I already have my protective shields up for the incoming onslaught of nasty comments that I will inevitably receive for writing this editorial, but I feel it needs to be said.

Metal Gear Solid V, to me, is an incredibly repetitive game. That is not to say it is a bad game, because it is not. It really is a fantastic game and fully deserving of all the praise it has been receiving. At the same time, I feel many critics completely glossed over the repetitiveness of the game.

Each mission that I have played so far in the game has mostly consisted of scouting out a base, taking care of the guards and either blowing something up or rescuing prisoners. I’ve made it to Africa in the game, so I think I’ve played a fair amount to make this judgment. The final mission in the Afghanistan location changes things up a bit but when your boots hit the ground in Africa, you’re back to completing similar objectives it seems.

The gameplay is superb, as are the stealth elements to the game that allow each mission to have variety in the way you play. As most other reviews have already stated, every player is going to have a different experience with Metal Gear Solid V. Crazy moments like sliding in the cardboard box down a hill into an enemy, popping out and giving him lead to the dome is an example of such a moment I experienced. But the missions themselves are very much lacking variety so far in what I’ve played. The mission structure seems to mostly be set up like this:

Start at Mother Base –> Get in Helicopter –> Select a Mission –> Select drop point and begin observation of your objective –> Silently take out a base of enemies, or go in, guns blazing –> Complete final objectives and extract.

I am having some trouble pushing myself to continue on with the game for the same reason I have an issue completing a number of open world games. They are becoming more and more repetitive. The experiences I have had in Metal Gear Solid V, I have had in other games already as well. I have stealthily taken out military bases in Far Cry 4. I have interrogated multiple enemies in Batman: Arkham Knight. I have assassinated high profile targets in Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Get my point?

None of those games were bad at all, they were all great games. Metal Gear Solid V is a great game, but even with an engaging storyline, great gameplay and utterly gorgeous graphics, a lack of variety is keeping me from wanting to complete the rest of the game. Maybe the missions in Africa are more varied and I have not played enough of the game yet. At the same time, I believe it is a design issue within the game itself if I cannot push myself to go further due to a lack of actual objective variety, rather than gameplay variety.

There’s hundreds of different ways you can tackle each mission, but even so, when completing similar objectives over and over again, it still feels repetitive at the core.

The game had a strong start with its introduction, and I almost would have preferred more of a linear experience if it involved more in-game sequences like that. Because that shit was intense, to say the least. Gimme more of that Kojima.

Nick Calandra
OnlySP founder and former site owner.

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22 Comments

  1. Metal Gear Solid V is one of those games that I know is a great game but I have absolutely no desire to finish it or even play it ever again, and I probably didn’t even make it halfway through, and it’s for the reasons you just mentioned. It’s rare for me to leave a game unfinished, but it’s definitely looking like that will be the case.

  2. I’m only around 4 hours in and am sick of deserts and sand already.

  3. I like these kinds of repetitive games. Persona games, 3 and 4 in particular, are very repetitive like that too and I love them. What I’m not loving about MGSV it’s the pitiful and disappointing story and the fact that the open world doesn’t feels very open and it’s kind of empty.

    1. It’s a very empty open world. One of the reviews I read, might have been IGN’s, compared it to Red Dead’s open world. Made me facepalm a bit.

  4. Sadly, this is Kojimas last game.

    1. Kojima’s last game with Konami. He’ll most certainly make another game.

  5. It started out very repetitive until I realized there is little value in doing all of the side ops.

    What I do not care for is the revisiting of certain areas throughout. The colliseum for instance covered 3 of the first 9 missions. Smh!

  6. Definitely repetitive. I would have preferred lots of story content rather than lots of repetitive side ops.

  7. I may be wrong, but to me, all open world games are pretty repetitive when it comes to side quests.

    1. I would mostly agree with you. For the largest part you are right. AC, Far Cry, shadows of mordor and a lot more are really repetitive with (side)quests. But that it can be done differently can be seen with the witcher.

      Sure you could argue that all witcher contracts are actually just the same thing when it comes to the core and you’d be right about that, however the whole story and learning the monster makes it still really nice. The other side quests on the other hand are totally not repetitive. You never know what will happen en and it’s just as great to play, sometimes even more so, as the main story. It’s actually the only open world game I ever did all side quests without it feeling tedious and highly repetitive. And yeah I also 100% completed SOM and some AC games.

      1. My comment was in fact based on my experience with AC series. I start playing it and there comes a time when the side quests just bore me to death. Haven’t played Witcher yet, will see to that.
        I so want to play a real medial game. Waiting eagerly for Kingdom Came Deliverance.

        1. Quality over quantity all the way. I hope Fallout 4 doesn’t have the infinite side quest system introduced by Skyrim. While value is appreciated, I’d rather play a game over again than have endless fetch quests.

  8. All games are repetitive unless your playing an action, RPG, adventure, FPS, RTS, stealth, puzzle, flight simulator, single player, MMO, turnamaent fighter, survival horror, sandbox, 4X, real time, turn based, sports, dating sim. Your welcome, remember to tip your waiter.

  9. The Witcher 3 had little bits of story in nearly every side-quest. It fleshed them out and gave them purpose. With Metal Gear, even only a few chapters in, the side quests are the same things, over and over, and the gameplay is not diversifying much. Stealth until you can’t stealth. By itself that’s fine, but mixed in with “non-value” side missions, it can feeling boring at times. I think I’m going to start skipping exploration and quests and just run through the storyline.

  10. I loved Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. 4 had great parts, but suffered under the weight of 30 minute cutscenes. Metal Gear Solid 5 is repetitive, but it is also not terribly compelling – at least up to mission 7, when I gave up and sold the game. This year has had an embarrassment of riches in Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, and Ori and the Blind Forest. Metal Gear Solid 5’s Metacritic towers above these games, but in my humble opinion, it isn’t up to their standards and isn’t a good game. When it comes to fun and story it just doesn’t enthrall. While I know I’m in the minority, I think this might be an emperor isn’t wearing any clothes type of game. Everyone wanted Kojima’s last Metal Gear Solid to be great and despite all the caveats, people are giving it perfect scores. And the cutscenes every mission – just no. All the more power to you guys who love the game, but perhaps a little push back is deserved.

  11. This is absolutely true, but I think it’s a design most people seem to enjoy. Think about it: why are RPG elements such as grinding for loot and leveling up so popular? Because they’re repetitive, but rewarded. People like earning a “mastery” of a game. Look at Skyrim: if you delve into it, there’s not a ton to actually DO that’s unique. Explore this cave, and then the next one, and the next one, and so on. The combat is repetitive and generic. Yet, it is one of the best selling games of all time. People love the grind and they love feeling as though they’re getting better at the game. There’s a significantly different “feel” when you’re level 80 in Skyrim compared to when you’re a lowly level 5.

    1. What set Skyrim apart for me was that the world felt alive; as if it lived independent of my interacting with it and when I closed the game, everyone was still living their lives in there. I don’t know how many dozens of hours I spent in Skyrim literally just walking around, sight-seeing, like being on vacation. Shit, now I want to reinstall it. lol

  12. I think that the repetitiveness is subjective. While I agree that the mission objectives are similar, you can complete them in many different ways, using different techniques and weapons. Every mission is like a playground where you can experiment with the weapons and gadgets you developed. I think in a way most games are repetitive. You can even say that the Last of Us is a repetitive 3rd person game where you explore a ruined city while killing zombies again and again.

  13. It is very repetitive. It doesn’t help that the maps and game assets are recycled over and over.

  14. I’ve been playing for a few days now, and the initial novelty is starting to wear off. I think the repetitiveness would be alleviated if there were more varied environments. So far, I’m not even out of Afghanistan yet, and while it is a beautiful setting, I’ve had enough of it, and there is too much reuse of the same locations.

  15. Absolutely spot on article. Quite sad for me to admit (being a huge Kojima fan) but it is definitely getting repetitive.

  16. I played the prologue with a wide open mouth, talking to myself all the time “oh my God, Kojima is a genius, Kojima is a genius, this is gonna be the greatest experience ever”.

    Now I’m only at the middle of mission 5 and I already feel like “man, this is gonna get boring fast”. This is feeling too much like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, games that I usually can’t finish just because I get bored. This is sad. Great mechanics, so much potential. All the game needed to be a best game ever was the same level of narrative and exciting sequences as previous games and the deceivingly awesome prologue had.

    I hate this mother base stuff. Couldn’t get into Peace Walker, mostly because of it. It’s a grind, it’s too gimmicky and it hurts the experience, cutting the game into small chuncks. I very much prefer a long solo operation where you have to find what you need and the only external interference is your codec. It adds an aura of importance to what you’re doing too, instead of this “we need money for mother base” bs.

    But I still have a long way too play. Perhaps it’s good lowering my expectations this much, I might be even impressed down the road.

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