Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Phantom Pain has the Best Tutorial Ever Made

What is this guy's problem!?
My argument in this week's PopMatters article is right in the title: The Phantom Pain features the best tutorial ever made. I will hear no counter-argument. This is just an objective truth.

Ok, I'm willing to hear some avenues of disagreement if you have a great tutorial in mind. For example, I'm partial to the built-in tutorial of Gears of War that flows effortlessly into the main storyline without skipping a beat. Portal and Portal 2 also have pretty great tutorials that get you comfortably familiar with the world and the mechanics before tossing you into the full-blown puzzles.

You know what neither of them feature though? Fiery unicorns. It's not just the mayhem of Phantom Pain that sets it apart though. It's that this prologue mission is so meta that it's more an introduction to the idea of Metal Gear than the actual game. There isn't some crazy village you have to grok in the prologue for example, no need to fulton people, animals, or goods into the sky. But that's fine. Metal Gear is not about aerial trickery.

The game is about navigating a landscape of controlled chaos. It's about accepting what's in front of you and acting (and reacting) accordingly. It's about confronting insane surprises with calculated and logical decisions given the context. Sometimes fighting back is playing dead. Sometimes defeating your foes means shooting a fire extinguisher. Sometimes everything goes out the window and dammit, that's alright, because you'll figure it out as you go along.

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