Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain gameplay shows off new features and a lot of balloons.
As part of a nearly two hour presentation on Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, viewers were treated to thirty minutes of Phantom Pain gameplay. If you want to skip to the gameplay, it starts at the 50-minute mark.
The gameplay portion of the video features two sections of the game. First is a twenty-five minute segment of the mission in Afghanistan to rescue Kazuhira Miller, the second-in-command of the game's protagonist, Snake (also known as Big Boss, John, Jack, and Naked, Punished, and Venom Snake). The gameplay demo doesn't show Snake actually rescuing Miller, but an attempt to gather intel on Miller's location. The second portion of the gameplay demo is only a few minutes long, but gives fans a chance to see the new Mother Base, where Snake and his Diamond Dogs run their operation.
The demo opens with Revolver Ocelot - voiced by Troy Baker, the only voice actor in video games - and Snake, voiced by Kiefer Sutherland replaces series veteran David Hayter as the voice of Snake. The Phantom Pain is an open-world action-stealth game, and Ocelot tells Snake that Afghanistan is a big place. Sean Eyestone, who is hosting the gameplay demo, informs viewers that the world is 200 times the size of The Phantom Pain prequel/demo Ground Zeroes. Therefore, Snake can't just bust in and rescue Miller, but must first gather intelligence on where Miller is located.
While Snake makes his way into one of the various Soviet installments in the landscape, Eyestone states that this demo is running on a PS4 at 1080p and 60 frames per second. And yes, for those who aren't aware, these are Soviet outposts in Afghanistan. The Phantom Pain takes place in 1984, although some of the technology present in this gameplay demo seems far ahead of its time. Snake's iDroid device provides holographic interfaces, his prosthetic hand is incredible, and the cardboard box is far too advanced for 1984.
That's right, the cardboard box returns. And Snake can pop through the top or the sides to surprise or escape from enemies. In the video, Snake receives the box as part of a supply drop from Mother Base, which he also ordered to develop this new piece of equipment while in the field. The people responsible for these product developments are the soldiers you take during your mission.
The Fulton Recovery System was first used by Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 returned in Peace Walker as a way to recruit enemy soldiers. In The Phantom Pain, Snake will continue to use the Fulton system to basically kidnap and then command enemy soldiers. These soldiers join Snake's Diamond Dogs and will develop new equipment, train, and go on their own missions. Snake can also use the Fulton system to take equipment such as vehicles, storage containers, and sheep. Yes, sheep. It's unclear what tactical advantage they offer back at Mother Base, but we'll see.
If you're concerned that Fultoning enemies (and wildlife) will make the game too easy now that you don't have to hide bodies, there are limitations. Bodies can't be Fultoned from under cover and if the system is used during a storm, the subject can be thrown off course and could die. While there is a lot of Fulton use in this demo, it is fairly early in the game and the restrictions will probably become more common to increase the difficulty later on. Also, using the Fulton system requires GMP, the game's currency. GMP is earned through acquisitions like finding diamonds, which are apparently just laying around.
There are other changes from Ground Zeroes. Snake can knock to draw enemy attention again, but now he can do so with his prosthetic hand without hitting a wall. Basically, it's the sound of one hand clapping. The legendary soldier also shows off new stealth and CQC techniques, for instance hiding inside and then grabbing an enemy from a dumpster. This ability was present in older games, but was absent in Ground Zeroes. At this point in the demo, Eyestone casually mentions this is "upgraded CQC". He may have meant a simple upgrade from Ground Zeroes or maybe that Snake will actually upgrade new abilities through the game.
Another aspect that is exciting is the freedom these skills and tools offer. At one point, Snake orders a supply drop directly onto an enemy soldier, knocking them out. Blending different mechanics and gear with the open world environment should encourage experimentation and lots of fun uploads to Microsoft and Sony's respective video sharing platforms.
In the last few minutes of gameplay, we are shown the new Mother Base. Eyestone explains that every player will have a unique Mother Base depending on what they send back to it and how they choose to develop its personnel and what facilities they decide to build. The base is also populated with the equipment, soldiers, and sheep retrieved with the Fulton system. Also present at Mother Base during the gameplay demo was Revolver Ocelot. Eyestone stated that unique characters such as Ocelot will be in Mother Base for players to interact with.
As the demo ends, Mother Base goes on alert. Someone is attacking and Snake makes his way to a helicopter. The defenses players put into place determine how well the base is defended. But who is attacking the base?
This is the multiplayer component - or at least one of them - for The Phantom Pain. After multiple attempts at multiplayer in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Kojima Productions is trying something new. Now, players will be able to invade each others Mother Bases, possibly similar to Dark Souls. The depth this will reach and how this is handled wasn't shown in the gameplay demo, but hopefully more details will emerge soon.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. No release date has been announced yet. In fact, the E3 2014 trailer stated "1984" as the release date. That is probably more of a quirky comment rather than an actual release time frame.