And done. 50 hours exactly.
It’s a flawed masterpiece. A fascinating and crazy blend of a range of sciences (cosmology, evolutionary biology, geophysics, archaeology, extinction theory) and a range of spiritual beliefs and historical sociology, a truly stunning game world, it just feels so solid and real. It’s the best looking game I’ve ever played, incredible detail and craftsmanship throughout, superb soundscape, great music, great performances on the whole, but some patchy writing that labours the point like crazy - but that goes with the Kojima territory.
On which note, up to about 46 hours in it was a solid 9/10 or higher. But that was my last meaningful interaction.
There then follows a barely interactive series of massively drawn out overblown cutscenes and ‘push forward to launch next cutscene’ sequences that genuinely do last around 4 hours, much of which offers no save points, though I might be autosaving in the background. It’s all plot relevant, but could have been done in 20 minutes max.
This makes the ending of Return of the King look like a fucking paragon of directorial self-control. To be honest it broke my spirit - I was praying for it to end. Easily knocked a mark off that score, and left a sour taste from what was otherwise an amazing experience.
A real shame, but of course I would still recommend it based on everything that goes before it. Just know that its closing hours utterly disrespect your time, and will likely test your patience to the very limit.