Ruth's Diary


There is little point in writing any sort of review for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

It came out 1st September 2015. It got many top scores in many major reviews.

I spent 6 months playing the game off-and-on.

And yet, I just feel sad. Why? The game did not have a real ending.

The benefit of playing any game under the leadership of Hideo Kojima is that you're always guaranteed a proper, fulfilling ending. He's so attentive to details, to the flow of a story, to the importance of a satisfying ending...the fact that there is none in this game, with the reason being the Konami in-fighting, that's just depressing.

We still do not know what exactly happened within Konami productions (it is not typical in Japanese culture to blab about office politics and production in-fighting). All we know is this: Kojima found himself only able to produce Metal Gear Solid games, all other forms of game production within the company fizzled out and became less financially rewarding, the Silent Hill franchise suffered, Kojima was offered a chance to try and make a new entry in that franchise with his best friend Guillermo Del Toro (yes, the movie director). The tech demo became "P.T" and made everyone the world over excited for a new Silent Hill game, P.T was free at the expense of $40 being charged for MGSV: Ground Zeroes. Then Kojima's name was removed from the leading posters and cover work for The Phantom Pain. After all that, after Kojima leaving/getting forced out, the man himself is very depressed from it all and doesn't want to talk about it.

It's likely that Konami had had something awry for a long time. There was a time when Kojima was one of the few leading video game auteurs and could practically do whatever he wanted, even a random different franchise in Zone of the Enders, while MGS2 was still in production. Zone of the Enders isn't exactly a revolutionary game (or games, it got a sequel) but it's a lot of fun and appealed to my angsty teenage mind. This is the one game which had a rushed ending, simply because MGS2 would have suffered had Kojima not properly finished up and gotten back to it. However, I would argue it wasn't rushed. It told a proper story from beginning to end and the gameplay was solid enough, despite the weaknesses. A sequel had only been natural.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots isn't exactly a game that blew people away, but it did the important job of finishing the story of Solid Snake (plus several other characters), so even cynics were forced to applaud Kojima for tying up every single loose end, even ones that hadn't occurred to us fans, then tied up all those ends together in a neat pretty bow. I was convinced that would be the final MGS game (save for Peace Walker and any other handheld). There was even talk of making a Zone of the Enders 3. Or perhaps Kojima-sama could make a brand new type of game, with a different type of story.

I remember feeling disappointed when I learned of a fifth Metal Gear Solid. Really? It wasn't exactly needed. But, made it was, with radically different gameplay from the previous entries (making it hell for my muscle memory). With this game, the bridge between MGS3 in the 60s to the other main games in the series made sense: Big Boss really turned into a darker shade of grey, Major Zero had gone off the deep end, 2 major strands of unintended consequences emerged... for the exploration of all these plot points, making it really obvious that the character you were controlling was no hero (though not exactly a villain either), I really did enjoy myself. I possibly enjoyed managing and expanding my base more but, yeah.

Admittedly, some of the major twists and turns I could actually predict this time around. I won't say what, but I'll simply say that the trailer(s) had revealed slightly too much and the clues in-game were far too obvious. Just to provide a very minor one: we meet Liquid Snake as a boy, his name is Eli. You don't know that straight away, you just hear stories of a "White Mamba". But then you see him, then hear him...then his age comes into consideration. Yeah, no shock. I'm glad I get to talk about Eli though, because an entire chapter had been left out of the game, explaining how he breaks away and gains the support of one future infamous boss Psycho Mantis. This is a huge turning point in the story of the franchise! The internal Konami bickering forced this major plot-point and ending out of the game!

And so...completing every major mission and side mission felt...pointless. Truly pointless. You did it, got the stats, got the Silver Trophies...nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Honestly, Metal Gear Solid 4 was the swansong, the franchise had been allowed to end on a high, even with all its ridiculousness. Number 5 feels like what it is, something unfinished thanks to a bad breakup. At least there was enough material left over (even finished cut scenes!) to show what the ending could have, should have been.

Hideo Kojima has now made a team to make a game exclusively for Sony. And Sony met his budget and work demands. I don't care if he produces a game involving splatting plants with paint for an hour - at least it will be his and it won't be ruined by outside interference!

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