Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Eyes-On Preview [E3 2014]


The trailers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have all looked incredible, but let’s be honest for a moment, all E3 trailers look incredible. That’s literally the point of the event: show off flashy trailers and gameplay to fuel the hype train for the next year. That being said, I was excited about Metal Gear Solid V going into the expo, but wasn’t in love with it. After spending 20 minutes behind closed doors looking at some gameplay though, I’m ready to get married tomorrow.

The behind closed doors session showed us a mission where Big Boss had to sneak into a well-guarded encampment to rescue a hostage. The scene was set with a cutscene showing Big Boss and Ocelot trotting into Afghanistan on horseback before transitioning into the gameplay seamlessly. Seriously, had I been the one behind the sticks at that moment, I probably would have stared at my screen for a few beats before realizing that I was the one in control. After pausing momentarily to let his horse take a nice big horse poop, Big Boss started on his way.

About a hundred yards later, Snake came across the first guards of the demo. Hanging off the side of his horse (even by Metal Gear logic, this is a tad ridiculous), he snuck up on them before popping back into the saddle and plugging the guards with a few tranquilizer darts. Threat handled, Snake walked over to one of the guards and unloaded a beautiful soccer kick to his shoulder, waking him up just enough to be interrogated. Not willing to be shot/kicked again, the guard gave up some valuable information by revealing that a nearby shipping crate held some raw materials. Snake thanked his honesty by attaching a balloon to his waist and using the Fulton to launch him back to Mother Base.

Fultoning screaming guards into the air isn’t only hilarious, it’s incredibly useful. These guards become valuable members of your team once they get back to Mother Base, able to research new techs and provide security. The fun doesn’t just stop with launching guards, though. The aforementioned shipping crate can be sent back via Fulton, adding the raw materials to your GMP. Vehicles and armaments such as anti-aircraft weapons can be sent back as well, providing defense for Mother Base.

We also learned that you can stun sheep and Fulton them back home. They didn’t say why you would do this, and I’m not really going to question it. I just know that I’m starting a farm in the ocean.

After this brief interlude of airborne kidnapping, Snake continued on his way to the encampment. This is really where the demo went from mildly interesting to, “I will sell my loved ones into slavery” interesting. First, the weather took a turn for the worse and a massive sandstorm rolled in. Snake’s vision was limited to just a few yards thanks to this, and caused him to almost run over a guard with his horse while trying to find his way to the encampment.

After putting the startled guard to sleep, Snake rode until dusk in an attempt to find a vantage point over the encampment. Figuring that an assault during the daylight had a better chance of success (and would look cooler for those of us in the room), he pulled out his Phantom Cigar, an e-cig loaded up with holographic smoke. Each puff speeds up the passage of time, allowing you to watch in real time as the sun and moon streak across the sky, guards switch shifts, and weather patterns come and go. The dynamic weather, backed by a complete day and night cycle, could be absolutely amazing.

From his vantage point, Snake starts marking guards with his binoculars in order to keep track of them. The previously kidnapped guard has been put on surveillance duty back at Mother Base, and helps illuminate parts of the map to make the task easier. Mother Base can also make your life a bit easier by air dropping in some ammo or supplies, and with a bit of skill you can even drop a crate right on a guard’s dome, earning an easy knockout. You may be a one man army in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but you’re certainly not on your own.