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Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain Preview – A Box of Tricks

In a world full of advanced technology, nothing beats a cardboard box.

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The release of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes left a bad taste in the mouths of unsatisfied gamers back in March. From a technical standpoint it was impressive, but it lacked the content to justify the price.

If you were one of those unsatisfied gamers, then I’m happy to report that The Phantom Pain will erase any distaste you might have for Kojima Productions currently.

Right off the bat this Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain demo introduced tons of new gameplay mechanics not seen in Ground Zeroes. One of these is the Fulton system, which appeared in Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker in a similar fashion. It allows you to transport stunned enemies back to Snake’s Mother Base and recruit them into the Diamond Dog Army.

You can also use the Fulton system to transport ammo crates, supplies, vehicles and even animals. The entire room erupted in laughter when the Kojima representative playing the game knocked out a sheep and transported it to the Mother Base.

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Snake’s goal in the demo was to sneak into an outpost and steal some intel for a later mission in the game. As with Ground Zeroes there’s multiple ways to approach this. The representative in our demo had Snake arrive at a vantage point on horseback to scope out the area with his binoculars. This allows you to mark enemies and track their position, which comes in handy when it’s time to sneak around the area.

The time of day you chose to act has a significant impact on the behaviour of enemy guards. You’ll be hard to see at night time, easier to spot in daylight and sand storms make it easy for either Snake or his enemies to catch the other by surprise. To help you take advantage of the right conditions, you’ll have the ability to smoke (an e-cig), which essentially acts as a waiting system. As Snake puffs on his e-cig you’ll see the weather and time of day cycle before him. I guess we know where young Solid got his habits from.

Once it was time to press on with the mission objective our Kojima representative decided to call for an air drop. He called for an extremely advanced piece of kit – a card board box. Because no Metal Gear Solid game is complete without it. This time however, Snake can take advantage of the card board box in ways we’ve never seen before. He can pop out the top and shoot, plus Fulton enemies all while it’s still equipped. The best thing is that Snake can now sneakily crawl out the side of the box if spotted, leaving the box behind as a decoy while he crawls out of sight.

We got to see Snake neutralise most of the enemy guards in a bunch of cool and creative ways, including calling for an ammo drop right on top of an enemy’s head, knocking him out cold.

Snake entered the room where the target Intel was located, along with an unconscious virtual version of the very same Kojima representative who was playing the demo for us. He most likely won’t be in the final game, as it was a fun Easter egg for the purpose of E3 2014 alone. Snake grabbed the Intel and then Fulton’d our Kojima representative back to the Mother Base.

On the way back out Snake was discovered, and now it was time to go loud. Snake fired off a few rounds at the growing number of guards, and then when it was safe he called in for an air strike on the area. It was now time to make a swift retreat, so while the Air drop was on its way Snake made his way to an extraction point. But the demo didn’t end there.

metal gear solid the phantom pain gameplay

Remember the enemies we sent back to Mother Base? Remember the virtual Kojima Representative we saved? Remember that poor helpless sheep? Well after extraction Snake arrived at Mother Base, which is a huge structure resembling the big shell from Metal Gear Solid 2. The great news is that the Mother Base is completely customizable, and you can supposedly shape the appearance any way you want.

Once Snake landed he was saluted by the many soldiers walking around the base, including former enemies he Fulton’d earlier. Snake then ran into our Kojima representative and none other than the sheep. Yes, any character (or animal) you Fulton will be randomly walking around the base and you can literally bump into them at any time. Any turrets, vehicles or crates you Fulton will also be there. Not only that, but you’ll also see well known allies of Snake such as Ocelot standing around, and he’ll even wave to Snake upon spotting him. These are fine touches that seem to enhance the realness of this new Metal Gear Solid direction.

The demo ended with alarms ringing at the Mother Base. Snake’s sea fortress was about to be randomly attacked. At this moment you begin to see why it pays off for Snake to Fulton not just enemies but supplies, UAV’s , turrets and everything else that isn’t nailed down. It’s clear that the Mother Base will play an important part in The Phantom Pain.

By the end of the demonstration I was kicking myself for ever being upset with Kojima over the incredibly short Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. What I saw was enough to convince me that the wait will be worth it. This will be the perfect Metal Gear Solid game that we have craved for years.

Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain is scheduled for release in 2015 on Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360

About The Author
Gary A. Swaby Co-founder/UK Managing Editor
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