Over the course of Metal Gear Solid‘s decades-long history, the series has played home to many an iconic moment, character, feature, and item. The eponymous Metal Gears and the trademark exclamation point alert status stand out as two of the franchise’s most well-known, but some would argue that none can hold a candle to the cardboard box.
As part of Konami‘s E3 2014 booth tour, they gave us a closer look at the next chapter in Big Boss’ adventure, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. The sequence focused on a single mission, and highlighted some of the game’s new and improved mechanics, which reimagine stealth in some smart ways.
Some of the more interesting features outlined in the demo included an option to lift enemies and items straight from the battlefield via the same ‘Fulton’ system from Peace Walker. All players need do is highlight an object and an option appears that allows them to literally airlift that item away. So, for example, if the player uses Fulton on a dazed enemy, they then become a member of Big Boss’ team, and can be used as support in missions. Moreover, valuable objects airlifted out add to the player’s GMP count, which is The Phantom Pain‘s currency.
Smart additions like taking cover while on horseback, tagging enemies via satellite view, and the ability to fast forward time (via an image of Snake smoking a “phantom cigar”) all give players a significant advantage while heading into a combat scenario. But few could match the utility of Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain‘s new cardboard box.
As with past iterations of the trademark parcel, The Phantom Pain‘s version can hide Big Boss’ entire frame from view and gives him a form of instant cover. But what sets this iteration apart are several key additions. For starters, players can now pop out of the top of the cardboard and fire on enemies. They can even airlift tranquilized enemies or valuable items, all without leaving the security of their cardboard box. Additionally, players, when spotted, can pop out of the front of the box, baseball-slide-style, and use the empty box as a decoy.
While the focus of the demo, which saw Big Boss gathering intel regarding the location of his comrade Miller – the man rescued in the E3 2013 gameplay demo – was on new mechanics like the box, Fulton, and calling in support actions via the iDroid app, it also proved that Kojima Productions wants to do right by the fans. They know that the wait will be nigh unbearable, but assuring fans that Metal Gear will enter the next-gen with familiar ideas intact was a smart move.
That being said, The Phantom Pain is still its own unique experience, focused on the formation of Big Boss’ independent military organization. To further explain that point, the MGS 5 demo concluded with a first look at Mother Base, the base of operations for all of Big Boss’ exploits.
As you might guess, every item airlifted from Big Boss’ missions will then factor into Mother Base. Soldiers, vehicles, crates, and even wildlife will then be seen running around Mother Base, preforming basic duties to give Mother Base a “lived in” feel.
Players can also expand Mother Base from a single, oil tanker-looking facility in the middle of the water to a substantial installation complete with a dozen landing pads, training grounds for soldiers, and its own security force (the demo featured an aerial drone). Developing Mother Base is apparently an integral part of the Metal Gear Solid 5 meta game, as enemies will occasionally invade the installation. Our demo concluded with Big Boss heading off to fight an advancing force, but the developers suggested that propping up Mother Base will be an important element when trying to succeed in the game. It also serves as a unique indicator of each player’s progress and what elements they value the most.
Overall, the Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain presentation fell in line with what we’ve seen of the game thus far, while introducing a few new mechanics and concepts into the mix. The world of The Phantom Pain, which uses Soviet-occupied Afghanistan as its backdrop, looks expansive, and there appears to be a ton of facets to the game that occupy just a small slice of the overall picture. In other words, fans disappointed by Ground Zeroes should rest assured, The Phantom Pain is the true boundary-pushing title they’ve been waiting for.
Are you happy to hear that the cardboard box has been revamped for MGS 5? How would you like to expand your Mother Base.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release no earlier than 2015 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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