Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Reviewed for AusGamers
People always try to downplay the story in Metal Gear Solid games. There’s always a lot of hand-waving, a lot of ‘yeah, it’s bananas but…’ that seems superficially like cultural cringe. Like the anime Shiki, which — if you haven’t watched it — will seem like utter trash for the first three episodes until it becomes something awesome. And so you cringe as you recommend it, praying they make it past the Love Hina-esque bullshit and through to the good stuff lest they think you’re one of those anime fans.
That’s not really what’s going on here. It’s not cultural cringe driving people to deride the story in a game they love, it’s a con job. Metal Gear Solid as a series has always been the butt of jokes, because it’s not easily digestible and gamers are lovable but easily distracted types. So if you think of Metal Gear Solid, you probably think of sneaking in cardboard boxes, perving on Meryl in the bathrooms or whatever. It’s too difficult to explain that the game is basically “Escape from Alaska” in the same vein as “Escape from L.A.” except with less basketball. I guess I just did that, but I’m a super genius. If you dump someone who isn’t open-minded into Metal Gear Solid, they’ll learn in the first 10 minutes that the protagonist’s name is a dick joke and he shelved a packet of cigarettes so that he could smoke on his mission. And they’ll turn the game off and never listen to you again.
So instead you tell them to ignore the crazy story and just try it out. Because if you’re into Metal Gear Solid, you’re a vector for the virus of Metal Gear fandom, and you know if you can just get them into the game they’ll be infected as well. And soon they’ll spread the virus as well, tricking people into ignoring the story just so they can enjoy the gameplay within.
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