‘Phantom Pain’ concludes adored, enthralling series

Eleventh installment of epic espionage action experience transcends expectations

By Cody Casares, Photo Editor

“Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain,” is the most extensively detailed beautifully crafted masterpiece of a video game you will ever play.

“The Phantom Pain,” is the latest release from video game director Hideo Kojima and Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. The video game saga has spanned nearly a decade and continues to awe fans with action and storytelling that rivals anything on TV or Hollywood movies.

The game takes place in 1984, after Big Boss wakes from a nine-year coma after an attempted rescue mission goes haywire and his helicopter blows up with him on board.

Big Boss is a decorated war hero and leader of FOXHOUND; an elite high-tech special paramilitary task force. Upon waking Big Boss (Punished “Venom” Snake) seeks revenge alongside his comrades Ocelot and Miller and begins to rebuild his military power. The events that occur take place before the previous titles with the storyline connecting back to the first game to wrap up the entire Metal Gear series.

“The Phantom Pain,” at its core is a stealth-based action game with players sneaking around enemy camps remaining undetected. But with that being said, it does not mean when you are spotted all you can do is run and hide.

The controls are smooth and Big Boss has a wide array of weapons and skills that allow players to stand their ground like never before.

There is also the option to use non-lethal tranquilizing and rubber rounds or resort to lethal lead. Players also have a choice of one buddy who deploy alongside Big Boss and can be given orders to perform specific roles to assist in whatever play style fits the player.

D-Walker is a robot AI armed with a mini-gun and several other armaments. Another option available to players is Quiet. Quiet is a highly skilled sniper who has the ability to scout ahead and eliminate anyone in her sights as Big Boss crawls through an enemy camp.

D-Dog can smell nearby enemies and resources. He even can wield a blade in his mouth and slash throats of unsuspecting enemies given the command. Lastly, there is D-Horse; who provides a fast stealthy option to navigate the massive world.

The range of support roles does not stop at just buddies. Players also have a support squad that includes a helicopter. The support squad is also in charge of extracting resources and captured enemies who are then persuaded to join Big Boss’ organization.

Kojima chose to alter some major aspects that were prevalent in previous “Metal Gear,” titles with the release of the “Phantom Pain.”  In previous games in the series Kojima has been known for including numerous 20-plus-minute cinematic cut-scenes explaining characters background in excruciating detail. Where and how they got where they are in the universe and everything in between.

The exclusion of these plot-filled segments in “The Phantom Pain” allows players the chance to craft their own story using the mechanics of the game now that the optional plot-heavy dialogue is accessible from the map screen. Instead of helplessly watching the hero narrowly escape and board the helicopter, players can play the scene out themselves.

Kojima chose to replace long time voice of Big Boss and (the original) Solid Snake, David Hayter, with Hollywood star Kiefer Sutherland to provide a more believable script.

The attention to detail in the game is astonishing. Knock over a bucket or bump a chair going through a room and nearby enemies will hear it and come to investigate. Enemies will even adapt using varying tactics and body armor to better defend against the player’s tactics infiltrating base after base.

“The Phantom Pain,” features a full day-night cycle with an ever-changing environment as well. Weather can change from sunny and bright to zero visibility from a sand storm or a pouring thunderstorm depending on the location in game.

The graphics engine (Fox Engine) is simply stunning. The game features textures, scenery and sounds that truly immerse the player into the “Metal Gear,” universe.

The small details that are littered throughout the open-world make the environment believable. The wild animals set the scene perfectly along with the vehicles, gear and even the music. Enemy camps can be found playing 80s-based musical hits like  “The Man Who Sold The World,” by David Bowie to “Take on Me,” by A-ha. All of the different aspects of weather, sound, time of day, customizable gear and buddy options available to players makes becoming Big Boss too much fun.