A Hideo Kojima Game

I like to think I’m a mature adult, striving towards fulfillment and deeper understanding despite the occasional misstep/failure.

This illusion is completely shattered when I gallop towards a four-wheel drive carrying a POW, a mortar shell screaming down from the sky. Seconds to go before the damn thing hits and the horse breaks over a rock, jumps, lands in a storm of sand. I have a second to aim. The first shot shatters a glass window. Two more take-out the left wheels. The car swirls, the driver screaming. The POW scrambles out the back of the van. He’s on my horse in a second and we burst away before the mortar lands, the explosion cloaking us in dust. The driver is bleeding. In the escape I look backwards. He is caught-up in the cloud.

Just another day in Soviet-era Afghanistan.

None of this is scripted. It’s part luck. It’s part skill. It’s all adrenaline.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is out today. It’s Hideo Kojima’s last MGS game, and I’ve been savouring it over the past four days. It’s been clunky, sometimes, but also fantastic, so far the best of what is and always has been an exceptional series.

Kojima rightly gets a lot of flak for some of his narrative decisions, but I love how daring he can be. So clever. So silly. So exciting. So bizarre. So much to learn, and so much to criticise. So much, too, to love. If games have an auteur, he is that auteur.

What a thrill.

And to think that today I’m back at the office.