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You may have noticed that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is raking in some incredible reviews. Many sites have already awarded it a perfect score or near perfect score as players await the September release. However, some have been critical of these scores after it was revealed the majority of reviewers were given less than typical conditions to play the game in. A reviewer from GameRadar (don’t worry – no spoilers), in his review of the game, said he could not in good faith give the game a score because he didn’t feel he was given time to complete the game.

The writer, Dan Dawkins, details the “review event” of Metal Gear Solid V where several reviewers were flown to a hotel and given specific shifts in which they could play the game. Reviewers were given a room and told they could play the game between the hours of 9AM and 5PM. Reviewers were given a maximum of 40 hours to complete the game. Not included in this access was any of the online play, which meant reviewers had no way to assess the new microtransaction system.  

That’s a maximum play time of 40 hours, assuming no stoppages for eating, drinking, stretching… or reality. So you’re trying to complete a 35-50 hour game (or longer, depending on your play style and the nature of your ‘completion’… I can’t say more), that you’ve been anticipating for five years, in a realistic window of 30-35 hours. On one hand, you’re finally immersed in one of the deepest, most experimental, open-worlds in history – overwhelmed by side-missions, upgrades and secrets – on the other, haunted by a tick-tock race to reach the ‘end’ without knowing when that is.

Reviewers stay at the hotel, along with food, travel, and some other accommodations, all provided by Konami. A handful of better known reviewers were given copies to review from home. The reason for the strict rules at the review event were to prevent the leaking of spoilers and most likely to also prevent torrenting. This has proven unsuccessful as spoilers can already be found across the Internet. As well, torrents for the game have already popped up for last gen consoles (the PS3 and Xbox 360). Konami has already bragged a bit about their high reviews, though some are reasonably skeptical given the very short amount of time reviewers were given to experience the game. In particular, GameSpot drew special attention to their perfect score for The Phantom Pain. 


Kindra Pring

Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.



  • Random Marine

    Well, i thought that more outlets would dive deeper into this issue (Yeah, thats an issue since they pretty much rushed through the game, some even using the chicken hat that gives you invisibility) but it seems that a lot of them are okay with this kind of “boot camp” nonsense since it gives them early reviews which means more clicks and more traffic….And theres also the fact that Konami was controlling all of their play session. MGS doesn’t need this kind of treatment they should have just give a retail version of the game to the reviewers and thats it….

  • NeoTechni

    If they dived into the issue they’d be seen as gamergaters since only GGers care about ethics in gaming journalism.

  • Random Marine

    That’s exactly what i was thinking to…Some sites didn’t even mentioned the “Boot Camp” thing and the fact that Konami execs were monitoring their gameplay sessions.

  • mbits

    Hey, gaming journalists are too ethical to let this impact them. I mean, they’ll still *attend* and *benefit* from these things… they just “won’t let it have an effect”. To the point that they’ll even joke about it on their podcasts and mock the audience for thinking it is shady.

    Of course, nobody in other forms of journalism would accept this or tolerate it. I guess that’s because gaming journalists are the Ultimate Journalists. Their ethics and integrity are so advanced beyond that of every other form of journalist out there that they can participate in these things and magically not be biased or swayed even the slightest, like other journalists would be.

  • DoctorSyntax

    It doesn’t take “completing,” a game to score it. Hardly anyone finished The Witcher 3 before it being lauded, and it was much deserved.

    Any let’s play video clearly shows why this game is scoring so well pre-release. None the less, scores are just opinions. I was going to buy it regardless.

    Who scores microtransactions, by the way? Unless they’re required, which they’re not, they’re meaningless to the enjoyment of the game.

  • Reptile

    I agree, 40h is well enough to say that a game is good or bad to me, This “boot camp” is lame but those entitled reviewers complaining that 40hs isn’t enough go and fucking buy their own game like the rest of us “mortals”.

  • Murk

    It does take completing a game to give it a perfect rating though.

    How do they know micro transactions don’t ruin the multiplayer? Because they have in the past and saying they are irrelevant is foolish.

    How do they know they didn’t ruin the story/gameplay at the end?

    Full analysis of the game requires more time then 40 hours. It gives a good base rate of what the game is like but to rate it perfect is naive as the entire game has not been explored.

    Furthermore did they disclose that they didn’t actually finish the game?