I was gonna start this piece with “fuck this game,” but that’s not quite accurate. I have to say “Fuck Metal Gear Solid V,” because I have not done anything so far that even remotely qualifies as playing a game.
I admit it, I should have known better. The last Metal Gear game I played was MGS2, and I hated it. Hated every miserable poorly-written cutscene-bullshit second of it, and to this day I can’t tell you why I even finished the thing, but I can tell you that for the last third of it I was frequently putting the controller down and going away to do something else while I was “playing.” Something about the reviews for this one convinced me that it would be different. That was stupid. I should have known that it would not be different.
Here is how the first, oh, 45 minutes to an hour of Metal Gear Solid V went, on Sunday night:
- Turn the PS4 on. It starts beeping and trying to eject things. It’s never done this before, and there’s nothing in there to eject, so I spend a while not quite realizing that something wrong is going on and I think it’s part of the game.
- Hit X approximately forty-five times to get through a ridiculous number of screens about known bugs and other bits of nonsense that after a while I’m not even reading. I know one of them was about how a character in Scene 27 can cause a game-stopping bug if she’s with you; I’m not going to remember this by the time I get to Scene 27, whatever that is. There are lots and lots of white words on a black screen to ignore here.
- Watch a ridiculous several-minute long cutscene involving waking up from a blur and then something about a cassette tape that provides no useful information and certainly nothing fun or interesting. Right about here is where I started pounding on buttons trying to skip stuff. I eventually discover that the way you skip cutscenes in this stupid game is by swiping right on the touchscreen, which is stupid and unintuitive, and it takes me several times doing it right before I realize what it is that I’m doing right.
- Sooner or later, I get to the actual title screen of the game. I have to hit the option button to get to the start menu, which is also stupid, and which ordinarily wouldn’t bother me at all except for the fact that it’s even more nonsense being thrown in your way before you can actually play. No other game that I can remember makes you give the game permission to bring up the “start new game” screen. This is ridiculous.
- Right about here is when I realized that the beeping and loading were the PS4 freaking out and not the game. I stopped and unplugged it for a minute, which cured everything but then I had to watch the damn cutscenes and click through the warning messages again.
- At this point you’re in a hospital, and there’s a doctor, and you keep passing out, and nothing happens, and I give each cutscene a couple of minutes and nothing happens and by this point I start skipping them. This literally takes ten to fifteen minutes even though I am skipping stuff and not paying attention. I have no fucking idea how long they think people might have patience for these scenes. Note also that I damn near never skip cutscenes in any other game; the ones in the Metal Gear series are 1) just that bad and 2) I haven’t gotten to do anything yet. I’ve hit X a hundred times to skip a bunch of text screens full of meaningless information and moved a thumbstick to look around a room. Other than that I’m listening to this doctor yap at me.
- Eventually I get to choose what I look like. I make myself black and give myself a ridiculous long beard, thinking that maybe I’ll get to play now. The doctor shows me a mirror with what I look like, but a moment later and for no clear reason (granted, I’ve completely stopped paying attention to him) I’m back to being white and looking like Solid Snake. I have no idea why they let me choose a face. They did fool me into thinking I might be able to play, though.
- At some point after that, as I’m about to skip another scene of the doctor yammering, I notice the nurse getting killed in the background. Something possibly exciting might be happening! Nope. The doctor takes like 20 minutes to get garrotted, then someone comes in the window, then that person’s on fire for some reason, and at no point anywhere do I actually get to affect what’s happening. At this point I sent out this Tweet:
Metal Gear 5 has one more minute to become a game or I’m turning it the fuck off. This is ridiculous z
— Luther M. Siler (@nfinitefreetime) September 14, 2015
Forgive the extraneous Z; I was typing fast and frustrated. It had been at least half an hour and I had done nothing at all other than hit X on command.
- Two minutes later, I sort of got to move around, if by “move around” I mean “hold up, because you don’t get to choose what direction you’re moving, and by the way you’re crawling and it’s insanely slow and laborious, and you don’t get to do anything but hold up for a while, and I hope this fools you into thinking you’re playing a game.” Which cost $60, by the way. I turn the fucking game off because fuck this.
Last night! I had a few minutes, and I decided to hell with it, I paid $60 for this motherfucker and it’s getting fucking perfect reviews. There has to be a game here somewhere. Here’s what I did last night with Metal Gear Solid V:
- I was immediately asked to wait fifteen minutes so that my PS4 could download an update, which, fuck that, no, I don’t care about your fucking update, and I don’t care about playing online, because I haven’t been able to play offline yet. So I declined to wait, fuck the online features I’m missing. Then something exciting happened!:
- I held the up button. For, like, fifteen minutes, following around a man in a hospital gown with no fucking underwear on, meaning I spent fifteen minutes following around bare man-ass-crack. At no point was I allowed to do much of anything other than hold up; I couldn’t decide to go another way or anything like that, and since one of Snake’s arms is a prosthetic and the other spent most of the “game” broken I was basically just holding up and watching my character flop around like… well, like a guy trying to crawl with one broken arm and one prosthesis, which is not exactly thrilling gameplay. Lots of other people around me were getting shot, but not me; in fact, I tried to get killed at one point and it didn’t work because the game wouldn’t let me turn around and go back toward the guard.
- And, again, you’re doing this so that you can stare directly into another man’s asshole. That’s not a joke. That’s what you’re doing. Mostly what you do is try and drag yourself up on shit and fall down. Eventually he can stand up but then a second later they’re telling you to hit X to lay down again. At one point there was a fire-dude, or maybe she was a fire-lady, or maybe both. I didn’t get to fight him or anything. I just laid there and did nothing and then I got to hold up some more.
- And then I turned the game off, and now I’m fucking done. Because this is not how you make a fucking game.
There will be no third chance. Fuck Metal Gear Solid V. Konami owes me $160, because I want a refund and I’m charging for my goddamn time.