Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Sam Fisher, Sam Fisher, where are you, Sam Fisher. Now that Hideo Kojima has left Konami and Konami appear uninterested in returning to the series outside multiplayer spin-offs and pachinko machines, Ubisoft’s absent neck-snapper seems the last best hope of getting a new open world stealth game like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site].
The Phantom Pain was so matter-of-factly brilliant that it feels as if people have forgotten about it, in the way people forget how great clouds are. This was a game with stealth missions every bit as good as anything in any Splinter Cell game, which frequently rivals Hitman for missions design, but where those missions take place within the context of a larger world.
It’s a stealth playground. Struggling to pick your way through the military airport? Try approaching it from the cliffs at the rear. Try driving five miles away, stealing a rocket launcher, and completing your mission without entering the base. Try hijacking the jeep approaching from the east and entering in disguise. Try taking along a sidekick dog or sniper and waltzing through the front doors while they do all the work. Try taking a robot. Try taking a horse and having the horse poop on the road to create a car crash. Try taping a poster of an anime babe to the front of a cardboard box and distracting every enemy. Try tying balloons to every enemy and employing them back at your oilrig base. Try doing it at night. Try doing it without weapons. Try a different mission.
I say this as someone with only a passing interest in the Metal Gear Solid series. I played MGS on PSOne and nothing thereafter. I’ve already forgotten the difference between Solid Snake and Big Boss. It doesn’t matter, in the way it doesn’t matter that no one knows the names of different kinds of cloud.
We’ll probably never get another Metal Gear Solid game like it. Given its scale and his other design interests, it’s likely we’ll never get another Hideo Kojima game like it. So this is that rarest of thing: an instance where I actually wish Ubisoft would make another open world game.