The future of Kojima Productions and Metal Gear franchise may raise a few questions among longtime fans, but there is one thing for sure: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is on track for its mega release on September 1, and Hideo Kojima is on the front lines as always. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was an interesting release that not only set the scene for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but was a fine showcase of the drastically revamped graphics engine and gameplay systems. It’s been offered for free to PlayStation Network subscribers, and it’s currently a free download to Xbox Live Gold subscribers on Xbox One. It’s certainly worthwhile to pick up and sit through Ground Zeroes if you haven’t already, as all the heat regarding its apparent short length is exaggeration, because there’s definitely a lot of content to keep you busy, and more importantly it will make the wait for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain a little easier. We had the chance to sit through the early portion of The Phantom Pain, and after experiencing the surreal and unreal events that transpired, it’s safe to say Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is going to be a game changer like every Metal Gear before it.
Producer and director, Hideo Kojima, is the heart and soul of Metal Gear franchise, but he’s certainly no one trick pony. He’s ventured into other genres and styles of games, and while Hollywood may appear to be his primary influence, anime has been just as instrumental in his approach to cinematography and game design. Thematic and visual traces of anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell can be seen in the Metal Gear franchise, and of course the stellar mech and boss designs come from many mecha and sci-fi anime. Neon Genesis Evangelion was a direct influence on Kojima’s Zone of the Enders franchise, from the main mech designs to the main protagonist (Leo) who was based on Shinji. Kojima also had a go at creating a more light hearted Shonen action adventure in Lunar Knights (a.k.a Boktai), which was aimed at younger gamers. Hideo Kojima is perhaps one of the most important and influential people in the industry today, after all it was the original Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation that raised the bar sky high when it comes to presentation and production values seen in video games. It lead to the cinematic visuals and stellar Hollywood that we take for granted today. The future of the relationship between Kojima Productions and Konami is still up in the air, but one thing’s for sure from our hands-on with the final build: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will make every other game in 2015, whether it’s Halo or Xenoblade, quiver in its boots.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain feels so surreal from the get go because it is such a jarring departure from what we’re used to seeing in Metal Gear, but it still retains the concepts and mechanics that were so convincingly introduced in Ground Zeroes. But as jarring as the experience is, it still accomplishes what Metal Gear absolutely excels in: absolute immersion and suspension of belief. The fabled open-world presents itself to the player in the most awe-inspiring fashion. We’ve seen open-world RPGs and sandbox titles in the past, but The Phantom Pain is leagues above anything you’ve ever experienced before. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, as impressive as it still is, was like the appetiser but it still convincingly sold the notion of an open,breathing world in an action game. By taking that solid groundwork to a whole new level The Phantom Pain will surely amaze and surprise gamers with its lofty ambitions.
Mechanically Metal Gear has never felt more polished and fluid than it does in The Phantom Pain, the degree of interaction with the environments, and the weight of the combat system, all feel so organic. It feels familiar to anyone who has played Metal Gear before, but the physics of the movements and the weight of the nuances, all help in the immersion. Speaking of immersion, The Phantom Pain is visually and graphically absolutely stunning, Metal Gear games have always been on the cutting age of technology, and The Phantom Pain will accomplish the same with its sheer hyper realism that is almost scary to behold. It’s cinematic gaming at its finest, and it’s going to put every developer on notice.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is just around the corner, set to launch on September 1, 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and even those who have yet to make the jump to newer systems and hardware can enjoy the experience on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Stay tuned for the full review on SnapThirty.