This year features a lot of great, big name games coming out soon and we’ve already listed the reasons why we’re excited for the likes of Destiny, Infamous: Second Son and Dragon Age: Inquisition but perhaps the biggest titles releasing this year is Metal Gear Solid V. Metal Gear Solid games are, in my opinion, stealth based action games and always feature great, innovative gameplay and an interesting story. This series really is a genre defining series and each new entry brings some great new ideas or twists to ideas used elsewhere.
For those of you unfamiliar with Metal Gear, Metal Gear Solid debuted on the PSX in 1998 (The original Metal Gear series debuted on the MSX2 back in 1987, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the Solid series) and quickly made its protagonist, Solid Snake, a household name. The original Metal Gear Solid was, in many ways, a ground-breaking game. The game was amongst the first to feature cinematic cutscenes that are featured so heavily in games today. Furthermore, the games had some incredibly unique moments that can easily be recalled to this day. Early in the game you’re told use a codec signal on the back of a cd case to move the story line and – for me, personally – it took a while to figure out that it literally meant the cd case the game came in. On top of this you have other iconic moments such as the boss battle with Psycho Mantis – a boss who could see your every move coming a mile off, forcing you to constantly change controller ports Not only this, but he’ll make the controller vibrate with his mind and read your memory card so he can reel off a list of games that you’ve recently played. At the time this was mind blowing and established Metal Gear Solid as one of action adventure’s top titles and stealth’s creme de la creme.
“Well thats great, you like the original Metal Gear Solid, big whoop, what about MGSV specifically?” The reason I’m excited for Metal Gear Solid V in particular, is this is the first open world Metal Gear Solid game which I believe is a huge step forward for the franchise. I’ve long been a fan of open world games and in my personal experience, exploring the world of free roaming games generally tends to create a level of immersion that many linear games would struggle to match. Of course there are exceptions such as Bioshock and The Last of Us but I’m very intrigued to see how the transition between fairly linear, scripted events from previous MGS installments to an open world game of this scale unfolds. Many people have argued that this is a reason we should be worrying about MGSV and that its “straying too far from its roots” but I would personally say that, Metal Gear has always been a groundbreaking series that constantly keeps things feeling fresh and intriguing and I honestly can’t wait to see what MGSV can add to the open world genre.
And then there’s the boss fights. As previously highlighted with Psycho Mantis, Metal Gear Solid has always featured some of the most epic and memorable boss fights in video game history. In recent years, boss battles in AAA games have become few and far between with truly memorable boss fights being even smaller in number so it’d be great to have that fading gaming tradition back with a bang with Metal Gear Solid V. With each new entry to the Metal Gear franchise, the gameplay mechanics have really pushed the boundaries of their respective consoles so it’d be incredibly interesting to see what The Phantom Pain will be able to achieve on PS4 and Xbox One.
Finally, I realise that a frequent criticism, particularly with Metal Gear Solid 4 are long and arduous cutscenes that the games force on the player but, in truth, I’m excited to see the kind of story Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has to offer because as of right now I know next to nothing about it narrative-wise. Furthermore, following on from the likes of The Last of Us, The Walking Dead and Bioshock which were very much story-driven games I’m interested to see whether Metal Gear can raise the bar even further. In previous interviews, Hideo Kojima has likened Phantom Pain’s cutscenes to a TV series format with less sudden intrusion on gameplay and more emphasis on characters and the world surrounding Snake.
All in all, Metal Gear Solid is a franchise that is consistently pushing the boundaries of stealth action games and time and time again proves to be amongst the most innovative game series on the market today. Featuring a huge step forward in the form of a big open world to explore and drastically improved graphics, Metal Gear Solid looks set to be one of the biggest and best games of 2014. Look out for it in stores later this year.