Home » Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – A Comprehensive Review

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – A Comprehensive Review

by M Asim

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released in 2015, is the final installment in the iconic Metal Gear series created by Hideo Kojima. This open-world stealth-action game garnered significant attention and acclaim for its intricate narrative, innovative gameplay mechanics, and stunning graphics. In this review, we will delve into the game’s pros and cons, providing a detailed analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.


  • Open-World Design: The Phantom Pain takes a bold step away from the linear design of its predecessors and embraces an open-world structure. This change allows players to explore a vast, interconnected world, offering an unprecedented level of freedom. The game world feels alive and dynamic, with various ecosystems and weather patterns, creating an immersive experience.

Innovative Gameplay Mechanics:

  • Innovative Gameplay Mechanics: The game introduces a host of gameplay innovations, most notably the Fulton Recovery System. Players can use this device to extract soldiers, resources, and even vehicles to build their private army, adding a unique strategic dimension to the game. Additionally, the Reflex Mode slows down time when detected, giving players a brief window to respond, enhancing the stealth elements.
  • Deep and Complex Story: As is customary with the Metal Gear series, The Phantom Pain features a complex and intriguing storyline filled with political intrigue, moral dilemmas, and memorable characters. The game explores themes such as revenge, the cost of warfare, and the blurred lines between right and wrong. The narrative is delivered through both cutscenes and gameplay, allowing players to engage with the story on multiple levels.

Phenomenal Graphics and Sound:

  • Phenomenal Graphics and Sound: The game’s visual and audio design are nothing short of exceptional. The Fox Engine powers the game, visuals, realistic character animations, and detailed environments. The attention to detail is astonishing, and it all contributes to a truly immersive experience. The sound design is equally remarkable, with a hauntingly beautiful score and superb voice acting.
  • Varied Mission Design: The Phantom Pain offers a wide variety of missions, from traditional stealth and infiltration to more action-oriented scenarios. The objectives are diverse, ranging from rescuing hostages to eliminating high-value targets, and they keep the gameplay fresh and engaging throughout the extensive campaign.

Base Management:

  • Base Management: The game incorporates a base management system, where players can recruit soldiers, research new technologies, and develop new equipment. This adds an additional layer of strategy to the game, as the success of your missions and the growth of your private army depend on effective base management.
  • Replayability: The Phantom Pain is a game that keeps on giving. The open-world structure and the multitude of side missions, collectibles, and hidden secrets ensure that players can spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in the game without exhausting its content.

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  • Online Multiplayer: The game’s multiplayer component, Metal Gear Online, offers a unique experience by blending the series’ stealth elements with competitive online play. It allows players to customize their characters and engage in various game modes, adding longevity to the overall experience.

Attention to Detail:

  • Attention to Detail: Hideo Kojima’s attention to detail shines throughout the game. From the quirky Easter eggs and humorous touches to the intricacies of the game mechanics and narrative, it’s evident that a lot of thought and care went into crafting this experience.
  • Modding Community: On the PC platform, The Phantom Pain has a vibrant modding community that has expanded the game’s lifespan by introducing various mods, from graphical enhancements to gameplay tweaks.


  • Unfinished Story: One of the major criticisms of the game is its seemingly unfinished story. While the core narrative is engaging, some storylines and character arcs are left unresolved, leading to a sense of incompleteness. This is attributed to the highly publicized conflict between Hideo Kojima and Konami, which reportedly rushed the game’s development.
  • Underutilized Characters: Some characters introduced in the game, including the mysterious “Quiet,” feel underdeveloped. This is a disappointment, especially when compared to the depth of characters in previous Metal Gear titles.

Sparse Dialogues:

  • Sparse Dialogues: The reduction in lengthy cutscenes, while a pro for some, might be a con for long-time Metal Gear fans who appreciated the series for its intricate storytelling and philosophical debates. The shift towards shorter, more concise dialogues can make the narrative feel less immersive for those accustomed to Kojima’s signature style.
  • Repetitive Mission Structure: Despite the diverse mission types, the game can feel repetitive after a while. Some missions rehash similar objectives in familiar environments, which can wear down players who seek novelty.
  • Microtransactions: The inclusion of microtransactions, primarily in the multiplayer component, has drawn criticism. While they don’t affect the single-player experience significantly, it’s a contentious issue for some players who prefer a more balanced, microtransaction-free gaming environment.

How to Play Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:

  • Stealth is Key: The game heavily emphasizes stealth. Staying hidden, using cover, and taking out enemies silently are essential skills. Avoiding unnecessary confrontations can make missions easier and more rewarding.
  • Master the Fulton Recovery System: The Fulton device is your lifeline. Use it to extract resources, soldiers, and vehicles. Building a strong private army is key to success.
  • Upgrade and Customize: Invest in upgrading your equipment, weapons, and Mother Base. Customizing your loadout for each mission can give you a significant advantage.
  • Utilize Companions: Throughout the game, you will have companions like D-Horse, D-Dog, and Quiet, each with unique abilities. Learning to use them effectively can greatly aid your missions.

Complete Side Missions:

  • Complete Side Missions: Don’t focus solely on the main story. Side missions can provide valuable resources, soldiers, and insights into the game’s world.
  • Explore the Open World: Take time to explore the game world, as you might discover hidden items, collectibles, and easter eggs.
  • Experiment: Part of the fun in The Phantom Pain is experimenting with different approaches to missions. Try out various strategies, weapons, and gadgets to find what works best for your playstyle.
  • Manage Your Base: Efficiently manage your Mother Base. Recruit soldiers, assign them to appropriate units, and invest in research to improve your gear.

Pay Attention to Story Details:

  • Stay Patient: The Phantom Pain is a game that rewards patience. Take your time, plan your moves, and don’t be discouraged by failures. Learning from your mistakes is part of the experience.

Top 5 Alternatives to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:

  • Hitman 3: The Hitman series offers a similar emphasis on stealth and creative assassinations. The latest installment, Hitman 3, provides expansive sandbox environments and numerous ways to eliminate targets.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: This game combines first-person action with role-playing elements and stealth. Set in a cyberpunk world, it offers a complex narrative and numerous choices that affect the outcome of the story.

Ghost of Tsushima:

  • It allows you to become a samurai and employ stealth tactics to liberate feudal Japan.
  • Valhalla lets you explore the Viking Age and engage in a mix of stealthy assassinations and brutal combat.


In conclusion, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a game that stands out for its ambitious open-world design, innovative gameplay mechanics, complex narrative, and impressive graphics. While it has its share of shortcomings, particularly in terms of an unfinished story and underutilized characters, it remains a landmark entry in the Metal Gear series and a must-play for fans of the stealth-action genre. If you’ve already experienced the world of Big Boss, the alternatives listed above offer a variety of experiences that capture elements of what makes The Phantom Pain so memorable.

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