– Tom Heath
IGN released a 40 minute gameplay demo of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain last night which was nothing short of staggering. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out. Now allow me to step away from objectivity for a second here and just say: hot-diggity daffodil, that was AWESOME!
*Ahem* – excuse me…
The demo showed for the first time how “open world” Metal Gear Solid V is going to be. Previous gameplay footage has involved specific missions that, while open ended in approach methods, still seemed like they took place in smaller areas. Last night’s demo demonstrated that players can actually air drop themselves into the Afghanistan map (one of several to feature in the game) without any mission objectives and just cruise around. Then, if they so wish, they could select a campaign mission or side mission and immediately head on over to their objective markers.
And if the brief glimpse at the full map was anything to go by, that world is huge.
Once that amazement wore off, the demo showcased a lot of the features we’d already come to know from the game, such as the Fulton Recovery System airlifting people and items, interrogation techniques, dynamic weather etc. However, new features were shown such as:
– A dog companion that can sniff out and mark enemies before you see them.
– A comprehensive pre-mission menu, allowing for customisation of weaponry, buddy partners, landing zones, and what 1980s hit you want blaring out of your extraction chopper when it comes to get you. (I am personally hoping “The Final Countdown” is an option).
– Over time your enemies will learn about how you infiltrated other bases and adapt their defences accordingly, forcing Snake to use new strategies to complete missions. These can range from wearing different types of body armour, not falling for certain tricks and even setting up their own inflatable doubles to throw you off.
– A bi-pedal mini tank (Metal…Gear?) called D-Walker that can be piloted in stealth mode or attack mode to obliterate enemy forces.
Suffice it to say, this new trailer has added more evidence to the notion that Metal Gear Solid V will have great potential for experimental action. The game is shaping up to be committed to offering a complex, open world stealth game while also maintaining the sillier aspects of the Metal Gear Solid series.
Unfortunately, the trailer also further highlighted some misgivings I’ve had with Metal Gear Solid V, and that’s where the more wacky or “gamey” aspects of the game ruin the immersion of the stealth scenarios.
Granted, the previous games in the series had guards that would take bullet wounds with a casual sense of confusion, but in this new iteration where the realism of the stealth gameplay has been enhanced, things like the Fulton Recovery System break the illusion. When a guard is airlifted, you hear him scream in terror as his flies into the air, something which would certainly draw the attention of every guard within a hundred metres at least, but only ever alerts ones in the near vicinity. When using D-Walker in “stealth” mode, the narrator says his wheels are silent, and demonstrates Snake coming up behind an unsuspecting guard to take him out, even though the audio for the tanks wheels is amazingly loud and would obviously alert the soldier.
These are all little nitpicks that I suspect will not ruin the fun of the game, but so far they have just nagged at me whenever I’ve been impressed by how stealthy the game feels to have the image suddenly broken by a screaming guard being ignored by all his comrades as he flies into the air.
Then again, I guess we shall see how much it bothers me when we get our hands on the game on September 1.
When Tom isn’t perfecting his nitpicking skills, he’s posting stuff on Twitter: @tomdheath. He also rants on his podcast Unnatural Selection.