Ghost in the machine

Even as someone who spends a considerable amount of time playing games there are so many these days it would be impossible to play them all. When the industry was in its infancy gaming was a totally different beast, you could throw months into titles like Settlers, X-Com or Dungeon Master and not worry about your ever growing list of Steam games you'd never play. After passing the origin titles it's sometimes hard if not impossible to get into a game series as you feel like you have simply missed too much. Deux Ex for example is one game where I did play the original at the time it was released and I know that it just would not elicit the same feelings if I played it present day: notwithstanding the fact that these games have not aged well in the graphics department.


Today sees the release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and this game has had me thinking about how much time and emotional currency we invest in these progressive game series. As mentioned previously, I watched a friend play the original Metal Gear on PSOne back in the day and while aware of various other Metal Gears coming and going I've never invested much time following the story that is often a huge talking point for fans. So I find it incredible that with all this said, I'm more excited to play this latest MGS game than any other title this year, but why?



A good starting point to answer that question would be to pick any of the reviews already out for MGS:5: it has received critical acclaim across the board scoring either perfect tens or near as damn it. So while I don't want to start gushing here it's safe to say we have a masterpiece on our hands and one I am going to throw myself into these coming weeks. My plan is to try and bring you guys a deeper review than we've seen so far that tells you more about what is going on under the hood. I must admit, a hard part of starting your own review site is that until you gain some momentum and notable success you cannot hope to get invited to special events like the one hosted by Konami last week: this was arranged to allow the big game journalism sites to get a review in place prior to launch.


I picked up Ground Zeroes this year on PS4 and played through most of the missions with relative success - as I've gone through in my Phantom Pain preview, this new game has me utterly intrigued. If early reviews are to be believed MGS:5 is looking like it might be one of the best open world games we've ever seen and a serious contender for game of the year: some feat considering it will be in the same race with The Witcher 3 and the soon-to-be released Fallout 4. However there is something else that's caught my attention this week and that is the huge amount of content I'd actually missed in Ground Zeros, the prologue to Phantom Pain.


It turns out that Hideo Kojima must have know he'd be leaving Konami and so decided to insert a message to the fans right into the game, what a legend. How much Konami knew about this prior to GZ going gold is not known but the way Hideo approached this is pure class. Once you unlock the bonus mission Deja Vu you walk around the base looking for scenes reminiscent of the origin game. While in this level you can acquire a special rifle with an ultraviolet light which you then use to scan the names of all the MG games hidden around the base: ones Hideo made get erased and ones he had no hand in are dismissed by coms as not important. At one point you are told that the messages will disappear but the memories will remain. I find this thrilling and also incredibly poignant. When you scan the final genuine Metal Gear game Kojima himself thanks fans for all their support. I don't know about any of you guys but I found this incredibly emotional and he has found a new fan in me. This is why I started this entry talking about gaming sets and how we do miss some: if I could go back in time I really would make sure I'd played all his wonderful games.


This coming week I will be playing and reviewing The Phantom Pain, I'm amazed I've found the willpower to type this Blog post before running downstairs to boot it up. I also have a copy of Mad Max so you can expect a review of this in the coming weeks as well. For now take care guys, I hope whatever you are playing you are having fun.


Peace out,