Guys, there is no joy here. We ordinarily roast gems of joyfol geekdom with great relish. Truth be told, this particular write-up ends with tremendous sadness.

It’s METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN. By writing this, we acknowledge it has arrived. That being so, that means the world has welcomed its last Hideo Kojima-produced METAL GEAR installment. If it’s here, that means we can no more deny that it’s over.

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Mom and Dad couldn’t make it work anymore. The ulginess between Kojima and venerable vide0 game publishing titan Konami reached critical mass and the next thing we all knew, Konami was going to the shocking length of erasing the pioneering producer from every square-milimeter possible of the man’s creative legacy – even this master-opus prequel to his own signature saga.

Watching the poignant final teaser trailers leading up to THE PHANTOM PAIN’s release even reminded us all that we would now never see the summation of the vision Kojima, visionary director Guillermo del Toro and THE WALKING DEAD star Norman Reedus had conjured for a revitalization of Konami’s hallowed SILENT HILL franchise. As we watched all those reminiscent trailers, listened time and again to Kojima’s heartfelt thanks to fans, we hoped this would be the time when someone wouldn’t start suddenly chopping dusty onions right next to us. Stupid onion dust.

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Alas, here we are. METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN has arrived, and what a way to go out. “THE PHANTOM PAIN may be a contender for one of the best action games ever made, but is undoubtedly the best METAL GEAR game there is,” GAMESPOT declared in an early review.

Set in 1984 and preceding the events of the very first METAL GEAR, you once more play as the legendary and infamous Big Boss, leader of the legendary Diamond Dogs private military force on a mission to assemble the world’s most formidable covert-ops team beyond the authority of international governments and against the backdrop of some very real 1980s tensions between at-odds nations. You’ll confront torture, child soldiers and unsettling nuclear proliferation in the name of ensuring that no one nation takes advantage of global tensions and fractured diplomacy to seize frightening scales of power.

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As always, Kojima has woven a narrative told through incomparably cinematic cut scenes and tense story missions, but this time, there’s the added element of over 100 side missions carried out across the great swath of a massive open world. In this sense, THE PHANTOM PAIN goes out the way Kojima both came in and carried himself through: taking great chances with bold new gameplay mechanics and unheard-of stealth/action experiences. The man himself always said, the METAL GEAR efforts that preceded the revolutionary METAL GEAR SOLID never truly captured his grand vision of a stealth combat experience. Later, METAL GEAR SOLID 3 would introduce a number of bold, ambitious concepts that were ultimately ahead of their time, such as dynamic, customizable camouflage, deteriorating injuries, even an active hunting mechanic. They didn’t exactly execute flawlessly, but they paved the way.

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The story told in THE PHANTOM PAIN is once more pure Kojima, as well. We’ve always believed this mad genius at some point underwent some extensive brain surgery of the Zaphod Beeblebrox variety to compose such a wildly meandering narrative that somehow, some way, still manages to come full-circle and make an insane sort of sense. It’s enough to make the player wonder, “Is Kojima just a mad man, or am I perhaps a touch addled myself that I actually completely understand this?” It all leads up to one of modern gaming’s great poignant punctuations, replete with thoughtful threads left frayed and untied from inescapable sadness that….it’s over. Not entirely unlike BIOSHOCK INFINITE, it is ending just ahead of where it came in.

It’s consistent, daring, and unforgettably captivating. Tell us, what more did you expect?

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Source – Gamespot

9.5 Total Score
Most Perfect Game In Years

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