YMMV: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


  • Anvilicious: Averted with Ground Zeroes. There's plenty of subtext that's critical of prison camps that get around human rights laws, but the game goes for a Show, Don't Tell method of getting the point across. The only time that the game isn't subtle about its stance on Guantanamo Bay and camps like it is during the last Side Op mission, by which point it might as well be a case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, given that players will have seen the worst that Camp Omega has to offer.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • There was quite a bit of backlash when it was announced that Ground Zeroes would be fairly short compared to other titles in the series. In response to this, Konami lowered the game's price (about half the price of competing titles) shortly before the game's release to compensate for this.
    • Presumably, this is also the reason why Paz is never called Pacifica Ocean (her real name) — a lot of people thought it was a lame name, and "Paz" is easier to take seriously.
    • The boxes were cut from Ground Zeroes for clashing with the mood of the game. In spite of The Phantom Pain being an even darker game, they are included again due to fan request.
    • The previously Sony/Microsoft-exclusive side ops in Ground Zeroes are now available as Downloadable Content for all four consoles, free of charge.
  • Awesome Music: Here.
  • Broken Base:
    • Media relating to Ground Zeroes has invited this, given that the game brings massive changes to the formula, such as adding lens flare, slow-motion takedowns, more action focused gameplay, tagging, and more of an emphasis on regenerating health. To be fair, regenerating health has been part of the series since Metal Gear Solid 3 (though it was dependent on stamina) and enemy markers is similar to the Soliton Radar. In addition, there are also some fans that are disappointed that certain staples to the franchise (such as the famous cardboard box) were cut from the game in order for it to feel more realistic or to be released as DLC for The Phantom Pain. A video at E3 in 2014 confirmed that the cardboard box is making a return.
    • Fans seem to be divided over the game being Divided for Publication. Some think Ground Zeroes has enough content to stand on its own and will hold players over until the sequel comes out, while others think that the game should have been released as a whole instead of letting Konami publish what they see as an extensive demo for The Phantom Pain.
    • A lot of fans don't seem to be happy with the borderline Diabolus Ex Machina way that Paz dies, but others think it's an interesting shock necessary to get the ball rolling on the game's storyline.
    • Regarding the re-casting of Snake in the English version:
      • Fans are divided over Kiefer Sutherland replacing David Hayter as the English voice of Big Boss. This was made worse after the announcement that Hayter would apparently not reprise his role as Solid Snake for the Déjà Vu mission.
      • It didn't help that Hideo Kojima went out of the way to say that he thought Sutherland "raised the bar" for motion capture performances in video games, but he's considerably more divisive among the fanbase. Many of those that do like him still feel that the performances by the ensemble were more memorable.
      • Kiefer Sutherland was apparently chosen to portray Big Boss as a middle-aged man for motion capture purposes even though he's only two years older than David Hayter, who bears a greater resemblance to Big Boss.
      • The fact that he voices the medic, Ishmael, Classic Snake, and Raiden in addition to Big Boss doesn't particularly help either.
      • A subset of the fandom isn't incensed by the casting change (and instead points out that, like with Solid Snake and his "brothers", the voice differentiation in English as opposed to Akio Ohtsuka voicing the various Snakes aside of Liquid is one subtle way of showcasing how distinct each individual character is in personality and life history), but does feel that it should have at least been Hayter voicing Snake in Ground Zeroes, as it's set only a few months after Peace Walker whereas The Phantom Pain and its nine-year Time Skip would've made the switch in voice actors more stomachable and justifiable for some.
      • Following the release of Ground Zeroes itself, opinions on the change are less polarized, but are still all over the place. One camp thinks that the decision to replace Hayter was a mistake and that Sutherland's voice doesn't fit the character of Snake well, another camp thinks his performance was So Okay, It's Average and that Hayter still could have carried the performance in spite of Kojima's claim that Sutherland was better, yet another camp thinks that Sutherland was good in the game and acted on par with any of Hayter's performances, and the last group thinks that Sutherland was superior in every way possible and that Hayter was never good for the role to begin with.
    • Jim Piddock, Zero's English voice actor, is not reprising his role due to a payment dispute. Zero's Japanese voice actor, Banjō Ginga, is coming back, however, which has raised a few eyebrows.
    • The lack of a release date for The Phantom Pain divided the fandom into two camps: one who were sick of hearing no word and the other who didn't want The Phantom Pain to be rushed into an Obvious Beta release like a lot of big name titles in the last couple of years.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Near the end of the VGA 2012 teaser, a chopper is brought down by a giant flying whale that's on fire. This seems to have been explained as a hallucination that Big Boss saw during the attack due to the psychic influence of a masked figure. It is also meant to be a reference to Moby-Dick, especially with the game showing Big Boss going into Revenge Before Reason mode.
  • Contested Sequel: Ground Zeroes, coming after of the widely-acclaimed HD version of Peace Walker, was hit with this. Regardless of concerns over its length, people are divided on the story issues. While gameplay is considered by the majority of the metal gear fandom to be the best in the series, the sheer overwhelming darkness of the story has divided everyone.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Super talented soldier with a long distinguished career in the military? Check. Part of a top secret special forces unit which frequently stops terrorist operations which threaten the security of the free world? Check. Tragic past with lots of lost loved ones and comrades? Check. Has been screwed over by his government, which forces him to question how much loyalty it deserves from him and how far he has to go to ensure his nation operates the way it should? Check. Now are we describing Jack Bauer or Big Boss?
    • Big Boss/Punished Snake also shares a large number of similar traits with Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, specifically her Rebellion incarnation. Both are physiologically scarred and tragic war veterans who, due to intense and repeated traumas inflicted upon them, decided to lash out and become villains. Furthermore, both of them make a speech proclaiming that they've become "Demons".
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This is without a doubt the darkest Metal Gear game ever. Several of its themes are controversial. Big Boss is intentionally turned into a Nominal Hero to show his transformation into a villain. The tapes from Ground Zeroes already contain horrible information about what happened to Paz and Chico that might not be suitable for everyone to listen.
  • Epileptic Trees: Given that this is a Metal Gear game, these were bound to spring up.
    • The New Coke theory. Hideo Kojima cast Sutherland as Snake. After a series of rather teasing tweets,note  Snake's previous voice actor David Hayter compares Sutherland to New Coke via Twitter. There has been a long-standing theory that the 1985 New Coke was a ruse to spur sales of Coke Classic. note  Therefore, Sutherland is New Coke, Hayter is Coke Classic, Kojima is using this to create buzz for the game and all three are in cahoots.
      • On that note, Sutherland also said that there was a plot-related reason for the voice change, and that there would be "a secret that is actually really cool" in regards to the character. Cue renewed speculation on how David Hayter could potentially be making a cameo in The Phantom Pain.
    • There are also a number of off-the-wall theories that post-coma Snake isn't actually Big Boss, but really Gray Fox. Or Decoy Octopus. Or another clone.
    • A number of the "new" characters invite a lot of speculation, racking up a lot of theories that they're younger versions of characters that appeared in other Metal Gear games. Specifically, Ishmael is believed to be either Gray Fox, Decoy Octopus, or Solidus Snake, Quiet is believed to be Sniper Wolf's mother, a descendant of The End, or both, Eli is believed to be Liquid Snake, and the unidentified doctor is believed to be Kio Marv.
    • Another popular-yet-gruesome theory (that started as a joke making fun of some of the Epileptic Trees being thrown about, but ironically became viewed as legitimate on its own) is that Quiet in The Phantom Pain is Chico, with a full-on sex change after his emasculation in Ground Zeroes. This all started with some suggestive content within Chico's tapes that imply that Chico was forced to rape Paz, while Skull Face not only watches, but ''encourages'' him - Paz helps out by encouraging him too. As Chico was still in puberty at the time, this nightmarish sex-ed lesson possibly scarred him. After witnessing the destruction of Mother Base and Snake falling into a coma as a result of the information he gave to Skull Face, along with Paz's death, Chico, suffering from severe trauma and Survivor's Guilt, cuts off his own tongue to never betray his comrades again, and undergoes full surgery while hiding his voice until his voice changes through therapy, until 9 years later he becomes Quiet in 1984, due to no longer wanting to live as a man after what he was forced to do and to try and keep Paz's memory alive. The fact that Quiet has a little too much of Paz's traits, The End's camo, who is implied to be the grandfather of Chico, and similar facial structure does not help.
    • There's also the theory that the infamous head transplant story is actually a publicity stunt for this game. The doctor at the center of it, Sergio Canavero, looks and talks almost exactly like the doctor from the game's first trailer and that his project is named HEAVEN. His book even mentions cloning. It doesn't help that the same operation happened to Raiden between Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
  • Evil Is Cool: As messed up, horrifying, and downright horrendous Skull Face is, he's still pretty cool.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Morpho and Skull Face are fast becoming hugely popular. Morpho for his helpful hand to Big Boss, and Skull Face for his charismatic, memorable, and deeply disturbing speeches which flesh out his personality and backstory and establish his rampant villainy at the same time.
  • Fan Wank: There are plenty of people that believe that Paz's death was faked, which is fairly conceivable. However, the theory that the character in question has a sex change and becomes Psycho Mantis is pretty hard to swallow.
  • Game Breaker: An intentional example is Raiden's super sprint ability in the Jamais Vu mission. Being able to run off at twice the normal sprint speed allows the player to reposition themselves far more easily during a firefight.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In 1984, Snake's new South African team is named the "Diamond Dogs". The reference to David Bowie is fairly obvious. What's less obvious is that the album, Diamond Dogs, was a (very loose) concept album based on 1984, the dystopian novel that, like the Metal Gear series, is about eternal war and information control.
    • Jay Tavare, Code Talker's voice and motion capture actor, claims that his character speaks a complex dialect of Navajo. Navajo is one of the few languages in the world which does not contain etymology from any other language, and was thus ideal for intelligence agents during World War II, who were taught Navajo by natives in the Southwestern U.S. and used it to trade secrets. Guess what they were called?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Age hasn't slowed you down one bit!" Cue the decade-long coma and the Controllable Helplessness that immediately follows it.
    • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Miller describes Big Boss as being a monster.note  One of the trailers shows him screaming that he's willing to provide the world with wetwork only for the purpose of profit and revenge, indicating that at that point he too was also a monster of some fashion.
    • Chico's "Love" Briefing Files from Peace Walker and Paz's tapes where she speaks about the time she spent with Chico and the boy's crush on her. It's hard not to feel sad knowing how Skull Face takes advantage of their bond and Chico's feelings for Paz, and how tragically this all ends, with Chico being unable to save Paz.
    • The Easter egg that involves erasing certain Metal Gear logos takes on a new meaning now that it has been reported that Kojima is going to leave Konami after The Phantom Pain is released. Not helping matters is the fact that his name has been removed off of several games.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The non-canonical game titled Snake's Revenge is this when you consider the plot of this game - "Snake's Revenge" would be an apt title to describe what Punished Snake is going for.
    • This bit of fanart from 2008 featured Solid Snake going up against Jack Bauer. Flash forward to present day when we learn who's going to be the new voice actor for Big Boss...
    • Even more hilarious is the achievement/trophy you can get in Metal Gear Solid 3 HD for interrogating someone in CQC. The name of it? "Tell Me Where the Bomb Is".
      • On a harsher note, he really should have asked where the bomb was.
    • Troy Baker is replacing the voice of a much-beloved villain in a popular franchise but is overshadowed by Internet Backdraft from the Player Character's voice getting replaced. Again.
    • During 24's popularity in Japan, they got Kiefer Sutherland to appear in a CalorieMate commercial.
    • The implication that Paz's second bomb is in her crotch can become downright hilarious if you happen to be a South Park fan, as the 2007 episode "The Snuke" featured that very thing as part of a parody of 24.
    • The fact that the actor who exclaims "They played us like a damn fiddle!" also played a violin-playing character (well, a character who plays a bonesaw like a violin, but it counts).
    • In a radio conversation with Para-Medic, Snake reveals that vampires gives him nightmares. It makes you wonder what he would think if he knew he was voiced by one.
  • Hype Backlash: Prior to the release of Ground Zeroes, Kojima stated that he believed that Sutherland "raised the bar" for motion capture performances. Bear in mind that he was mainly referring to the Ground Zeroes scenes, with only a handful of the scenes from The Phantom Pain recorded. When Ground Zeroes came out, quite a few people were underwhelmed with his performance, stating that the other actors had better performances than he did, with some even going so far to call Sutherland a Replacement Scrappy to David Hayter.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Try insinuating that Kiefer Sutherland is better as Snake, or that David Hayter was better. It'll surely end well. This seems to have gotten a little better since the release of Ground Zeroes, since there is more material on judging Sutherland's performance.
    • The fact that both bonus extra ops campaigns (Déjà Vu and Jamais Vu) were console exclusive missions for separate consoles hadn't exactly sat well with a number of fans. This was especially true considering that both were highly anticipated. The announcement that are downloadable for any console seems to have eased this concern, however.
    • IGN's article by Lucy Brien claiming that the ending was unearned, just for shock value, sexualised, and comments about Paz have meet with huge amounts of anger from just about everyone.
  • It Was His Sled: A bizarre example in that they advertise the twist before the game was released, or at least part of it. A main plot point of Ground Zeroes is that Ground Zeroes ends with the destruction of Mother Base, but Paz's death wasn't spoiled.
  • It's Short, so It Sucks : Most players are able to finish Ground Zeroes main story in under two hours and it all takes place on a single map. This was the game's main point of contention for a lot of critics and fans. The most harsh of which labeled it an expensive demo (especially considering that previous games had demos of almost comparable length). Not helped by the fact soon after its release, speedrunners, who knew what they were doing and skipped all of the cutscenes, completed the game in under 10 minutes. To its credit, the game does have extra missions available after completion, multiple ways to approach objectives and of course, a ranking system to master. In essence: fans of the game feel it has high replayability, whereas as detractors feel its overall content isn't enough for its price tag.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • They played us like a damn fiddle!
    • START TALKING, BITCH!
    • Snake using the Fulton Recovery System on a goat.
    • Kaz, I'm already a demon.
    • Sutherland's tendency to slur his lines, including "SHE SURVAIF?" and "COMMUNIST SOYOIL"
      • "A SERBEYLANCE CAMRUH?"
    • Snake rubbing ashes onto his face has been done as fan art quite a few times.
    • "A weapon...to surpass Metal Gear."
    • "Phantom Pain will be out in nine years."
  • Moral Event Horizon: According to one of the audio files, Skull Face took a flying leap over the line when he beat and stripped Paz, and then forced Chico to have sex with her while he watched.
  • Narm Horror: It's heavily implied that Skull Face placed Paz's second bomb in her vagina. It sounds like part of a bad Aristocrats joke (or an episode of South Park), but in context it's more than appropriately horrifying and heart-rending.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Skull Face only appears in one scene in person in Ground Zeroes (all other scenes are on tape recordings), but his theatricality makes it memorable.
    • His seven minute audio tape is considered by many to have some of the best voice acting and writing in Metal Gear history, as well as arguably the most horrifying thing ever put into the series.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Meta example. The Moby Dick Studio marketing stunt was intentionally made as transparent as possible to get people hyped for The Phantom Pain.
  • Player Punch: The destruction of Mother Base is this for anyone who spent so much time building it in Peace Walker.
  • Polished Port:
    • The PC version of Ground Zeroes looks even better than the already beautiful console releases, works well with keyboard and mouse, and is extremely well-optimized (all despite being from a Japanese developer, quite a few of which having brought over a number of Porting Disasters). On top of all that, it comes with the DLC missions for free (though they need to be unlocked), and the base price is cheaper than the base for the console versions ($20, as opposed to $30). If this is of any indication, the port for The Phantom Pain is going to be phenomenal.
    • To the extent Ground Zeroes has gathered a whopping 10/10 from gathered Steam users reviews (officially classfied by steam as a "overwhelmingly positive" reception) . A much more positive reception than the original console release.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Or rather, the absence of an established mechanic in Ground Zeroes, makes gameplay more frustrating. Given that the artificial intelligence is considerably better in this game and there are fewer places to hide, the cardboard box would be crucial; given that it isn't there, you're much more likely to be caught, and since it's harder to hide in the game, evading the enemy is that much more difficult. The box will return in The Phantom Pain, however.
    • Reflex Mode can be seen as one by many players. In some cases, it's actually a hindrance to the player, if they want to try and escape. Fortunately, it can be disabled, giving the player bonus points upon the mission's completion.
  • So Okay, It's Average:
    • Some of the more critical reviews for Ground Zeroes put it in this territory, claiming that the game is too short to truly show off the potential of the Fox Engine. However, they claim that the game is good otherwise, and the game has still received a considerable amount of praise nonetheless. Overall, the general consensus is that the game is a superb prologue for The Phantom Pain, both gameplay and story wise, but many feel its short length wasn't worth releasing as a standalone title.
    • The general consensus on Jamais Vu is that it could have been better, but it's decent.
  • Special Effects Failure: If Big Boss is sprinting while holding an unconscious or dead body, his elbow will always clip through their arm.
    • As amazing as the new engine is, limbs of fallen enemies clip into walls while in previous games, they would go into appropriate positions.
    • A minor one. The Marines, when reloading their rifles, will insert the new magazine, and then slap a bolt catch, as if it were a M-16 rifle (the rifle used by the Marines to this time). However, when Snake reloads the rifle, he racks the charging handle after loading in the new magazine, showing that the AM-69 doesn't use a bolt catch. This is probably because the motion capture actors were military, and they did their reflexive reload motion on a M-16 placeholder prop, due to the fact that the AM-69 is an entirely made up rifle.
  • Squick: Given the War Is Hell nature of the game, it's to be expected.
    • Chico now has a headphone jack in a rotting hole in his chest. We can hear the small fleshy noises as he pulls it out to listen to his tape, too.
    • The conclusion of Ground Zeroes starts off with Snake and Chico attempting to remove a bomb from Paz's abdomen, without anesthetic and whilst she is still conscious.
    • And then that was topped by there being another explosive placed inside her vagina.
    • The interrogation tapes.
    • Horses in the game periodically defecate.
    • Snake rubbing the ashes of a cremated soldier onto his face.
  • Stop Helping Me!: You'd think that, with Ground Zeroes being a handful of missions and challenges on the same map, tips would be optional. Turns out both your first time on normal and your hundredth on hard mode will have Kaz parroting the same lines of dialogue every single time. Bonus points for the "Assassinate The Targets" mission. Kaz informs you that you should get a good look at your targets and their area of activity, both of which are on the iDroid. If you fail to check both pictures and the map (such as during a replay or speedrun), if the targets move (the second one always does), or if you restart a checkpoint (probable during first few times), he will shout the same selection of lines again.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The English Ground Zeroes trailer was met with this in regards to the voice acting. Complaints were mainly targeted at Sutherland's bored-sounding voice, further adding to the Hayter controversy, and Skull Face sounding like someone trying too hard to sound cool.
    • Win the Crowd: James Horan's portrayal of Skull Face during the credits and interrogation tape haves been met with fan approval, saying he sounds much better and utterly terrifying than in the earlier trailer.
    • Sutherland's voice in the recent trailer has earned him quite a bit more fans. With his subtle, yet absolutely heartbreaking delivery of the line, "I won't scatter your sorrow to the heartless sea. I will always be with you."
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: A lot of fans were upset with the decision not to re-hire David Hayter for the game, even before news that Kiefer Sutherland would be taking his place came into account. Of course, a lot of the negative reaction towards Sutherland also stems from the perception that Kojima threw Hayter under the bus after he'd contributed so much to the series, and it doesn't help that Kojima never directly answered why he didn't re-hire Hayter while re-hiring the rest of the returning cast from Peace Walker.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Detractors of Kiefer Sutherland's voicework note that, unless the scene he's in calls for a dramatic emotion, he sounds extremely bored with his role (at least in Ground Zeroes). This has also been of concern with previous voice acting roles Sutherland has been associated with.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Kojima initially stated that he had told Yoji Shinkawa to design Quiet as a "more erotic" character. After there was a slight backlash towards his intentions for her design, Kojima attempted to correct himself in terms of what he meant. Ironically, one of the people who was offended by Quiet's appearance helped design Cortana, a stripperiffic character.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The FOX Engine is perhaps one of the most advanced development platforms available to date, being composed of several novel state-of-the-art software tools and compatible with highly sensitive 3D scanning equipment. The primary aim of FOX is to achieve photorealistic visuals, and it comes damn close at times. And this can still run on seventh generation console hardware, in addition to eighth generation hardware. However, the visual effects became noticeably stunted between older trailers and more recent trailers, and the seventh generation graphics are somewhat blurry.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Zigzagged with Kiefer Sutherland, who is doing the facial motion capture for Snake and is voicing him in the English version. A number of fans think that he's the right kind of actor to voice a character like Snake, but find his vocal performance to be rather flat (though his motion capture performance is more widely liked). On the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of other fans that are happy with the change - some citing David Hayter's performance in Peace Walker to be weaker than it was in Metal Gear Solid 4 and previous titles, and others simply accepting Sutherland as Big Boss so long as Hayter still voices Solid Snake. A number of fans are confused as to why, after playing the character for years, Hayter was switched out with a voice actor who had little knowledge of the series, and there are also fans that are annoyed that, given that Sutherland was hired to revitalize the series, Snake's Japanese voice actor isn't being changed for the same reason.
    • A portion of the audience eventually warmed up to Sutherland. However, a lot of people are upset that David Hayter didn't get to reprise his role for the Déjà Vu mission (especially considering a lot of the dialogue from that section is lifted from the original Metal Gear Solid, and they could have easily used archive sound clips), and even more people are outright baffled that Sutherland did the voice of Raiden instead of Quinton Flynn for Jamais Vu.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: For those who don't want any involvement with the feminist outcry of Quiet's Stripperific design, others will say that it's idiotic and makes no sense compared to past characters with revealing clothes. Common complaint being that she's wearing nylons on a battlefield.
  • The Woobie: Practically every character in the game,
    • Both Paz and Chico after being tortured by Skull Face with the former dying from a second bomb implanted in her body exploding.
    • Any of the POWs, who may have been subject to even worse torture.
    • Big Boss counts as well. Made more apparent, just how broken he looks at the end of Ground Zeroes.
    • Jerk Ass Woobie: Miller becomes this at the end of Ground Zeroes. As horrible as he is to Paz, you can understand and sympathize with him.
    • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Skull Face is this, given his horrific and and incredibly traumatic backstory.