Instead, it refers to the phenomenon of phantom limb pain, whereby amputees feel sensation in missing appendages. Just between us, we still get a bit like that about a toy fire engine we once sat on...
Why is this game called that? Because the game's character - Ahab, Big Boss, or Snake, or whatever he's called - wakes after a coma to find he's missing an arm... which soon gets replaced by a bionic prosthesis. Not your usual start to a video game, then. That is, unless you count last year's Call of Duty...
See, once you get into The Phantom Pain proper, it becomes clear that it has - unexpectedly - been influenced by prevailing trends.
For large swathes, it feels like one of those horse games they have nowadays: you know the sort - where you ride around on a horse, occasionally stopping to capture a village or outpost, and gather some backstory, and harvest plants that you can craft into other things. Superficially, it's sort of Witcher III via Far Cry 4, with a bigger emphasis on stealth and your character's vulnerability than either of those games.
It even has a dog sidekick, like there was in whichever Call of Duty had a dog sidekick in it.
Initially set during the paranoia of mid-80s Cold War Afghanistan, before broadening its canvas further, it somehow manages to evoke the era while anachronistically lobbing massive sci-fi ideas and equipment at it.
Other games would've turned this into a gung-ho shooter - and it is that at points - but it's more thoughtful, more considered and strategic, the non-linear, open world structure lending itself to multiple approaches and escape routes when dealing with, or fleeing, your objectives. Being spotted is genuinely alarming, and storming headlong into a base without taking the time to properly survey it through your binoculars is often tantamount to suicide.
However, as the game gradually awards you with access to a more pyrokinetic arsenal, you'll have the option to make a lot of noise - and the game doesn't discriminate between players who favour either approach. And all this while listening to a cheesy 80s pop music soundtrack...
MOTHER DO YOU THINK THEY'LL DROP THE BOMB?
Key to your success in Phantom Pain is the development of your Mother Base - a light resource management element that requires you to recruit staff who'll develop new gear... which can then be airdropped into the battlefield, one item at a time. How do you recruit staff? By tying balloons to prisoners and unconscious enemy combatants, and letting them float back to base, of course...
This being MGS, Phantom Pain is never generic. Make no mistake - when it sticks to formula, this is one of the best action games ever made. But imagine if, say, in the middle of the movie American Sniper, the camera suddenly panned sharply to reveal a horse floating around on a balloon, or the character was forced to wear a chicken hat after repeatedly failing at missions, or flies began buzzing around his head if he forgot to shower...
It's like a macho action movie designed by a lunatic. In terms of story, it feels like it's reaching to be profound - and such is the strength of its conviction that we're certain Hideo Kojima and his team are certain know what they're trying to say - but it's just... odd. Really, really odd. And yet this is probably the least odd, most accessible, Metal Gear Solid game to date.
There are niggles, though. As has always been the way with this franchise, there's excessive emphasis on the bewildering story - you only really get into the game after enduring an elongated prologue, and the bizarre, written-by-Tommy Wiseau-style cut-scenes generally last a minute or two too long.
Maybe we wouldn't have suffered through them as much if we'd known what was really going on - or how events fitted into an ongoing storyline that we've never entirely managed to wrap our brains around - but there's a reason why a MGS movie has yet to make it through development. Because to do justice to Hideo Kojima's epic, meandering plot, would be to write a movie that left audiences utterly confused and irate.
Also, we appreciate that the series has always had elements of sci-fi, but here it feels more jarring than ever. When up against opponents with seemingly supernatural abilities - frequently in the form of frustrating boss battles - we just wanted to get back to the sneaking around, and the knocking out human enemies in camp fatigues. Tonally, it's all over the place... but unquestionably feels very Metal Gear.
Then there's the weird decision to bookend every mission with credit sequences. It's as if Hideo Kojima - never one to miss an opportunity to bask in his own brilliance - wants to remind us, one last time, who the genius is behind Metal Gear Solid.
Lastly, microtransactions... Admittedly, you don't need to use them, and they're not overtly intrusive, but the sheer fact Konami had the gall to ask for more money atop of sixty quid game, is akin to coughing in their customers' faces. It's just insulting.
For all that, it's hard to dump on Metal Gear Solid V. It's never boring, never (that) unoriginal, and even when it does crib from other games, it usually turns those borrowed ideas on their head.
Hub levels aren't a new idea, but the way Phantom Pain gives personality to Mother Base, blurring the line between it and the missions by upping the stake, and making it feel personal, is.
It feels odd to be recommending such a weird game so highly - but maybe that's our innate resistance to the fact Phantom Pain has such a distinct, bonkers, obtuse, personality. We're used to our heroes, our action games, feeling like they've all been pressed out of the same mould. Metal Gear Solid has always felt like a mentalist cosplaying as an action hero.
The genius though, is that this is just familiar enough to invite you in, and just peculiar enough not to bore you through over-familiarity. There are other games like it... but really, there's no other game like it. We doubt there'll be a better, more original, action game released this year.
So, farewell then, Hideo Kojima. Whatever has transpired between you and Konami - and it's unlikely we'll ever really know - you're going out on a high, with the finest instalment yet in the franchise that made your name. And - oh yeah - thanks for reminding us 4,000 times while we were playing that you're the one who deserves all the credit and accolades. Good work.
SUMMARY: The best MGS game to date, obviously, and one of the best action games of all time. Just expect the unexpected.
SCORE: A billion out of a billion-and-nine.