In late 2015, I absolutely fell in love with Metal Gear Solid V, the epic, sprawling open world stealth game by legendary game designer Hideo Kojima. It’s the first Metal Gear game I’d ever played and with roughly 200 hours logged in it so far on both PC and PS4, I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s one of my favourite games of this current generation. I love how it intellectualizes the action game, specifically, the tired old open world action game genre.
After years of radio towers, maps filled with objectives and quest markers and bland repetitive content, The Phantom Pain was the perfect antidote to this, tying a deep cave system of game design elements into the open world stealth simulation. TPP was a revelation for me – it brought depth to a genre that was a mile wide but an inch deep… and I’ve loved every minute I’ve logged in that huge, complicated masterpiece.
And as I’ve sunk more and more time into The Phantom Pain, I’ve found it incredibly hard to ignore the hulking spectre of Hideo Kojima himself. Of course I’d heard of him; I’d hear how his games were full of quirks and ticks unique to the man himself, how he was a huge film buff and poured hours of film-related Easter eggs into all of his games, and how his acute perfectionism that reached nearly Kuberick levels of insanity are all well known. But my absence from the genre during the 2000’s hadn’t engendered him to me at all. All I had was stories. I hadn’t experienced a Kojima game properly, and thanks to the controversial story choices for The Phantom Pain, I still don’t think I have.
The War Epilogue is my attempt at catching up with history. Kojima’s epic series of anti-war games is almost larger than life. I’m expecting heaps of melodrama, gravelly voice acting by David Hayter, a shopping cart full of confusing retcons and plot twists, stealth, nakedness… and cardboard boxes.
Hopefully we’ll get some critical analysis in there, too.
I’ll begin playing the series in release order, since the various retcons and plot twists are almost legendarily convoluted at this point. So, that means my play order will be as follows:
Metal Gear Solid 1
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
And tomorrow, I’ll start with Metal Gear Solid 1!