I Played Metal Gear Solid V For 100+ Hours & It’s Far From Over
I have a confession to make… I’ve never played a Metal Gear game until the day I launched Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for the first time. It took approximately five minutes for me to completely regret such a heinous oversight. Over 6000 minutes later, I’m ready to talk about it.
I’m obsessed with MGSV. In terms of game design, it’s brilliant. Again, I have to plead ignorance at my lack of experience with games designed by Hideo Kojima but… Wow! I’m in awe of the incredible detail and thought put into every system, image and moment.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is now one of my favorite games of all time and for good reason. It’s a remarkable achievement but there is a catch. It turns out, playing any game for more than 100 hours can cause a serious case of burn out.
I would love to play more but I hit a wall. Let’s talk about that wall.
THE MOTHER OF ALL GAMEPLAY LOOPS
When the switch flipped and I officially admitted that MGSV is amazing, I started reporting my progress to Nerd Infinite co-founder (and fellow gamer) JB. I couldn’t believe I spent 20 hours playing a game yet only achieved 10-15% overall completion.
Metal Gear Solid V features 50 missions and 157 side ops. The game is technically set in an open world giving you the freedom to tackle missions out of order using any method you like. In the past, I found huge open world games like Skyrim and GTA V (great games) a little on the overwhelming side. I was afraid MGSV would be the same but the way the game is structured is phenomenal.
Nearly every mission can be planned and initiated from Mother Base or mobile command helicopter. Give the order and you’ll be dropped off close to the mission you choose to take on. The game slowly incorporates new game play systems as you progress. The result is a seamless and organic game play loop that rewards you constantly for exploring everything the game has to offer.
Finished with your latest mission? Return to upgrade Mother Base, assign your newly recruited staff to specialized teams, develop new and upgraded weapons, sent out mercenary units and more. Everything is customization and dependent on how you play the game. There’s much to experience outside of the incredible action heavy story missions and side ops.
For my arsenal, I focused mainly on stealth tech. I played missions extremely slowly and used a sniper rifle and a tranquilizer gun for the majority of my adventures. Once you do select the appropriate weapons, gadgets and allies for your mission you’re off to Afghanistan or Africa.
It’s all up to you from there. You can complete missions however you like. I typically chose to scan the environment carefully marking each and every enemy before attacking. But there were times I equipped explosives and automatic weapons for a guns blazing approach. Always pack a rocket launcher when you’re entering a tank fight! Still, there are ways to complete missions without engaging the enemy at all. Careful movement and stealth is a huge component of why Metal Gear Solid V is so much fun.
IT'S YOUR STORY
Completing a mission, upgrading Mother Base and expanding your mercenary group The Diamond Dogs is incredibly satisfying. You’re constantly rewarded with achievements/trophies as you progress. In addition to acquiring new weapons, technology and highly skilled staff, you’re also rewarded by completing challenge tasks. It’s an incredibly deep system that makes you feel like EVERYTHING you do matters.
It’s a game play loop that constantly surprised me. If you imagine a strategy, chances are the game has built in systems in place to let you carry out your plan. It’s fun. Eventually, the game’s story took a back seat to my own story. That’s part of the reason my story score is 7.5 and not higher. I enjoyed the story but it couldn’t quite invest in the whole ‘language parasite’ arc. That doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have a good story. The world is populated by fantastic characters you truly get to know and love. For me, the story was simply overshadowed by magnificent game play.
I HIT THE METAL GEAR SOLID WALL
For a long time, I played nothing else. I don’t typically get a lot of time to play games but I played ONE game for months. A game I fell in love with. As I approached 100 hours with MGSV, I thought another 100 was assured. I saw no signs of slowing down. I loved the game play that much. I tackled every side op as it became available. I carefully upgraded my arsenal and immersed myself in Kojima’s vision.
Then Mission 31 happened… Sahelanthropus… As usual, my Diamond Dogs were up to the task and we took the behemoth down. Then, the cut scenes began and to my surprise, the credits rolled! Was this the end? No. I was promised 19 more missions. Thankfully, I found myself in control of Boss again on Mother Base. That’s when I looked up the remaining missions and found… Repeats!
REPEATS! In addition to several new missions, you have to beat old missions again with increased difficulty levels. I don’t consider this a bad idea but it knocked the wind out of me. I quickly realized the side ops were becoming repetitive as well. Again, I’m not complaining. It’s an incredible game and I still have so much left to do… But that’s when I knew it was time to take a step back. It was time for a break.
There aren’t many games that sucked me in for 100 hours. I spent 4.1 DAYS of my life relaxing on my favorite chair guiding Boss through missions. But it was (finally) time to move on and play something new. I’ll get back to this remarkable game someday but until then, I’m thankful I finally gave the series a shot. I officially have enormous respect for gamers out there with who achieved 100% completion with a full collection of ‘S’ ranks on missions. I can’t even imagine how long that will take playing the game as slow as I played it for 100 hours.
Well done Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Minor story complaints and somewhat repetitive gameplay aside, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an amazing game. It’s easily the most fun I’ve had on the current generation of consoles. I may have set the game aside for now but I’ll be back for more!
It’s as close to perfection as I’ve played in a long time and that’s why it gets 9.5/10 E’s.