Yeah I know, second crappy title in a row but considering the subject matter, I don't have much choice.
I've been playing a bit more of MGS V: The Phantom Pain and I find it to be a completely perplexing game. Not in terms of the gameplay (stay low to win, run around like a dunce to lose), but in terms of the story, presentation and positioning. I get that it isn't really meant to be a direct sequel to any of the home console titles. You still play as Big Boss from MGS 3: Snake Eater, but the gameplay is different, the genre is (arguably) different, the presentation is different, the voice actors are different and the overall setup and feeling of the whole game is different.
That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it just leaves me with a weird and slightly uncomfortable feeling. Big Boss is a completely different character now. He barely talks (in the 10 or so first hours that I've played that is), and he feels a lot more passive than in Snake Eater. Obviously he's a soldier and he takes orders, but at least before he would make a comment about his orders or give some kind of insight. Now Ocelot or Miller tells you to fuck off back to Afghanistan and Big Boss just does it without saying a word.
It's not just Big Boss, but every character so far that would have been recognisable from Snake Eater. Ocelot looks, sounds and acts completely differently, Major Zero is now an unseen antagonist and the rest of the cast from Snake Eater is nowhere to be seen. And I know this is all probably explained in the handheld entries, or may be explained later in the game, but at this point in time I've got zero context for what is going on.
Whilst I am preferring the gameplay, as well as the gameplay to cutscene ratio, over MGS 4, I can't help but feel that MGS 4 engaged me more, simply by being more linear. With MGS 4, you moved locations, fought different enemies, had to switch up your gameplay style slightly depending on the objective. MGS V meanwhile has me attacking and extracting the same prisoners from the same looking outposts, from the same Afghanistan desert setting using the same goddamned balloon. I'm sure things will probably change later on (based on footage I've previously seen) but it's taking way too long to get there, and the repetition of the current missions is destroying my interest to see the later sections.
Hideo Kojima is a unique and talended game director, without question. But at this point in time I feel like MGS V has been a massive mis-step. In my mind it doesn't capture the essence of the Metal Gear Solid series. If it was presented as a completely new IP I'd probably think better of it. But having it attached to the MGS series just puts it up against too many of my long held expectations, that it is unlikely to leave a lasting, positive impression.
That my sound like massive bias - and it is - but then again, everyone's biased in some shape or form.