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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Explores the costs of war, role of soldiers, methods of governments. Encourages skepticism, drawing your own conclusions.
Positive Role Models
Game's protagonist, Big Boss, is actually antagonist of the whole series. Though you understand his actions, motives, the kindest thing he does is rescue animals from a war zone. Everything else driven by revenge.
Ease of Play
Lots of trial and error, both in stealth gameplay, management of your base, personnel, other key stats.
Violence & Scariness
Blood, gore, brutality of war on full display. You use lots of firearms, explosives, knives to kill soldiers, can torture them. These acts are treated as simple necessity. References to characters having been raped; an attacker tries to rape a character after almost choking her to death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters scantily clad. Suggestions of infatuations between characters.
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Frequent use of "f--k" as well as "bitch" and other derogatory terms against women.
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Products & Purchases
Players can purchase items with real money for online play.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
You can smoke a "special" cigar to speed up the passage of time.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a stealth action game that's the intended series finale of the Metal Gear franchise. It's fine to enter the series with, but it should be noted that it's likely not suitable for most kids. The game focuses a lot on the hazards and effects of war, and the violence within missions is significant; though players can use non-violent solutions, they also can use firearms and explosives to kill enemy soldiers. Torture also is considered part of the gameplay and is seen as a necessity; there are also references to rape and an attempted rape. Sexual content includes scantily clad women and infatuations among characters frequently coming up. Similarly, profanity is frequent, with words such as "f--k" as well as "bitch" and other derogatory terms toward women. Players can purchase items for use in online play, but parents should be aware that online play hasn't been fully implemented yet, so the use and impact of multiplayer is unknown.
Is It Any Good?
This is an exceedingly massive and ambitious game that can seem daunting with its scope but ultimately provides more and more wrinkles on the same basic action. Unlike previous entries in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is truly an open world that you're free to explore and play in as you see fit. You're encouraged to play as stealthily as possible and avoid detection to successfully complete your missions; if you try to go rushing into bases and outposts with guns blazing, you'll frequently be gunned down. It behooves you to take your time, use your binoculars to study guard patterns, and notice all the possible ways infiltration could backfire. It might sound repetitive, but it's exciting and so challenging that it feels as if you're given more and more chances to prove your skill, not your patience.
Thanks to this being an open-world video game, you can evacuate wild animals, gather resources, and grab audio tapes (both for intel purposes on missions and also just to listen to music). There's also your burgeoning base to defend and explore. The more people you recruit out in the field (by "fultoning" them, or parachuting them into the sky for retrieval by plane), the more weaponry, gear, and items you can craft for yourself. This sparks a constant tension between these two open worlds. What do you want to do? How would you like to do it? These are the questions the game asks, and then it gets out of the way and lets you enjoy. It's a great title that asks a lot of thought-provoking questions, but it's definitely for mature audiences only.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.