The Phantom Pain is the Perfect Game to Play While You Wait for Red Dead Redemption 2

They Both Have Horses

Yesterday, Rockstar teased Red Dead Redemption 2 with a brand new story trailer. As its predecessor is one of the greatest games to grace the PS3 and Xbox 360, the hype surrounding the series’ latest entry is reaching incredible highs. Do not be alarmed, though. While “hype” is steadily becoming a dirty word in the industry, Rockstar would be the one developer to properly manage growing publicity and deliver an incredible product. After all, they have become the poster-child for massive, open-world experiences, ripe with cinematic storytelling and memorable characters. While Red Dead Redemption is absolutely worth revisiting, consider adding a different game to your backlog to get that sprawling, third-person fix.

Starting October, MGSV: The Phantom Pain is free for PS Plus members. Aside from being one of the best games this console generation, The Phantom Pain is a masterpiece in the tactical stealth genre—on top of being one of the greatest, most player-freedom driven video games I have ever experienced. While the story is solid (as political as a Metal Gear game should be), story takes a backseat to character customization, rigorous (but not overwhelming) base building, and hours upon hours of open-world objectives to tackle at your leisure. But why would a vaguely Cold War-themed espionage game fill a cowboy-shaped hole? True, The Phantom Pain lives in a different genre, but more connections exist beyond “Grizzled White Man Rides Horse in a Desert.”

Brothers in Arms

Mechanically, the two are massive, third-person shooters. Their vast open worlds are littered with locations ripe for set pieces, not to mention a tremendous cast of characters. Though The Phantom Pain’s story feels (ultimately) incomplete, the cinematics and scope make it one of the few games to compete with a Rockstar entry. Hideo Kojima is one of gaming’s most ambitious storytellers and his final project with Konami (PT aside) proves this in every minute of play. Punished Snake’s journey for revenge parallel John Marston’s well. The Phantom Pain is intense, sad, thrilling, and a must-play for anyone with a PS4.

How does all this tie to Red Dead Redemption? Snake is fighting to save his family, the Diamond Dogs. Because of this, loss and redemption are essential themes to the game. How do our choices make waves that spread over the world around us? Isolation in a foreign world; watching time break and evolve everything that once felt familiar. Both John and Snake are men placed out of their time, old dogs forced to adapt to a strange world. These story notes are delivered through incredible voice acting performances (24 fans rejoice! Kiefer Sutherland does a fantastic Snake). What’s more, the gameplay mechanics will feel familiar to anyone looking to mount the saddle once again.

Use D-Horse to roam the rolling plains of Afghanistan. “Hunt” animals to add to your base’s zoo. Activate Reflex Mode to pull of satisfying headshots as you sneak around enemy encampments. Shower! At the very least, download The Phantom Pain this October because it’s FREE.

PJ Manning

Author: PJ Manning

PJ has been gaming for the better part of 15 years. His first console was the iconic, purple Gamecube with a copy of The Wind Waker he often revisits. His love of Nintendo persists to this day. In addition to unapologetically defending his Wii U, his current arsenal consists of a PS4, Vita, and 3DS. While studying English at Boston College, his roommate introduced him to the wonderful world of speedrunning, a community PJ now actively follows.

PJ is an avid Zelda player and complete trash at any competitive shooter. He once bought a JRPG and was never seen again. Send help.

Twitter: @HashtagPManning

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