If a modern game developer set out to craft a video game franchise as odd, quirky, and uniquely fleshed-out as Metal Gear Solid, the smart money would be on failure. Yet Kojima Productions has turned the stealth action title into a modern epic, with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain taking the action onto a new generation of home consoles. And after the game was shown off at E3 2014, the developers have now made the walkthrough demo available to anyone wishing to see it. Be warned: it will likely surprise in one way or another.

We’ve already offered our take on the new gameplay features and footage – and celebrated the reveal of Mother Base, and the triumphant return of the Cardboard Box.

But while the E3 trailer for Phantom Pain may have confused those gamers who are less than familiar with the series’ fiction (and that of hero Big Boss in particular), even casual gamers can appreciate the next-gen visuals and fine-tuned gameplay updates that the developers chose to highlight in one of the first times showing the game to the public. Don’t get us wrong: the trailer was one of the best from E3 2014, but was clearly intended to get the diehard fans on board, not the uninitiated.

There is no question that the plot and characters set to be explored in Phantom Pain are the most enticing aspect for many, but the undisputed star of the demo video is the Fulton, first seen in Peace Walker.

Metal Gear Solid 5 Phantom Pain Open World

On the surface, the gadget seems like an ingenious invention that could crop up in almost any action game with a resource mechanic; send any valuable material in the field – be it weapons, vehicles, raw minerals, or even new recruits – and send it skyward to be brought back to Mother Base for use. Admittedly, some suspension of disbelief is required. And after the world witnesses this demo, no sheep, goat, or ram in all of Afghanistan will be safe from players.

If there is an upside to filling Mother Base with a herd of sheep, Kojima and the developers have yet to explain it. But the addition shows that even if the game is set to continue some controversial storylines established in Ground Zeroes, the experience won’t be a serious one from beginning to end.

Is that good news to you Metal Gear fans, or would you prefer a more serious tone? Has the gameplay and sense of humor convinced casual fans to take the next-gen leap? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release no earlier than 2015 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Follow Andrew @andrew_dyce.