For those following along with the trailers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, or even if you have played the recently released introduction to The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, it has become abundantly clear that this will be the most thematically dark and serious iteration of the franchise. Outside of the iconic Big Boss and cinematic style of franchise creator and legendary video game director Hideo Kojima, it doesn’t even resemble Metal Gear Solid. There’s no traditional bonkers tone or anything, it has simply been presented as a game prepared to tackle the harshest realities of war.
Torture, child soldiers, and rape – forced rape between two teenagers – aren’t exactly the reasons many probably fell in love with the franchise, but that’s where The Phantom Pain is going. And that’s just what we know from the trailers, God only knows what else is in the game. The point though is that while everything that has been presented to us is optimistically shaping up The Phantom Pain to be an enjoyably different experience, a lot of what propelled the franchise to mainstream acceptance has been shockingly absent in recent trailers and the prologue to the game.
However, while we only saw yet another dramatic and disturbing look at the story and themes of the game at Sony’s E3 2014 press conference, the private demo behind closed doors is showing off some more familiar and nostalgic elements of the franchise.
For starters, the almighty cardboard box is back and better than ever. Instead of just being just a tool for sneaking around and hiding, Big Boss can pop his head out through the top and successfully deal with enemies. It’s also worth noting that for the first time ever, players can actually leave the cardboard box to effectively use it as a decoy.
Another intriguing feature to note is the game’s Mother Base, which functions similarly to how things worked in Metal Gear Solid: PeaceWalker. Basically, anything within the environment can be interacted with and air-lifted out of the area, and back to your base. This applies to everything from actual items to enemy soldiers that can essentially be recruited to your cause. The developers also noted that upgrading Mother Base will be an integral part of the overall experience. Oh, and cigarettes are also back, acting as a hobby for Big Boss to indulge in while players advance time.
Ultimately, if you were worried that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be this dark and depressing game that is solely out to shock players rather than offer them anything nostalgic or fun, fear no more. There is clearly going to be a lot to take in and celebrate for fans of the franchise, it’s just also going to be one totally messed up story.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is expected for a 2015 release and will be available on both current and last generation consoles.