Freeing Myself from the MGSV Cycle

Originally published on Trevor Trove on October 11, 2015

After nearly 150 hours, I’m taking a break from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In my time building up to my game’s 85% Completion, I have:

  • Beaten all of the story missions.
  • Beaten all of the 157 side-ops (some of them multiple times).
  • Beaten all but five of the “replay this earlier mission with new limitations” missions.
  • Completely leveled up Mother Base (and more than half of my FOB).
  • Developed a Nuke.
  • Found all of the Blueprints and Memento photos (and watched all of the hidden corresponding Memento scenes on the Medical platform – no spoilers).
  • Listened to all of the casette tapes/briefing tapes presented to me and collected in the world.
  • Listened to “The Final Countdown” easily upwards of 500 times as it blared out of Pequod.
  • Clicked through roughly 1,000 of the seemingly endless Konami startup prompts “OK, OK, Next, Next, Next, OK, Next, Accept…”

Things I haven’t done:

  • S-rank every mission.
  • Complete every side mission objective. (I’m fairly certain I’m not good/patient enough at this game to do either of these two).
  • Extract every species of animal (missing 3).
  • Understood most of how this connects to the larger Metal Gear Solid storyline.
  • Written new articles for my own damn website.

So mainly because of this last one, I’m walking away from the game for a while. My Metal Gear Solid-induced hiatus has gone on long enough and, while I still find the gameplay enjoyable, I need to get back to experiencing other content, as well as produce some of my own. Because scouting outposts and then slowly tranquilizing soldiers one at a time does not make for particularly captivating viewing, Catherine hasn’t been too keen to sit with me as I play it. She thought The Witcher was “way more fun to watch” than this one. So maybe I’ll dive back into that game with her for awhile until the my next big time sink – Fallout 4 – comes out next month. I’ve also got The Nathan Drake Collection and some smaller titles to dive into this month.

That said: thanks for the memories Big Boss! The cycle alluded to in the the title of this post of capturing outposts/resources/soldiers, level up gear, capture stronger outposts/more resources/higher-skilled soldiers was one of the best experiences in recent memory. The game excels at leveling up with me and my skill level. Yes, I was taking over the same outposts over and over, but the enemies continually got smarter and more resourceful, forcing me to adapt and try new strategies long after the story had ended. Tranq too many soldiers with headshots, now everyone is wearing helmets so you have find a new tactic. Captured this outpost, try it again now with more tanks and helicopters in the area. This gameplay loop was so satisfyingly addictive I almost didn’t mind that I wasn’t really playing other games. Almost. But with the year quickly winding down, it’s time to see what else is out there.

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