I must start by saying that I am a Metal Gear fan. While I do not know the specific details about all the games and characters, I still enjoy the series. I have the original Metal Gear game on the NES and have memories of my older brother playing it on the PS1 and PS2. I, myself, have played both Rising and MGS4 on my PS3. As such, I have some extremely high expectations from what could possibly be Hideo Kojima's final Metal Gear game.
If you are reading this review, I assume you know some things about this game. So, I will assume you also have questions about Ground Zero. Do I need to play it in order to understand Phantom Pain? My answer is in two parts. If your question is in regards to story, then not really. All you need to know from Ground Zero is that you want revenge on the people who destroyed your organization and placed you in a coma for 9 years.
I do suggest that you play Ground Zero if you want to transfer data from the game into Phantom Pain. I say this only if you have already played or own Ground Zero. Otherwise, you really do not need to think about it. Anyway, you are able to transfer the people you save from Ground Zero into Phantom Pain. This will give you a stats boost, which will allow you to get things in the game a little bit faster. If you do not have any saved data, you are not really losing anything other than some extra time looking for more resources.
There are a lot of weapons at your disposal but that is not the reason I enjoy the weapons in this game. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy using them but the fact that you are not locked into weapons make it even greater. Often times, I am moving across the world when either a helicopter or an armored vehicle starts attacking me. Generally, I carry a sniper rifle, which does nothing to a vehicle. Thankfully, I can call in a supply drop to either switch weapons or get more ammo and blow those vehicles to hell. Contrast this with some FPS games where you need to die first before you can switch weapons. I like switching weapons whenever I want without needing to die.
You are able to play with a buddy, not a real person but with a AI controlled buddy. You are able to give this buddy some commands to help you do different things. You are able to use a female sniper, a horse, a wolf, or a mechanical assault robot to assist you. All four offer different forms of assistance. The sniper helps you kill or KO enemies. The horse lets you travel far distances fast or to disable moving enemy vehicles. The wolf lets you detect both enemies and resources that are around you. Finally, the mechanical assault robot allows you to Rambo into an enemy stronghold with guns blazing, if you decide to do so. Each buddy allows you to pick how to want to attack an enemy, be it stealthy or by kicking the front door down.
I have two complaints, while they are not game breaking, they sure are annoying. One is the load times and the other is the inefficient way that you can move from one mission to another. In regards to load times, there seems to be 10 to 25 second load times when playing on the PS4. I do not think there is much that can be done about load times but they happen quite often, so that it often makes me feel I am going cold turkey whenever I want to continue playing.
As for switching between missions, it is quite frankly inefficient. What I mean is that, if you want to switch from one mission to another, you need to be in the helicopter to switch missions. You cannot be on the ground, switch missions and be relocated to a different mission at once. Instead, you need to pay for your helicopter to pick you up, a load time of between 10 to 25 seconds. Select the new mission you want to move to. Then wait for another 10 to 25 seconds for the game to load.
Instead of waiting so long, I would like a fast travel system where I can travel directly between missions without the need for a helicopter ride. Well, the game does have such a feature but it is only between key points on the map. The system it has works wonderfully. However, a great deal of the missions you need to do are nowhere near the key points that you can travel between. While not game breaking, these two complaints affect the flow of a great game.
This game literally made me play through the night. I had played the game most of the day, while only stopping for lunch, dinner, and the occasional bathroom break. Before I realized it, it was already nearly 7am the next morning. I literally played through the night. I am now a 28-year-old and it has been a really long time since I did this. The last time was 10 or more years ago, when I was played the FPS Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA) for PC. So, yes, MGS5, made me do something that I rarely do anymore which is play through the night. This game is simply that additive.
This may sound weird but I had a difficult time reviewing this game. It not because it’s a bad game but ironically enough it’s quite the opposite. The fact is that I wanted to continue playing it, which makes me quite literally forget that I need to write the review. I have reviewed lots of games but this is a first for me. The game has great controls, stellar graphics, and countless other aspects that make it additive to play.