Before its release, I was expecting Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to be my favorite game of all time. After all, the Metal Gear Solid series was my favorite video game franchise ever. On top of that, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was my all time favorite video game. So, it's easy to see why I was so hyped for what was supposed to be the final chapter in the franchise.
On top of my own personal hype, many critics were giving MGSV a 10/10 rating — which is extremely rare to see. This added to my already high expectations, raising them even higher. Then I played it, and to say that I was disappointed with the game after spending more than 100 hours in its open world would be a massive understatement.
You might ask why I would spend so many hours in a game that I didn't like. Well, the answer is simple: as I said previously, prior its release, Metal Gear Solid was my favorite gaming franchise ever, so I had faith that, at some point, it would get good. But it didn't.
Here are 15 reasons why Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a massive disappointment.
15 Terrible Open World
One of MGSV's biggest selling points was that it was going to have a sizable open world, which was cool at first. But, after a while, I realized that the open world wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, as I was constantly being sent to the same outposts, to do the same things over and over again.
This has to be the worst open world in any game ever. Sure, it looks great, but, like I said before, you literally go to the same places, and do the same stuff time and time again. Since it's an open world game, you can explore freely, but there's nothing to explore. It's just a bunch of land in between enemy outposts with absolutely nothing to see.
14 Reflex Mode
Before I start, I'd like to say that I'm aware that you can turn reflex mode off. But, my issue is that it never should've been there to begin with. Why? Because it's supposed to be a stealth-based game, and reflex mode makes it, so you don't have to deal with the consequences of being spotted by an enemy. Most people probably leave it on, which in my opinion, defeats the purpose of the game.
One of the great things about previous Metal Gear Solid games was that, if you got spotted, you'd pay the price. There was even a difficulty on MGS 3 called European Extreme, where if you got caught, you'd fail the mission. So, there was actually a reason to be stealthy. However, if reflex mode were available in that game, it would have significantly reduce the consequences of being caught. So, yeah, reflex mode wasn't a necessary addition to the series, and the fact that it was there took away most of what made the franchise so great to begin with.
13 Chicken Hat
One of my biggest issues with The Phantom Pain was that there were no difficulty settings. In order to accommodate players that might not have a high skill level, they added the Chicken Hat, which you can equip by going to the game's settings. Basically, the chicken hat removes any consequences to being spotted by an enemy. When you are spotted with the hat equipped, enemies laugh at how ridiculous you look, instead of alerting the entire outpost of your presence.
Instead of inserting the Chicken Hat, Konami/Kojima should have included a difficulty setting like they did in every other game in the franchise. Of course, the amount of players that actually used the Chicken Hat was probably minuscule, but the fact that it was an option was absolutely ridiculous.
12 Kazuhira Miller
We were first introduced to Kaz in the first Metal Gear Solid, as he was a supporting character in the game who went by the name of Master Miller, but we didn't really get to know him until Peace Walker, where he became one of my favorite characters. But, that all changed in MGSV.
At first, Kaz's lust for revenge was cool, and understandable. After all, the attack on the original Mother Base caused him to lose an arm and a leg, and it put his longtime partner, Big Boss, into a coma for nine years. But, after a while it just got old, and instead of me wanting revenge on Cipher, I just wanted to take out Kaz, so that I didn't have to deal with his nonsense anymore. Him being the way he was really disappointed me.
11 Lack Of A Fast Travel System
If you're going to develop an open world game, please make sure to include a fast travel system. Without one, everything is more tedious than it needs to be. Sure, there are some fast travel options in MGSV, like putting yourself in a cardboard box in order to be loaded in the back of a truck, which will take you wherever you want to go in the game's open world. However, mechanics like this are tiresome after a few hours of play.
While there's somewhat of a fast travel system in the game's open word, they don't have one for when you need to get back to Mother Base. So, when you want to head back home, you'll have to call in your chopper, which takes several minutes to get to your exact location. It seemed like half of every mission was me waiting to either be picked up by the chopper or waiting for it to drop me off.
10 Mother Base Customization
One of the things that excited me the most about MGSV was the prospect of designing and customizing my very own Mother Base. I was hoping that it would be a situation where my base would look a lot different from everyone else's. What I wanted was a situation where no two bases looked the same, and while you can customize your base, the options are very limited. In fact, they're so limited that everyone's base pretty much looks the same, which is the complete opposite of what I was hoping for.
Also, I was hoping that there would be a ton of things to do at your base, but there just weren't. Most times you'd have little to no reason to even be there, which made me far less interested in using a few customization options that were available.
9 Base/Gear Development Time
At the beginning of the game, developing weapons and gear doesn't take that long, maybe five minutes at most. But, as time goes on, and you start to unlock higher level weapons, the development time is unreasonably long. There are multiple times where you'll need to develop a weapon/item for a particular mission, and the development time ends up being more than an hour. So, you kinda just have to sit around for an hour or do some side missions, which are repetitive and dull.
However, if you'd like to skip the development process, and have your item developed immediately, you can spend some Mother Base [MB] Coins, and you won't have to wait for your item to be developed. More often than not though, players won't have the ability to do so unless they are willing to spend real money. Yay for micro-transactions!
8 Repeat Missions
As you enter the game's final chapter, you'll see missions that you've already completed pop up again, but this time, they'll have a pre-determined difficulty level. This probably explains why there was no difficulty setting in the game.
These missions make up a big chunk of MGSV's final hours. In fact, the last mission of the game is a repeat mission. Not only that, but it's also the very first mission in the game. So, essentially, the entire story could've been told at the beginning, but certain details were hidden from us so that we'd have to play through the whole game, just to get back to where we started.
Each repeat mission does provide a unique challenge, which is a good thing, but the missions themselves are so unnecessary.
7 No Epic Boss Fights
One of the things that's made the Metal Gear Solid series so great over the years has been its epic boss fights. I mean, Metal Gear Solid 3 had several of them. However, MGSV didn't even have one. You could make an argument that the sniper battle with Quiet in MGSV was just as epic as the battle with The End in MGS3. But, in my personal opinion, the fight with The End was far more epic.
There wasn't even an unique final boss fight, which had been present in every MGS game prior to this one. Sahelanthropus was good, but that fight wasn't even close to being as epic as the battle with The Boss in MGS3, or even the sword fight with Solidus from MGS2.
6 Cut Content
If you watched all of the trailers for The Phantom Pain prior to playing the game, you'll know that what we saw is pretty much what we got. Actually, we saw more in the trailers than we ended up seeing the game because a ton of the game's content was cut. Many are hoping that Konami will eventually release the cut content for the game, but they're not gonna do that because they're worried about more important things (like developing Metal Gear Survive).
In fairness, every game probably cuts content, but most games don't feel unfinished like MGSV did. So, while every developer cuts content from their games, they don't cut essential content like Konami did with The Phantom Pain.
5 Cassette Tapes
The Metal Gear Solid series is known for its lengthy and detailed cut scenes, but you won't find any of those in The Phantom Pain. Instead, most of the necessary info is on cassette tapes which you can listen to at any time during a mission. These cassette tapes contain info that is essential to the story, but listening to them is entirely optional.
I'm not sure why there were so few cut scenes in MGSV. I would've gladly watched a couple more hours of cut scenes than having to listen to tapes to get the information that I needed. I was actually looking forward to seeing the long cutscenes that the series was known for, but they just weren't there, which was really disappointing.
4 Ocelot's Role Is Nonexistent
As a longtime fan of the series, I was stunned at how poorly Ocelot was used in MGSV. He was basically just a tutorial guy. Also, we never found out why he and Big Boss became friends. The last time they were in a game together, they were constantly trying to kill each other. So it was a little odd to see them acting like best friends at the end of the game.
I understand why Ocelot was used for tutorials, but that doesn't mean that I liked his role in the game. He could've had a much more significant role in the story than he did. It was really the first Metal Gear Solid game where Ocelot was completely irrelevant.
One odd thing about Ocelot in MGSV is that, throughout the series, he's a bit of an uncontrollable psychopath, but in this game, he's the more rational and even-keeled than anyone else, which feels unearned.
Apparently, Hideo Kojima, who is the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, wasn't interested in adding another game to the franchise after he developed MGS4: Guns of the Patriots. But that didn't stop Konami from asking him to do a fifth game.
There was a pretty well-known rift between Kojima and Konami throughout the development of Metal Gear Solid V, which led to the two sides parting ways following the game's release. The rift between the two probably explains why the game didn't live up to expectations, and it also explains why the game's story felt like it was missing something.
Of course, there is a small chance that Hideo Kojima may have lost his ability to tell a compelling and in-depth story. It'll be interesting to see how his next project —Death Stranding— turns out. If it's bad, then maybe he's the one we should blame for MGSV's lackluster story.
2 The Ending Is Absolutely Horrible
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain had such a horrible, and predictable ending. Spoilers ahead.
First with why it was so awful: Basically, Konami/Kojima went out of their way to thank the fans for creating Big Boss' legend by having the real Big Boss tell you that you're him. And he is you and that the two of you did everything together. Acknowledging the fans is great and all, but do it in another way. I don't need to hear one of my favorite video game characters personally thank me for making him who he is today.
Now, here's why it was so predictable: in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, which is the prelude to The Phantom Pain, the medic in the helicopter is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, who also voices Big Boss. Upon figuring this out, fans started to accurately predict that we wouldn't be playing as Big Boss in The Phantom Pain, but instead, we'd be playing as the medic from Ground Zeroes.
Also, if you've heard the game's opening song —The Man Who Sold The World by David Bowie, which as covered by Midge Ure— then you could've quickly figured out what the game's plot was. The song is about having a doppelganger. So yeah, the opening song kinda spoils the entire story.
1 Skull Face Is A Weak Antagonist
There were a ton of fan theories regarding Skull Face's true identity before the release of The Phantom Pain. Some predicted that he was really Zero, while others thought that he might end up being the real Big Boss. However, neither of those predictions ended up being true, and the answer to the "who is Skull Face?" question was incredibly underwhelming.
Later in the game, Skull Face tells Snake who he his, but it's all very vague. He said that he was responsible for cleaning up Big Boss's mess during the events of Metal Gear Solid 3. That's it. That's all we really know about him.
When you play through MGS: Ground Zeroes, Skull Face comes off as a guy that you don't want to mess with. However, as it turns out, he's really not much of a threat. His death, which should've been one of the more rewarding moments in the history of the franchise, was probably the most disappointing thing about the game. It didn't feel like you even earned it.
Skull Face had the potential to be on the same level as Colonel Volgin and Liquid Snake, but instead, he ended up being the lamest villain in the entire series, and there's not even a close second.