The legacy of Hideo Kojima will never be forgotten or erased – in spite of persistent effort on the part of executives at Konami. The charismatic producer has already earned a permanent place in video game history as a creator – a visionary who, thanks to electronic entertainment, not only fulfilled his childhood dreams about a game with feature film elements, but also, through his Metal Gear Solid series, conveyed lofty values to gamers.

Several talented composers have worked on the music for Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain.

The fifth and also last Metal Gear Solid, directed by Hideo Kojima, aims to fill in the blanks in Big Boss’ story (Snake Eater, Venom Snake), whom fate has cruelly dealt with and sent to the mountainous, sandy land of Afghanistan and tropical Africa. Phantom Pain stands out from the entries to the series with its a world which is open like never before and the plot which is the darkest yet in any Hideo Kojima productions. Although the game has less cutscenes than before, they can still elicit a lot of emotion. Can the same be said about the soundtrack?

Several talented composers have worked on the music for Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain (Ludvig Forssell, Justin Burnett, Daniel James), including Harry Gregson-Williams himself. It is thanks to him that the music in Metal Gear Solid has achieved a degree of suspense and brilliance worthy of feature films. There is also no shortage of Japanese artist, including Akihiro Honda, also responsible for the tracks for the previous adventures of Big Boss. As far as I can recall, each entry to the Metal Gear Solid series had its own invididual atmosphere, music which complemented the visuals and outlined plot points, and most importantly, masterfully crafted characters.

In the case of Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes it is no different – with one exception. When looking at their entirety, one might get the impression that are inconsistent at times. In my opinion there is also an overabundance of electronica, which is at odds with the rest of the game. Fortunately, everything is saved by catchy melodies intertwined with folk instruments of the Middle East (Afghanistan’s a Big Place) and Africa (Introduction To Africa).

As far as I can remember, Metal Gear Solid soundtracks always had catchy themes during boss fights.

As far as I can remember, Metal Gear Solid soundtracks always had catchy themes during boss fights or when enemy guards detected our presence. Phantom Pain has those as well, but they are less interesting than usual. I had the impression that this time the tracks served as an audio wallpaper of sorts, which does not really gel with the visuals, and even worse, is bereft of melody (A Burning Escape). In exchange we get dynamic, electronic themes (Parasites), but they do not fit what we are doing during gameplay. In a general sense, one forgets about the music after some time and like Quiet (a skimpily-clad female sniper) we unwittingly hum well-known melodies from previous Hideo Kojima productions. E

ven the brialliant main theme to Phantom Pain (Ⅴ Has Come To) cannot fill the void which accompanies us when traversing the Afghan scenery (Unforgiving Sands). One of the few saving graces of the album are the tracks for the cutscenes (OKB Zero), composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, but it is still not the same thing we had with the phenomenal score for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

The songs, usually the calling card of Metal Gear Solid, still maintain a high level. Sins of The Father performed by Donna Burke, which we know from the game’s trailers, perfectly underscores Big Boss’ new image (Snake Eater, Venom Snake), as well as Phantom Pain’s main story arc. I am pleased to hear the vocal tracks previously used in trailers for the game. I believe the track selection itself is very well-done, especially tracks like Nuclear (MIKE OLDFIELD) and The Man Who Sold The World (Midge Ure, David Bowie). This is a decision which shows the ability to evoke emotion through words and music.

Where was the mistake?

It is probably the last time we take part in Big Boss’ adventures, which is supposed to answer questions related to the life of the protagonist. And though the music tries to respectfully crown this closed chapter, it lacks freshness, which we know from the first three Metal Gear Solid games. Where was the mistake?

We will probably never know, similarly as to why Kojima decided to end his cooperation with Rika Muranake during the early stages of music production for Phantom Pain. I recommend the purchase of the soundtrack only to hardcore fans of Metal Gear Solid, otherwise you will be simply left disappointed.

Editor In Chief

Mariusz Borkowski

For many years he’s been continuously sharing with others his passion for melodies from video games.