|System: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
When Hideo Kojima says that he is going to do an open world game, he means it. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is more open world than most games have even come close to. What do I mean by that? Well let’s take a look at the demo that we were shown at E3 2014.
So Snake has one goal, to get a piece of intel in the middle of a heavily guarded enemy encampment. Snake starts out far away from the encampment in the middle of the desert. He can ride around the encampment and spy on it from cliffs, approach it from any angle, attack it at any point in the day (he can smoke a cigar to make time pass quickly) and slowly plan his route of attack. However, that route is entirely up to you. You can burst in guns blazing if you want. You can order an air-strike to burn it to the ground, but that might burn the intel. You can cause distractions or bring in your own troops to stage a raid. Of course, you can also go the stealthy route, and that’s what the demo showed.
Snake took some time to spy on the base from some cliffs a short distance away. He used his binoculars to look at the enemy and their patterns of movements. If you tag an enemy with the binoculars, they remain highlighted both on your mini-map (seen on snakes iDroid… clever) and on the map itself. This way you can actually see them through walls and avoid getting spotted.
Of course, from Snake’s vantage point, he couldn’t see everything. So he took some time to smoke his e-Cigar and let time pass. As this happened, certain guards changed shifts, going inside to fall asleep (also noted on the mini map if they were tagged) as others took their place. He tagged these enemies as well.
But even after doing so there were still enemies that Snake couldn’t see. So Snake phoned in to mother base for some intel. Mother base will be made up of soldiers and equipment that you whisk away back to base using your balloon transport system. You can assign these soldiers to different departments in order to give you new abilities in the field. By calling for intel, Snake was given a few general areas of where other enemies might be, and with that he decided to start his assault. Note that all this info was gotten by slowly taking your time and scoping out your surroundings. You could also call in surveillance drones to get info, or just go in blind.
Snake snuck around the enemy base using a lot of different tools. His main weapon was a silent tranquilizer gun, which immediately put his enemies to sleep. He could also hold an enemy up with a more dangerous weapon, interrogate them to find out more info, use context sensitive lethal or non-lethal takedowns, and more.
Any incapacitated but alive enemy could then be ballooned off to mother base to join his ranks. Snake also ballooned a sheep, a shipping crate, and an anti-air gun. What’s interesting is that Snake himself can jump onto anything that he is ballooning to get a quick ride back to mother base.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Metal Gear game without a cardboard box. Snake phoned in for a supply drop of the box in the middle of the field. Note that you can also phone in for other supplies, like guns, ammo, and health, and if the drop crate hits an enemy it will knock them out. So it’s also a great method of indirectly attacking.
Snake’s box has received quite a few updates in Metal Gear Solid V. First of all, he doesn’t have to un-equip it to attack. He can just pop out of the top and then slink back down. He can also fire through the eye hole to take out enemies with his silenced tranq gun. If an enemy notices the box moving, he can roll out of the side panel while keeping the box in place. If the enemy doesn’t see this, they will investigate the box, and not Snake, allowing him to use it as a distraction.
Using all of these espionage tools, Snake was able to get to the intel, which “completed” the mission, so to speak. Except he wasn’t taken to a loading screen or a mission end screen. No, the mission wasn’t actually complete until Snake actually found a way out of there. In the demo, Snake called down an air-strike on the base. But that wasn’t enough, because he needed to get out of there or he would get caught in the strike. So Snake started to book it, alerting enemies as he ran. However, even when he got out of the base, this wasn’t enough! He needed to somehow get back to mother base. So he called in a helicopter lift and had to continue ditching his pursuers until it touched down. Then, when he got in the chopper, enemies continued to fire at him! It was only after the helicopter was well out of harm’s way that the mission ended.
All of these decisions were choices that the player made. Snake could have ballooned himself to mother base. He could have snuck out of the base without air striking it. He could have simply walked back to a rendezvous point with the intel and not called in a chopper. It is all up to the player. The point is, you need to plan your missions from start to finish, not just how do you accomplish your goal, but how do you escape once your goal is complete. That is something that is truly interesting and new in an open world game, and it will make Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain one of the great new titles for next-gen systems.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: June 13, 2014