Game Of The Month: September – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Game Of The Month returns, haunting the first Monday of the month with the answer to life’s eternal question: “I do not have time to play all of these games so which one should I pick?” There are so many worthy games that it’s hard to pick just one but in this month of September 2015, one game has dominated our waking hours with its extraordinary take on open world stealth. It’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site].

We all knew that Metal Gear’s return to PC would cause something of a stir. The apparent discord between Konami and series director Hideo Kojima seemed to confirm that this would be the final Metal Gear Solid created by the original creator, and standalone prologue Ground Zeroes proved to be a meticulous sandbox that encouraged and rewarded experimentation. The Phantom Pain is even more impressive. Stealth expert Daniel Hindes, of the website Sneaky Bastards, reviewed the game for us and reckons it’s “the best stealth-action game ever made”. You can read that review right now, along with Alec’s diaries and Rab’s pre-release cry of joy. You can also go back in time to our Ground Zeroes review.

Why is September’s game a game that was released in August?

It isn’t! Normally we pick a game from the previous month but a combination of factors mean that September’s game was actually released in September. We often pick an older game because we want to be able to play the games we choose as Game of the Month, not speculatively guess at what might be worth your time. That means that the games we choose will already be out, and in some cases may have been released years ago if they have suddenly become relevant again. It also means you can start playing the game we pick immediately if you so choose. Because we publish our pick on the first Monday of the month, we’ve had time to play plenty of The Phantom Pain.

Have you guys done this before?

Yes. We’ve so far included Cities: Skylines, Grand Theft Auto V, Invisible, Inc, Her Story and Rocket League. What an eclectic collection. All of their respective features and GOTM coverage can be read here.

Expect further thoughts on Metal Gear from the whole crew, since we’ve all been playing with our Snakes, face-down in the dust and dirt of an eternal war. Discuss your own balloon animal adventures in the comments.

48 Comments

  1. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Makes sense, it’s great!

  2. Bull0 says:

    Solid choice. I feel bad for the Mad Max people.

    • inf says:

      Solid choice, i enjoy both games. I feel bad for morons that feel the need to polarize everything.

      • Xzi says:

        Yeah, they’re two very different games. I got both at crazy low prices, and I have no regrets.

      • Bull0 says:

        I can sympathise with them for releasing at the same time as a game that’s receiving universal acclaim while they’re getting a more lukewarm reception. That doesn’t make me a moron. Are you always such an arsehole to people or is it mostly a monday thing?

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        He clearly means the people who made The Mad Max game. I feel a bit sorry for them too, but surely they knew what would happen.

    • aleander says:

      Yeah. Venom must be stinging.

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I have never had as much fun as I did yesterday when I finally got the fulton system upgraded so that I could pick up tanks.

    • SirRoderick says:

      Nothing was QUITE so tense and as much fun as last night, when I crawled through an enemy encampment towards a manned tank, attached the Fulton and just saw the soldiers staring up incredulously while I retreated into the bushes. True daylight robbery ^_^

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I sort of like that you don’t have a consistent policy of “we only highlight lesser-marketed games” or “only the Best Game rises to the top.” Good to have it be a factor but not the deciding one. This game is well deserved.

    P.S. So, Pillars of Eternity in October, then?

  5. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Hey RPS, any chance you guys will do a Top 25 (or so) Stealth Games list? Maybe a guest column from Sneaky Bastards?

    • welverin says:

      Are there enough good pure stealth games to justify such a list? Especially if you don’t multiple games from the same series?

      • Bull0 says:

        I think 10 would be easy enough. You’d be barrel-scraping a bit to get to 25, I reckon.

        • aleander says:

          Okay. Fine. Let them do “All the sneaking games. Ranked.” (1st: Dark Souls. No, seriously).

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          gritz says:

          Yeah, 25 may be over-ambitious. But I want to read something that highlights the best stealth games in series’ I’ve never dug into. Like, which older Hitman or Splinter Cell games still hold up?

          • Yukiomo says:

            I’m playing Chaos Theory right now (I got roughly halfway through it a decade ago and then stopped for whatever reason). I haven’t played Blacklist or anything. It’s aged relatively well. The main story is unsurprisingly bad, particularly given recent real world events, but the interrogation dialogues are usually quite fun. The controls are sometimes clunky, but Fisher’s animations remain quite nice. The character models aren’t great, but the darkness hides a lot of the issues. And the stealth systems remain lovely (assuming you’re willing to accept how absurdly dark it is all the time). The light meter and sound meter combine to allow for stealth that appealingly blends transparency and ambiguity. The level design is pretty funnel-y, but there are sporadic side treks and objectives that can be completed in more than one way.

        • Syra says:

          I dunno, stealth in games is probably my favourite mode of play and often enough ‘action’ games are also ‘stealth’ games.

          I think I could easily come up with a list of 25… if you count all the big “Stealth” series (like but not limited to MGS, splinter cell, hitman, thief, deus ex, dishonored) only once, and all the open world action games which can be played stealthily (assassins creed, fallout, elder scrolls etc) you would probably make it past 10…

          And even then there’s so many little excellent stealth games (like gunpoint, stealth bastard, invisible inc, and monaco (which I personally don’t even like much)).

          Spoiled for choice frankly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Yep. Adam is writing one.

  6. welverin says:

    I’m around twenty hours played and haven’t even started mission six yet.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      Exactly. This game begs you to stop and just take thing in, or repeat a mission until you get S, or to spend twenty minutes tossing empty magazines into your soldiers’ faces on Mother Base.

      • Bazz says:

        Ha – I thought I was the only one who did that!.. I always try see how many I can lob at their heads before the chopper door closes

        • SirRoderick says:

          I punch them till they thank me, feels so wrong yet so good.

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            Qazinsky says:

            I am more of a “rubber bullet to the face of anyone visible while the chopper departs”-kinda guy.

  7. draglikepull says:

    A bit (pleasantly) surprised to see what has primarily been a console series featured as GotM. It is an amazing game, though.

  8. Thathanka says:

    Best game I’ve played in the last 25 years. Simple as that.

    • Cardinal says:

      That’s a bold statement!
      What are your 2nd and 3rd then, so that I can determine likelihood to agree?

  9. neoncat says:

    Wait, with all of the coverage it’s had (10+ articles since release), MGS V wasn’t August’s game of the month?!

    And now I have to abandon RPS until next month because I won’t have time to play MGS V for a while. :(

  10. Universal Quitter says:

    “since we’ve all been playing with our Snakes”

    I can’t quite tell if this is a double entendre or not, or if I just have a filthy mind. Both?

  11. int says:

    So, regarding animal related balloon happenings:
    link to steamcommunity.com

  12. OmNomNom says:

    It’s been a slow month but if you want a Far Cry clone. This is it

    • Crusoe says:

      Ha! What?

    • Premium User Badge

      JimmyJamNYC says:

      Insane comment is insane. In FC I never put the nasty animal who attacked me in a zoo, or the tard in truck, and his buddy, who both got out to look at my horse in the middle of the road. The horse with armour that didn’t cost $4.

      • KenTWOu says:

        There is nothing insane here. MGSV = Far Cry 2 design principles + Peace Walker features list.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          The word “clone” is the problem.

        • Shadow says:

          You really need to play Far Cry 2 again if you think MGSV resembles it in any but the most superficial level.

          • Premium User Badge

            Qazinsky says:

            I can honestly see a small resemblance between how the games play out inbetween missions in atmosphere and traveling, ie plotting travel route and avoiding/attacking outposts in a similar color scheme. I can see the comparison, even though they are pretty superficial, calling it a clone though is way off.

            Also, speaking of Far Cry2, why does everyone claim the enemies are bullet sponges? I just interrupted a playthrough on the hardest difficulty for MGS5 and the enemies drop from like 4 bullets to the chest or a single bullet to the head.

  13. Wowbagger says:

    Nothing will ever equal the unparalleled joy of fulton extracting all and sundry and the wonderful noise that accompanies it. The only thing that comes close is my anticipation of what I may or may not have captured with my cages, long eared hedgehog wins over scary bat thing.

  14. Iajawl says:

    Weak. It is a console game.

    • Wowbagger says:

      It’s an all and sundry game as far as I can see, ps3/xbox/ps4/xbone and PC? So what’s there to grumble about?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Actually this is not the case, it is available to buy and play on Windows-based personal computer(PC)s.

    • Shadow says:

      I’m as PC master racer as they come, and MGSV is one of the best ports ever executed. It feels right at home on PC, where it probably plays better than on consoles themselves. Gameplay-wise it’s the best in the series, and its well-thought-out depth blows any other console game (ever) out of the water.

    • Jinoru says:

      Consoles don’t have custom soundtracks. ;)

  15. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    A little tip for people that don’t get along with the dart pistol, get yourself the riot smg blueprint ASAP. That thing is great, rubber bullets that don’t kill, silenced, high firerate. Sneak up on a small squad of enemies and take them all out with quick headshots before they even realize the patch of grass behind them has got a gun!

    • Shadow says:

      I bounced off the Riot SMG at first due to its low accuracy and the fact it chews through most of the silencer’s durability in a single clip. Do the upgrades make it accurate enough to be a better precision headshot tool?

      The downside’s that STN lasts less than ZZZ, but then I seldom run the risk of leaving unconscious soldiers lying around anymore.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        I don’t know if I have upgraded it once or twice, but when it gets a dot sight it will be quite accurate as long as you use first person aiming (change the settings so that the game mremembers the camera after aim) and tap the button for one bullet which also helps the silencer last longer.

        Remember to remove the silencer by holding down the corresponding weapon button (2 for the riot smg) and press g when you don’t need to go silent, like when you’re clearing outposts and know where all targets are and can take them out quick enough for them not to see you.