Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain may have released a few weeks ago, but the package that players received at launch was missing one key element. Now, the third iteration of Metal Gear Online is live, offering up a chance to test your tactical espionage action acumen against an international array of opponents.
Metal Gear Online started out as a bonus mode designed for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which was later tweaked for inclusion in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. A fully fledged follow-up was then created for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
Of course, a release with the sheer scale of The Phantom Pain in the modern gaming landscape was always going to have a multiplayer component. The mode was given a prominent showcase at The Game Awards 2014 to ensure that fans knew that Metal Gear Online was an important part of the overall package.
However, as the strained relationship between Hideo Kojima and Konami became ever more public over the course of this year, fans began to worry that Metal Gear Online would disappoint. These concerns were amplified when the mode was delayed ahead of release — the PC version of the game won’t feature online play until January 2016.
Now, console players are taking their first steps into the brand new Metal Gear Online, and early word seems to suggest that there’s plenty of fun to be had. However, it’s not without its problems, although some of these issues may well be fixed via patches at a later date.
One of the biggest frustrations players are facing is a lack of public games, which is seemingly more pronounced for PlayStation 4 owners. Many games seem to be password protected, making it difficult for some users to find an open spot in a game with random opponents — although it’s worth remembering the mode has only been available for a matter of hours.
More pressing is the fact that players can apparently exit games without any sort of consequence. It’s being reported on NeoGAF that the game picks a host for the multiplayer session at random, and this can cause every single player to be kicked if the host exits the match.
That would be bad enough, but it seems that if the host exits the results screen early, no one in the game earns XP. Given that character progression is key to the success of most modern multiplayer modes, this could be a huge problem for Metal Gear Online.
All this being said, it’s fair to say that Metal Gear Online would not be the first multiplayer mode to suffer from a few hiccups at release — let’s not forget the early days of GTA Online. There’s a lot of potential here, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Metal Gear Online is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. The PC version is set to go live in January 2016.