I’m no Metal Gear Solid veteran. I remember Psycho Mantis’ crazy controller-port switching boss fight and Big Boss’ betrayal in Snake Eater, but that’s where my knowledge of Hideo Kojima’s eccentric military universe stops cold. That didn’t stop me, however, from enjoying every second of Metal Gear Solid V footage I was treated to at E3 this year.
For ease of reading, I’ll describe what I saw using bullet points. Before I start, though, let me just say that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the best looking game I’ve ever seen. Alright, here we go:
- The footage began with Ocelot and Snake (pre Big Boss status) riding horses through the deserts of Afghanistan. They’re caught up in a sandstorm for a bit, but when it subsides, a grand view opens up. Snake fumbles to handle a flask of water with his relatively new prosthetic robot-arm.
- Snake is tasked by Ocelot to infiltrate the soviet army’s main ground forces after 9-years of being “on ice,” whatever that meant. He hands snake the game’s new primary gadget, the eyedroid. His mission is to save a comrade of his named Miller, whose squad entered the territory alive and ended up permanently checking in as corpses.
- Ocelot says to snake “You’re a legend in the eyes of those who live on the battlefield, that’s why you have to handle this yourself. Put those 9 years behind you and return as Big Boss.”
- The horses will poop in real time. No, really—the horses take dumps. That’s a thing.
- Approaching a small building, the player demonstrated that you can now bow off the side of a horse to avoid detection. You can also dive off the horse and into cover from this position.
- Hiding behind a Wall, Snake holds up one of the enemy soldiers, at which point he interrogates him. The soldier tells him where to find a stash of valuable items and supplies Snake can use to his advantage.
- The Fulton Recovery System makes a glorious return. You can tie living soldiers, corpses, sheep, and even crates to balloons that will be retrieved and pulled back to mother base. Anything retrieved in this way will actually be at mother base.
- The weather is real time—and your eyedroid will give you forecasts so you know what to expect. Of course, these forecasts have a certain percentage chance of being wrong.
- From your eyedroid menu, you can assign soldiers who work at mother base to do certain things. If you invest in intel, for example, you will see red circles appear on your map, which are “anticipated enemy locations”
- There is an item called the “phantom cigar,” which is a computer cigar that produces digitalized smoke (it’s absolutely ridiculous), to pass time. You can choose, in this way, to infiltrate places during the night or day.
- The box is back, and better than ever. You can pop out of the top and shoot/hold up enemy soldiers. You can also pull enemies into the box and have them retrieved with the Fulton Recovery System. If you’re detected, you can also dive out of the front of the box and let enemies examine a completely empty box, doubling its usefulness.
- The Fulton Recovery System won’t always work. There’s a percentage success rate displayed when you use it, and it will cost you money every time.
- You have the ability to call in evacuation helicopters and air strikes via the eyedroid.
That’s all stuff you may have heard, here’s what we saw that was brand-spanking new:
- The evacuation Helicopters will take you straight back to mother base, which is a giant series of freight platforms off of the coast of Afghanistan.
- You can expand your base by investing money into it. Anything you retrieve will be available at your base – prisoners, vehicles, even sheep. These items can be air-dropped to you at any time. You can also add things like turrets to your towers and what not.
- Another thing you can do for security is hire UAVs, which are floating gun turrets that monitor your base’s security.
- All of a sudden, an alarm goes off, and the base is under attack by something. You see all of the soldiers running towards the north end of the base. We’re told that the way you choose to invade certain areas, the people you kill, and especially the people you don’t kill, will all effect who you have rivalries within the game.
- We’re promised that Snake’s relationship with the world of the game will change based on the decisions the players make.
That was about all I got to see. I should note, for our reader’s enjoyment, that Kojima took much pleasure in hearing the crowd laugh at the humor he injected into the game. Especially the horse-pooping.