Dalisclock completes the Metal Gear Series with some of his sanity intact

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BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Dalisclock:

On a related note, I have to wonder if Otacon ever got around to telling Solid Snake the story about how their dads were best buds back in the day destroying and building Metal Gears together. Assuming of course, Huey told Hal about meeting the most LEGENDARY SOLDIER ever.

Not sure if you've played MGSV but I'm gonna spoiler it in case

Not yet. As soon as I finish Peace Walker, I'll be moving on to GZ and TPP. And of course, my writeup of PW will appear around that time as well.

I'll probably end up doing a separate write up of GZ as well, to save space and time when I finish TPP.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace (Walker) is our profession.

Solid Snake's run in the modern era is now concluded, leaving him standing in the graveyard near the bodies of Major Zero and Big Boss. Despite the fact it would be easy (and logical) enough to end the series there, the gods of sequels decided that the metal gear series would continue.

When you run out of ways to go forward, the logical choice is to back up and, in this case, that means going back to the cold war era that spawned Big Boss. I can only imagine the fact that Snake Eater was better received then Guns of the Patriots had something to do with this, though there's also the fact that Operation Snake Eater happened in 1964 while the original Metal Gear takes place in 1995. There's a nice 30-year gap for the series to explore and it only makes sense to try to show why Big Boss was considered a living legend.

Peace Walker is an interesting game in many respects. It launched on the PSP only to be later ported over to the PS3, which meant it was originally overlooked and, no doubt, fewer people have probably played Peace Walker then any game in the series baring the MSX ones. It also follows the PSP exclusive Portable Ops, which it arguably took a fair bit of inspiration (if not outright stealing) from.

What I found most interesting is that despite being a PSP game, it had a lot of love and care put into it, given a much larger budget then Portable Ops did and was actually worked on by Kojima, unlike Portable Ops. Apparently, it was going to be handled by younger members of his department/studio and Kojima got involved when he learned that they didn't quite understand nuclear deterrence. There are also references, both online and in game, that suggest Peace Walker was the original Metal Gear Solid 5 before that game started development.

If it was the original Metal Gear Solid 5, it would make a lot of sense. Peace Walker is clearly meant to be a direct follow on to Snake Eater, to the point I can only imagine someone picking this game up having not played Snake Eater and trying to figure out half of what's going on. If they had some idea about how the cold war was, that would make sense but the stuff about the boss would probably not mean much.

Portable Ops, OTOH, is pretty much ignored, to the point that this can almost be considered a remake. A number of story beats are similar, some of the same voice actors are brought back(Tara Strong, Steve Blum) and Peace Walker expands the new CO-OP mechanics introduced by Portable Ops. In fact, the only references that Portable Ops happened at all are an oblique one about the whole affair being a mess and single mention of FOXHOUND(which is apparently now canonically founded during the events of Portable Ops, a few years prior). And Snake having the FOX sneaking suit, it would seem.

Peace Walker starts in 1974, 10 years after Snake Eater. It seems that just after being awarded the title of Big Boss and paying his last respects to The Boss, Snake quit FOX and dropped off the grid for the better part of a decade. He and Kaz Miller(who returns to the series for the first time since Metal Gear 2) have founded a PMC called Militaries Sans Frontieres/Soldiers without Borders. They're based on a beach in Colombia(where PO took place) when Snake is visited by Professor Ramon Galvez Mena(hereafter just called Galvez) from Costa Rica and one of his students, a 16 year old high schooler named Paz.

Galvez and Paz want to hire Snake and MSF to investigate and deal with incursions of a heavily armed force into Costa Rica, a country that by its own constitution, cannot maintain a standing army. Being that MSF is an Army without a Country, defending a Country without an Army seems a good fit. Granted, things are complicated almost immediately by Snake realizing that the soldiers, known as the Peace Sentinel, are back by the CIA and that the professor is a KGB agent hoping to kick the US out of Latin America. Despite misgivings, Snake agrees to take the contract, partially due to a tape recording that appears to have The Bosses voice on it, recorded days before in the Costa Rican jungle.

As part of the deal, MSF is given control of an old, abandoned offshore research rig in the Caribbean which they dub Mother Base and makes an excellent staging point for operations into Costa Rica. As the game goes on, Mother Base expands to reflect MSF's growth.

Over the next few weeks, Snake and MSF begin combat operations against PS, learning early on that they're using Costa Rica as a testing ground for AI controlled combat vehicles which act as level bosses. These come in the form of Pupa, a clone of the Shagohod which is supposed to be amphibious, Chrysalis, a VTOL attack craft with its own fleet of drones to accompany it and Cocoon, a huge land battleship that evokes images of some of the crazy WW2 German super tanks.

However, they're all prototypes and testing platforms leading up to the titular Peace Walker, which ends up being the first Metal Gear in the series timeline. It turns out, surprisingly nobody at this point, that it was based off Granins Metal Gear specs that he was so proud of during that one scene in Snake Eater, that had fallen into the hands of Huey Emmerich, Otacons dad (who is a dead ringer for him in both face and voice, except that Huey was born a paraplegic and is confined to a wheelchair). Like his son, Huey works on it because he was told that Peace Walker would be used purely for defense. Apparently Otacon never listened to his dad, or Huey just never talked about the Peace Walker fiasco, because Otacon fails into the same trap when designing Metal Gear REX 30 years in the future(well that and Otacon was obsessed with giant robots).

The game's plot runs along two parallel tracks. The first is Snake and MSF's hunt for Peace Walker, where Snake encounters Huey, who designed Peace Walker, and Dr. Strangelove, a British woman who specializes in AI and is responsible for the AI cores that run both the various giant boss vehicles and Peace Walker itself. There's also the mastermind behind the entire project, a CIA station chief named Hot Coldman *Groan*.

Between Huey, Strangelove and Coldman, the game's main political theme of Nuclear Deterrence is discussed at great length. Specifically, Peace Walker is designed to be the perfect nuclear deterrent, a mobile nuclear launch platform that can't easily be targeted by enemy nukes and can move any terrain. What makes it so "Perfect" is that the AI core is tapped into NORAD's databanks, allow Peace Walker to calculate the best response to any nuclear threat and act accordingly and unlike fallible humans, Peace Walker is fail-deadly and will launch a counterstrike 100% of the time in case of loss of communication with NORAD. There's also the fun fact that Peace Walker has a Nuclear Bomb built into its head, so could also be used to walk up to an enemy target and self-destruct.

Coldman is convinced that the biggest flaw in Nuclear Deterrence Theory is that some or possibly all of those involved in ordering a counterstrike would rather die than be complicit in Nuclear Genocide, thus encouraging a first strike in the first place. He's more than happy to prove Peace Walker is needed by testing this theory with an actual nuclear strike, or the threat of one. Anyone who has ever seen the film Dr. Strangelove will find all of this somewhat familiar, consider it's take on Nuclear Deterrence and the Doomsday Machine.

On the other side of the story coin is Big Boss?s (and MSF by extension) descent into the villain (or antagonist) he'll canonically become. Snake Eater did an excellent job of showing his loss of innocence and disillusionment as he was forced to kill the person he looked up to the most, The Boss, at the order of his country. Peace Walker continues this trend by showing Big Boss's drifting into pure blood knight and warmonger territory.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Dr. Strangelove programmed Peace Walker's AI with the personality of The Boss, using all the available information about her life (and making it even more creepy, using her voice). Like Snake, Strangelove more or less had a crush on The Boss and was devastated to learn Snake had killed her (and furious at Snake). Using the Boss as Peace Walkers brain allowed Strangelove to bring her back from the dead (so to speak), both because she felt that if any mind would be suited for determining when Nukes should be fired, it should be The Boss, and allowing Strangelove to try to determine if The Boss actually defected as everyone believes.

The end of result of this is that both Strangelove and Snake have a love-hate relationship with Peace Walker, as having the Boss back in this manner allows them both plenty of time for angsting over her. This is especially true with Snake, who really, really hasn't gotten over having to kill her 10 years before and having to confront and fight "her" all over again takes a very clear toll on his emotional state. It helps drive his descent into darkness. The fact he starts the game not wanting to be called "Big Boss", only to embrace it at the end when he decides The Boss was wrong for allowing herself to be killed says volumes about how far he's come.

With both of these threads working in tandem with each other, Snake slowly, subtly takes MSF down a disturbing path. Having declared that MSF is untethered by Nations or Ideology, Snake and Miller are more than happy to dive into the middle of a turf way in Costa Rica between CIA and KGB proxy forces and join forces with the local Sandinistas, who were chased out of Nicaragua by US backed forces, knowing that this puts them squarely on the US governments shit list.

MSF is initially (and predominantly) expanded by what is essentially piracy. Any troops Snake manages to incapacitated on the battlefield can be airlifted off to be inducted into MSF, through methods and means not elaborated on (some end up in the brig upon arrival for "Excessive Hostility" but almost always end up as new recruits). Mini-boss battles with enemy APCs, Tanks and Helicopters can be resolved by capturing said vehicles and being put to use by MSF for field operations. MSF troopers are sent off to engage in combat around the world with no regard for who the enemy is and they're all shown as masked mooks when seen in person.

And then there's the issue of Metal Gear ZEKE. Once Huey joins MSF, he starts talking about building their own Metal Gear to help deal with Peace Sentinel and the CIA, using pieces from destroyed AI Bosses to do it. This eventually culminates in recovering Peace Walkers nuclear weapon to mount on ZEKE, because if MSF is to be a nation onto itself, it needs a deterrent to allowing MSF and Mother Base to have some measure of sovereignty and keeping other nations from messing with them. It seems fitting that Big Boss starts using the term "Outer Heaven" in this game, and shines a very interesting light on the first two Metal Gear games.

The plot is a lot tighter then MGS4 ever was, helped due to a lot of focus and on shorter cutscenes that get right to the point. Even better, cutscenes can now be rewatched at any time from the main mission select menu, just in case you have to respond to something in the middle (which is unlikely due to the rather short running times). Also, unlike MGS4, most of the cutscenes are drawn rather than rendered in game engine, which I imagine was a compromise to allow the PSP to handle it without sacrificing content, and the game looks fine regardless. One change from the previous games in the inclusion of QTEs and interactive sequences in some of them, which can be annoying because they seem to pop up at random, at least allow you to instantly replay them if it triggers a failure state.

And if you want more information about what's going on, there's an extensive bank of cassette tapes that are unlocked over the course of normal gameplay that involve various characters discussing everything from how to play the game to their backstories to International Nuclear politics to Costa Rica to stuff they're interested in. It's pretty much all optional but there's hours of stuff in there, broken down into short 2-5 minute audio clips and it adds a lot to the atmosphere. I honestly wish that MGS4 had used something like that to flesh out the world the Patriots had created, because I really wanted to know just how they managed to convince everyone that a giant submarine smashing through downtown NYC didn't happen or Ocelot's trolling clone arm and never really got an answer.

Among the highlights were a tape where Strangelove is running tests on The Boss AI and is dismayed over her idealism continually causing scenario failures(choosing to Nuke the US because better the Eastern Bloc survive then both sides die in nuclear fire. ?There are no borders in this world?), Chico gushing about dinosaurs and bigfoot, several people telling Snake that no matter how tasty the poison dart frogs look, he shouldn't eat them and Huey breaking into uncontrollable laughter when Snake tells him he still believes in Santa Claus. There?s also a difficult to unlock series of tapes called ?Paz?s Diary? which sheds a lot of light on her real character as well as having some really interesting character bits (such as Snake and Miller beating the shit out of each other in the showers because Miller was dating two MSF female soldiers at the same time, then both of them laughing about it).

There?s a bunch of new characters introduced for PW. Miller obviously makes his return with a much larger presence then he did in MG2(and designed/voiced so that liquid could plausibly impersonate him in MGS) with a lot of interesting things to say about world politics and battle tactics in general, as well as being the closest thing Snake has to a true friend at this point(his reaction to some of Snakes comments are priceless though, such as when Snake starts gushing over the idea of a cardboard box that looks like a tank). Paz has a lot of say about Costa Rican history, even if she comes across as really Na?ve at times. Strangelove and Huey make excellent scientific advisors who both eventually defect to work for Big Boss and help design ZEKE with plenty of interesting backstory and discussion in their own right. Amanda and her younger brother Chico represent the Sandinistas/FLSN, though both of them are conflicted about having to work with the KGB and use drug money to fund their revolution. Amanda in particular was forced into leadership after her father (their last leader) was killed, whereas Chico is a 12 year old who loves dinosaurs but also wants be treated like an adult. The odd (wo)man out here is Cecile, a French woman who Snake finds n the jungle who escaped from PS custody after accidently stumbling across Strangelove?s AI lab. She comes across as very?French, without much to really add to the plot and without trying to nitpick too much, her accent sounds very forced (apparently, she?s based off an employee from Konami?s Paris office).

In fact, the whole thing feels like the polar opposite of MGS4. The running time may be shorter but it feels like you get a hell of a lot more out of what's there and despite some of the more far out elements (The Boss AI, some of the side content, giant robot tanks), the whole thing feels far more grounded in real life Cold War politics rather than magical nanomachine bullshit. When I compared it Dr. Strangelove above, it was intentional, both because Kojima actively references it and because of the feeling of deadly Nuclear terror and shitty CIA proxy wars mixed with a bit of dark humor. I keep wondering if Kojima's/the writer?s worst impulses were forcibly restrained somehow because "CIA agent tries to prevent WW3 by nearly starting WW3" is a lot more plausible then "Russian Cowboy possessed by arm of dead British clone was running to triple cross for 50 years to take down the Internet Illuminati".

If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned anything about the Patriots so far, it's because they are pretty much not mentioned in the game at all. There are hints here and there that the Patriots are behind the whole Peace Walker Incident (The AIs for the Bosses are named GW, TJ, TR and AL, XOF and Peace Sentinel are probably related to each other based on trooper design) but the only real explanation comes at the end, after you've triggered the real final ending and boss. Basically, it turns out that 16 year old high schooler Paz who really, really likes talking about Peace was actually a Cipher (AKA the Patriots) agent the whole time and was just waiting for a chance to steal MSF's Metal Gear from them.

So that big, long speech EVA made in MGS4 about how Big Boss founded the Patriots only to break from them later on over the clone baby thing? There's literally no mention of Big Boss being part of Zeros secret club at any point and it's explicitly mentioned at the beginning he pretty much quit FOX and went off the grid right after he got his title in 1964. Portable Ops had some references Big Boss being invited to the Patriot Party, but it's canonicity is very, very ambiguous (Broad Strokes seems to be how PW treats it). As for the "I'm mad about the clone babies I didn't consent to!" bit, is mentioned all of once if you get a unlock one particular tape which requires a bunch of super hard optional boss battles, and just acknowledges the clone snake project has begun and that two of them have been born(presumably Solid/Liquid) with the caveat of ?I wonder how he would react?, which heavily implies Big Boss doesn?t know about the clone thing. He certainly doesn?t seem to recognize Cipher when Paz mentions it to him

So yeah, Nothing in Peace Walker supports anything she said there, which implies she was either lying to Snake or Kojima realized that particular speech came across as being pretty stupid and pretty much ignored it. Honestly, I'm fine with that, because I never really bought the whole "Big Boss helped found the Patriots" thing and the constant religious references and Big Boss being the messiah of sorts felt really, really out of place to me. Instead, PW's take on it of Big Boss messing up a Patriot Operation (as FUBAR as it ended up being) and getting a giant bullseye painted on his back because of it comes across as a bit more plausible. At best, you could argue really broad strokes that ?Big Boss helped found the patriots by helping them get their startup money (the philosophers legacy).

With that out of the way, the gameplay is much the same as Snake Eater, with some of the control updates from MGS4. However, a fair bit of it has been simplified for the PSP. Chapters take place over a number of maps, but the maps are fairly small and broken up across individual missions that usually last no longer then 15-20 minutes. Boss and mini-boss battles are considered their own missions, meaning that it's easy enough to retry them over again without fear of losing progress.

The small maps do have limitations though, meaning that it's harder to find routes around enemies and Snake has somehow lost the ability to crawl or shoot while prone. I suspect this is a balancing issue because the guards pretty much can't see you unless you're standing directly in front of their cone of vision and about 20 feet in front of them. Granted, this might be justified in game as all the normal guards being pretty bad at everything (more on that in a bit).

The short missions also have the interesting gameplay change of allowing you to enter missions with a pre-selected loadout. This includes uniforms (different camo types, sneaking suits, "Naked" and eventually battle armor), a couple of weapons, support items and a full loadout of ammo for each weapon. This comes in very handy when a boss battle is entered by letting you swap out your sneaking loadout for one designed to fight a tank and its escort troops. Even more so because the game allows you to replay any mission as many times as you want to gather resources, "recruit" troops, look for secrets and getting a better score on the missions (missions are now scored, E to A with S as the best one).

Beside the story missions, Main Ops, are supplemented by filler missions called "Extra Ops", which tend to be shorter but allow you find weapon specs and recruit soldiers you wouldn't normally be able to find. Some extra ops are unlocked by story progress, others are unlocked by extra ops (in some cases, S ranking an extra op to unlock another). They range in a number of different activities, some of which said to be supporting the main story (destroy a barrier for snake, prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching him while he's fighting a boss battle, etc) but most are generally just filler. There's also Versus and Co-ops, which are the games multiplayer and thus I didn't bother with, so I can't comment on them.

Boss and mini-boss battles pop up to block progress at various points in the campaign, but outside the story harder bosses can be fought for the purposes of farming troops and vehicle capture. Simply put, mini-bosses such as APCs, Helicopters and Tanks always arrive with a small escort team, which will hunt for you while the vehicle tries to kill you from afar. As escorts are taken out, reinforcements will show up to replace them, up to a certain limit. After a vehicle runs out of escorts and taken some damage, the vehicle captain will stick his head out and once taken out, allows the vehicle to be captured, at which point it will be added to MSF's arsenal.

The bosses, OTOH, follow a different dynamic. The AI bosses are fought 1 on 1, where Snake faces each battle vehicle in a giant arena. Upon defeat, he's able to enter the AI core and extract "chips"(which look like big hard drives, but it is the 1970's so who knows) before the core ignites an engine and flies away like an escape pod (not even joking here). This is a mechanic designed around building Metal Gear ZEKE. Huey explains that you use the parts and chips from the various AI bosses to build ZEKE, but you can only salvage the parts if they're undamaged. OTOH, Chips can only be salvaged if the parts are damaged. The parts give ZEKE new abilities (beyond the mandatory bits just to actually work) while the chips essentially raise its stats (like mobility, speed, etc).

The ability to replay missions over and over again ties into these boss battles tightly, because the only way to upgrade (and to an extent, build) ZEKE is to refight boss battles over and over again to get chips and parts. This includes main mission boss battles, which means you'll see the same story bits over and over again, but fight the battles with your best weapons and keeping what you gain from each battle, which makes no sense narratively and feels very "gamey". The mini-boss APC/TANK/HELI battles work much the same way, if you wanted to build up a fleet of vehicles for MSF's use (and recruit more combat troops from their escorts). There are quite a few extra ops boss battles, almost all of which are harder versions of the APC/TANK/HELI battles and the AI weapons.

Apparently Peace Walker intentionally crosses Metal Gear over with the Monster Hunter series and while I can't comment on how well it did so(as I haven't played any games in that series), my impression is that the AI battle vehicles are mechanical stand-ins for the monsters in that series, as far as actual battle mechanics go. There's also a hidden area where Snake meets a talking cat named Treyna and is taken to Isla del Monstro/Monster Island where he fights actual Monsters from that series, as well as a dinosaur version of Metal Gear REX(literally called GEAR REX). I suspect that particular part of the game is not canon and more of an Easter egg, either that or there are magical cats snake knows how to talk to in the MGS universe.

Beyond the mission repeat mechanic, another particularly interesting addition to the series is the Fulton Skyhook System. Essentially, somewhere along the line it was decided that MSF would get new recruits by pulling them off the battlefield and putting them to work for Big Boss. Mechanically, Snake/MSF soldier PC will knock out an enemy and attach a Fulton balloon to them, which almost instantly catapults them to a waiting off-screen helicopter (because helicopters are cheaper). This allows snake to do battlefield extractions without the hassle of having to drag someone to a helicopter, which saves the game from having to actually render a helicopter extraction (or Huey?s in general, which you?re told MSF uses but never really see) or having a drag/move body mechanic (Snake lost this ability when he forgot how to crawl or shoot while prone). This does lead to the amusing fact that the Fulton works ANYWHERE, including inside of buildings and underground.

It does lead to some weird gameplay/story segregation issues because the actual ?recruitment? part of the process is extremely opaque, where some of the recruits Snake grabs from the battlefield will be kept in the brig to be ?reasoned with due to intense hostility" but all of them (except for one plot specific case) will eventually join MSF and never cause problems ever. Presumably they join Big Boss because of his reputation, but nobody knows what he really looks like, thus why they shoot at him. It?s also mentioned that most of the villains are Mmercenaries and/or Vietnam vets, so either don?t feel any great allegiance to anyone or were treated badly when coming back from the war so are attracted by MSF?s ethos of treating soldiers better then their country treated them.

This feeds into the other side of Peace Walker. While the main game is doing the Sneaky Sneaky missions occasionally punctuated by boss battles, Peace Walker's emphasis on MSF isn't just a part of the plot. The menu screen you return to between missions forms the heart of a mode where you essentially run a PMC. Centered on the offshore platforms they were granted at the beginning of the game, MSF slowly expands and gains new features and abilities. Departments are formed and staffed by Big Bosses newly recruited minions based off a series of stats (from E for shit to S for best of the best). Having better ranked troops in a department levels it up, which mostly determines what weapons and items you can build and develop (MSF apparently can't just buy weapons off the black market, but rather has to find plans and develop all their stuff).

However, men assigned to combat end up serving two purposes. The first is that can be used in battle and the second is that they act as resources to develop weapons and build your base up and such. Instead of money, these resources are called GMP (or Gross Military Product), which seems to be an approximation of MSF's combat potential, and is based off their combat stats. More and better troops raise GMP and thus your ability to build better weapons. Troop GMP goes up from training (merely being in combat division), but goes up a lot more from actually engaging in combat.

Any Soldier in MSF can be used to play almost any mission in the game (raising their GMP) but after a certain point, the game introduces Outer Ops. Outer Ops is a "Strategy mode" of sorts where Soldiers and vehicles can be assigned to engage in battles around the world for clients (at least that's how I interpreted it). It's very abstract, with the enemy force being displayed and all you can do is assign forces to defeat them (which a graphical representation of your chances vs. theirs). Once forces are committed, the battle happens while you are doing a mission and you get the results afterwards, including the option of a play by play of what happened. Victory results in gaining GMP for the soldiers who participated and often items/specs for weapons development. Soldiers who are "killed" are sent to sickbay to recover (unless the battle is a loss, where they might actually be killed for real). Vehicles don't get better stats and a loss in battle is a permanent loss, but vehicles absorb and dish out a lot more damage, so that's the tradeoff.

The abstract nature of it works nicely into reinforcing the nature of running a PMC. The enemies you fight are never identified by who or where they are and the fact you can't control anything in the battle other then who to send (Soldiers often use the best weapons MSF has in any given battle, but not always). Actual combat seems to be done mostly via the RNG, which can result in boneheaded moves like soldiers continually chipping away at a tanks health with a submachine gun while then using a rocket launcher on a nearly dead soldier. It makes it feel very detached like MSF's mantra of being soldiers without borders, unchained by nation, cause or ideology. The entire thing is optional and runs in the background anyway, so it's really just a way to help level up your troops (and give them something to do).

There are a few nagging issues with the game and at the risk of causing a derailment I?ll hit probably the most problematic one first. Namely, it?s Paz, or how she?s depicted. Namely, Her depiction for almost the entire game is that of an innocent, somewhat na?ve teenage schoolgirl, with only at the very revealing she?s actually an adult and a triple agent working for the CIA, KGB and Cipher.

The issue is with the weird fascination with her in a not innocent way. The first time you meet Paz, Snake while ?checking her for injuries? looks at her in her underwear. Then there?s ?A Date With Paz? extra Op, which involves Snake taking Paz to the Beach so he can impress her, take photos of her posing and get into a special cardboard ?love box? with her at the end with some very suggestive dialogue while they?re inside together. The others come from Paz?s diary tapes (which are revealed from beating the harder optional bosses), during which it?s mentioned that Strangelove trying to do a suggestively sensual massage on Paz?s chest and Miller dropping his pants in front of her while making a joke about suppositories, both of which involve Paz throwing things at them to make them leave. And then there?s the fact Paz strips down to her underwear again when she?s in ZEKE?s cockpit to fight Snake at the end of the game.

All of these together comes across as a bit creepy, because while I realize she?s actually an adult and that the age of consent in much of the world is 16, the fact these are all middle-aged adults making very suggestive moves towards someone they believe be a na?ve high school student comes across as borderline pedophilia. And this is after the whole B&B corps thing in MGS4 and the also disturbing ?Teenage Otacon was being molested by his stepmom? plot point in MGS2. It seriously makes me wonder WTF Kojima?

That aside and moving on, Extra Ops, combined with the Main Story Ops, makes Peace Walker a fairly big and long game, especially if you care about rerunning the ops several times to S rank them, to recruit high ranking soldiers or get rare weapons or specs. Which you pretty much need to do (or play co-op) if you want to play a lot of the optional boss battles(mostly for the challenge of it). A number of the extra ops feel kind of gimmicky (Base defense, hold up, dead man?s treasure, etc) or there to pad out content and always take place on maps from the Main Ops with the same enemies (which means you already know where you?re going but it gets a bit samey after a while).

The final chapter itself kind of falls into this as well. There are 5 chapters in the game(plus a short prologue) but 95% of the story is done once you finish Chapter 4 and blow up Peace Walker. There?s even a credit roll sequence with a ?To be continued in Chapter 5? attached. From there on, you occasionally get a mission where the captured Zadornov will escape from his cell at MSF and you have to go out to one of the areas from the main game (at night this time), find him and recapture him. It?s not hard but it feels like padding, even if it does turn out that Paz was letting him out of his cell to distract everyone while she made modifications to ZEKE in preparation to stealing it (though it?s never explained how he got off Mother Base, which is a hundred miles from land, or how the guards kept letting this happen).

A lot of the Extra Ops don?t unlock until Chapter 5 and some of the best stuff isn?t available without having completed pretty much every mission in the game regardless, so you can?t get the infinite ammo bandana until after you?ve beaten a much harder version of peace walker, which is kind of where you needed to have it. The only real reason to keep going after a certain point is either because you want 100% completion (if so, good luck to you) or you really want to beat the most challenging bosses in the game (including the monster hunter bosses in the hidden area).

Once Mother Base has expanded enough (which it will be doing anyway if you?ve been recruiting as you go), ZEKE is finished (which might require refighting some of the AI Boss battles) and all the Zadornov capture missions have been done, Paz will attempt to steal ZEKE, forcing a final true boss battle on Mother Base. This one has the fun dynamic of being able to use Mother Bases missile launchers and Supply Catapults as part of the boss battle itself, but also the fact that the difficulty of the fight is based around how much you?ve built up ZEKE. If you built and installed all the extras and all the AI chips, ZEKE is far, far more difficult then if you basically did enough to put it together correctly (of course, you do have the option of removing the extras, but not the AI chips, prior to the battle). Beating ZEKE will cause Paz to fall into the sea (presumably but not actually dead because Ground Zeros) and trigger the real end sequence.

This real finale sets the stage for Big Bosses future. Miller admits he was working with Cipher (and may have been a Patriot agent the whole time) to help build up MSF, but Snake forgives him and they discuss the fact that stopping Peace Walker has made them a threat to both Cipher (the Patriots aren?t mentioned by name) and the World Order and they have to be ready for what comes next. This culminates with Big Boss making his ?Outer Heaven? speech where he talks about MSF/Outer Heaven being those without a country but having each other to depend on who go where needed and fight those to need to be fought. That they will be viewed as a cultish rogue state by the rest of the world and will play the role as needed, echoing what Paz/Pacifica says to Big Boss, that they will be used by Cipher as a counterpoint to the New World Order (that the Patriots will eventually bring).

The game?s plot and character arc does a pretty good job of transitioning Snake/Big Boss from ?Disaffected, Disillusioned elite soldier? to ?Legendary Mercenary Leader who with his own private army and nuclear armed independent state?. How his affection for the boss and his still open emotional wounds from having to kill her really did a lot to break him inside when he had to face that decision all over again. It does have some weak spots, because the insistence that MSF/Outer Heaven has no country, goal or ideology and both his and it?s goal is basically to fight because makes it hard to pin down just what MSF is for(though it?s still a ways from EVA?s ?Big Boss did this all to stick it to Zero and the Patriots? thing in MGS4, which implies to me EVA wasn?t entirely truthful or correct). However, it seriously shines a new light on the first two games, to reexamine how much of MG and MG2 was villainy vs. propaganda that the Patriots were feeding everyone to discredit Big Boss. Unfortunately, MG had very little plot or characterization to begin with we pretty much have MG2 to compare with.

There's also the interesting issue that the prequel nature causes. Since Peace Walker is now the first canonical Metal Gear (and ZEKE the second), this makes it even more strange that the REX gets all the attention in the non-prequel games, especially since the US government was (kinda) responsible for building Peace Walker, a good 30 years before REX. To say nothing of the TX-55 and Metal Gear D from the games set in the 1990?s(you know, the other Metal Gears Big Boss built/owned).

And speaking of the other games, considering Paz ends up being a triple agent, working for both the US, USSR and Cipher/Patriots who steals a metal gear(even says, "I'm taking it back") she?s essentially co-opting Ocelots role, which begs the question what Ocelot has been doing all this time. I know that he shows up again in the 1980?s, but this basically makes Peace Walker the only Solid game that he doesn't make an appearance in.

Finally, So at the beginning of the game, Prof. Galvez/Zardornov claims to represent Costa Rica in wanting to hire MSF to deal with the heavily armed Peace Sential troops, since Costa Rica doesn't have a standing army. However, it's also immediately pointed out that Galvez is actually a KGB agent and wants to kick the US out of Latin America in favor of the USSR. Which begs the question, did he ever represent Costa Rica's government in any way in this manner? Or was MSF essentially an invading force of its own due to lack of sanction from the government? The ending timeline implies that Costa Rica was friendly to the US, impling Peace Sential might have been sanctioned all along.

I really did like Peace Walker, despite some technical downgrading and filler. It holds together a lot stronger and tighter then MSG4 and only Snake Eater works better as a complete package.

Next: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros:
or Paz and Chico Escape from (NOT)Guantanamo Bay.

So I'm not sure anyone is still reading this thread but....

I've made it to The Phantom Pain and after that whole super dark Hospital sequence, Ocelot(finally indulging his cowboy obession to the fullest), shows up on a horse and rescues Big Boss. So I get he didn't have much in the way of options and was still kind of out of it from the coma and everything, but did anyone else find it wierd there doesn't seem like there was any discussion about the fact the last time they met, Ocelot spent like a week trying to kill Snake(yeah, I know Ocelot wasn't really trying to kill him, but Snake presumably doesn't know that). And there's the whole destroying his eyeball thing, but yet, Big Boss doesn't seem to have much to say about it.

Or even question: "Wait, you're Russian and were working for GRU and yet now you want me to fight the invading Soviets in Afganistan? What gives Ocelot?"

I feel like there are conversations that should be happening but aren't here. Hell, Snake is a lot queiter now then he was in both Peace Walker or Ground Zeros. I swear he said more in GZ then he has so far in TPP(I just reached Mother Base for the first time).

I take it you'll be combining GZ and TPP for your next write up then. I haven't finished the latter yet either, but liked the former enough to get all the trophies. Maybe it is later explained as to why Ocelot and Snake are on better terms now.

Enjoy your journey down this twisted, Easter egg-laiden rabbit hole. After about 30 or so hours with it, I can attest that TPP is best enjoyed by taking one's time with it. It's the last call anyways; best to savor it.

Dalisclock:

I feel like there are conversations that should be happening but aren't here. Hell, Snake is a lot queiter now then he was in both Peace Walker or Ground Zeros. I swear he said more in GZ then he has so far in TPP(I just reached Mother Base for the first time).

Rumors has it that Keifer Sutherland was really expensive to hire and hard to schedule for VO work, at least compared to David Hayter, so they toned down Big Boss' dialogue to a minimum so they could get him without blowing budget or having him rush all his lines.

Gethsemani:

Dalisclock:

I feel like there are conversations that should be happening but aren't here. Hell, Snake is a lot queiter now then he was in both Peace Walker or Ground Zeros. I swear he said more in GZ then he has so far in TPP(I just reached Mother Base for the first time).

Rumors has it that Keifer Sutherland was really expensive to hire and hard to schedule for VO work, at least compared to David Hayter, so they toned down Big Boss' dialogue to a minimum so they could get him without blowing budget or having him rush all his lines.

That's a stupid rumor started by butthurt Hayter fans. Kojima stated in early development videos that Big Boss won't speak as much as he used to because of a couple design choices. Don't worry, it will be explained eventually in the game but some of it is also explained in interviews with Kojima about Kiefer Sutherland.

People also tend to forget that Kiefer talks plenty in the tapes.

hanselthecaretaker:
I take it you?ll be combining GZ and TPP for your next write up then. I haven?t finished the latter yet either, but liked the former enough to get all the trophies. Maybe it is later explained as to why Ocelot and Snake are on better terms now.

Enjoy your journey down this twisted, Easter egg-laiden rabbit hole. After about 30 or so hours with it, I can attest that TPP is best enjoyed by taking one?s time with it. It?s the last call anyways; best to savor it.

I haven't decided yet. On one hand, there are things I want to talk about in GZ. OTOH, GZ was really short with some side content making it a little bit longer. So about an hour to do the main mission(getting used to the new controls and all that) and another couple hours to do the side missions. Except you're still creeping around the same base with some modifiers. Almost everything beyond that is prisoner rescues and collectible hunting.

And considering I just did the PW review I might take a little bit to put out another one.

But yeah, since I'm on the last chapter of the saga, I can take my time with this one and enjoy it. Not that I was really rushing the others but there was an omnipresent urge to keep pressing on. Especially since MGSV is a big part of what inspired me to play the entire series to start with.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros: Goodbye Hayter, Hello Keifer

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker bridged the gap between Snake the talented soldier and Big Boss the LEGENDARY SOLDIER and leader of his own private army. He'd let go of the Boss, seen the first Metal Gear, blown it up and built a new one from the parts. He'd accepted that he's "Big Boss" and embraced the idea of being stateless warriors and terrorists in opposition to the world, and the newly discovered Cipher.

Big Bosses role in the story before it becomes Solid Snakes story could have ended there. Instead, Kojima was enticed to make one more entry in the series and luckily, there was still a 20 year time gap between Peace Walker and Metal Gear to cover. Thus was born the official MGSV(pushing PW into this weird zone of being the only mainline MGS title without a number). The story behind this game seems to be just as interesting as the game itself, notably with MGSV taking a long time to develop and apparently using a ton of resources Konami was not happy to part with(and in a time they were already scaling back their investment in video games, as Silent Hill fans will attest to).

All of this lead to Kojima apparently being insulated from his own dev team, booted from the company, not allowed to accept an award the game won because of legal issues and having members of his studio threatened with blacklisting if they went to work for Kojimas newly formed studio. Classy Konami. Classy.

The game picks up in 1975, about half a year after the end of Peace Walker, whose True ending had the High School girl named Paz revealing herself to be an agent of Cipher, attempting to hijack Outer Heaven's Metal Gear ZEKE and being defeated. She falls into the ocean, though it's presumed she survived because they never found her body. MSF, meanwhile, starts trying to figure out what Cipher is before they strike back

It turns out that Paz was found drifting in the sea by fisherman and subsequently captured before being taken to Guantamo B....,er US Naval Base on the Southern Tip of Cuba that's also a Black Site holding Enemy Combatants(Not sure why Kojima didn't just call it what he's so heavily hinting at). Chico, having a crush on her, finds his way to Cuba as well and promptly gets himself captured as well, managing to send out a radio transmission letting MSF know where they are. Snake and Miller easily deduce it's a trap, but decide to go anyway. Partially because Chico is an adorable 12 year old kid and knows a lot about MSF, but also because Paz is the only link they have to Cipher and rescuing her might allow them to find out more.

Complicating matters is an upcoming nuclear inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, who heard MSF might have a nuke and Huey decided to invite them onboard for see they don't have one. MSF learns about Chico and Paz just before the inspection, leaving Big Boss to sneak in there alone to find and extract them.

Of course, it all ends up being a trap, just as they suspected. The inspection team is actually an attack team by XOF(which apparently is FOX's evil twin) lead by a skull faced man with a cowboy hat named SkullFace(because why not?). Chico and Paz both told everything they knew, Chico hoping to save Paz and Paz to get revenge on Zero(because apparently XOF was part of Cipher but is now enemies with them, or something like that).

Upon returning to Mother Base, Paz is revealed to have a bomb inside her, which is removed without anesthetic in excruciating detail, because Kojima really wanted you to see how the new FOX engine renders someone trying to hold their guts in during surgery. Adding insult to injury, when they reach Mother Base, it's already heavily damaged and burning with MSF fighting a losing battle against the XOF attack team, giving Snake just enough time to extract miller and a few other mooks before escaping. Finally, Paz wakes up, reveals there's a bomb in her Vagina and jumps out of the helicopter, only to explode a few seconds later. The force of the explosion causes the helicopter to spiral out of control and crash.

So yeah, that was dark. While the series has never been super happy(even campy Snake Eater has quite a few very dark and tragic moments), there's a lot of shit going from bad to worse in a fairly short timeframe here and the bad guys most defiantly win at the end.

And at the risk of beating a dead horse, it's getting kind of disturbing that people kept hitting on the supposed high schooler in PW and now in GZ there's a bomb stuffed her in Vagina and audio tapes where her and Chico are forced to have sex with each other while Skull Face watches(outside of the implications that she's being raped). It's enough to make you feel sorry for Paz and wonder just what the hell Kojima has for her to keep subjecting her to such things.

It's almost jarring coming on the heels of Peace Walker considering that game, despite constantly going on about nuclear war and the role of deterrence, and embracing a story about moral greyness and cold war politics, had lighter moments(often in the briefing tapes) and some downright silly(anything to do with cardboard boxes, the talking cat).

It feels worse in Ground Zeros due to how closely a lot of this is tied to real world politics and the war on terror(despite being set in the 1970's) and children being imprisoned without trial and tortured, and then on the other side you have Skull Face, who looks like a Comic Book Super Villain. The collectible tapes, which do reveal some plot details, also include numerous instances of Paz and Chico being tortured and raped(which almost feels like a giant FU for going through the trouble to find them).

The blackness of the villains juxtaposed with the greyness of the "Heros", since this game is more then happy to point out some of the more dubious things MSF does. Chico is a child soldier working for a nuclear armed private army that could be considered a rogue state at this point. A particularly telling line near the end references destroying docents and hiding ZEKE and its nuke. To paraphrase SuperBunnyHop's take on this, When document destruction and hiding WMD's from the UN is part of your TO DO list, you're probably not one of the good guys.

Adding to this, Peace Walker had a particular conversation where Miller suggests to Big Boss that they should salvage
Peace Walkers Nuke to arm ZEKE with, both to give MSF a trump card in dealings with countries like the US and USSR and to keep "Keep it out of the hands of terrorists". There's no hint of irony in that conversation, considering MSF is a heavily armed private army with a nuclear weapon that answers to literally nobody but their leader that has a cult of personality around him, which a lot of people would see as skirting awfully close to being terrorists.

Which makes it somewhat Ironic that Sacco and Vanzetti("Here's to you, Nicola and Bart...") are referenced repeatedly, considering Big Boss and MSF aren't exactly innocent and they know it. They got involved in Costa Rica and the Peace Walker Project knowing they'd be pissing off the US(and probably the USSR) and did it anyway, even if it turned out in the end to be the right thing to do(due to Coldman being fucking insane enough to launch a nuke in order to prove Peace Walker works). Paz is far from innocent, even if her circumstances were pretty shitty and Chico was much the same(though Chico's case is far more tragic, IMHO). Hell, Big Boss all but admits numerous times that they're all going to hell for what they've done and are doing, thus his coining of "Outer Heaven".

The presentation of this all, however, is spot on. The opening and closing cutscenes are perhaps the best in the entire series, succinctly making the points they want to make while moving the action along. The big issue with the opening is the fact that if you didn't play Peace Walker and jumped into Ground Zeros, you're probably gonna be fairly confused by the time the actual gameplay starts. Wait, Who are Chico and Paz? Why does Snake have a Private Army? What's this about a nuclear inspection? What the hell did I miss? The cards just before that help a little and fortunately there are tapes that help summarize the events of Peace Walker(and to a lesser extent, Snake Eater) that can be listened to at any time. Even better, Paz's Diary from PW(which was originally obtained only through beating a bunch of optional difficult boss fights) is now available from the start, which adds a lot to why you might care about Paz as a character(or you like listening to Tara Strong with a Spanish accent).

I bring this up because this was pretty much how I felt when I first saw the opening cutscene a few years back. I hadn't played a MG game since Metal Gear Solid and had some idea of the others and suddenly there's all this stuff happening, which helped prompt me to play the entire series before I played MSGV to finally get up to speed. Of course, the irony is that if you finished all of PW but didn't get the True Ending where Paz steals Zeke, why the high schooler is being held at the black site in Cuba.

The game also serves as the debut of Kiefer Sutherland in the role of Big Boss, replacing David Hayter as the series Protagonist(Yeah, I know, Raiden, but Snake was still the main character, just not the POV one). The reasoning is unclear why the VA were switched. It was a little distracting at first, but I was used to it soon enough. Probably the most jarring bit was the fact Hayters PW performance which was super gravely somehow is now Sutherland basically doing Jack Bauer, despite not sounding very much alike.

Gameplay wise, GZ is meant to show off the new mechanics of the new FOX engine. It brings back a lot of the gameplay feel of MGS4 but retains the episodic mission feel of Peace Walker. It's tempting to call it a vertical slice but there are features from The Phantom Pain(such as Fultons, Cardboard Boxes, and selecting your weapons prior to deployment) that don't show up in Ground Zeros. Instead, there's a new control scheme, including having binoculars mapped to the right trigger by default, which is kind of essential since Metal Gear finally noticed that Far Cry existed and implemented a tagging system to mark enemy troop positions(both on the screen on and your map).

Unlike Peace Walker, where the maps were small and the enemy soldiers were legally blind and mostly stupid, in GZ the marines are a hell of a lot more attentive and perceptive. They can see you from far off and are quick to investigate. It makes hiding them from a hell of a lot harder and getting spotting can be a proverbial death sentence. The game has a "Reflex" mode which causes the world to go into slow motion for about 10 seconds to give Big Boss a chance to take out the guard before he can sound the alarm. However, this does affect your final score at the end. Alternatively, you can restart from checkpoints during missions, but there's a score penalty for each time you do that(which is probably still less then killing or sounding alarms).

This ties into Snakes newest toy, the iDroid(It's not an Ipad or an Android, get it? Yeah, very funny Kojima), a data device like a tablet but with a holographic interface. It implements mission objectives, your map and various other essentials into one interface and also includes a tape deck for playing music or mission related tapes you have. Unlike in MGS4, you don't have to have it equipped and unlike Peace Walker, it doesn't take up an item slot(and you don't have to research the ability to forward/rewind like the PW Walkman). Since Audio tapes are a main source of story details like in PW, this is quite useful.

The other interesting function new to the series and administered through your iDroid is the ability to call for a helicopter extraction. Taking another cue from the CoD series(that's what it feels like anyway), Big Boss now uses transport helicopters to extract prisoners and himself from mission areas, except here's it's something you summon rather then relying on script/event triggers. When called for, the area map is shown, allowing you to pick your preferred landing zone. Inevitably, some of the zones are out of the way, near the edge of the map but also labeled "Low Risk" while others are right in the center of the Map(in this case, the base) but are "High Risk"). Considering the enemy guards can and will shoot at your helicopter and there's even a field for "Helicopters Lost" in the scoring section, calling for an extraction at a High Risk LZ means you better have cleared the area first or be ready to clear a lot of opposition on your way out. Especially since the base has anti-aircraft turrets around the High Risk LZs and some of the guards will be packing rocket launchers when on alert.

The main mission takes around an hour for the first play through, after which other missions are available. They have varying objectives and differing layers of difficulty(GZ takes place on a rainy night, others take place during the day or even with an alert already set), but all of them take place on the same map. The only exception is a mission that involves extracting an intel agent whose cover has been blown, which is not a stealth game but a rail shooter from a helicopter during the way in and out, with a brief part in the middle where you have to fight to clear the landing zone before extracting the target(who turns out to be Hideo Kojima himself, in a bit of author self insert). It's a nice change, but having the same map over and over again tends to get old after a while. They're also a bit on the loose side of gameplay/story segregation, and are dubbed "pseudo historical reenactments", particularly since one involves the base getting napalmed by Cipher just as Big Boss flees the scene(so it's safe to assume it wasn't the samel base from ground zeros).

There are two more scenarios I didn't see, one of which is a recreation of Metal Gear Solid and another with Raiden and Snatcher. Both involved searching out a bunch of collectables and I didn't have the patience for it.

Considering the fact that most of GZ is infiltrating not-gitmo over and over again with different objectives, it seems a shame that the beautifully climatic fall of Mother Base at the end is presented entirely as a cutscene instead of adding some interactivity(or maybe making it a timed gameplay sequence).

The extra ops(side ops?) besides the main mission add some replayability to the game, but there is a hidden advantage in the game. Within each mission there are numerous prisoners or persons of interest who can be extracted from the base. Aside from helping get a better score at the end of the mission, said extracted people end up showing up again in The Phantom Pain as recruits for the new Mother Base(and have above after stats to boot). It's a worthwhile investment, making TPP early game a little easier but with the drawback of the process being somewhat tedious. Prisoners and others generally aren't in a position to walk(either unconscious or just unable to) which means Snake needs to carry each one to the nearest LZ before calling the helicopter for pickup. It's also possible to drag each person to the LZ before calling the helicopter but that doesn't change the annoying nature of having to run back and forth between the too.

Ground Zeros occupies an interesting place in this series. It works very well bridge between Peace Walkers ending and the beginning of The Phantom Pain and a pretty good showcase of the new FOX engine. It's very tight from beginning to end(easy to do when it's about an hour long) and some really well done cutscenes. Unfortunately, as a game it's very small and the added scenarios are still just variations on the same theme, while at release it was $30 for what's essentially a demo. Once TTP came out, GZ should have been released as part of the same package, because it's hard to see playing one without the other. Granted, the fact Konami would charge $30 for the prologue doesn't surprise me considering how much they seem to dislike their fanbase lately.

Next: Metal Gear Solid V: The Fulton Pain.

So definitely deep into The Phantom Pain, a couple thoughts.

-It's starting to feel really clear that Kojimas tendency to remake his older games with newer tech is still a thing. I can confidently state that MSGV is basically Peace Walker with a much better gameplay engine.

-However, unlike Peace Walker, there doesn't seem to be much of a story or actual character development. Snake doesn't talk much at all and for all the hype about revenge against Cipher, I've spent almost the entire game so far running ops against the Soviets because Diamond Dogs is contracted to. While it fits the whole "Legendary Merc" part of Big Bosses character, it feels like it's squandering the premise of "Now we're gonna deal with Zero and his Minions". Despite the fact that Zero canonically survives for another 30 years and Cipher becomes the Patriots at some point. Maybe that changes later but normally the early sections of a game are more polished because that's what reviewers and most gamers see.

-Please tell me there's an explanation why Skull Face has Snake at his Mercy and then just walks away, because that seemed to just happen without any comment at all from anyone. And om a lesser note, why the fucking zorro mask? It's not like anyone is gonna mistake Skullface with another melty face cowboy hat wearing guy.

-Really digging the adaptable AI in this game. In fact, it might be some of the best in video gaming and is surely the best in the series. Guards notice when their buddies disappear, using the same tactics leads to countermeasures(guards using Night Vision Googles after dark) and in some missions even the slightest suspicion is enough for the guards to start freaking out(as they should).

-While it's really cool to be able to walk around Mother Base this time, as opposed to the menus in Peace Walker, there doesn't seem to be much point. Aside from the shooting ranges and diamonds just lying there I haven't found much to do upon returning to base. Despite Ocelot and Miller being there, you only see them in cutscenes really instead of being able to go visit them. And then there's the whole thing about being able beat up your guards unprovoked and they love it. It's kinda creepy(aside from the surrealism that 90% of these guys were the guards you kidnapped earlier from Afganistan).

To sum up, you don't get any development in characters in game, you basically need to constantly be checking your tapes for new tidbits all the time. They replace the long codec talks and the cutscenes and give the events of the game actual context you absolutely will not get from just playing the game. There's no reason for Skull Face to not just kill you, he's just a Bond villain who walks away to let minions deal with you and it absolutely bites him in the ass. There's no explanation for his domino mask that I found. I don't wanna share more as to not color your impressions or accidentally spoil.

As far as Mother Base goes, you're right that there's not much to see/do. There are a few little easter eggs around (try standing by one of the signs cautioning against falling crates for a minute), diamonds to collect, and target shooting side ops but it's all pretty mundane. The target shooting side ops refresh quickly so you can repeat them for GMP, particularly the medical platform which you can do without even having to move. I basically only went to Mother Base to see if cutscenes triggered, to shower, and do the medical platform target range.

Have you completed the Wandering Mother Base Soldier side op by chance? Once you have, check out the medical platform if you haven't already. You might find something interesting.

Thanks for the tip. I went there and that was interesting.

I'm 90% sure it's not real though. Numerous reasons:

1. Paz's "Amnesia" seems to omit her entire life as a Cipher agent(which apparently she'd been since a very young age) and somehow only remembers her cover story(including Galvez, who was a KGB agent she was working with knowingly). Even better, she remembers "Peace Day", an event she wasn't present for(according to her audio diary in PW and GZ) because her cover was blown before it happened. That's a pretty amazingly contrived form of amnesia.

2. Yep, a girl who had spent a least a week prior to the helicopter crash being tortured, raped and starved somehow managed to survive the crash that left both Miller and Snake with missing limbs(and Snake in a 9 year coma), swim to shore, avoid being picked up yet again by XOF or Cipher(and she's in dutch with both of them by this point) and somehow make it all the way to the new Mother base.

3. Miller and Ocelot apparently don't bother to tell Snake "Hey, we picked up Paz. She's at the medical platform. Go see her". Snake just has to go find her on his own and Miller/Ocelot just show up. Miller seems particularly chill about it considering the last time they were together he tried to kill her himself(and he's gotten even more bitter in the intervening decade).

4. The new version of Paz's jump out of the helicopter seems a little at odds with the old version, especially considering the old version happened before Snake got a bit piece of shrapnel lodged in his forehead. Forgive me if I'm inclined to see this new version of events as suspect.

Couple thoughts so far:

This game might be too big. Because I'm starting to get some fatigue setting in here. I'm not sure if it's because I've pretty much been playing Metal Gear games for the past 6 or so months and it's finally catching up with me or what but the game is starting to feel grindy. The last chapter of Peace Walker was grindy too but by that point 90% of the plot was done and you were kinda fucking around after that building your base and seeing if there was something else to discover. Maybe it's because I'm doing side ops for GMP and high ranking people to kidnap...er, recruit but cotinually visiting the same locations over and over again is starting to get a bit tedius.

The other thing is....Quiet. So on one hand, she's a great combat buddy, especially once the "Cover me" command is unlocked where she will basically go to town on an entire base leaving you to more or less do what you please. Esspecially in side ops where getting spotted or killing people doesn't really matter.

As a character, however, she's kind of all over the place. Her narrative comes across as someone who isn't supposed to be sexy, except since she dresses like a stripper whose g-string got torn up in the wash and she apparently doesn't have anything else to wear, and she basically does a stripper dance in the rain, shower or helicopter because she's infected with magical parasites that causes her to want to sexy dance in front of big boss, because Kojima is apparently a 12 year old.

However, there's no reason I can tell why she wants to go out hunting with Big Boss when her first few appearances involve her killing medical staff as part of a XOF hit team, trying to kill a bedridden man and then trying to kill you in a sniper ambush. But if Big Boss spares her life after dropping a couple boxes on her he.....er, beating her a in sniper duel. Suddendly she's totally on your side, more then willing to show off that she can't be restrained by her cage or handcuffs and then putting her life on the line for Big Boss because......she digs his eyepatch? Everyone loves Big Boss? I have no clue, because everyone else you meet from XOF is a total bastard more then willing to insert bolts into the ankles of children, torture people and wipe out an entire hospital full of people to kill one fucking guy. So it's hard to imagine Quiet is different, even before she got set on fire and fell out a window.

Yeah, I'm still trying to square quiet going from XOF pyschopath with standing orders to kill big boss(and having a personal bone to pick due to the whole "being set on fire and falling out a window" thing to being Snakes personal escort who wants to do helicopter sexy dances in front of him.

So in case anyone is still interested in this thread.....

I've been playing MGSV:TPP for about a month or so at this point and I've decided to put the game on indefinate hiatus for the time being. I'm not sure if it's because I've been playing this series almost non-stop for the past 6 months at this point or I'm just not feeling it anymore, but I'm really not feeling MGSV anymore.

A brief rundown of why:

-I've finished through Mission 20 and 22, including a fairly decent chunk of the side ops and I'm starting to feel "Wait, I've been playing for a month at this point at I'm not even to the halfway point yet?" This game feels way too long and too big, and while it's an open world game, there's not much to justify it being one. For the 3 huge maps, there's not a lot to do on any of them. Mother Base can be explored, but there's not much to find and it all kinda starts looking the same after a while. Same with Afghanistan and Africa. I can go visit the same bases over and over again, clear them and not much ever changes. The best sense of progress to blow up the radar dishes to unlock new landing zones.

-I appreciate the recruitment/resource gathering/GMP to upgrade motherbase/weapons/etc but it feels a bit like it's trying to drag out the experience at this point. I've upgraded MB to at least 2/4 on all platforms(with a couple at 3/4) and the only reason to do so anymore is so I can have more room for the guys I send home, because I've long since reached capacity in every department and the waiting room is filling up. The upgrade unlocks and more platforms are getting obscenely expensive(a new variation on my primary gun costs more then a fucking new platform for my base) and makes me wonder why am I bothering?

-The plot feels like it's moving at a glacial pace. Despite the strong opening with the Hospital, Skull Face just shows up and leaves whenever he wants, the revenge plot is just kinda hanging out there and then there's the hints at the parasite thingy that still hasn't been named. The Skulls show up every so often because apparently they're the closest thing to a boss fight there is and the Man on Fire/child Pyscho Mantis has finally shown up again. But none of these seem like much is happening in any of them.

-The characters aren't really helping this either. Huey and Miller both return from Peace Walker, but both took a massive upgrade in Jerkass. Huey went from the nerdy inventor of the metal gear(with some help from Soviet Plans) to an traitor who never takes responsibility for anything and blames everyone else. Miller went from the rather interesting guy who formed a close bond with Snake to form a PMC together to Mr. Super Salty, not only about XOF breaking all their shit and killing all their dudes(BTW, Miller, part of that was on you), but also because apparently he was the first one to come up with the PMC idea and is mad that others copied the idea from MSF. Ocelot feels wasted, just being there to explain stuff to Snake and occasionally Torture someone, which feels like a step down from being a triple agent at any given time in the other games. Quiet is an excellent buddy, but her character beyond that is pretty much a plot device with a crudely enforced fanservice costume. Big Boss is just kinda there and looks like he's either sleepy or dead inside like 90% of the time. I really do miss him actually emoting and talking about stuff and being incredibly dorky and naive about weird shit(Like being a middle aged man who is really into Cardboard boxes or believes in Santa Claus).

I think the fact I cam straight off of Peace Walker really doesn't help, because TPP really is a much bigger budget version of Peace Walker, except without any real character development or an interesting plot(potentially interesting plot, sure, but not interesting so far). And though PW didn't have the FOX engine to power it and the gameplay reflected that, I feel like I was a lot more engaged. More important, I was pretty much done with Peace Walker with this much time invested. Here it feels like going through some of the same motions but in a much more stretched out fashion. It's bigger but not really better(for the most part).

There's also the fact that I'm pretty much to the point I'd kinda rather play anything else at this point and feel like I'm playing out of Obligation rather then enjoyment. I want to finish the series I started playing through 6 months ago, but reaching that end is really the big reason I'm still going right now.

In a few weeks, I'll see if I want complete the game now or just lay it aside until I actually feel like I'm ready to finish. If the latter, I'll probably go ahead and just do a write up of the series as a whole and my impressions to close out the thread.

You are probably making the right call. TPP has some very solid gameplay, but it is wasted on a open world that's not all that engaging and a story that goes, quite literally, nowhere. The sad truth is that TPP ends abruptly, resolving only a few of its' many open story threads and leaves several of the more high profile ones unresolved. That's on top of the story taking a really stupid turn once you get to the reveal of the parasites. If the gameplay isn't doing it for you at this point, you are better off just quitting, because you will NOT be rewarded for persisting. Quite the contrary in fact, you will see exactly when Konami's patience ran out and they cut funding for further development, leaving you with challenge mode rehashes of previous missions instead of more plot missions.

You might as well not finish the game, since the game never bothered to finish itself.

Dalisclock:
Big Boss is just kinda there and looks like he's either sleepy or dead inside like 90% of the time. I really do miss him actually emoting and talking about stuff and being incredibly dorky and naive about weird shit(Like being a middle aged man who is really into Cardboard boxes or believes in Santa Claus).

Atleast watch the ending of the game on youtube lol. I think MGS5 is pretty much the best open world stealth game with some truly immaculate gameplay mechanics but yeah; story has intriguing premise but fails in it's execution by being cut short and disjointed, a stupid cast, an open world that consists of mostly empty space that takes ages to traverse, a cumbersome base management simulator that you can 'automate' but what's the point, every mission is a variation of the same thing with locations being re-used over and over.

MGS5 is in that weird situation where the gameplay mechanics feel like they have been polished years on end but the actual game itself(that should give the mechanics meaning and entertainment and provide a cohesive whole) feels like it was hastily put together in a few weeks. Usually with Kojima games it's the other way around. MGS4 felt like a rehashed Syphon Filter but it was indulgent and overproduced to the max. :p

stroopwafel:

Dalisclock:
Big Boss is just kinda there and looks like he's either sleepy or dead inside like 90% of the time. I really do miss him actually emoting and talking about stuff and being incredibly dorky and naive about weird shit(Like being a middle aged man who is really into Cardboard boxes or believes in Santa Claus).

Atleast watch the ending of the game on youtube lol.

Yeah, I already know the reveal about Venom. I knew about it before I even started this grand adventure. I was just kind of hoping that they'd do something interesting with it and yet it seems like the fact Venom almost never talks might as well be a big spoiler right there.

The fact "Ishmael" has to teach "Big Boss" how to do a bunch of stuff Snake has canonically already known how to do for decades now(Snapping his arm back into place during the Virtuous Mission) and Ishmael also has the exact same voice was a bit of a giveaway as well.

I'm not even mad about the fact Venom is not who you're supposed to think he is, because it's already established that Big Boss is as much reputation as actual deed at this point(and that's always been part of his character. He does amazing shit, and then rumor on top of that makes him a Living Legend). I'm just annoyed that not much is actually done with it, just a brief echo of some of his character beats from Peace Walker(when he bothers to talk at all).

It really does feel like they took Peace Walker, started remaking it with a really awesome game engine and huge map, then started grabbing some of the worst science from the series(Parasites aren't as omnipresent as nanomachines but they are just as stupid) and inserting a lot of fan service. That whole "linking back to Metal Gear" thing apparently only really happens at the end.

OTOH, at least this video now makes a lot more sense. It turns out that Big Boss is really just tired all the time.

As others have said, if you're not enjoying the game now then it really doesn't get any better. I like the game but damn it gets really repetitive. Maybe it's my own fault for really wanting to upgrade my base and gear but having to be so reliant on getting new guys in the field makes the game more boring. You get so many toys but using them seems counter productive if you wanna be stealthy and/or get new guys to upgrade your base. Why take that awesome shotgun or grenade launcher unless you are planning on going loud and killing absolutely everyone? I found myself taking the same silenced assault rifle and tranq pistol on every mission, relying on CQC to take out armored guys that my guns couldn't handle. Killing troops feels wasteful as you are hurting yourself not capturing them. The game creates a weird feedback loop where you capture guys to get more fun toys, but can't use those toys because they stop you from capturing guys to make better toys. I got into Act 2 and then not long later put the game down, and haven't gone back since.

Have you been listening to the tapes for the story? If so what do you think of them compared to CODEC calls and cutscenes?

Comic Sans:

Have you been listening to the tapes for the story? If so what do you think of them compared to CODEC calls and cutscenes?

I have. I do prefer them to MGS2 constantly pausing the action so I can listen to people explain things to Snake/Raiden and even MGS4 just forcing you to sit down and watch some really long cut-scenes that mostly don't explain much.

I'm of two minds of the MGSV cutscenes. On one hand, they look good and the cinematography on some of them is excellent. On the other, some of them feel way too fucking long(that one with Skull Face and Big Boss when Skull Face is monolouging for what feels like forever). Beyond that, a lot of the criticisms I do have are more a matter of the script then anything else.

I do like that you can listen to them while on the move, especially given how much pointless travel time there is from place to place. What bugged the shit out of me is that they nearly completely removed cutscenes for it. While MGS2 and 4 were too indulgent, without them they don't feel like MGS. It also means you don't get any context for what you are doing. In past MGS I would have the option of CODEC calls to learn more about what I want, and the game always made sure to explain things as they became relevant, if too much at times. For some reason MGS5 really holds back on info until well after the fact. I didn't know almost anything in depth about Skull Face or the parasites until long after it was relevant. It feels like a lazy way to add story without having to try and actually write it into the game experience. Just listening to audio recordings sometimes makes scenes lose impact as well. Some of them are quite emotional and actually SEEING these important characters interacting could have been amazing. Instead you just sit and listen and it has little to no impact. To say nothing of the often entertaining situational CODEC calls we lose.

And call me pedantic but I really wonder where the fuck Snake gets some of these recordings. I get the stuff that goes on in the base and reports to Snake, but random talks between Skull Face and Code Talker? The Zero tapes you get after the Venom reveal? Miller's burgers? It kinda bugged me.

Comic Sans:
I do like that you can listen to them while on the move, especially given how much pointless travel time there is from place to place. What bugged the shit out of me is that they nearly completely removed cutscenes for it. While MGS2 and 4 were too indulgent, without them they don't feel like MGS. It also means you don't get any context for what you are doing. In past MGS I would have the option of CODEC calls to learn more about what I want, and the game always made sure to explain things as they became relevant, if too much at times. For some reason MGS5 really holds back on info until well after the fact. I didn't know almost anything in depth about Skull Face or the parasites until long after it was relevant. It feels like a lazy way to add story without having to try and actually write it into the game experience. Just listening to audio recordings sometimes makes scenes lose impact as well. Some of them are quite emotional and actually SEEING these important characters interacting could have been amazing. Instead you just sit and listen and it has little to no impact. To say nothing of the often entertaining situational CODEC calls we lose.

And call me pedantic but I really wonder where the fuck Snake gets some of these recordings. I get the stuff that goes on in the base and reports to Snake, but random talks between Skull Face and Code Talker? The Zero tapes you get after the Venom reveal? Miller's burgers? It kinda bugged me.

I know what you mean. I kinda missed in the earlier games(everything up through Snake Eater) where you could call up different people to get different conversations and it would change depending on the context(SIGIT talking about the cardboard box making Snake look like a dumbass, etc), and while the Tapes are kinda nice for background info, they don't have quite the same feel to them.

And honestly, I'm still kinda annoyed they haven't really explained what Ocelot was doing in the 20 years since Snake Eater or foreshadow what he will be doing in the next 20 years before he shows up again at Shadow Moses. That and how I keep thinking that shouldn't it at least be mentioned that Ocelot is the one who shot Snakes Eye out? Because if I were Snake, I'd be annoyed at ocelot over that.

I've realized one of the other problems with MGSV that MGS4 also has. Essentially, it tries to be dark and serious despite the fact this series has always been campy as hell and it feels jarring. Hell, every scene with Eli, who ends up being one of the campiest villians in the series "BROTTHEERRRRR!" feels like it doesn't work because it's kinda obvious it's child Liquid. Sorry, Eli, I know you think you're tough and a grown up, but last time I saw you, you were ranting about your "recessive genes" and pretending you were the Terminator "It's not over yet, Snake!"

And again, this Ocelot feels out of character with the Russian Cowboy Triple Agent Super Troll who is either moewing like a cat, trying to play russian roulette with 3 guns or Pretending he's possessed by Liquids clone arm.

Dalisclock:
Couple thoughts so far:

This game might be too big. Because I'm starting to get some fatigue setting in here. I'm not sure if it's because I've pretty much been playing Metal Gear games for the past 6 or so months and it's finally catching up with me or what but the game is starting to feel grindy. The last chapter of Peace Walker was grindy too but by that point 90% of the plot was done and you were kinda fucking around after that building your base and seeing if there was something else to discover. Maybe it's because I'm doing side ops for GMP and high ranking people to kidnap...er, recruit but cotinually visiting the same locations over and over again is starting to get a bit tedius.

The other thing is....Quiet. So on one hand, she's a great combat buddy, especially once the "Cover me" command is unlocked where she will basically go to town on an entire base leaving you to more or less do what you please. Esspecially in side ops where getting spotted or killing people doesn't really matter.

As a character, however, she's kind of all over the place. Her narrative comes across as someone who isn't supposed to be sexy, except since she dresses like a stripper whose g-string got torn up in the wash and she apparently doesn't have anything else to wear, and she basically does a stripper dance in the rain, shower or helicopter because she's infected with magical parasites that causes her to want to sexy dance in front of big boss, because Kojima is apparently a 12 year old.

However, there's no reason I can tell why she wants to go out hunting with Big Boss when her first few appearances involve her killing medical staff as part of a XOF hit team, trying to kill a bedridden man and then trying to kill you in a sniper ambush. But if Big Boss spares her life after dropping a couple boxes on her he.....er, beating her a in sniper duel. Suddendly she's totally on your side, more then willing to show off that she can't be restrained by her cage or handcuffs and then putting her life on the line for Big Boss because......she digs his eyepatch? Everyone loves Big Boss? I have no clue, because everyone else you meet from XOF is a total bastard more then willing to insert bolts into the ankles of children, torture people and wipe out an entire hospital full of people to kill one fucking guy. So it's hard to imagine Quiet is different, even before she got set on fire and fell out a window.

Yeah, I'm still trying to square quiet going from XOF pyschopath with standing orders to kill big boss(and having a personal bone to pick due to the whole "being set on fire and falling out a window" thing to being Snakes personal escort who wants to do helicopter sexy dances in front of him.

Because when has MGS ever taken things that seriously is basically why. I never try and rationalize the irrational when it comes to Kojima, because for every intriguing story beat he poses, there is another gameplay one that completely dismantles the facade. His fourth wall stuff would be the high points, but of course he doesn't always hit that level of chin-rubbing awe.

Anyways, if I were going to attempt to rationalize it in this case, it would be that Quiet was patiently waiting for an excuse to defect. She was doing the bidding of a group that ultimately was responsible for her traumatic condition, and once she was bested by Big Boss (regardless of if she knew of his true identity, although it's likely she didn't), she found that excuse. This is basically "proven" by the fact that she saved his life on the ride to mother base.

hanselthecaretaker:

Because when has MGS ever taken things that seriously is basically why. I never try and rationalize the irrational when it comes to Kojima, because for every intriguing story beat he poses, there is another gameplay one that completely dismantles the facade. His fourth wall stuff would be the high points, but of course he doesn't always hit that level of chin-rubbing awe.

Anyways, if I were going to attempt to rationalize it in this case, it would be that Quiet was patiently waiting for an excuse to defect. She was doing the bidding of a group that ultimately was responsible for her traumatic condition, and once she was bested by Big Boss (regardless of if she knew of his true identity, although it's likely she didn't), she found that excuse. This is basically "proven" by the fact that she saved his life on the ride to mother base.

Yeah, you're right, trying to take this series too serious is always a bad idea and after playing 7 of these things in a row I should know that by heart.

The idea of Quiet secretly waiting for a way to leave XOF in a way that doesn't get her instantly murdered comes across as plausible and I'd like to know if the game supports that.

Speaking of which, I was going through some of the online stuff and even though the game goes up to mission 51..er, 50, apparently the main plot is pretty much finished after mission 32? Like chapter 1 is essentially the game and chapter 2 is all the other stuff they couldn't figure out how to fit in chapter 1?

That.....kinda changes things. I'm a bit more willing to try to keep pressing if I'm just trying to finish chapter 32 to see the end of the XOF revenge story rather then slog for another 18 missions beyond that.

I haven't finished it yet myself, but it's in my very short list of games to do so with. I hope I don't get too fatigued by the time I get to that point either, but I think just knowing the surrounding circumstances involved in the game's development should make it more bearable. I'm more willing to forgive it knowing how Kojima was mistreated in the last few months, and still being able to put together a game with few equals in attention to detail and care for the craft.

So I feel kind of dumb now but I'm going to retract a little bit.

After posting I decided to try one last time. I just started ignoring the side ops and going through the main missions as quickly and efficiently as possible(a lot of these missions can be completely in 10 minutes if you know where to go and who to grab). I've managed to push up to Mission 28, which seems to be where the Finale of Chapter starts taking hold. At this point I'm more then willing to keep going until I finish Chapter 1, at least. I've also heard that the harder retread missions in Chapter 2 are optional and only the story missions(and a few side ops) are required to get the "True" Ending.

Doing a lot of side ops early probably didn't help that feeling of fatigue though and now that I'm making some good progress, I'm feeling better about continuing.

At last, this long series has finally come to an end. I started this series because Ground Zeros and The Phantom Pain caught my interest and after 6 months of playing through the entire series, I've finally reached the point I can experience it.

Since I've already gone over a lot of the game in my thoughts so far and in my Ground Zeros write up, this is going to be more along the lines of a summary then a full write up like the others. I'm also going to say right now that I'm not completely finished with the game. I finished chapter 1, which seems to be the end of the main plot and I'm aware of the major plot points from chapter 2. However, I don't foresee the game suddenly becoming radically different for the remainder of the story missions, so I'm gonna go ahead and post my final thoughts.

Of all the the games in this series, MGSV feels like the most mixed of them. On one hand, it has some really excellent gameplay. The FOX engine is incredibly robust and handles both stealth and combat equally well. A lot of the moment to moment gameplay is incredibly fun and for the first time, the series has wide open maps with no loading screens.

Stealth and Combat both feel nicely balanced with plenty of options for both extreme stealth and going loud. Buddies, such the (in)famous Nude/Mute Sniper, DDog the Dog/Wolf and DWalker, a mini-metal gear, are useful for various types of missions and as you take them out on more missions, new abilities are unlocked for them. While only one of them can be out on a mission at time, they can be swapped out as needed to as the situation warrants.

For much of the first/main chapter, the game works fairly well. After the wonderfully taunt setup Ground Zeros provides, the game flash forwards 9 years from 1975 to 1984, when Snake wakes up in a cyprian hospital from a coma, only to be the object of a rather elaborate but thorough assassination attempt. From there, Snake learns that miller has been captured, MSF has been scattered to the winds and the whole world is out to kill him. It's a great setup, but the game seems to lose it's way over time.

There are a number of missions where you're visibly following a trail to try to ferret out CIPHERs plans and connections in order to strike back at them, with a few rather generic missions that are only really justified because, well, you're running a PMC and it's the kind of contract work you can expect.

The biggest issue that the whole thing feels so uneven. The world is huge and seamless but outside of the main missions and some of the more interesting side missions, there's very little worth doing or seeing. A lot of the same locations are reused over and over again. Opening up the 2nd map in africa helps a little but has the exact same problem as the first map in afghanistan. Pretty and vast but shallow and not interesting.

The Soviets and the PF's in Africa don't feel terribly interesting or unique, but rather being different bad guys who speak different languages(which ceases to be meaningful once you've "recruited" translators for mother base). While there's background provided on both, the fact the Soviets committed war crimes and the African PMC's being bastards themselves is kinda glossed over in gameplay, being only mentioned in the audiotapes. The child soldier enemies in Africa are perhaps the best integration into the game itself, but after a while end up being functionally enemies you are not allowed to kill(which means little once you have access to a scoped tranquilizer rifle).

Coming off the "XOF is trying to murder you and you want revenge for 1975" opening, the game seems like it's going to follow through with this, but XOF/CIPHER is almost nowhere to be found for much of the game, except for those rare cases when Skull Face shows up to say a few words before disappearing into the ether again. One time he has Snake at his Mercy and just walks away for his minions to finish off for no reason at all, while other time Snake has the perfect opportunity to cap Skull Face and fails to take it. The rest of the time, there's hints and rumors that XOF is doing a lot of it's dirty work through Proxies, notably PMCs(or in this game, Private Forces/PFs). here's also the occasional visit from the Skulls, a group of Borg/Zombie supersoldier freaks who are difficult to kill but add almost nothing to the story. They just show up, act as minibosses and you either kill them or get the hell away(which is entirely possible to just run away from them long enough in many situations).

It isn't until the end of chapter 1 where you find out their HQ and that's because Huey was finally persuaded to give up their location. Unfortunately, that's about all you get because mission 30, which looks to be a climax against XOF and Skull Face, ends with a 5 minute monologue from the man himself followed by his Metal Gear(which I shall call Snuffalogus because it's real name is even more annoying to remember and pronounce). The mission after that is a fight against snuffalogous and then XOF/Skull Face is more or less dealt with. It all feels so anti-climatic.

There are other plot threads running till that point, but none of them are terribly compelling. The biggest one involves magical parasites that kill people who speak certain languages but can also give people super powers because SCIENCE REASONS! This is built up for quite a while, but it's so hard to take remotely seriously, despite a lot of tapes trying to handwave it that it's hard to care much. Then there's Eli and creepy floating gas mask child, heavily implied to child liquid snake and psycho mantis, who feel like a distraction and a plot device respectively. Eli is also incredibly obnoxious and makes me really wish I could just off the little bastard(I normally abhor the idea of hurting children. I'd make an exception for him). Sure, it would mess up the future timeline, but that also mean the stupid clone arm thing would never happen either.

Along the same lines, there's a theme about language, which ties into the magical parasite plot and acts as a gameplay puzzle at one point but doesn't quite work as well as it should. Skull Face spends about 5 minutes monologuing about it near the end chapter 1 and by that point it's just tedious(and considering Big Boss just lets him rant, it seems like he feels the same way).

It's hard to define exactly what's wrong with the game other then there doesn't seem to have been any real idea of what they wanted to say ro show with this. I mean, the game cost $85 million and took 5 years to make, and yet it feels like they never finished the damn script. It's like they planned a much, much longer game explaining the Chapter 1/Chapter 2 thing, or maybe it was originally planned that MGSV be episodic which each chapter being released and sold separately. It would explain why the ending of the revenge storyline seems to happen all of a sudden with Huey just suddenly deciding to spill his guts, despite never coming across as someone who was good at holding out under interrogation(and being a shitty weasel of a man as well).

And it turns out very little of it matters at all because aside from Miller, nobody seems to really care much about the revenge thing. Big Boss doesn't bother to say much at all and Ocelot seems like he has other things on his mind. Skull face pretty much says that CIPHER will wipe all of this from the records, which apparently explains why XOF, the Parasites or a lot of this other stuff is never mentioned in any of the other games, despite this game being almost smack dab in the middle of the timeline. Even Mother base apparently just ceases to exist later on, since by canon Big Boss will have his Main Bases at Outer Heaven in South Africa and later Zanzibarland in Central Asia respectively.

Then there's the elephant in the room, being that the character you play 'Big Boss" is actually the medic from the helicopter in Ground Zeros, surgically altered and brainwashed to pass as Big Boss and draw attention away from the real Big Boss. I don't really mind it the twist, since Big Boss is just as much about his reputation then his deeds(and Venom pulls off some amazing shit as well). The real issue is Venom doesn't seem to get to do much in the actual plot. He's often there to witness Miller and Ocelot doing stuff, and the lack of commentary is sorely missed. I mean, I guess it's supposed to make sense that since Venom is a manufactured Big Boss, he wouldn't be the same as the real one, but it also means he doesn't get any real development of his own since he can't fall back the development from Snake Eater and Peace Walker, and thus ends up being just as much as of an empty shell of a bad guy as the villian he becomes in Metal Gear. Like everything else, it feels so unsatisfying and a bit of a wasted opportunity.

This entire game, really, feels like that. Essentially, when it's all said and done, MGSV: The Phantom Pain is basically a big Budget remake of Peace Walker. The gameplay is significantly improved, but the framework is the same. However, for everything else, it feels like TPP borrows a lot from MGS4, from good looking cutscenes that don't really say a whole lot, to a heavy reliance on magical nanomachines/parasites as a plot device. Whereas Peace Walker had a very tight and grounded plot(except for a giant AI tank with the mind of the Boss), TPP feels like it goes on for quite a while without revolving much of anything. And while both games have a final chapter with a lot of filler, Peace Walker made it explicit that the main plot was pretty much done by the time the final chapter started, whereas TPP has lingering plot threads all over the place.

Skull Face's plot(in addition to killing off the english language because world unity?) involves making sure everyone has metal gears/nuclear weapons which would mess up the balance of power("Make the superpowers powerless") which feels like a retread of the same theme pretty much every other game in the series has done at this point. There's something also about being able to turn the nukes on and off at will which sounds suspiciously like the Nanomachine/Guns of the Patriot plot from MGS4(and makes even less sense).

What makes it ever worse, despite the fact the True ending of MGSV connects directly back to Metal Gear, completing the circle, it doesn't really accomplish anything as far as the lore is concerned. It purports to show Snake's journey from Hero to villain, but Peace Walker pretty much already did that, going from "The soldier who saved his world and walked away from his country" at the end of Snake Eater to "The man who would be called Big Boss with a Nuclear Equipped Private Army and a willingness to employ child soldiers" at the end of Peace Walker. There's a couple extra points TPP shows but almost everything else are similar plot points to the previous game, except without the character development.

I'm also annoyed that for all the characters from other games who are in this game, almost all of them feel off. Miller went from being a Snakes rather good natured business and heterosexual life partner to being a humorless jerkass obsessed with revenge. Huey lost any traits that would make him remotely likable, instead being a cowardly traitor who blames everyone else for his own failings. Ocelot is reasonable enough, but that's hard to square with the fact this is the guy who, 20 years prior was juggling revolvers for impromptu Russian Roulette games and 20 years in the future will be attaching liquids arm to his own because reasons(Skull Face apparently took the GIANT HAM duty for this game). If you hadn't played any games in the series before this, you'd probably wonder why you're supposed to care about them. If you had played other games, you'd wonder what happened to all these characters between games to make them so unlikable.

It's really hard to shake the feeling that while you need to understand Peace Walker to appreciate Ground Zeros and to some extent, the first two Metal Gear games, you don't really miss out of much if you skip out on MGSV, since you're ultimately playing the Big Boss who had no development at all, you're not building Outer Heaven from MG and pretty much everything that happens is never referenced again(unless you really cared so much about why Eli hates Big Boss so much).

In the end, it's rather sad that the final game in the Metal Gear series, with such potential, sends up being so unsatisfying. And on that note, my long journey through this series comes to an end.

I do plan on one final post in this thread before it's done, where I rate the series from best to worst as well as briefly go over the entire series now that it's all over and done with.

Congrats on the long, glorious journey through one of gaming's most treasured IP's. I must admit I've only glossed through the lengthier write-ups, but in any case this is a Valhalla-worthy thread to go back to for future introspection on this most obliquely intriguing mindf*ck of a series.

With that, I leave you with this -

hanselthecaretaker:
Congrats on the long, glorious journey through one of gaming's most treasured IP's. I must admit I've only glossed through the lengthier write-ups, but in any case this is a Valhalla-worthy thread to go back to for future introspection on this most obliquely intriguing mindf*ck of a series.

Thanks. Hopefully this forum will survive for a while or at least be archived but I've been saving the write ups as word documents as well.

I really wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this series knowing about it's frankly bizarre shifts in tone between amazingly well researched and batshit insanity, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Glad to see you made it through. This has always been a fun thread to follow.

My thoughts in MGSV are similar to yours. The stealth/action gameplay is the best it's been for the series, but it just feels so hollow and unnecessary. The plot is weak and mostly confined to tapes that require to just sit and listen for ages. The map is big and empty, with areas being constantly reused for busywork missions. Despite all the content the game feels unfinished, which it totally is. If you didn't play Peace Walker, which I didn't since I had no interest in what originally a PSP spinoff game, then the plot offers absolutely nothing as everything seems to completely hinge on you getting to know the cast there. The characters as presented are dull as dishwasher. Ocelot, the revolver spinning Russian cowboy, is just a boring radio guy now, Miller just screeches about REVENGE all game and acts like a total dick to everyone, and I still don't get why Quiet just didn't write shit down after she joined the team. Maybe she had the LITERACY PARASITE and using a pencil would cause an outbreak.

I'm kind of rambling but to sum up, MGS5 is probably the best game that I never want to play again. The gameplay is so good but everything else is lacking. It lacks the heart and soul that made the series so enjoyable to begin with, and it's shameful that it's the game the series will go out on. Here's hoping that Death Stranding ends up being a new Kojima game worth loving.

ADDENDUM: I really hate how PARASITES! has become the new NANOMACHINES! to handwave everything. Like, can't we just have weirdo baddies with crazy powers? When you explain it, it just feels more contrived. Especially how they decided that they needed to explain that the Cobras of MGS3 are all just people with PARASITES! that gave them crazy powers. I liked it better when the Cobras were just a bunch of random weirdos as it fit the feel of MGS where the military recruits random crazy people who do weird shit. Now everything is just NAH PARASITES DAWG. I can suspend my disbelief with NANOMACHINES! as it's vague future technology. But PARASITES! doesn't have the same level of hand waving, especially with some of the really weird shit like making weapons appear out of nowhere. I dunno, maybe I'm just weird but this was a big hangup for me as it went on. Sometimes less is more, and less explanation would have been better since it means you can't scrutinize the answer

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Glad to see you made it through. This has always been a fun thread to follow.

I'm glad people were enjoying it. I was getting worried there that what few people were interested had left or lost interest. Though I also realize these things tend to be TL;DR as well.

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If you didn't play Peace Walker, which I didn't since I had no interest in what originally a PSP spinoff game, then the plot offers absolutely nothing as everything seems to completely hinge on you getting to know the cast there. The characters as presented are dull as dishwasher. Ocelot, the revolver spinning Russian cowboy, is just a boring radio guy now, Miller just screeches about REVENGE all game and acts like a total dick to everyone, and I still don't get why Quiet just didn't write shit down after she joined the team. Maybe she had the LITERACY PARASITE and using a pencil would cause an outbreak.

Peace Walker kind of got a raw deal being a PSP game. If it had been a PS3 game, it would have gotten the attention it deserved instead of mostly being ignored/not noticed by most people. It also would have had the processing power to be a lot more like MGSV but with an actual plot.

At least it was ported to PS3 and was included in the HD/Legacy collection(both of which are cheaper then Survive or MGSV).

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I'm kind of rambling but to sum up, MGS5 is probably the best game that I never want to play again. The gameplay is so good but everything else is lacking. It lacks the heart and soul that made the series so enjoyable to begin with, and it's shameful that it's the game the series will go out on. Here's hoping that Death Stranding ends up being a new Kojima game worth loving.

I know exactly how you feel.

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ADDENDUM: I really hate how PARASITES! has become the new NANOMACHINES! to handwave everything. Like, can't we just have weirdo baddies with crazy powers? When you explain it, it just feels more contrived. Especially how they decided that they needed to explain that the Cobras of MGS3 are all just people with PARASITES! that gave them crazy powers. I liked it better when the Cobras were just a bunch of random weirdos as it fit the feel of MGS where the military recruits random crazy people who do weird shit. Now everything is just NAH PARASITES DAWG. I can suspend my disbelief with NANOMACHINES! as it's vague future technology. But PARASITES! doesn't have the same level of hand waving, especially with some of the really weird shit like making weapons appear out of nowhere. I dunno, maybe I'm just weird but this was a big hangup for me as it went on. Sometimes less is more, and less explanation would have been better since it means you can't scrutinize the answer

What makes it worse it that the game seems to imply("They taught us how to speak") that the Parasites have always been there, but nobody has ever noticed them until CIPHER started messing with them. Apparently XOF picked up the research to weaponize it, yet it's confined entirely to this game and the rest of the series is more then happy to imply the supernatural is a real thing. Hell, Ghosts are canonically real in the Metal Gear universe, which makes Big Bosses fear of Vampires in MGS3 not as crazy as it may otherwise seem.

Yeah it's so weird that they need to have a BS pseudoscience explanation for the weird stuff in MGS5, despite this being the same game with a floating psychic kid in a gas mask who does all kinds of stuff that cannot be explained, as well as the resurrected corpse of your old enemy who literally burns with revenge. The parasites as an explanation is absolutely absurd even by MGS standards. I don't care what mumbo jumbo they came up with, no parasite can make people do some of the stuff they did. The big thing that comes to mind is when the Skull soldiers in the first real mission pull assault rifles from their hands, or the Skull snipers having their rifles just materialize out of nothing. If they had just been unexplained weirdos I would have accepted it, same as I did Vulcan Raven magically paralyzing Snake, Mantis' powers, or Vamp pinning you down by your shadow.

And as you said, it's so weird to have these magical do anything parasites that have apparently been around forever but weren't mentioned before and apparently were never researched again despite their absolutely insane results.

Did you ever look up the unfinished mission video that came with the special edition? It features details and the incomplete cutscenes of the mission that would have wrapped up the loose ends of the Snuffleupagus and Eli, and sounds like it would have been really cool. It's easy to find on YouTube and it's criminal that it wasn't included to some degree. As it stands, Eli Mantis and the other kids take the Not Metal Gear and then they never discuss it again

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Did you ever look up the unfinished mission video that came with the special edition? It features details and the incomplete cutscenes of the mission that would have wrapped up the loose ends of the Snuffleupagus and Eli, and sounds like it would have been really cool. It's easy to find on YouTube and it's criminal that it wasn't included to some degree. As it stands, Eli Mantis and the other kids take the Not Metal Gear and then they never discuss it again

I hadn't until you mentioned it. I went ahead and watched it and while it wouldn't have fixed the game, it would have at least given Eli's arc some kind of purpose and ending, instead of "Well, they flew off with the Metal Gear and the parasite and.....no one ever saw them again"

Granted it also raises the other problem of Eli somehow managing to get Snuffleupagus working again despite Snake blowing the crap out of it or the fact Eli apparently is infected with the English Parasite yet talks PLENTY in MGS, 20 years later. Snake even makes a mention of Eli showing Symptoms.

I'm also having trouble trying to figure out why I'm really supposed to care about Snake accidently shooting Eli. Sure, he's a kid, but he's a obnoxious little shit who does nothing but try to kill people and by that point, has unleashed a virulent disease and stolen a giant battle robot and tried to kill snake with it twice. Sure, it sounds like he had a shitty childhood but it really doesn't excuse his constant acts of unprovoked violence. With no redeemable characteristics, "Poor Eli" isn't really a phrase that enters my mind when Snake repeatedly owns him.

There's also the whole issue of why was Eli able to steal Snuffalogus so easily. It only worked at all because of child psycho mantis, but Diamond Dogs(or more like "Huey") bring it back to Mother Base anyway because of "Legacy". Except they can't use it, won't disassemble it and just let Eli/Mantis run off with it, when Snuggalogus seems like an EXPY of ZEKE in that way and the chapter 5 finale in Peace Walker was PAZ stealing ZEKE in pretty much the exact same manner(minus the floating ghost child bit).

And yeah, I'm not sure why they felt it was necessary to bring Volgin back as the man on fire. Finding out it's his corpse(?) controlled like a hateful puppet doesn't really add anything to the story. It's just more fanservice. It could have been anyone and made just as much sense as the flaming whale seen in the prologue(which I don't think is really explained anywhere).

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Granted it also raises the other problem of Eli somehow managing to get Snuffleupagus working again despite Snake blowing the crap out of it or the fact Eli apparently is infected with the English Parasite yet talks PLENTY in MGS, 20 years later. Snake even makes a mention of Eli showing Symptoms.

Huey helped the boys repair it, also in the cutscene you can see that Psycho Mantis removed the parasites from Eli before helping him escape from the island.

In the cutscenes they say that the virus doesn't take effect until one's vocal cords have matured. His voice started to change but he wasn't all there yet, so Eli wasn't feeling the full effect. At the end of the cutscene, Mantis removed the parasite from his body so that's how he was fine later. Though honestly that's such a plot cul-de-sac that I'm glad it was cut. What's the point of introducing something that doesn't matter for the character beyond that moment? I really wish on the whole that Eli was handled better. I think that having Venom be the player character not Big Boss handicapped the plot. He is a blank slate with no real investment to the overall mythos and characters. Instead of getting to see Big Boss finally develop into the villain, we get this randy who is just a Big Boss avatar with no meaningful development. Imagine if instead of saving it for the end game twist, we KNEW it was the double and had to see him deal with the legacy of his new persona, while butting heads with Miller and others who are in on it and don't like how he handles things? Maybe he tries to be more of a father to Eli because he knows Boss doesn't give a fuck and wants to be better, so when Eli hates him and he writes Eli off it means more. Everything in the game was in service to a plot twist that while kind of cool in it's reveal, otherwise didn't do anything for the series except plug in the plot hole of Big Boss being killed in Outer Heaven but back in the sequel, something I don't think anyone really cared about anymore.

I'm really confused about the whale and fire horse as well. Was that Volgin doing it? The rest of the game he just shoots fire and bullets. It doesn't seem to be him using that power. Was it Mantis? If so that's a HUGE leap in his capabilities. In the past he seems to be able to appear/disappear, float, read minds, control minds, and telekinesis. That's all a far cry from creating a giant flaming whale out of nowhere that eats a helicopter. It seems like that was put in just because of the Snakes being call Ishmael and Ahab at the start. That or Kojima likes whales.

I believe that it was Psycho Mantis/Venom Snakes doing, Psycho Mantis draws power from peoples anger/lust for revenge. You can see who he's drawing from by looking at him, when he summons the firey whale you can see that Psycho Mantis has shrapnel stuck in his head which implies he's drawing power from Venom Snake at that moment, when he draws power from Skullface you can see that his mask resembles Skullface's mask, when he draws power from Eli you can see that he has a red cloth or whatever on his shoulder.

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