Posts Tagged ‘Game of The Month: September 2015’

MGSV: The Phantom Pain Is Making It Too Easy For Me

I expected MGSV: The Phantom Pain [official site] to be punishing – the kind of stealth game that stuck you with insurmountable challenges the second you stepped out of the shadows or were spotted. These expectations were born of what I assumed previous Metal Gear Solid games were, based on struggling through the first on PSone as a teenager, and based on the slavish praise they received from what I assumed were more skillful players than me.

I was initially relieved, then, when The Phantom Pain turned out to be accommodating. But after twenty hours of play, I’m much more surprised to find myself feeling so far towards the other direction. The Phantom Pain is too easy.

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Biggest Boss: Metal Gear Solid V’s Hardcore Mod

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site] is a fine game, but is not a difficult game – at least, not unless you want it to be. Sure, you can roll through everything with big guns and a murderbot or Quiet without breaking a bloodsweat; the challenge comes in following weird whims and trying strange ideas with its arsenal of guns and gadgets. Or I suppose you could install a mod.

If you want everything to be tougher, the Hardcore mod by ‘JRavens’ ups the difficulty by pushing it more towards realism, with enemies more aware and you weaker.

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Watch Metal Gear Solid V’s Lost Ending

While most of us continue to be starry-eyed about MGSV: The Phantom Pain [official site], there has been no shortage of Internet Grumbles about its ending, and concerns that it wasn’t finished-finished (possibly related to Kojima and Konami’s latest round of spats?). I’m not going to get into OPINIONS on that stuff myself, primarily because I’m not personally invested in MGS lore, but yeah, there really was an original, longer ending sequence with MORE RIDICULOUS DRAMA and arguably a greater sense of closure, both for Big Boss/Venom Snake himself and in terms of closing the loop between the two main Metal Gear Solid timelines.

This other finale, set on a jungly island, was partially completed before whatever happened happened, and is included on the MGSV bonus disc from the PS4 collector’s edition. You can watch the whole, 18 minute sequence below. Spoilers, inevitably.

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MGSV: Horrible Boss

Continuing a diary series in which an MGS virgin plays the Phantom Pain.

The real trouble with Quiet is that she’s lazy. Or so I incorrectly thought for the longest time.
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Changing How You Play

I play every stealth game the same way.

I remain at a distance. I find the higher ground. I use a weapon with a scope; a bow and arrow if one is available, a normal sniper rifle if not. I crouch-walk around my target or targets slowly, attempting to pick off each enemy and objective in turn, such that no one ever notices anything is amiss until the instant when they’re killed. If they do notice and sound the alarm, I do not care; as long as they do not know where I am, and so can never fire at me, I continue until the job is done. It’s always this way. In the Far Cries, Crises, Splintered Cells and Rainbows Six; wherever possible, this is how I play.

I am playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain differently and I don’t know why.

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MGS V: I Bless The Rains

Continuing a diary series in which an MGS first-timer plays The Phantom Pain.

On the one hand, the openness and rogue weather of Metal Gear Solid V’s second zone is a spectacular, tactics-altering change from the dusty, mountainous, barren Afghanistan I’ve spent dozens of hours in. On the other, no, it’s different, it’s not the same, it’s all weird, I hate it I hate it I hate it.

If you want to go into the game completely clean, the below piece spoils what that location is, but doesn’t cover any plot stuff.
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Six Things MGSV: The Phantom Pain Could Do Better

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site] may be the best stealth-action game ever made, but it’s not flawless. The game’s massive scope, and the surprising amount of detail in each interaction within that massive playpen, is impressive – however, that scope is precisely why certain aspects feel like they have something missing. Consider the following, then, as an exploration of The Phantom Pain’s own phantom pains – without plot spoilers.

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Big Boss vs Best Boss

I quailed at even the idea of bosses in MGSV [official site]. It’s my desert, leave me alone to do my thing, and that thing most certainly does not involve filling something big with as much heavy ordinance as is possible. A couple of encounters with the teleporting zombie super-soldiers known as The Skulls had already left a bad taste in my mouth. While stealth, or at least avoidance was possible to some degree, they were exactly the sort of bullet-sponge nightmare I was afraid of. Would this be pre-Director’s Cut Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s bosses all over again? I would be abandoning this game halfway through, of that I was increasingly sure.

Then I met Quiet. Spoilers for an early boss fight follow.
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One Man’s Epic Quest To Retrieve Take On Me In MGSV

I haven’t got anything like as many cassette tapes as I’d like in The Phantom Pain [official site]. A combination of a determination to be non-lethal, to knock out or capture everyone and my inherent ineptitude means most base raids go South pretty quickly, and I end up in a desperate sprint to a checkpoint in order that I don’t lose all my progress. No time to clear out all the buildings: just run, run until that magical yellow save circle appears in the top right of my screen, and I know my prisoners are safe and my diamonds are in hand. I’ve left tapes behind that way, and it breaks my heart. Rebel Yell and Love Will Tear Us Apart are definite casualties, the latter of which I can barely cope with the loss of. If it turns out I’ve abandoned Bowie’s Cat People somewhere, I’ll almost certainly lose my mind.

When I heard the distant strains of Take On Me while trying to rescue a prisoner from a particularly well-guarded base, I knew my priorities had to change. Physician heal thyself. The trouble is, I didn’t hear those strains until everything had already gone to hell.

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Disquiet: Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain

It’s been days since I wanted to talk about anything other than Metal Gear Solid [official site]. My sister is probably sick of this. We’re very close but live far apart so we tend to speak almost every day, not so much about our lives as about the things that distract us from our lives. She had no interest in Metal Gear Solid, but eventually my incessant chatter caused her to look into The Phantom Pain. I should have predicted the response.

“I watched a trailer for it last night. What’s the deal with the boob lady?”

I’d been talking about the game for days but hadn’t mentioned Quiet, your sniper buddy. I had been raving about the things I liked about the game, and when the conversation turned to flaws, it turns out it’s the small things that disturb the experience more for me than those bigger talking points.

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The RPS Verdict – METAL GEAR SOLID V

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site] is our Game of the Month for September, but why has this traditionally non-PC series infiltrated our chests and Fulton’d our hearts? Alice, Adam, Alec and a Graham gathered to discuss stealth, balloons, dogs in eye-patches, making enemy grunts feel alive and accidental kill-sprees.

No plot spoilers here, but if you still hope to go into the game entirely blind, be warned that we do discuss some of the game’s systems and mechanics in some detail.

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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].

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The Importance Of Pink, Puppies & Kim Wilde In MGSV

Continuing a diary/review-in-progress of MGSV [official site], from the perspective of someone who hasn’t really played Metal Gear Solid before. There are no plot spoilers in this one.

Metal Gear Solid V is a videogame in which I travel around on a bright pink helicopter which blares Kim Wilde’s Kids In America from a loudspeaker. Then I go home to my bright pink oil rig in the Seychelles and roll around on the floor with a one-eyed puppy for a while, before delivering a savage and unprovoked beating to the men who work for me. They thank me for my cruelty, and demand I hit them harder.

11/10
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Metal Gear Solid V’s Birthday Surprise

When we talk of ‘spoilers’, we usually mean plot twists – e.g. you’re actually your own uncle’s uncle’s nephew sent back in time to cut your child’s finger off. More rarely, and more delightfully, we face odd surprises in what a game does or becomes. What’s so great about Frog Fractions? Mate, go play Frog Fractions yourself.

Metal Gear Solid games hold many surprises big and small (I still chuckle at Snake Eater’s glowing mushroom chat), and I wouldn’t want to ruin any in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site] for you, but this post is about a small and charming thing you’ll only see on one day of the year so… maybe have a peek below?

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Seven Reasons Why MGS V’s Stealth Is A Joy

Continuing a diary/review-in-progress of MGSV [official site], from the perspective of someone who hasn’t really played Metal Gear Solid before. This entry contains possible spoilers for some early in-game mechanics, but no plot stuff.

I suspect the craziness of Metal Gear Solid V’s prologue is as much the ‘true’ MGSV as are the rather more sober missions, so I don’t want to making wild proclamations about how I’m now onto the real deal. However, the missions, with their wide-open stealth sandboxes, already feel like a reason to stay in the game, rather than just hoot uproariously at it from afar. The stealth is good. Good. And the game comes up with some smart, and funny, reasons why you would always want to play it as a stealth game rather than a straight shooter. And I don’t just mean the balloon-based animal abductions pictured above.
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