Metal Gear Solid 5 Gameplay Still Feels Incredible Almost A Decade Later

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Kojima's Final Metal Gear Solid Was Incredible!

Story Highlights
  • The Metal Gear Solid franchise is regarded as one of the most prominent stealth IPs ever.
  • The last title, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, suffered from a mixed reception upon launch.
  • Nearly a decade later, replaying the game still feels great and shows how the controversy overshadowed such a good release.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise paved the way for modern stealth games and is hailed as one of the greatest gaming franchises ever. Directed by Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid debuted in 1998.

2015’s Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was the last entry and marked the end of Solid Snake’s story. Having played this title at launch and revisiting it almost a decade later, I feel it’s aged incredibly well and even feels better than I remember in some regards.

Why it matters: As Metal Gear Solid Delta, a remake of the beloved third mainline entry, is set to release this year, fans should revisit Kojima’s last work for the franchise or the new Master Collection to prepare for the impending revival.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid 5 Looks Incredible To This Day

A Visual Powerhouse

It would be incorrect to say that Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was a perfect game; even so, it was more or less incomplete in some regards.

However, that was more due to the conflicting visions between Kojima and Konami, which was one of the reasons their partnership eventually fell apart. Despite being the last entry in the franchise chronologically, the game ended on a low note with an ending to the story that didn’t sit quite well with me.

Anyhow, let’s focus on the good rather than the bad. For starters, Konami’s Fox Engine achieved incredible visual fidelity. At the same time, Hideo Kojima targeted 60FPS gameplay, even on consoles like the PS4.

You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was a cross-generation release, meaning it was held back by the base PS3 and Xbox 360 hardware in 2015.

Still, you can immediately jump in today, and the title will immediately wow you with its presentation, particularly on PC.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Every Stealth Encounter Presents Unlimited Possibilities

The Sandbox Gameplay Is Incredible

The gameplay is perhaps Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain’s biggest strength. It shows no limits when discussing its depth, whether it’s the open world, weapon customization, enemies, or even the side content.

The experience feels like a challenge to me personally, making me want to replay missions with a new style, whether it’s a stealth approach or guns blazing on the enemies.

This is basically what the new Hitman entries do, but on a much larger scale with more combat variety and, at the same time, interacting with the open world to your advantage.

I’d even say that Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was one of the foundations for the new Hitman trilogy. What Kojima accomplished with this entry was remarkable, and his departure from the IP can only be described as a shame.

The sandbox ensures that no two players will have the same experience. This was my favorite part about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, and modding made it even better.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Mods Can Unlock The Potential Of An Already Limitless System

How Modding Made The Experience Better

What’s PC gaming without modding? Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is a testimony of why the modding community is so great. The game’s stealth is based on freedom of exploration, combat, and more.

Modding, however, elevates this to an entirely new level. For those who intend to revisit the title or even play it for the first time, I highly suggest modding it since it adds many features I didn’t even think I needed.

Infinite Heaven, for instance, is a mod that allows players to change any game variable, including enemy type, appearance, weather, base customization, health, or stealth, including spotting time and footsteps.

The mod offers infinite levels of customization and will keep players hooked for hours after the main story is over.

If that isn’t enough, Morbid’s side OP expansion pack delivers 50 more side missions, custom missions that go with the Infinite Heaven mod and can be considered the DLC that the official release never received.

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