Metal Gear is open for business
There’s something about Metal Gear Solid V’s open world that sets it apart
Metal Gear Solid officially went open world in the tech demo/unbelievably good prequel, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. It was a game that could be beaten in 7 minutes or 100 hours. The design of Ground Zeroes was very impressive, and this is something that’s carried forward into this September’s full release of The Phantom Pain. The biggest change for the franchise is the transition to an open world system. After logging several hours into The Phantom Pain, here are a few things that really stood out for me personally:
This is the best implementation of a dynamic weather system I’ve seen in a game. Be it sandstorms in Afghanistan (which blurs vision for not just the enemies, but for you as well) or torrential rain in Africa (masking your footsteps and boosting your mobility in the process), TPP’s weather system when coupled with the day-and-night cycle adds to the illusion of doing covert ops in the far corners of the world like no other game before it.
Base/outpost design and building architecture are outrageously good. It’s almost as if Kojima Productions hired people who design military installations to design MGS V’s bases. Games tend to take a shortcut or two (even big budget games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto), overlooking details in an effort to make a better level rather than something authentic. Never has there been a game where both were married so efficiently. Crawling through Metal Gear Solid’s bases feels like crawling through bases in real life.
TPP makes getting around difficult…seemingly on purpose. There’s no better way to show off a wonderfully designed open world than make the player move through it at a pace you want them to. This seems deliberate—as you’re often left with the choice of increased mobility offered by your horse, versus the benefits of having a dog companion (sniffs out enemy positions, supplies, diversionary tactics) or a bi-pedal Mech (bye bye Stealth). This is both frustrating and immersive at the same time, but it’s mostly the latter—as long as you’re on a mission.