Game Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is intense, audacious, and very sorry

Before the game starts, before the title screen, even before the corporate logo splashes, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain apologizes. This morning, it apologized for server maintenance. It was sorry for a bug almost nobody would have noticed. It regretted that the iPhone companion app wasn’t working for some people. It announced that it was giving all players in-game gewgaws, but not before apologizing for giving everyone the wrong amount of gewgaws yesterday. These problems, all trivial, fill The Phantom Pain with self-loathing. It is perhaps the most genuflecting game ever made.

It’s also a scary introduction to what has been one of the most anticipated games in recent memory. But this is not a case of a problem game apologizing reflexively to get out of trouble. Instead, it’s a lot closer to someone who worries that an A- will bring down their GPA—attentive …

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