Metal Gear Control

Formula

Video games come down to this concept of core gameplay, the repetition of action and systems and structures that make the game “fun.” This core gameplay formula which essentially makes any game work lies within these systems and mechanics. I find the storylines of these structures and systems just as salient and valuable to the experience of a game. For aesthetic purposes and for gameplay, the operations of the game itself is more crucial than the bells & whistles; the dope PhysX engine is meaningless if the gameplay is boring. The visuals, the graphics, the dialogue, the story, the characters — all of it comes together to form the foreground of the experience. They are important no doubt, and contribute immensely to the game’s quality. But I truly think the most essential character of the game is this core gameplay experience.

Game

Metal Gear Solid V takes place in the 80s, after the protagonist Solid Snake has been injured in battle. He’s a silent soldier-type with an eye-patch and a turbulent past, we all know the archetype. You have lost your arm (i.e. phantom pain) and it’s really hard to tell what is going on or who exactly betrayed whom. The game quickly throws you into a death-defying escape from the hospital where you were recovering — in what is perhaps the best opening sequence in any game I’ve ever played. You have to sneak past guards as the hospital burns down from a burning superhuman and his floating gas-masked psychic child companion. Also there’s a burning Nightmare Unicorn that can fly, and also at one point a burning whale gets thrown at you while you are mostly-naked on horseback trying to shoot the burning man on the unicorn with a shotgun. It’s fucking wild and awesome, but none of the rest of the game is like this.

Control

All of these tools at your disposal leads you to feeling confident concerning your own capabilities. No matter the enemy’s numbers, structures, or defense — you generally feel as though you have the right response to be able to get past them. However, the greatest tool you have in your arsenal — is Snake himself and the control scheme. Here’s a short list of simple actions you can execute in the game with the push of a key / button, as Snake:

  • Sprint, fastest method of on-foot movement but increases your sound and visibility to enemies
  • Climb / vault, to get on top of structures or cliffs
  • Dive into prone, at any point you can “hit the deck” diving into prone position and concealing your visibility quickly in a pinch; (you can also dive off your horse companion or any vehicle while it continues to move)
  • Melee attacks to knock guards unconscious
  • Aim your gun from the hip or down the sights/scope — quickly bringing the weapon to bear on your shoulder
  • Place explosives, with remote detonation or movement triggering
  • Dodging tank fire using my patented sprint n’ dive repeatedly technique while simultaneously setting up RPG shots on its weak spot. Don’t stop moving until it’s down
  • Upon detection of an enemy gunship, sprinting like a madman inside a small shed to protect from machine gun fire while you call in your own chopper to battle it in the sky
  • Aggressively sprinting in the rain or in a sandstorm because you know the sounds will be masked from the nearby guards you’re about to ghost
  • Counter-sniping the look outs on the guard towers before moving to the interior of the compound
  • Pushing a guy off a ledge down to the ground next to other guards on accident, but then realizing you still aren’t detected and you just struck fear into them and enlightened them to the fact they are all being hunted by some kind of Murder-Batman
  • Sneaking up on a trio of guards thinking of the perfect scenario to take them all out the most efficient way — melee striking the closest, moving in to the choke hold the other as a hostage while gunning down the third with your pistol — just like Bourne. But then mucking it up and having to shoot all three with your unsilenced assault rifle — alerting everyone in the camp while also getting shot in the leg in the process (never restart checkpoint after one of these — powering through the mania of the alerts can be some of the best experiences in the game)
  • Using your wolf son to stab a guards with his little knife while you ghost the guy next to him
  • Commanding Quiet (the sniper bikini companion) to snipe the lookout right when you run into his vision, to efficiently move closer to your target
  • Tracking a convoy of 1) tank, 2) truck with VIP you need to take alive, 3) APC, and moving ahead on the road to plant claymores to detonate upon approach and C4 next to them to pack the punch needed to take out the tank first. Then once the tank is down and stops the movement of all three vehicles, snipe the driver of the truck, and RPG rapid fire the APC to hell — to leave the VIP the only one alive for extraction. (this took many tries, but so satisfying when you finally get that sequence down)
  • Attaching C4 to the grill of an enemy truck and driving it into a densely populated enemy camp, diving out and detonating it in one motion. In the burning chaos, leap through the back window of the room with the intel, bag it and then ride out of there on horseback in a mountain range hidden path

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