Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima is set to realise the height of his ambition - Games Weekly

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima is set to realise the height of his ambition

Hideo Kojima has always been ambitious. In the mid Eighties he abandoned a future in economics to enter the highly risky gaming industry, where his ideas were continually rejected for being too “radical.” That was until 1987, when he developed Metal Gear for MSX, a title so innovative it created shockwaves that have lasted to this day. Now, Kojima is set to release his biggest and riskiest title yet: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Kojima has pulled out all the stops to create the quintessential tactical espionage experience. Running on Kojima Productions’ new Fox Engine, The Phantom Pain features one of the largest open worlds to date, fit with aesthetically beautiful lighting conditions, a dynamic weather system, and some of the smoothest and most detailed character animations we’ve seen. But if the scale and detail of The Phantom Pain are impressive, the gameplay developments are breathtaking. For starters, the linear progression of earlier titles has been replaced by an open world, in which time plays a pivotal role, with enemies coming and going between night and day. Then there's the adaptive AI, which allows enemies to learn as they fight you (even donning helmets after you shoot enough of them in the head). Add to this Android and iOS support (for viewing maps), base building and customisation options, and an ingenious new multiplayer mode in which you can infiltrate other players’ bases, and you’re looking at a potential Game Of The Year winner.

But amongst all this certainty a dice is being rolled in the form of Kojima himself. Previously constricted by technological limitations, Kojima has been liberated on Xbox One. The result is a mishmash of often conflicting ideas. Serious themes of race and revenge are marred by sexism (Quiet runs around half naked), while the realistic espionage gameplay is seemingly made absurd by such mechanics as the ability to make enemy vehicles skid on horse poo. Can such disparate elements come together to create a unified whole?

The Phantom Pain has it all, but it needs to know when to stop. We can’t help but detect the faint whiff of a developer succumbing  to the weight of his own ego.  The Phantom Pain could end up a mangled mess of irreconcilable ideas. Then again, it could become the crowning glory of one of gaming’s true masters.

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