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RTTP: MGSV - Everyone feels phantom pain, including the player.

Verdanth

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With Death Stranding launch right around the corner, I decided to give another go at MGSV: The Phantom Pain. Didn't want to dive in to Kojima's new game without having finished his previous game :messenger_beaming:

I had bought the game back in 2015, but didn't advanced very much into it. So it was time to finishing it.

Let me get this right out of the way: MGSV has one of my favourite gameplays this generation. Stealth-action wise the game is simply phenomenal. From buddies, to gadgets, the way you can tackle things, this is the one aspect Kojima and his team nailed it.

But everything else besides the soundtrack, which is god-tier, completely falls apart, and it's a huge shame because this game could have been one of the GOAT.

I know the game's development near it's end was convoluted, but for me that doesn't excuse some game decisions that where made.

1 ) Story wise the game is a mess.

Whoever had the idea of trying to tell the story through tapes should get his ass kicked. Bad, bad idea!

And I had the patience to listen to every unlocked tape. This decision alone not only doesn't make sense for me, but it is so "non-Metal Gear", because for those who follow the series for quite sometime, we are used to amazing long ass cutscenes telling the game's narrative. Which takes me to lack of interaction between Snake and the cast. We could argue this is because of MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD the "truth" told at the end of the game, with Ahab being Big Boss's doppelganger aka Venom Snake, but since he went through hypnosis to believe he really was Big Boss, not only that but also that memory therapy mambo jambo, it doesn't really make much sense to make Venom Snake pretty much mute all the game. There is one particular epic moment the game manages to build, that is completely ruined by the lack of Big Boss's interaction: I'm talking about when Big Boss faces Skull Face and drives with him in the car, only so Skull Face can have a monologue. Really? And the history behind mission 51...lol, I'm not even going to comment on that. The way Eli vanishes from the narrative and the game doesn't even care to explain you. What the hell were they thinking?

The icing on the cake comes after ending chapter one, where you need to replay the same missions at a higher difficult to proceed in the story. Lol, complete meltdown at Kojima Productions.

2) Bad open world design.

Ground Zeroes managed to deliver a big but more condensed open-area to tackle, while maintaining that Metal Gear Solid / Tactical Espionage vibe that the franchise is very well known for. It really worked and was a fantastic prequel to MGSV if you ask me. However this game's open world is so fucking empty. Like really, why did they made it this huge? It wasn't necessary at all. Small, more condensed areas would benefit the game by a mile.

4) On-foot traversal done wrong.

It's simply bad, which makes me believe that's the main reason why Death Stranding's traversal looks so good.

3) Development cycles.

Really, I have to wait 2 days for an upgrade to finish?

4) Which takes me to my final point:

It almost seems that Kojima's idea was to make the player also having Phantom Pain, in a way that the player expects things that Metal Gear Solid is so well known for to be in the game, but they weren't, which is pretty damn ironic.

TLDR: Fantastic gameplay, but a bad Metal Gear Solid if you ask me. Konami may have it's share of guilty on this one, but Kojima also has.
 
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I still need to go back and finish this game. I loved the shit out of Ground Zeroes, it was basically the perfect evolution of what MGS could be.

I only played an hour or so passed the opening in Phantom Pain, it just didn't grab me like ground zeroes did. I think it was partially because GZ immediately throws you into the meat of the mission. Definitely going to go back and finish it soon though,
 

-Arcadia-

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I really appreciate such a nuanced post. I think you nailed it.

I’m at peace with where the game failed, and in love with the fantastic, freeing gameplay it offers, as well as getting to live out the legend of Big Boss, something we’ve been hearing about for decades, and build Outer Heaven personally.

It’s a shame what happened did, because I truly believe that a Kojima-led MGS6 could have cleaned up the flaws, and delivered pure, unadulterated brilliance.
 

ROMhack

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1 ) Story wise the game is a mess.

Whoever had the idea of trying to tell the story through tapes should get his ass kicked. Bad, bad idea!

I really agree with you on this. I love how games can break up key pieces of story into chunks and MGS series pioneered storytelling through its use of codec conversations. The audio logs in MGS V though are everything they aren't. I found them utterly tedious and it felt so passive hanging around before each mission just to get some context.

It's like the opposite of Bioshock — where they worked excellently because you played the game at the same time as listening (edit: and System Shock 2).
 
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-Arcadia-

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Of course they had to sneak in some ass shots for Tracer.

Women characters that are voluptuous and wear revealing clothing in serious story games break my focus.

Isn’t this that game with the thicc thighs anime girl?

Quiets design took me out of the whole experience. Even though she was hot af and I may or not have used the binoculars a few times to see her character model it’s a bit much.

Four different threads, all from today. Barely any prior history.

We should term this ‘Burqa-posting’.
 
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Orenji Neko

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I loved this game. Actually I still do. I do agree with sentiments on incomplete/scattered story and all, but game play wise...man...I played this shit until I s-ranked every mission and did everything in the game for every trophy. That was 4 years or so ago, and I played it so much, that once I did all that, I haven't played it since despite always planning to go through it again. Maybe one day, I just know I'll do it again, but not yet.
 

FranXico

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Yes, the story is messed up, but the gameplay is indeed on point here.
Similarly to Ground Zeroes, once you get to the large bases, you have some of the most amusing sandbox gameplay I've seen in ages.

It didn't really need to be open world though.
They could have gotten away with half a dozen more scenarios/missions in the same vein of Ground Zeroes, and would then more easily tell a good story.
 
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Clear

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It's like the opposite of Bioshock — where they worked excellently because you played the game at the same time as listening (edit: and System Shock 2).

Bioshock also has one of the worst, most anti-climactic endings I've ever seen. Even Ken Levine admitted that it was lackluster.
 

PPIMystaceus

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It's like the opposite of Bioshock — where they worked excellently because you played the game at the same time as listening (edit: and System Shock 2).
Technically you could do that in TPP too, I ended up listening to a good chunk of tapes while doing the side ops, it made them less monotonous for me at least.
 

Wink

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I loved this game. Actually I still do. I do agree with sentiments on incomplete/scattered story and all, but game play wise...man...I played this shit until I s-ranked every mission and did everything in the game for every trophy. That was 4 years or so ago, and I played it so much, that once I did all that, I haven't played it since despite always planning to go through it again. Maybe one day, I just know I'll do it again, but not yet.
Same, down to the planned eventual replay. Such a shame the story wasn't finished and that it never got extra content in the form of more missions. I'll have to get a proper PC some day and mod the hell out of it.

Also had a lot of fun with MGS Online for a couple months, quite unique MP experience.
 
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RAIDEN1

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An open-world at the price of the least immersive MGS game in the series...hell I found even Portable Ops more immersive than this game...barren waste-land just you and the soviets....etc.....just wasn't a game I could get into, yet when you replay MGS2 HD edition....that was when the series was at its best.....open world be damned...
 

TeamGhobad

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im a kojima hater. but i give him a pass here, because he was not able to finish it. but it was MAJOR issues. mostly the (lack of) story. But that opening was amazing, infact the game is pretty great until after you meet quiet and bring her back and then it just dies out.
 
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Roufianos

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I agree with everything you said except the soundtrack being god tier. It's the only Metal Gear without a single memorable OST tune.
 

Birdo

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The first hour was a forced-crawling slog. But I really enjoyed the rest of the game and how it was structured.

Tight controls and fresh combat mechanics kept it interesting.
 

Bolivar687

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The story complaints have always been off-base. The theme in this game was language and how it intrinsically pits humanity against eachother. So it makes sense for the game to be about a multi-national PMC where everyone basically has to stop talking to eachother out of necessity. Going back to watch some of the earlier cutscenes, its striking how little the characters are talking.

Complaints that the story was unfinished are utterly indefensible. The story very clearly ends after Chapter 1. Chapter 2 was a coda, and really only laid the groundwork for an episodic DLC structure that never materialized because Kojima left.

Open world and traversal complaints are likewise nonsensical. Air drop in a jeep or your horse instead of complaining. Another Gaffer put it best back in the day, but MGSV's open ended gameplay of letting you tackle bases and convoys from any direction with any playstyle would never work unless you had an open world.

This is the greatest open world action game of all time. I've played MGSV longer than some Elder Scrolls games. There's a reason why this won PC Gamer's Game of the Year. If the gameplay is something you need to get out of the way, then it just feels like we're holding this to a bizarre inverse standard compared to how we judge every other game.
 
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Kadayi

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I kind of ran out of Steam with it after 60 hours or so, but for the most part, I enjoyed what I played. I'm not sure whether it's a title I'd necessarily see through simply because at this juncture it would probably require a restart and there's too much other stuff competing for my time.
 
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Wink

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The story complaints have always been off-base. The theme in this game was language and how it intrinsically pits humanity against eachother. So it makes sense for the game to be about a multi-national PMC where everyone basically has to stop talking to eachother out of necessity. Going back to watch some of the earlier cutscenes, its striking how little the characters are talking.

Complaints that the story was unfinished are utterly indefensible. The story very clearly ends after Chapter 1. Chapter 2 was a coda, and really only laid the groundwork for an episodic DLC structure that never materialized because Kojima left.

Open world and traversal complaints are likewise nonsensical. Air drop in a jeep or your horse instead of complaining. Another Gaffer put it best back in the day, but MGSV's open ended gameplay of letting you tackle bases and convoys from any direction with any playstyle would never work unless you had an open world.

This is the greatest open world action game of all time. I've played MGSV longer than some Elder Scrolls games. There's a reason why this won PC Gamer's Game of the Year. If the gameplay is something you need to get out of the way, then it just feels like we're holding this to a bizarre inverse standard compared to how we judge every other game.
I am with you on many things. MGSV is my favourite game on the PS4, I platinumed it, what the story did for me on an emotional level cannot be overstated (I'm typing this with a certain moment from the game as my wallpaper I've had up there four years), but the story(telling?) was incomplete in my opinion. Not in terms of another chapter, but in terms of content clearly missing. There were raw versions of cutscenes floating around that didn't make it into the game and it certainly felt not like a deliberate decision to cut them. Kojima wanted that game delayed again, Konami showed him the door. Despite that it's an incredible game and I'm glad they focused on polishing the gameplay first and foremost, but shit is missing from this game regardless and I'll never forgive Konami for that.
 
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Bryank75

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I prefer games like MGS3 and 4 that are linear but can get wider and may have a few different routes.
I really thought MGSV was strongest during the hospital scene and the rest of the game could have been linear too but the base building and staff collecting was fun and the combat was great.

I just missed the cool bosses from the old games.
Particularly MGS3, which was my favorite of all his games.
 

EDMIX

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I think it might actually be my favorite MGS game, upon reflection. It has the best toy chest of spy tools (from realistic to ridiculous) in the best sandbox with the best enemy AI.

Agreed. I think clearly it has the weakest of stories for the MGS series, but easily the best in terms of just gameplay. Spent almost 100 hours in it and love the freedom to capture, kill, rescue etc how I see fit.
 

Drake

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That may all be true, but it's the best playing stealth game ever made which goes a long way. I wish the game would have been a series of Ground Zeros-esque missions instead of open world.

I actually hated stealth games before this one, but the controls and mechanics are so fucking tight in this game and it actually makes stealth enjoyable.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Great game highly underrated. I disagree with most of OPs criticism but I don’t feel like going into it cos it’s the mostly the same old shit.

Story in this was super highly underrated.
 
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Rhazer Fusion

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Mgs5 gameplay was spectacular and enjoyable. What I didn’t like was the unnecessary, empty open world, lack of memorable bosses, lack of story, not many cutscenes and the extremely repetitive mission structure.

The linear missions in MGS5 imho were much better then the open world missions. The entire opening was great and got you amped up. I always say I felt MGS5 was a 15 to 20 hour game stretched to a 50 game with no new content added.
 
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lyra-ixi

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i played it back when it came out but gave up after a little while. went back to it recently and only got to chapter 12 (hell bound) and gave up. i had no idea WTF was happening in the story and the missions just didn't feel fun. the best one was probably where you meet Quiet.

Quiets design took me out of the whole experience. Even though she was hot af and I may or not have used the binoculars a few times to see her character model it’s a bit much.
is this you?

 

HeresJohnny

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Yes, the story is messed up, but the gameplay is indeed on point here.
Similarly to Ground Zeroes, once you get to the large bases, you have some of the most amusing sandbox gameplay I've seen in ages.

It didn't really need to be open world though.
They could have gotten away with half a dozen more scenarios/missions in the same vein of Ground Zeroes, and would then more easily tell a good story.
I'm with you. I loved the gameplay. If I could marry that gameplay into the narrative of Snake Eater I'd fucking die. I think Kojima addressed what his critics had leveled at him for so many years (that his games are weak on gameplay) and lost what his fans had loved so much (his narrative, especially with such an awesome character as Big Boss).
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Quiet's design never bothered me. i love b-movies from the 80s. i love Mad Max style post apocalyptic movies. this game is set in 1984, when i was a kid i was watching Conan the Barbarian, which had a female lead dressed like this



i understand many people can't handle seeing tits or boobs without losing their minds but for me, that isn't the case. it's funny cos she is maybe the most competent and aware person in the game, equally as badass as Snake. i enjoyed her storyline and found it compelling. her and Snake have an adult relationship. there is violence, there is sexuality, power struggles, etc. both soldiers are genetically enhanced weapons of war who ran from their commanding army and they bond over that throughout the course of the game. the ending was particularly moving. IMO she is a sort of proxy form of The Boss, a way for Venom to work out his issues from the traumatic experience of MGS3. in a lot of ways MGSV hearkens back to that origin story.
Complaints that the story was unfinished are utterly indefensible. The story very clearly ends after Chapter 1. Chapter 2 was a coda, and really only laid the groundwork for an episodic DLC structure that never materialized because Kojima left.
yeah it's so tired. mostly based on that reddit leak where someone made up 5 chapters. we are years away from the game and nobody has dug up unused maps, models, etc. the closest thing dataminers have found are a few JPGs.

think of the game as a version of MGS2 that is about embracing it's legacy rather than subverting it. Ground Zeroes is the Tanker Chapter. Phantom Pain is the Plant. once you have defeated the final villain and captured the WMDs, you have beaten the game. this is why they show full credits at this part. Chapter 2 and beyond is pretty much New Game+, just like in Peace Walker, if you want to see the secret ending, you have to grind missions. cos, gee whiz, what do you think Big Boss was mostly doing for the 2 decades MGSV spans?
 
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kunonabi

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Great game highly underrated. I disagree with most of OPs criticism but I don’t feel like going into it cos it’s the mostly the same old shit.

Story in this was super highly underrated.

This is pretty much where I'm at. Game is easily the third best game of the generation for me and I loved every minute of it. Of course, I've always played MG games for the gameplay so I didn't mind the more sparse cutscenes. After MGS4 less is absolutely more with Kojima.
 

GHG

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That may all be true, but it's the best playing stealth game ever made which goes a long way. I wish the game would have been a series of Ground Zeros-esque missions instead of open world.

GZ was the best bit of MGSV.

It's ironic because people hated on GZ when it first came out accusing Konami and Kojima of capitalising on fan hype and charging for a "demo". Little did people know that the so called "demo" had more depth than the vast majority of all of the other areas in the full game.
 

bilderberg

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GZ was the best bit of MGSV.

It's ironic because people hated on GZ when it first came out accusing Konami and Kojima of capitalising on fan hype and charging for a "demo". Little did people know that the so called "demo" had more depth than the vast majority of all of the other areas in the full game.
They could have expanded on it as well. Imagine having multiple insertion points to choose from. Assigning teams from mother base to hit multiple locations while you pick your own insertion. Sort of like Rainbow Six planning.
 

_S4MUR4I_

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Here i am reading this thread and watching outerheaven's twitch channel just because i love to hate this franchise. The fiddle is real and my ps4 is ready for another mgs gaming session.
 

ethomaz

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I liked the game... it is no MGSIV but it pretty amazing.
 
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I feel like Kojima games are just like expensive wine that really don't taste good, but you say to everyone you loved it neverthless. I personally never cared less for the MGS series and DS feels like a whole mess again.

Sorry Kojima-san. Your games are not really good.
 

-Arcadia-

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Actually, yes, I put 4 above 2.

Same.

I love MGS2’s core stealth gameplay, and there’s more of it than 4, which kind of turns into a set-piece roller coaster ride in the third chapter, if I recall right.

The story of 2, though... it just rips me right out of the game. It’s really hard to care about anything when you have absurdity piled onto absurdity, terrible characters, and every codec call makes you want to roll your eyes back into your head, Otacon’s Oedipus complex being the perfect example.

I get that MGS2 forecasted a number of developments for the modern western world, that were years, even decades out, and I will never stop giving it credit for that, as well as that sublime (for the time, but still, in kind of a simpler retro way) gameplay, but I think MGS4 is by far the better MGS experience.

MGS2 is the gas leak year of the franchise. That resulted in some brilliance, actually, but a whole lot of other things that made it one of my most bitter disappointments ever.
 

#Phonepunk#

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This is pretty much where I'm at. Game is easily the third best game of the generation for me and I loved every minute of it. Of course, I've always played MG games for the gameplay so I didn't mind the more sparse cutscenes. After MGS4 less is absolutely more with Kojima.
it's funny, i remember forcing myself to play through MGS1 to see the story and hating the gameplay. i think over the course of the series it wobbles back and forth, even though MGS3 had a great story, gameplay was wonderful as well. MGS4 i didn't find the gameplay that great, in fact, it felt like the playable areas were more often than not little hallways, so I'm glad he swung the other way for MGSV.

a big part of the reasons why i think have to do with story. Kojima was written into a corner, kinda like BB. because it was a prequel, Big Boss's fate is already written, he is going to die in the next game (first Metal Gear) similarly they couldn't introduce tons of new bosses and characters without killing them all off, since they are not mentioned going forward. just as well, if they were important to BB's story, why are they not mentioned in future episodes? would kind of make them pointless. thus the solution to sort of bridge the gap, combining enemies from past (Volgin, Quiet, XOF) with the future (Psycho Mantis, Liquid Snake, etc.)
 
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GHG

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They could have expanded on it as well. Imagine having multiple insertion points to choose from. Assigning teams from mother base to hit multiple locations while you pick your own insertion. Sort of like Rainbow Six planning.

Yep.

I know this generation's hitman games got a lot of flack for it, but the episodic format is perfect for these types of games.

If MGS V was continued and expanded upon the "ground zeros" format (say about 6-10 episodes) then they would have been able to deliver a more fulfilling experience and make more money in the process.

It would have also eased the tension between Kojima and Konami since he would be parts for them on a more regular schedule and creating a steady flow of income.

Oh well, its not like what we ended up with was terrible in any way, it just could have been a lot better.
 

#Phonepunk#

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GZ was the best bit of MGSV.

It's ironic because people hated on GZ when it first came out accusing Konami and Kojima of capitalising on fan hype and charging for a "demo". Little did people know that the so called "demo" had more depth than the vast majority of all of the other areas in the full game.
when people complain the game is unifinished, i have to ask them if they ever played GZ. MGSV was going to be unfinished no matter what, Konami saw to that from the start. Konami is who sliced off the game's arm and sold it as a "demo". thankfully Kojima put his full efforts into it. he would be fired from TPP before entering that famous "play testing" late state fine tuning he is famous for, and IMO it is that polish is really the only thing truly lacking from the final work. this is where you really get improvements on camera motion, lighting, enemy placement, level design, etc.

GZ was the amputated arm of the game. people were knocking him for ripping off fans, meanwhile this was not his choice. he wanted it to be part of the whole game, a la MGS2's Tanker Chapter. this was Konami's doing, they were killing the game, making it unfinished from the start. of course the same old haters were calling him a hack then too, saying he was cheating the fans, all while he was having his work taken away from him and being let go from a multi decade career. people gave him shit from above and below.

he was being fired yet he also had to continue work on this massive project with tens of millions of dollars at stake. he had to make the most badass trailers ever, all the while living on borrowed time, knowing his job in constant danger, that no matter how well he planned it could (would) be taken away from him again. this is why I think he wrote the ending before GZ was released. he saw the writing on the wall, he knew his time was up, so he came up with the ending, had it connect directly with the game's other half. the other game would require another introduction by design, so this gave him a chance to give Snake a cool new origin story, teased in the end trailers of GZ.

Konami had forced him to create a second intro to the game, for they made the GZ-TPP division a thing in the first place, rather than it all being one full MGSV. they are the fatal helicopter explosion in GZ. Kojima realized that, and rather than lie about it, or try to fake it, he made it into one of the game's central themes.
 
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ethomaz

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I'm assuming you think 4 > 2 which is mind-blowing. MGS4 is easily the worst MGS, at least the Kojima directed ones.
4 is a masterpiece and it is better than 2 (probably the worst game in the franchise).
 
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