Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview - E3 2015
We once again enter the world of stealth espionage action
It's no secret that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a highly anticipated title. After all, even here at New Game Network, the title from Kojima and Konami has already won our Best of E3 2014 award as well as being voted one of the most anticipated games of this year. At this year's E3, we once again got a chance to see the game in action, and the stealth action title continues to impress.
Our demo presentation kicked off with the lengthy trailer for the game that was released earlier in the week. Before jumping into the gameplay, our presenter suddenly paused and took a moment to address the fact that microtransactions will be in the game. He confirmed that they will be, but wanted to point out that the economy will be balanced and players can earn all of the items from in-game activities. Players will never need to buy anything with real cash, and microtransactions will only serve to speed up the time for unlocking items such as base upgrades, or buying weapon skin packs instead of having to find them in the open world. If what we were told is true, then it hopefully won't be a problem.
The gameplay demo kicked off with Snake in the Aerial Command Centre. This acts as Snake's “home away from the Mother Base”, where you can look around the chopper and see your currently selected primary weapon, companion, and a wall of photos. These photos add a personal touch based on story progression and will refresh overtime. Essentially, the ACC was like a contextual menu, without any need for text.
Next, we jumped into some customization. MGS V promises to have a staggering amount of weapon alteration. There are tons of scopes, barrels, and attachments, and players can swap parts between different guns to create a weapon that's truly unique and functions just the way you want. For those with a bit of flair, color and pattern customization is also extensive. While we were browsing through the weapon options, a classic tune from the 1980s was playing on the heli's radio. As in Ground Zeroes, the cassette player will be able to play music, and also let you listen to tapes with intel recovered from the field. You can even set a specific tune to play for when your helicopter arrives or departs a mission.
But it was time to get to work, and a mission select menu appeared that also looked similar to GZ. However, the demo host informed us that players can in fact drop into the open world with no active objective, and simply roam the lands. To prepare for deployment, we chose a custom rifle, swapped Quiet for the DD wolf as our buddy, and selected a custom jeep (because you can customize vehicles as well!). You can even choose to play as other members of the Diamond Dogs, but we didn't get to see that in action and stayed as Snake. A drop location and time of day was chosen, and we were off.
As the helicopter flew over the desert landscape of Afghanistan, our earlier selected 80's rock music played on approach. We opened the side door to get a better look at the landscape. Upon touching down, Snake and his K-9 companion took a look around. Then the wolf relieved himself (this is a Kojima game, remember?). Our jeep was also dropped off nearby, so we hopped in and set off. On the map, a number of primary and secondary missions were marked. The developers say they can approached in any order most of the time, and secondary ones can be completed between or during the main missions. We decided to track a secondary objective, which asked us to rescue a language specialist for the Mother Base.
As you've likely already seen in even last year's demos, players are free to approach the mission objectives in the open world from almost any direction. We drove closer to the mission area, disembarked, and observed the enemy outpost from afar. After tagging enemies visible enemies (as in GZ), we approached, and it was noted that any nearby foes we may have missed can be picked up by our companion. At the entrance, two guards waited, but instead of starting a messy fight, we commanded our companion to distract one of them. As he did so, biting at his arm, Snake burst from cover and took out the distracted second enemy. Meanwhile, our wolf also finished off his target by tearing at his neck.
Up ahead was another foe, this time alone. We grabbed him and wanted to interrogate for information, but alas Snake did not understand Russian. So we knocked him out and sent him back to Mother Base via Fulton extraction, as he had nice stats. We also extracted a nearby machine gun emplacement to ensure it wouldn't be used against us later .Working his way through the ruins, Snake found another cassette with some music, as well as some resources that are used when crafting new gear. We eventually came across an old building with our hostage. Snake told the wolf to stay outside, and snuck in. After silently dispatching some foes, the last guard stood too close to the hostage. We signaled the wolf outside to make noise – this distracted the guard and gave us a better chance to grab him. We then rescued the translator and extracted him back to Mother Base.
Sadly, our extractions got the attention of a soldier nearby, who called for backup. As Snake climbed and jumped his way out of the building, a sandstorm began to approach. So instead of fighting the enemy reinforcements, we used the storm as cover to make a clean escape. Driving to the next mission area, it seemed that the general has not made an appearance yet. Snake used his cigar to pass the time, and we observed fast forwarded weather and enemy movements in the background. Once the general showed up, we began to plan our assault.
To help with this more challenging mission, we needed a new buddy. The wolf was sent back, and instead we ordered the deployment of D-Walker – a bipedal robot that Snake can pilot around. Before going in, we of course observed the area and noted a sniper. Snake pulled out his own long range rifle and make a great long distance shot, earning extra GMP - the game's currency that will be familiar to players of Peace Walker. Taking control of the Walker, Snake could walk, run, or even boost around the landscape. We ran up and punched an unsuspecting soldier way into the air, then grabbed a nearby box and threw it at his friend. D-Walker also had a similar function of scanning nearby area for enemy presence. Trying to remain stealthy, Snake left the robot outside the compound.
Inside, we realized that the enemies here were using much better equipment than before. Headshots would not work anymore, and there was a lot of armor to deal with. We grabbed one soldier and interrogated him – it was now possible because of that translator we rescued. As Snake made his way through the camp utilizing cover and distractions, we came across an enemy that stood motionless and didn't react when we accidentally entered his field of view. This was a decoy, placed there by the army, meant to throw Snake off. We passed by, eventually reaching and eliminating the general. But the alarm has been set off, so Snake had to fight his way out.
Using a portable shield for cover from enemy fire, we made our way outside, only to be overwhelmed. Snake then tossed his smoke grenade to reduce visibility – and put on his night vision goggles to see enemies through smoke. We fought our way back to the D-Walker, and then dispatched the rest of the forces (including an armored car that pulled up) with the mounted rockets and machine guns. We also called for our chopper extraction, after destroying a nearby radar blocking installation.
Our D-Walker was actually damaged in the battle, and was automatically extracted back to base for repairs. Having finally made our way to the heli, we flew off, still using the mounted machine gun to pick off any pursuers. The song we picked earlier was playing, making for a movie-like moment.
We've seen a lot of glimpses into Metal Gear Solid V over the past year – from the previous E3, to Gamescom, and to this year's conventions. And with every trailer and gameplay sample, the open world game in the iconic stealth series continues to paint an impressive picture. Being potentially the last game from the longstanding Konami collaboration with franchise creator Hideo Kojima, we hope it's a good one. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is scheduled to launch on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3 on September 1, 2015.