Part 1: The Phantom Pain, The Man Who Sold the World, and the Birth of Venom Snake
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released in 2015, is a direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and a prequel to the original Metal Gear game. The story is set in 1984, nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes and 21 years before the events of the first Metal Gear. It follows the story of Big Boss, also known as Punished “Venom” Snake, as he wakes from a nine-year coma and seeks to rebuild his private army, Diamond Dogs, while exacting revenge on those who destroyed his previous organization, Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF).
The game begins with Venom Snake awakening in a hospital in Cyprus, with no memory of the past nine years. He learns that he has been in a coma following the attack on MSF’s base by the mysterious organization XOF, led by the enigmatic Skull Face. Venom Snake’s body has been severely damaged, with shrapnel embedded in his head and his left arm amputated. He is fitted with a prosthetic limb and quickly finds himself under attack by XOF forces, forcing him to escape the hospital with the help of a mysterious man known as Ishmael.
After evading his pursuers, Venom Snake is reunited with Revolver Ocelot, who informs him that he is the legendary Big Boss and that they must rebuild their private army to combat XOF and seek revenge on Skull Face. Together, they establish the Diamond Dogs, a new private military organization, and set up their base of operations on a remote platform in Seychelles.
Venom Snake’s journey takes him to Afghanistan and Africa, where he undertakes various missions to gather resources, recruit new soldiers, and gather intelligence on XOF’s activities. Along the way, he encounters several key characters, including Quiet, a mute sniper with supernatural abilities; Huey Emmerich, a scientist who worked for MSF and was accused of betraying the organization; and Eli, a mysterious child soldier with a strong resemblance to a young Liquid Snake.
Throughout the game, Venom Snake struggles with the reality of his identity and the burden of the legacy he carries. He is haunted by the memory of his fallen comrades and the destruction of MSF, and his quest for vengeance against XOF and Skull Face becomes increasingly personal and desperate.
Part 2: The Kingdom of the Flies, The Truth Revealed, and the Legacy of Big Boss
As Venom Snake continues to pursue Skull Face and unravel the mysteries surrounding XOF, he uncovers a sinister plot involving a deadly bioweapon known as the “vocal cord parasites.” These parasites are capable of killing their hosts by causing them to bleed out when they speak a specific language. Skull Face plans to use these parasites to create a new world order by selectively wiping out populations based on their language, thereby eliminating the barriers of communication and creating a world united under a single will.
In a dramatic showdown at an Afghan power plant, Venom Snake confronts Skull Face and ultimately defeats him, putting an end to his plans for global domination. However, the victory is bittersweet, as Venom Snake learns that he was not the real Big Boss, but rather a body double created by Big Boss and his allies to protect the real Big Boss’s identity while he worked behind the scenes to create his vision of a world free from the control of The Patriots.
This revelation forces Venom Snake to confront the reality of his existence and the deception that has been perpetrated against him. Despite the knowledge that he is a mere phantom of the legendary soldier, he continues to fight for his cause and the ideals of the real Big Boss, ultimately choosing to embrace his role as a decoy and protector.
With the threat of Skull Face and XOF neutralized, Venom Snake turns his attention to other challenges, including the escalating conflict with Eli and his group of child soldiers, who have acquired the powerful Metal Gear Sahelanthropus. In a desperate bid to prevent the weapon from falling into the wrong hands, Venom Snake must confront the young Liquid Snake and put an end to his dangerous ambitions.
The game’s narrative weaves together numerous story threads from the larger Metal Gear Solid saga, delving into the origins of key characters and organizations while exploring themes of identity, loyalty, and the impact of war on the human psyche. The open-world gameplay of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain provides players with an unprecedented level of freedom and choice, allowing them to approach each mission and objective in a variety of ways.
In addition to the main storyline, the game features numerous side missions and activities that help to flesh out the world and provide additional context for the events unfolding. Players can also engage in base-building mechanics, expanding and upgrading their Diamond Dogs headquarters to improve their capabilities and resources.
The game’s ambitious scope and innovative gameplay mechanics, combined with its gripping narrative and unforgettable characters, make Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain a landmark entry in the series and a fitting conclusion to the story of Big Boss and his enduring legacy.
Despite the controversial revelation of Venom Snake’s true identity and the incomplete nature of certain story elements, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been widely praised for its engaging gameplay, open-world design, and its ability to weave together the complex narrative threads of the Metal Gear Solid universe. The game remains a testament to the creative vision of Hideo Kojima and the lasting impact of the Metal Gear Solid series on the world of gaming.