Driven by data; ridden with liberty.
Awaking in a hospital, a familiar song plays, The Man Who Sold the World:
I thought you died alone, a long, long time ago,
“Oh no, not me, I never lost control”.
It’s a cover, not the original.
(Video: Gemini Moon)
Venom Snake spent nine years in a coma, after the events of Ground Zeroes. The hospital is attacked by two different forces, beginning the game. The game itself has deviated from the long cinematic feel of previous games, preferring a mission-based format, where the story is told episodically like a television programme.
From the Piggyback guide, Hideo Kojima, the creator and director of the Metal Gear Solid series, clearly intends to show how the hero of Snake Eater became the villain of Metal Gear, and to provide the full experience of stealth operations. Venom “Punished” Snake runs a military organisation, and so can call upon helicopters, ammo drops, vehicles, and buddies to assist in the jungles of Zaire or the deserts of Afghanistan. The game’s aim is to increase your organisation’s standing, from extracting new soldiers for your army to developing better equipment in the field.
Controlling and utilising your resources is part of an extended mini-game. Your actions in the field, such as extracting legendary soldiers, improve your ability to undertake dispatch missions, and those dispatch missions can be used to assist you in the field, such as taking out helmet and armour supplies. There is a beautiful majesty between how the main operations and the secondary organisation entwine.
Despite being split over multiple episodes and two seasons, the story itself is as grand and conspiratorial as previous Metal Gear Solid games. You are to stop a villain known as Skullface, and to discover the true extent of his plot. Along the way, you befriend buddies that help you in missions. A wolf puppy becomes the potent D-Dog. Venom Snake develops a strong relationship with the sniper Quiet, who is seemingly mute. The representation of Quiet has incurred criticism, as it is a prominent matter for the plot that Quiet breathes through her skin, as so she must be nearly naked throughout the game.
The game is spread over 50 missions and more than 150 side operations, which are smaller tasks. This game can easily take over 100 hours, which is time well-invested. The story deals fantastically with the importance of language and the nature of legends. Rather than portray the fall of Venom Snake as a single event, a lone flash that turns him into an antagonist, the game shows you how the man has been eroded by the sheer horror forced upon him.
This is, undoubtedly, one of the best games I have ever played.
"You're irritatingly eloquent." - Dick Puddlecote
"That's brave to put in writing." - Berin Midmer
"Well-referenced." - Tom Ash