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Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain


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You know I skipped Acid because my understanding was it’s just a card based remake of the first game but years later everyone is like “Acid is the shit” and I’m like “Man” with like a futile sigh kind of inflection


Anyway Peace Walker is £11 on the Xbox store and I’m really tempted but I’m scared someone will grass me up to the church 

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I watched a lot of that LP yesterday, it's almost like psuedo-documentary level of detail into Kojima's design ideas.


The Ground Zeroes bit is the one I watched. I don't really agree with their machete ordering of GZ after the Kaz rescue mission even if it's nicer narratively. It's always been the style of these games to have a prologue mission that goes wrong sort of thing, to set the stakes up for the main game.


But I was watching the three different playthroughs of the mission, one where it's nice and sneaky, one where it's not averse to a bit of violence and one which is sort of weird and uses strange jank in the game engine to infiltrate the base (like how smoke grenades work in trucks). It's such a richly featured bit of game design. The map is like something out of the 2016 Hitman game. Everything feels so purposeful. 


Unfortunately Phantom Pain didn't really have any of that for me. It was just loads of barren open worldness with some outposts. Occasionally you'd find a larger base which requires some scouting. But you need limits and boundaries to funnel the player into more creative approaches imo.


I really hope Kojima doesn't do Death Stranding 2. Not that DS1 is bad, it's great, but I want to see him just keep trying different things rather than settle into a Ubisoft-esque iteration approach. 


Anyway Ac!d is the shit, it isn't a remake of the first game. More like a Lynchian fever dream/nightmare re-imagining with weird psychic puppets that murder stuff and lots of stupid bullshit. But the mechanics are really good and both it and its sequel properly adapt the thinking of Metal Gear to the limits of the platform, rather than trying to cram in a full action-based Metal Gear onto a platform that it doesn't work on.


It's the second best non-Kojima Metal Gear after Rising, which is also the best Metal Gear game (everyone knows this).


That LP disappoints me a bit too though because it puts into perspective how low effort LPs are in general. I would like to see this systematic tearing apart of a DMC game in an LP, rather than watch someone do bone-headed combos while making jokes or talking random bullshit. 


I think I watched one of these guys play Rising before and it's how I learned the basics of the game I think, but I don't remember. That game didn't explain its systems very well at all

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MGS5 has an almost Dark Souls like quality to it where there are so many secret options, techniques and details available to the player to deal with different situations in really creative and ridiculous ways. But then runs into the fatal flaw of that stuff being easily missable because none of it is as clear or direct as shooting someone in the head. And despite the further into the game you get an even more wealth of weapons and gadgets to mess around with you also get D Dog and Quiet which are almost game breaking. 

The game even tries to fight back with cool ideas like you play too many night missions guards wear night vision goggles, you get into too many fire fights they up the weaponry they carry, you get too many headshots they start wearing helmets, etc. But all that means is you aim for the neck or face instead. 

Watching the game again has given me a whole new appreciation for it and despite the game having a variety of weaknesses it still is packed with so many cool systems and mechanics, it’s just a shame the game doesn’t have any cool ways to encourage the player to experiment further. I remember when I first heard you could get the water pistol to take out communication equipment and I tried it and it was cool, but it is actually less efficient than just getting on with the mission. Kind of catch 22. 

Also there is a really fascinating example of how this game handelled a piece of cut content.


13:47 - 16:36



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So I've tried getting back into this after a 4 year break, purely because of that incredible LP (watch it seriously it's really really good, the best LP I've ever seen)


But man, this game is still such a mess. It's also actually worse than when I played it. When I got it originally ShopTo sent it almost a whole week in advance and I got to play most of it with the network systems turned off. No FOB bases, no weird invasions or constant notifications. When you start this up now you have a billion daily logins and DLC and stupid bullshit popping up constantly with a billion EULA's you have to keep agreeing to.


Then you get on your chopper and the worst version of Ocelot is telling you 'Boss, your GMP is in the red cause you've literally been gone 4 whole years. Everyone is leaving Mother Base and we can't research shit. So you open your stupid iDroid thing and everything is blacked out cause it wants to draw your attention to stupid feature creep they crammed into the game after Kojima was out the building. Just pure bilge at every corner.


But then you load up a mission and it's like has action ever controlled better than this? Every single thing you can do with Snake makes so much sense and is so refined and well thought out.


But I'm not sure how I should be playing this, if I should just delete my save and skip cutscenes and just unlock missions gradually or try and attempt these extra hard missions I never touched in 2015. 


I really wish there was a more streamlined version of Phantom Pain which was just missions and bosses and none of the weird management and mobile gaming shit.


Also watching that LP has reminded me of all the anger I had for this game in 2015 and I'm feeling it all again. The twist is actually a cool one imo which finally adds a wrinkle to the Big Boss character that makes him interesting. But it's buried in the game as an obscure footnote with no ceremony.


At least for all its faults Death Stranding is a super complete feeling experience. I've never felt a game more badly compromised by management and corporate politics than MGSV.

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No, you’re thinking of Portable Ops. Peace Walker is the sequel and sets up both Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain and is intrinsic to making the most out of those games. So you have to play it to have all the lore. There are no options. 

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  • 6 months later...

Loaded this up on PC at 100fps. It's one of those games where the enhanced FPS really benefits cause you do a lot of quick camera movements in this and the motion clarity really helps. Scanning outposts and such.


Unfortunately the game doesn't support high fps natively and you have to modify a config file to get it. It also causes physics bugs with the horse which will occasionally fly. D Horse sucks tho so who cares.


When I played this in 2015 I was really disappointed by how fragmented it all is. This time I just want to relax and play with the systems a bit, sort of like how I was doing in TLOUII (cause I don't care about the story in that game and I don't have a reason to care about the story in this either).


There's a couple neat things I already found like you can parkour into Milller's prison. Not that it's all that hidden or anything. I want to see if I can find more interesting things like that tho.

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  • 2 years later...

This is my second time through, I nearly got the platinum when I played on PS4. Really it was the extra stuff at the end that killed it for me, I couldn't be bothered being able to go through levels without getting spotted at all.


This time I'm doing a mix of stealth and loud because otherwise streams would be boring as fuck because I'd be taking ages to sort a base out. Plus doing stupid stuff as well, just because it's entertaining.


This is a great game let down by the way it ends. Playing it again makes me super sad that Konami and Kojima parted ways, because I think if they'd have just let him carry on and do what he wanted we'd have carried on having amazing games like this. There's so much detail in it, and despite the story being absolute baws, it's just so fun to control and play with. The behaviour of the AI in the game is predictable enough to get a grasp on it, but sometimes it does some weird emergent stuff that can throw a spanner in best laid plans, and then it will let you get away with literal murder as far as sneaking through vision cones and other things where you think you should get got. It makes for a combination of "I can't believe I got away with that" and "Fuck me, I can't believe he saw me there" moments that make you play on your toes because there's really no solid one size fits all plan that you can bank on. 


I have no idea if Death Stranding is like this as well. It's maybe something I should look into if it is. If not, that's fine as well, I know Kojima doesn't want to spend his life making the same old shit over and over.


But yeah. That MGSV. It's still a hell of a lot of fun. You can sort of see where it's borrowed from games and where games have borrowed from it as well. I think because of that it's aged very well. Really my only complaint so far is base management is a bit of a drag, and I know that the bosses and some of the upcoming parts are a bit wank. Maybe after all this time they will be even worse. I don't know until I get there.

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Got up to the first part where the game sort of falls apart when you have to deal with the Metal Gear. They really fucked those parts up. Thankfully they are few and far between, along with the Skulls confrontations. It was a nasty shock to have and I guess they will continue to be awful, but the rest of the game is so smooth, and runs so well too, that it's sort of hard to hold it against it.


Also this game is full of mad details. The bits where you have to chase the wandering mother base soldiers. First one I ran after him and shot him to death with a SMG filled with rubber bullets. Second one I couldn't get close to him without him running off, so I used the cardboard box to try and edge closer to him and he put 2 and 2 together and realised I was Snake and just came willingly. :lol:

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