Baby Snake says “Meh”

After enjoying the delightful (if not too long) single player portion of Metal Gear Solid V, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the Online addition. I don’t think Metal Gear needs a multiplayer component in the first place, but if it’s going to have one, it shouldn’t be like this. Metal Gear Online seems like the result of someone saying, hey, we have these assets and systems and engine, why don’t we make a multiplayer game with them?

I hope I’m not backpedaling too far when I say that Metal Gear Online isn’t inherently bad, it just seems to miss the mark of it’s namesake. There are a few clever features, such as the the  buddy system (linking up with another player in-game lets you see their location and where they are aiming). And some of the items are cute and unique.

But aside from the background music, there is very little to differentiate MGO from a generic military shooter. Slow pace, subtlety, non-lethality and stealth are not ways to succeed in MGO. In a game where the players move fast and die slow, exploitative tactics like sliding headfirst into a group of enemies while wearing a cardboard box become more effective than playing the game the way you’d expect (and want) to.

In a world where there are so many games and so little time, I can’t justify playing one that seems superfluous. Here are a few thoughts on why I’m going to stop playing MGO in the next couple of days:

When the traditional facets of the Metal Gear franchise are introduced, it’s often with too heavy of a hand – case and point being the Infiltrator class, which basically gets to be invisible half the time. Non-lethal weapons aren’t competitive in most scenarios, and fultoning enemies often results in a messy, close-range, trigger-mashing brawl.

The movement/cover system (which is a massive improvement over the earlier games) doesn’t lend itself well to the close, fast and vertical combat that is so prevalent, and often feels spastic or frustrating.

Walking through a tight hallway with your weapon ready feels like the right thing to do, but you’ll usually be outclassed by a rushing enemy utilizing the one-hit CQC knockout button. (Although admittedly, I have a gripe with overpowered melee attacks in most shooters). He’ll probably be invisible too.

And, as always, it could have been simpler. Metal Gear Online doesn’t need perks. Why does it have perks? Avatar apparel items (ripe for monetization?) and a slow progression to unlock kit round out the typical features that we’ve come to expect from multiplayer shooters; things that could so easily be absent from this one.

Is it too soon to pass judgement? I’m sure some balancing and retooling can fix a few of the issues. But I can’t see this version of MGO shifting it’s paradigm in ways fundamental enough to make it the experience I wish it was.

Metal Gear Online? No thank you.

Now the only problem is, I still can’t figure out how to exit to the main menu…