If you read my review of MGSV: The Phantom Pain, you know that I had painfully mixed feelings about this game. Though there’s a lot in Phantom Pain to love, the level of wasted potential in Hideo Kojima’s final MGS title left me feeling positively despondent. In recent weeks, a theory has emerged which posits Kojima intentionally set up false expectations in order to give everybody who played the game some ‘phantom pain’ of their own. I don’t really care whether MGSV is flawed on purpose or not – I just want it to be fixed!
So, in the interests of helping those out there who, like me, suffer from KPPD (Kojima’s Phantom Pain Disorder), I made this brief list of (relatively) easy-to-implement mods that would go a long way in making Phantom Pain less heartbreakingly sub-standard for such a quality franchise as Metal Gear.
1. Less durable silencers
An issue with MGSV is that it’s a tad too easy, compared to the other MGS games. The amount of gadgets in Venom’s arsenal would make Kevin McAllister jealous, and your ability to mark every enemy on the map and use Quiet as backup push the game even further into the ‘cake walk’ category. Less durable silencers, especially on your tranq. pistol, would do a lot to change this.
It’s a tiny change that would instantly make sneaking around harder. Less durable silencers would also make it harder to Fulton out as many guards, as well as force the player to use fewer confrontational tactics in their stealth runs.
2. More ‘Subsistence’ runs
There are two missions in MGSV categorized as ‘Subsistence’ style; which is the game’s weird, self referential name for missions that require On Site Procurement (OSP) of gear. Considering MGS1 quite literally invented the term OSP*, you’d think allowing any mission to be run in ‘Subsistence’ mode would have been a no-brainer. Currently, you can only replay two extremely early missions in this fashion. A simple mod could fix that: just by giving us the option to take no gear or buddies in exchange for higher GMP rewards and extra benefits once the mission’s complete.
(According to MGS1’s co-writer, voice director, and translater Jeremy Blaustein, he came up with the term OSP while localizing the game in 1998.)
3. Fewer Fultons per mission, Fultons hurt rank
Fulton parachuting out enemy combatants is both hilarious and useful: too useful, in fact! I get that extracting personnel out is important for MGSV‘s base building components to work properly – but we are given far too many Fultons per mission. It encourages a play style that feels less ‘tactical espionage actions’, and more ‘gotta catch em all’ (and I do mean ALL). If we had fewer parachutes per assignment to work with, it would force the player to be more selective about when to use them. This kills two birds with one stone: it makes working in the field more tense and stealthy, and it means the player will be forced to adopt a ‘quality not quantity’ approach to extracting soldiers.
4. Supply drops draw attention
It can be pretty easy to sneak off to a secluded spot and call in more ammo, new silencers, and other supplies. With this proposed mod, any activation of supply drops will draw heat. This means you’ll have to quickly slip in and out of the area, and risk getting an alert whenever you go overboard in the field and need more equipment. Again, a relatively small mod idea that would boost the game’s difficulty considerably, without it being unfair.
5. Repeated alerts and kills lead to un-fulton-able guards
The game needs stronger penalties in place for rushing through missions with lethal force. I’m thinking a battalion of heavily armored guards who are rigged to explode upon extraction would do the trick! The idea here is that players who get an area stirred up multiple missions in a row will find extra guards on their return; extra guards who can only be helicopter extracted back to Mother Base, due to being rigged with explosives similarly to Paz in Ground Zeroes. I’ll admit this is a less simple mod, comparatively, to design and implement – but it would do so much to incentivize playing stealthy, as well as make the game more interesting to play lethally. Imagine getting more reasons to actually use all your heavy duty weaponry!
6. Silenced tranquilizer weaponry doesn’t unlock until mid-game
This one, like a few of the other ideas on this list, seems obvious to me. Tranquilizer guns in Phantom Pain are extremely useful and extremely overpowered – especially silenced ones. Using them makes Fulton-ing out enemies a pretty challenge-free affair – to the point where using any other gun feels pointless. Considering you can use the tranq. pistol from the first mission of the game, this throws a huge monkey wrench in the whole ‘build up Mother Base’ concept. Why would I worry about getting new, different guns when the first gun the game gives me is all I really need? Take out tranq. weapons for the first quarter of the game, and don’t unlock silencers until even later, and this aspect of the game’s design makes so much more sense! It would make those first dozen or two missions so much harder, and pace out the player’s ability to extract entire bases worth of bad guys.
7. Fast travel/ Cut out unnecessary wait time in the chopper
So much time is wasted in The Phantom Pain riding around inside the chopper. Both entering and exiting the helicopter take far, far too long. It’s a minor change, but adding either a chopper-less fast travel feature or a slimmed-down heli ride would do wonders for the game’s moment to moment pacing. This is yet another idea – fast travel – that I’m honestly surprised isn’t in the vanilla game.
8. Unlock staff members as buddies
Why can’t you run through missions with more than the stock four companions? You have an entire base of highly trained badasses to work with! Imagine how just adding this ability to take anyone on a mission with you would have revolutionized fultoning in personnel, compared with Peace Walker! Certain companions could have special abilities to use on the battlefield, just as they already do back on Mother Base. Imagine it: Ocelot could use some of his fancy shooting to clear out an Outpost or make a distraction. Huey, bastard that he is, could use some kind of robot-themed attack or special move! The possibilities here are endless – and, considering how this would make personnel extraction matter for more than strengthening Mother Base, adding the ability to bring in any of your staff as a buddy would do wonders to boost the game’s coherence.
There you have it: 8 simple mod ideas that I think would do wonders for MGSV’s disjointedness and strange design flaws. Have any ideas for MGSV mods yourself? Please share them in the comments!