A short disclaimer before I start: I’m a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. Not the biggest, most hardcore but a fan who deeply enjoys the games, their story and story-telling, their motifs, philosophy and the moral discussions they entail.
In just a few weeks, Kojima’s next chapter in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, will be published. It serves both as an introduction to Phantom Pain as as an instruction to it. It is its prequel with all the pros and contras of the word. And after initial tests and previews of the game the discussions really broke out.
But not about last gen vs. current gen or sparsely-clad female characters or even torture scenes. The discussions were about the length of the game. Some testers ‘beat’ the game in two hours or even less, others finished it in about four hours. Both doesn’t sound much but there is too little information about those playthroughs to really put meaning into them.
– It is clear that they didn’t see everything in the game, one journalist had a completion rate of 9% after his first run.
– It’s unclear whether or not they saw the cutscenes and listened to the codecs. Both are – even if the codecs are in-game – huuuughly time-consuming.
– And lastly: no one knows HOW they beat the game. Did they go route one, only caring for the objective blasting their way through any obstacle? Or did they try sneaking their way in, never to be seen, never killing anyone?
A lot of the replay value in the MGS series comes from this. Finding the sneakiest way possibly. And there were several ways even in the older games to accomplish that – non of these games were ‘open world’. Non of them had day/night circles. Non of them had you really find your entrance in AND out of the base.
Will it be possible to finish the game in 90 mins? Probably, so was finishing MGS4 in under six hours. Is it possible to spend ten or more hours in the game and never see the outro? Guess so.
Does it matter one way or another and is a price/time ratio really necessary? Not for me. I know I’ll spend more time in the game, for one. And I know I’ll enjoy every bit of it, too. It’s not about the quantity of gameplay, it’s about the quality. And until now, Kojima always delivered.