Five Things Konami Should Add To MGS V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain came out earlier this month, and it is excellent – but it isn't perfect. Konami just revealed some DLC costume plans, but for fans who have already finished the game, new outfits don’t rank high on the list of things that could further enrich the experience. To help Hideo Kojima’s latest title fully realize its potential, Konami should be focusing its post-release efforts in other areas. This list runs through five additions that would go a long way toward making The Phantom Pain more cohesive and satisfying.
A few of the entries involve restoring content that was cut during development. Every game changes from conception to release, so that fact that some things were cut isn’t necessarily surprising. However, in the case of The Phantom Pain, the removal of these elements is conspicuous because the seams aren’t smooth; they create holes in the narrative flow that leave certain threads unresolved. Konami and Kojima Productions could fix some substantial problems by making the handful of changes below.
Spoiler warning: These entries contain spoilers for The Phantom Pain. Continue reading only if you’ve finished the main story!
After the final credits rolled, you probably said to yourself: “Wait a minute…what happened with Eli, Tretij Rebenok, and Sahelanthropus?” The game leaves that whole plot thread inexplicably dangling, but the team at Kojima Productions had an answer ready. A behind-the-scenes feature included with the collector’s edition outlines Mission 51 – an operation that would resolve lingering questions and provide the clear ending the game is missing. As the feature demonstrates, the story and dialogue were almost complete for this final mission, and work had started on the cutscenes. That’s a long way from being finished, but the fact that this critical piece is missing from the experience is baffling. Even if it should have been in the main game, playing this mission as DLC is better than not playing it at all. Of course, as long we’re dreaming about adding more story, a whole extra chapter that closes the gap between the events of MGS V and the original Metal Gear would be even better.
Give Us Quiet Back
With her ability to scout while lending offensive support, Quiet is a great buddy to bring along on the battlefield. In fact, players dedicated to replaying missions for the prestigious S-rank might find that Quiet is uniquely suited to helping you succeed in certain operations. The problem? Late in the game, she leaves and you never get her back. If you wanted to use her in your quest to ace every mission, you’re out of luck. You can delay the sequence of that triggers Quiet’s exit by affixing a butterfly to your emblem, but that can’t help anyone who doesn’t know about this (completely unexplained) workaround and proceeds with the story naturally. It’s fine that Quiet’s story comes to an end, but the timeline in The Phantom Pain isn’t exactly sacred; multiple other parts of the game let you mess with the sequence of events, like replaying old missions with buddies you hadn’t even met your first time through. Konami needs to give players a way to continue using Quiet in their pursuit of post-game dominance.
After you recruit Huey Emmerich, he makes a big deal out of his development of Battle Gear. You are encouraged to visit his lab occasionally to see how progress on the robotic tank is coming along. You are even treated to a sequence of brief cutscenes that highlight its different phases of development. Then, when the impressive war machine is finally done…nothing. Battle Gear doesn’t do anything cool or figure into the gameplay at all. All you can do with it is send it on the final few “combat deployment” missions – off-screen affairs that occur in real-time while you’re doing other missions. Hideo Kojima revealed that the original intent was to allow players to bring Battle Gear into missions and pilot it, but the collector’s edition of Piggyback Interactive’s MGS V strategy guide says this feature was cut for balance reasons. Remember, this is a game that lets you develop a suit that makes you invisible and a bandana that gives you infinite ammo, so the whole “balance reasons” excuse doesn’t hold up. Who cares if it’s overpowered? Playing through missions with this heavily armed beast would be a blast.
As I noted in my review, the multiplayer F.O.B. matches don’t add much to the overall experience. Players hoping for a purely single-player Metal Gear can safely avoid them…until they hit the post-game wall. Eventually, the number of resources you can collect and the number of staff members you can hold plateau, slowing down your base expansion and item development. If you want to keep advancing at a reasonable pace, you practically need to start a Forward Operating Base. While this increases your production capabilities, this online-only feature also makes you vulnerable to attack from other players and puts your hard-earned resources at risk of being stolen by invading players. You can play offline to avoid the constant attacks, but then you can’t access any resources your F.O.B. stores. Even worse, when you go back online, you might find that your resources have been cleaned out after multiple invasions. The Phantom Pain needs a middle ground: a way for players to continue their progression at a solid pace without requiring participation in the defend/invade F.O.B. missions. Oh, and while we’re at it, get rid of those gross microtransactions, too.
David Hayter Voice Pack
Many fans were shocked to learn that actor Kiefer Sutherland would be replacing David Hayter as the voice of Big Boss. Some even held out hope that this move was an elaborate ruse to disguise the fact that Hayter would be returning to voice Solid Snake in some capacity for The Phantom Pain. We now know that isn’t the case. Sutherland does a fine job in this role, but the fact remains that Metal Gear fans have associated Hayter’s voice with Snake for over 15 years. The break in continuity is strange, and the switch doesn’t have any major benefits – especially considering how little Snake speaks in Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain compared to other titles. Get Hayter in the studio to re-record all of the lines (like Destiny did), and then let players choose which performance they want to use for their playthroughs.
No game is perfect, and despite this wish list, The Phantom Pain still does a lot of things right. However, wanting a good game to be even better isn't completely unreasonable. Share your dream additions to The Phantom Pain in the comments below!