way of saying that full testing hasn’t been carried out on Win 10 rather than an admission that there will be any specific problems. I’ve only booted up and taken a look but everything looks fine here and reports of Win 10 issues seem rare.

In terms of options, audio sliders are the biggest gap. There’s currently no way to adjust the levels of music, voice and sound effects separately, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until everyone’s chatter is drowned out by a trumpet. I play with subtitles anyway (it just seems right in Metal Gear and I couldn’t say why) but I can understand the frustration for those who don’t.

Some mouse and keyboard controls are fixed, with rebinding unavailable for certain actions. There’s no way to switch between ‘toggle’ and ‘hold’ for binoculars and scopes either, which is slightly bothersome as I much prefer a toggle for keyboard and to hold a button if I’m using a controller. Here, you’re always holding the button down to stay in different viewing modes. On top of that, the game seems to communicate using controller prompts at times even if you’re playing with mouse and keyboard. I’d be playing with a controller anyhow – I prefer to in third-person games and the inventory and map interface here is designed for buttons rather than pointing and clicking – but the quibbles with the keyboard controls are still valid.

And if you’re planning to push the framerate above 60FPS, you might see some anomalies. The Fox Engine’s physics are tied to the framerate, which means the world might become a little unpredictable if everything is running faster than intended. That just makes me want to fiddle with framerates all the more, of course.

Finally, here’s a picture of the graphics options. Phwoar.

I’ll be looking out for any developments. I’ll be doing that instead of playing the game because sometimes this job is not kind to me. The horror of my situation is amplified by the hours I spent with Ground Zeroes on Saturday. It’s a proper stealth game and I love it.

51 Comments

  1. Spacewalk says:

    Nice.

  2. darkath says:

    I’m pretty sure there was a rebinding menu for keyboard/mouse controls when i booted the game this morning before going to work.

    • Lakshmi says:

      That really put me off – I hope you’re right.

      • darkath says:

        I also think the controller prompt are only there if you have a controller plugged in, but as i was playing with a controller i’m not 100% sure.

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        Adam Smith says:

        Oof – my mistake. There are options but they’re not as thorough as I’d have liked: no option to switch between toggle and hold for binoculars, and some bindings not sticking correctly. Fixing.

        • darkath says:

          Yes it’s a minor annoyance, but not as much as not being able to rebind altogether :D

  3. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    You can see if your processor supports SSE4.1 by going into the Steam Client, select Help > System Information.

  4. gbrading says:

    Excellente. I’m not a massive MGS fan but I’m looking forward to playing this when a Steam sale rolls around next year. Got a huge backlog before then.

  5. king0zymandias says:

    Man, the writing is making me cringe so hard. It’s like an anime written by a 12 year old. After hearing all that crap about how Kojima is a genius and whatnot, this is a little difficult for me to trudge through. I’m just too old for this shit.

    • astromach says:

      Anyone who would have you believe that Kojima is an auteur or great writer or something is, plainly, full of shit. Not to say MGS is never fun or clever – the games can frequently be both.

      People who have developed some immunity to the campy and convoluted tripe that is the Metal Gear universe and are willing to accept MGSV for the shallow military tacticool carnival that it is are sure to have a blast with it, in any case.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        MGS is like a good band with a really idiosyncratic singer. You have to acclimate yourself to all the weird, off-putting shit to enjoy it at any level. Once you have, you hardly notice it anymore, or if you do, it simply adds to the experience.

        Until the uninitiated walk up, wondering what you’re doing, and reel in horror and disgust at your taste in entertainment.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I don’t think it could be put better than you just put it.

      • QualityJeverage says:

        “Auteur” doesn’t have to suggest anything about quality.

        When I was younger I couldn’t see how dumb the writing was and loved the series for all the wrong, bone-headed “Oh-man-so-cool” reasons. Then I hated it for a while, and couldn’t fathom how Kojima got so much praise. Now I’ve come full circle and love it again, largely for the same reasons.

        The whole Metal Gear series is basically a massive amount of money and production value being given to an excited maniac who- by any objective standard (if it were possible to have one)- shouldn’t get it. For better or worse there’s nothing else like it. There was a time when it frustrated me, now I think it’s beautiful.

      • McPartyson says:

        Auteur is just french for author. Are people saying it these days in french to sound smart?

        Kojima is an author according to the definition on wikipedia:

        “An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.”

        • QualityJeverage says:

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          So yes, it is just author in french. But more specifically it’s referring to that; specifically the perceived influence of one specific person (i.e. Kojima) in a big production of many other people.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          A lot of people use it that way unironically. Like calling yourself an “artiste”, it’s just french for artist but it conveys a sense of superiority and sophistication, it’s sort of self indulgent.

    • Soapeh says:

      I’m only on episode 2 but I swear if I hear anyone mention “NINE YEARS AGO” again I’ll Fulton myself to Mother Base and stealthily murder everyone. I never asked for this.

  6. Awesomeclaw says:

    I was kind of looking forward to playing this on PC but eventually ended up getting it on PS4 so I can play MGO with some friends. I’m looking forward to some very shiny PC screenshots to remind myself/show them what we’re missing.

  7. TheWhippetLord says:

    I wasn’t really interested in this game at all, but I’ve just discovered that buying a graphics card gained me a steam code for it.
    I’ve skimmed a couple of articles on the game. I didn’t really understand what they were saying but the nice-looking doggie with the eyepatch seems to be in a lot of pictures, so I assume nice doggie is the protagonist. Couple of questions:
    Nice doggie has an eyepatch. Is he a pirate?
    There are also some pictures of a man with an eyepatch. Is it the same eyepatch? Is nice doggie actually a pirate werewolf? There are not enough pirate werewolves in videogames.

    • Spacewalk says:

      There’s an off-shore oilrig pirate base that you can customise.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      You. You get to design all the games from now on.

    • Wowbagger says:

      I for one believe there should be more whippets and flat caps in games. As far as I know they are only used as a barter system in Yorkshire at present.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      Now that you bring it up, why aren’t there more games with dog or wolf protagonists? Or even a little kitty-cat?

      And I don’t mean some indie , where you have to keep annoying offspring alive, or destroy the bedroom from Toy Story. A real game, with murder, and corridors, and QTEs.

  8. motherdragon34 says:

    Guys this tutorial here helped me fix my crashes:
    link to gameserrors.com

  9. Sinjun says:

    Am I the only one who actually kind of prefers Mouse + Keyboard for this? Not just for nailing headshots, but the increased feeling of precision with movements and stuff. I was in the same camp for The Witcher 3, another game where the majority seemed to be in the controller camp.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Not played MGS yet, but I expect I will be with you on that. Seems anything with a free camera I prefer Mouse and Keyboard, Batman and Tomb Raider (Legend, Anniversary and Underworld) being a couple that everyone says need to be played with a controller that I always play with a mouse.

    • darkath says:

      Since they fixed the sensitivity issue in GZ and now MGSV, it’s very playable either way.

    • int says:

      Ehm no — this is after all a PC gaming site. Unless a game is racing or fighting I’m gonna be going KB/M.

  10. Penguin_Factory says:

    The game’s running smooth as silk for the most part on my not very impressive hardware (I love how well optimised this engine is) but I am noticing some odd stuttering here and there when I first enter a mission area and at the beginning of some cut-scenes, as though the game is having trouble loading everything fast enough.

    Maybe it’s my hard drive? I have a really old one.

    • KesMonkey says:

      I too had that issue. I used Ultimate Defrag 3 to move the whole game folder to the fastest part of my drive. Problem solved. :)

      • Premium User Badge

        Hammer says:

        Haven’t tried it yet, but I took a bet that the load times would be awful and installed it to an SSD that was recent replaced as my OS drive. Sticking CK2 and EUIV on it prevented most of the mid-game slowdown issues, so fingers crossed.

        • darkath says:

          Yeah loading times is often a hard drive issue. But there’s usually only so much room you can use for big games like MGSV on your average SSD.

    • spagett says:

      I have been waiting for ages for MGS:V but with my kind of crappy laptop, i’m not entirely sure it’ll run. It runs Ground Zeroes pretty dang good but I imagine with the bigger world and all that it’ll be quite more demanding. GTA V runs surprisingly smooth as well.

      I’ve got a 640m (which is shit, I know) but a pretty decent i7, would anyone know if I could run it?

      • darkath says:

        I have the same graphic card on my laptop i can try later and tell you about it. Do you have a twitter or something?

        • spagett says:

          Oh man thanks a ton! I had one but I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. You could reply here and i’ll just keep checking in on it.

          • darkath says:

            Hey sorry for the late answer but i tried a bit, and with Nvidia recommended settings (which are low-medium) at 1600×900 resolution i had a consistent 45 fps with my core i5, 640M laptop. I tested that in the open world, not the prologue.

          • spagett says:

            I can’t reply to your comment for some odd reason BUT thank you! This has been gnawing on me since yesterday haha. I’ll get it as soon as the paycheck rolls in. I never bump up the resolution higher than 1366×768 and I have that nice i7 so i’ll be just fine then! It’s awesome to see that the last purchases i’ve done from large developers have been optimized so well; GTA V, Mad Max (not constant 60, maybe 35-ish at the least which is smooth enough for me) and now MGS:V. Thanks again for the reply. Happy sheep-extracting!

  11. Deadly Sinner says:

    They’ve already released a fix for the SSE 4.1 issue. It won’t update automatically, you must go into “betas” in the game’s “properties” and enable it there.

  12. Derppy says:

    Beats me how so many high profile game studios still can’t decouple physics and rendering in their game loops and just force a 30/60FPS cap that breaks the game if lifted.

    Isn’t it considered just plain bad practice to arbitrarily limit the screen update speed?

    I know high refresh rate monitors aren’t all that common outside enthusiast market, but supporting them shouldn’t be a problem to begin with.

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      To be honest, I’ll take the frame cap. This is easily the most nicely optimized PC port I’ve ever seen, so the 144hz crowd can sod off.

  13. TheManko says:

    I noticed you have Motion Blur turned off. Shame, as one section in the opening hour looks pretty neat with it on. I get that many feel motion blur is the work of the devil, but since the developers intended for the game to run at 60fps with motion blur activated, I’m running with it on. You never know in advance how the effects are used to present the image the developers were going for, so I always leave everything on, only tweaking things for a second playthrough. Same with the audio balance. I don’t go around demanding filmmakers give me control over sound and music levels, so I’m fine giving game devs control over sound levels too, assuming they take their job seriously. But again I see why you’d want to control them manually, as many do a shoddy job.

    • Vandelay says:

      And yet lots of people turn on “smart volume” or whatever your tv calls it that does flatten out the sound levels.

      I am generally with you and would say something like MGS probably has enough of an authorial control to trust that they know what they are doing with the visuals/audio, but I don’t have that much faith in other studios. I am particularly surprised at how mediocre most games use of sound is. After getting an AV receiver and a set of surround sound cinema speakers, I notice more improvement in audio quality from Spotify than I do from most games!

      • TheManko says:

        Absolutely. Some of the best sounding games I’ve played are Mass Effect 3 and Metro 2033. They did more than most who are content with just sounding alright, or blasting you with noise. I almost forget how good my system can sound until I watch a movie, or stumble on the rare game that approached its sound design with ambition.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        Only people who don’t live with kids, don’t watch things at night, and/or don’t give a flying fuck about their neighbors would question the purpose of flattening volume in a movie or TV show.

        And that doesn’t even go into headphone users and the struggle to avoid tinnitus.

  14. bit.bat says:

    I was quite surprised by how well Ground Zeroes ran on my ageing PC, I hope this similar.

    • TheManko says:

      This runs exactly the same as Ground Zeroes did.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        It requires a bit more processing power. GZ was fairly small as far as open world goes.

  15. fish99 says:

    Is it true there’s no game on the retail disc, just an 8MB Steam installer? (plus your key obviously)

    Not that I would buy it on a disc, just curious.

  16. OmNomNom says:

    Just tried this at a friends house. It is as bad as expected

    • Buggery says:

      Good game: slammed by noted critic omononommn.

      Hideo Kojima commits seppuku to regain honour. Note left behind reads, “Wanted to make good game. Forgot, and made instead game that was bad.”

  17. sansenoy says:

    Honestly Adam, you should give motion blur a try… It’s a mainstay in my setups after seeing how well some PS4 titles implement it, especially Bloodborne.

    Side note – the intro level is just horrible, a million useless little cutscenes with tiny bits of gameplay, and it just drags on forever, almost eating into the refund window…