Metal Gear: More than a summer fling


Author: Will Westwater

This summer I fell in love.

There is a whole lot to love about the weird but thrilling “Metal Gear” games, and the Sept. 1 release of “Metal Gear Solid V (MGSV): The Phantom Pain” further cements my newfound appreciation for the series.

Set after the events of “MGSV: Ground Zeroes,” “The Phantom Pain” picks up after the series protagonist Big Boss wakes up from a nine-year coma to rebuild his army and take down the evil Cipher organization. I have only just started to clean up the mess from when it all went wrong in “Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes,” but I am loving every minute of it.


Spanning parts of Afghanistan and Africa, “The Phantom Pain” gives me full control as I take the missions I please and complete them in the style that I want. I can go lethal by killing everything with an airstrike or I can quietly sneak in to take out each guard by hand. In “The Phantom Pain,” I can choose.

But that is not to say “The Phantom Pain” is without its weird gameplay quirks. In this open world, I can zip animals and people back up to mother base by attaching a fulton balloon. My horse can poop on command, and I can fool guards by hiding in a cardboard box with a pin-up girl taped to the front. I do all this while carrying out serious missions to save the world from the evil Cipher organization. It is crazy, but it all makes sense in the world of “Metal Gear.”


“Metal Gear” creator Hideo Kojima has played a part in every major entry in the series since its inception, and it shows. Kojima always followed his own path. The “Metal Gear” series has a long running story that embraces its weird nature. When games lacked originality last console generation, “Metal Gear” games continued to forge their own path.

In an attempt to ready myself for “The Phantom Pain” I played through “MGS3: Snake Eater,” most of “MGS: Peacewalker” and all of “MGSV: Ground Zeroes.” It was a busy summer.

The “Metal Gear” games are something that I would not have appreciated when I was younger. Growing up, I played games that all had the same kind of story: American hero goes in, eliminates terrorists, completes the mission and moves out. This gruff, American protagonist must live in a world as serious as his biceps. For a time that was fun, but I got bored of the same old story. “Metal Gear” shakes up the serious story by adding some pulp and ridiculousness that permeates the entire series. Taking out superpowered characters by dropping supply crates on their heads or smoking an e-cigar to pass the time are all par for the course in the “Metal Gear” games.

I love you, “Metal Gear” — you are a big weirdo, but you do you.

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