2015 Game of the Year #10: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Tie)

This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. At a tie with Bloodborne for the #10 spot is Metal Gear Solid 5, the swan song that saw Hideo Kojima's exit from Konami.

Steve Watts, Editor-in-Chief: Metal Gear Solid 5 carries some heavy baggage on its back. Between its troubled development history, the publicized fallout between Hideo Kojima and Konami, and the legacy of the series, it could have gone all wrong in a hundred different ways. Fortunately, what we received was a fine send-off to one of the most celebrated series in gaming, which developed its own unique identity in the process.

MGS5 is very little like previous Metal Gear games. It's not very linear, and the story takes a backseat to the mission-based gameplay. But making a more open experience allowed Kojima Productions to burst with creativity in making systems interact in unique ways, leading to a constant sense of discovery. Chances are if you thought up some clever way to use a tool, it would work. The story missions are varied and almost always pack a hefty surprise.

Despite some problematic pacing and odd character choices, Metal Gear Solid 5 ends with a brilliant reveal that changes all of the context of what we've seen before, and even explains away some later plot holes. It was the perfect way to end the series.

Joe Stasio, Graphic Designer: Metal Gear Solid 5 is very much an example of a franchise adapting to changes in the games industry. In its fifth and final core installment, we have a game that only loosely resembles the series’ first entry, and while its easy to take this for granted, Hideo Kojima deserves some kudos right off the bat for never becoming complacent in his IP's popularity.

With its unique sense of humor intact, and a literal Jack Bauer on board to help liven up Snake's (infrequent) dialogue, MGS5 instantly presented itself as an interesting piece of art, no matter your taste in gaming. This coupled with a tight and addictive gameplay loop of infiltrating and capturing bases helped steer The Phantom Pain in the right direction as it careened toward its controversial end.

In true Kojima fashion, MGS5 leaves its player satisfied, eager for discussion with peers, and maybe even a little confused. Whatever your take on the long awaited cap on the Metal Gear Solid series, its hard to debate the quality and sheer fun of toying around in MGSV’s sandbox.

SW: It's almost a shame that this is the last Metal Gear game under the direction of Kojima, since the open-world direction fits it so perfectly. Still, it's hard to imagine how it could've ended on a finer note.

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