Metal Gear Solid V and Video Game Reviews
I beat Metal Gear Solid V a couple of days ago and knowing that it will probably be the last game in the franchise after the split between Konami and series creator Hideo Kojima, I was left with mixed feelings. Metal Gear Solid has to be one of my favorite games of my childhood, and each installment has been well received by fans and critics, maybe with the exception of a couple handheld or mobile titles.
Looking at the reviews of the game but not reading into them, I knew that MGS V was also going to be a great game. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the game as much as I thought I would. I felt a similar way when I played through MGS IV back when it was released. I was expecting a near perfect game. Don't get me wrong, it is a great game but I will go into a couple of reasons why it didn't live up to my expectations.
My first gripe is the open world style of gameplay that doesn't feel it is executed as well as it could have been. Unlike Breath of the Wild, you are given missions from one to three at a time, after which you will be provided with additional story elements and given the next set of missions. It still feels linear and I wanted more options to explore missions organically. Even though you are given multiple choices on how to complete your objective, each mission feels isolated an not part of a larger world that you are exploring. Even the two continents of Afghanistan and Africa feel too similar and involve the same rescue or kill missions that after the first 10 missions can get boring. I was also baffled as to why each mission is broken up with an intro, with character names and cliffhanger scenes that mimic a movie or an episodic game. It actually spoils what characters will appear in the mission and ended up annoying me when something suspenseful is happening just to pause, go through mission stats, then continue the story in the next mission.
Also, the connection to the larger setting is diminished each time you are taken out of the maps you are exploring by returning to Mother Base or the aerial command center. At Mother base, you can see to the expansion of your base and management of recruits, a system that was introduced in Portable Ops and refined in Peace Walker. Scanning enemies on the battlefield and trying to recruit those with special skills can be challenging, and it almost reminded me of the satisfaction of catching that rare Pokemon. Another management aspect of the game is the GMP, or currency, that you receive from passing missions that can be spent on upgrades, to your base or weapons. Crafting weapons to test on the battlefield was also another deep system that encourages replay of missions.
Each system is refined and adds a lot of depth to the game. However, along with the open world, the game also focuses more on gameplay and less on narrative or providing story explained through cutscenes compared with previous installments. There are a lot of audio logs that fill in history and backstory, but I found them a painfully boring to listen to and at this point in the series there is a lot of backstories to know since this is the final entry. Even with the last chapter missing due to the conflict between Konami and Kojima, there is plenty to do to sink 200+ hours into the game. This game is also really challenging and missions require you to plan your approach, especially if you are going for higher ranks.
With that said my score of the game would be an 8.5/10. This is not meant to be a controversial review, but a personal opinion. There is a lot to consider when giving a number score to a game since an eight and a half will have a different connotation in different reader's minds. I would still definitely recommend this game to everyone, but I'm sure some people will agree with the points I made earlier that don't make it a perfect game. As an opinion, should it be worth more, less or equal to someone else's? Everyone's opinion is subjective to their own biases, and my score reflects how much I enjoyed this game compared to other games.
For example, do popular gaming websites like IGN or GameSpot have more credible opinions just because they work for a company with name recognition? It might be more understandable for a magazine like GameInformer, owned by GameStop, to highly recommend a game ahead of a holiday season which they had a digital exclusive with. You would think that reviewers for popular gaming sites would somehow be unbiased and more of an expert on video games to give a more credible review. Since game developers or those already in the game industry aren't going to step down to review games, most review sites are looking for what they call video game journalists. Which they mostly hire as freelancers, per article or volunteer basis.
It might sound like a professional title but no one is going to go to a four-year university or masters program, with all the costs associated with it, just to make minimum wage or less. Most gaming sites will take any type of writer, journalist or anyone with a big following to review games for them. Everyone knows that you don't need to be a "good" gamer to review games, but you do need to know how to write and express what makes the game good or bad.
Therefore, I believe my review is just as valid as anyone else's. Probably more so because I don't work for anyone or take "gifts" from game developers. I don't understand the outrage from people who go after a reviewer that gives games really high or low reviews based on the norm. You're always going to have outliers in any set of data, and bashing them will only give them the attention they seek. With all the hate that aggregate review sites like Metacritic get, one dissenting opinion will not make much of a difference to a game's reputation. The reason people become upset is that they think reviews, and the reviewers, are objective in their analysis, but in reality, all reviews are subjective. I, for example, would not be able to objectively review the newest FIFA game and may give it a low score because the game is boring to me.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Thanks for being here, and let me know in the comments below if there is a game that you didn't enjoy that is always mentioned on the list of best games this year.