Metal Gear Solid V. A game I have written about. A game I have talked about. A game. I wanted to write more about but was sorta homeless for a while. Now, I've got a place to live and a place to comfortably write.
One of the things I wanted to talk about with MGSV, which, of course, is just another disappointment with the game, is the aspect that the missions have on the rest of the game.
In missions you go up against Walker Gears, Tanks, APC's, Helicopters, Skulls, you name it. If the mission intros didn't spoil it each time, these things would come as a surprise. But it's not the lack of surprise that makes these additions practically meaningless, it's that they never really do anything with them. There are also wild animals out in the, uh, wild, but they're a joke. They issue no challenge. No, what should have happened is the enemies should have had hunting dogs and attack dogs to keep things tricky. Maybe even attack bears, I mean fuck this is Metal Gear isn't it? If you can train a
wolf dog to wield a knife and back flip-throat-slice enemies, you can train a bear too.
One of the best experiences in the game came to me when I was just goofing around. I went into Afghanistan with a completely handicapped loadout consisting of a water gun, bionic arm, decoys and nothing else(Well I mean I had to take the SVG but I used the rank 1 variant since it's not great, therefore encouraging me to not use it). In hindsight the decoys are really OP so maybe I shouldn't have brought them along.
I started, got off the chopper, and made it a mission to get as far through the map as I could without killing or getting caught. And I wouldn't use any fancy gadgets except the binoculars. It was a complete blast. I don't think I've ever had so much fun before. Coming so close to getting caught so many times, using decoys and slowly running out of them, reducing my overall chances of success. It was harrowing and hilarious.
I must have went on for about 3 hours doing this. Eventually it came to an end when I arrived out front of Lamar Khaate Palace. See, there was a side-op in front of the palace and I didn't pay attention to the iDroid well enough to figure this out. So all of the sudden I'm sneaking in the Palace, I get caught because I'm an idiot, and WHAM, this fucking helicopter comes out of nowhere and starts to light. my. shit. on. FIRE.
The best part was, this wasn't an ordinary attack helicopter, it was solid red, indicating that it's a Custom. Meaning it is way tougher and way stronger than any normal helicopter. Which made my naked, advanced weapon-less ass pretty much boned. What ensued from here was at LEAST a 15 minute long firefight between me and a helicopter that had it out for me big time. When I ran out of ammo on my crappy level 1 gun I would run to the limited weapon emplacements and try my damnedest to use those, but the helicopter was too good. One shot from its gun and the emplacements were destroyed. Leaving me with very few options.
I ran to each individual soldier that I had knocked out in hopes of obtaining some ammo and very slowly managed to chip away at the helicopter. Eventually, smoke. I was making good progress. It took me long enough.
With a few (Read: Hundreds) more shots on the chopper, it began spinning out of control and actually almost landed on me. With the helicopter down, I felt a sense of satisfaction, of pure, unbridled reward. This thing was advertised six ways from sunday but I didn't bother looking at the map so the surprise was most of the excitement. I mean I wasn't even equipped for the fight. I could have called in a rocket launcher and blew it up, but that's boring, that's easy, that's not exciting. But this type of thing doesn't happen all the time. It really only occurred because I'm an idiot who handicapped himself and accidentally a whole helicopter.
It's moments like these that make the rest of the game feel so alone and empty. There won't be any helicopters just flying around, or any tanks just cruising. No squads with Walker Gears or anything. It's just vanilla soldiers who will occasionally wear better armor and bulletproof helmets based on your tactics for the day. All of the diversity come from static side ops that don't offer too much in the way of diversity, as ironic as that is. They are also limited in their scale and scope to certain parts of the map. I'm sure there were very good reasons for this, maybe a balance issue or other. I can't say. But it the game felt restricted, like it could have been so much more. For example, how awesome would it have been to see the game use its own mechanics against you? Imagine this happening, not by you, but against you.
It would have been so great to see random soldiers using D-Walkers out in the open world. But instead we have nothing but random missions reminding you that these machines are Not Sold In Stores™, and it does a lot to lessen the importance of such things.
It's so disappointing knowing, after a certain point anyway, that you will never just randomly be ambushed by a tank out in the open. You will never just come across a group of Skulls. You will never see a platoon of Walker Gear's driving on by.
Sometimes I forget that this game was developed for last gen consoles, and it makes me wonder just how far this game was held back because of that fact. I mean, this is it, the next gen of video game consoles and they actually have the RAM to do cool shit but there are those other consoles holding us back. Geez, is this what PC gamers feel like?
Years ago now, these images were released onto the internet. They were the very first shots of what would be known as Metal Gear Solid V.
Man, it's crazy to think it's been so long. But looking at these pictures even after playing the full, final product, all those initial thoughts that I had came flooding back into my mind. The idea of making your way across a desert, or through a thick jungle and suddenly you hear the distant sound of a purring engine. You look for it but you don't see it. Suddenly, ! KABOOM, it spots you! Gunshots pouring in from all directions, you've been detected. Making your way from cover to cover, trying to outrun the guntank and squad of soldiers making their way after you, you desperately try to escape. A full range of cover provided by the dense jungle keeps you safe, but for how long? As you make your escape, the blades of an enemy
But ehhh... we didn't quite get that. I mean, I understand these images were very, very old compared to the game we got today and was most likely still being changed radically each and every day. But these images evoke such a response for me that it was actually difficult for me to not imagine the kind of shit I'd see. But I guess there is a difference between what I should expect and what I want to see.
Instead, we got a largely static battlefield that is more concerned with walking back and forth without utilizing vehicles in any meaningful capacity. I mean come on man, there's a huge military base in Afghanistan and there aren't even any tanks or shit parked there!
The Skulls Unit is another example of a missed opportunity. They were very lame as a far as boss battles go, but it would have been very interesting if it was possible to just come across them randomly. If they actually had some sort of traveling mechanic where they wandered around allowing you to stumble across them it could have added a sense of tension that I think the game is sorely missing. I mean Sniper's are pretty rare to come across as well so there's generally no worry about randomly getting caught. But add the element of the Skulls onto the field and suddenly it could get a lot more exciting.
For example, it's actually possible to sneak past the Skulls in the few places you encounter them, yet it seems a bit silly that there's no real risk/reward except you avoid another confrontation. But you're doing that the whole game. I mean sure, you could always go in guns a blazing, but all of the mechanics are designed around sneaking by things and avoiding fights.
Take in what I wrote before about how there aren't any other factions for the enemy to fight, it would have been balls to the wall to see something like tanks fighting tanks fighting The Skulls. That should would go from zero to real in a heartbeat.
After a certain point you are actually way overpowered anyway. Tanks pose no threat, helicopters pose no threat. The Skulls are chumpchange once you figure out how to parry them correctly every time. Yet, you get to call in airstrikes. You get to call in an attack helicopter that you can upgrade to both take and dish out a massive beating. You have a super powered sniper by your side that you can call upon when you need her, and a battlesuit that can withstand pretty much anything.
But the enemy doesn't evolve like you. The just... remain. So after some point the challenge is mostly gone. I mean sure it's still a challenge to sneak through and whatnot, but that's not what I mean. I mean, you just know what to expect. You will never be surprised. It's all just so predictable.
In the paraphrased words of Paz, "the execution of potential never came... the execution of potential never came..."