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

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Luckily for Snake, his team was looking out for him and airdropped him the most advanced form of stealth technology the world has ever seen: the cardboard box. The fabled cardboard box has been given a few upgrades this go round. Right off the bat, you’re able to pop out of the top like a demented jack-in-a-box to unload on enemies without having to unequip the box, something that also leads to you having access to some of your items such as the Fulton system. More impressively, Snake can now use the box as a decoy. Should an enemy see you scurrying around and you have some cover nearby, you can leap out of the side panel leaving the box behind.

Unfortunately, even with this incredible stealth technology at his side, his mission eventually went south, as Snake was spotted making his escape. Outmanned and outgunned, he called in the literal big guns by having Mother Base launch an artillery strike into the encampment while he met a helicopter for extraction. The entire thing was incredibly satisfying to watch, as the clouds of smoke rose beneath Snake as he flew off into the sunset. It really was one of those Metal Gear moments.

The biggest reveal of the demo for me was the fact that Mother Base isn’t simply something that exists in a menu; it’s a complete area waiting for you to build up. You have full control as to how your Mother Base will be built, allowing you to know every nook and cranny of your new home. You’ll be in charge of building up the defenses, and will have the ability to train with your troops on either shooting or CQC, raising their abilities in either.

Instead of being a simple hub, Mother Base feels like another part of the world for you to interact with. Near the end of the demo, the skies opened up, letting the rain fall just in time for sirens to go off signalling that Mother Base was under attack. We didn’t get a chance to see the actual defense of the base, but it was hinted that your relations with factions back in Afghanistan will play a role in how often you’re attacked.

I promised I wouldn’t be a fanboy during my time at E3, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t on the verge of exploding while sitting in that theatre. Everything I saw during Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looked incredible, and I honestly can say I only have one real concern: will the game hold up in an open world? The ability to plan your own routes and approach missions any way you like is incredible, but I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to be met with an “open world” game that really is just a set of linear missions in a larger area. But even that really wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is easily a contender for the best game of E3, even though we weren’t able to physically get our grubby paws on it quite yet. This is definitely one title to keep your eye on, as I have full confidence that Kojima is about to deliver another stunning product.