23 Jun 2014

E3 2014 - Metal Gear: V The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear... it's that on and off again relationship that keeps coming back. I've listed my history with the game after the break but this video is one of the few games that are making me want not only another Metal Gear game, but a new 8th Generation Console (Xbox One is the frontrunner... so far) . 

So what's this mean for me... 

First my history with the game

When the first game of the series, Metal Gear, came out for the NES, I remember the punishing difficulty, the rewarding gameplay, and the first time I used my Game Genie. It was also one of the first NES games I ever played. Ahh memories. Snake's Revenge, the American sequel to Metal Gear was not made by the previous team and was not as good. I never played Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake on any of its releases but I hear it wasn't bad for it's time. 

Metal Gear Solid for the PS1 was a game changer. It was hard, innovative, and rewarded creative play. It also made you more than once think outside the 'box' - a very much intended pun. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was not bad - I liked some of the goals in the game as the mission progressed. I loved the clean cut graphics and some of the little touches. I did not mind Raiden - the red headed stepchild of the series. I disliked the confusing story and its final moments fire sale on plot twists. Those twists really took away from my experience. 

When Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released I was over the moon. 1960's setting, low tech, playing BIG BOSS! My favorite character of the series is the bad guy. Big Boss was always an interesting shadow to the series and getting to know how he became the Big Boss was awesome. When the game came out with a focus on real time fatigue, critical damage and healing, and a detailed camouflage system I've never seen a better Metal Gear game since. 

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was the only other Metal Gear game that captured my attention, the sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (chronologically). Only released for Sony's portable console the PSP, you played Big Boss once again. Now captured and meeting other mainstay characters from the rest of the series for the first time.The game is filled with a bucket load of tightly designed smaller levels that are the location for a series of missions that you the player decides to take on. You work with a small team of up to four characters. These characters are gained primarily by disabling them, sending them back to base, and turning them to your side. You also use characters to gather intelligence or work R&D. It was brilliant in game concepts and the story was only a little more convoluted than Snake Eater.

I always wished Snake Eater and Portable Ops were put together in a full console release. Instead we got another PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker that I never got around to playing. It wasn't because I didn't like Portable Ops - but the experience was limited and felt restricted when played on the portable system. I didn't feel that I'd be able to invest in another PSP game that felt restricted. 

So I waited and the Playstaion 3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released to great fanfare and love from the critics. It was the game Sons of Liberty was supposed to be. I tried it but the controls felt clunky and unwieldy. Also the new mechanical designs and basic story premise was hard to accept. I only played for a short period of time but I could never get into the game. Sadly Youtube and Wikipedia were far more satisfying in delivering the final story of Big Boss and his children. 

So now we've thrown out the voice actors, we've gone back to Big Boss who has a cybernetic left arm, shrapnel in his skull, and a few more scratches on his pretty/gruff mug. The base mechanics look neat and the kidnap/recruit mechanic is back from Portable Ops. I also like in the demo they showed us some creative use for some of the supply drop/pickup mechanics. I'm also enjoying the open world/sandbox nature of the game. It looks interesting and worth the effort to explore. 

Nothing else that's been shown before this video has attracted me to the game but it seems that only the odd Metal Gears win my heart.