One of the first games I ever played on our family’s Nintendo Entertainment System was Ultra Games’ 1987 classic, Metal Gear.
A game that emphasized stealth over shooting, it became a modest hit for Ultra’s parent company, known as Konami. As a tree would grow, so would Metal Gear. Ten years after the original Metal Gear was released, Sony and Konami released Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation. I spent Christmas of 1998, trying to escape Revolver Ocelots’ torture device, save Meryl, and earn that Bandanna and stealth camouflage.
Circa 2014, at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Hideo Kojima released the latest trailer and demoed the gameplay of the next installment of the Metal Gear Solid series: The Phantom Pain. Fans are eagerly awaiting this game, quite honestly, because, since Snake Eater, you don’t hear much about the history of Big Boss, however, in this game, you will learn what drives Boss to become the villain. The character, now portrayed by Kiefer Southerland, must now rebuild his mercenary organization and take the fight back to those who destroyed his home, which was violently attacked by the man known as Skull-Face, and his organization, XOF.
During the same gameplay video which was just recently shown on Kojima Station as well as E3, the game is running at 1080p and 60 frames a second, on a PS4, for all of you who dig that sort of thing. There were also several moments that stood out during the hands-off demo. Everything has it’s cycle, for example: enemy guards run shifts at their base or outpost, animals traverse landscape, weather changes. During your time in Afghanistan, you could run into a sandstorm and if you didn’t set way-points, you could get lost and end up in places you didn’t intend to end up in.
The Fulton Recovery System returns from Peace Walker, as well as the Mother Base dynamic. By using the Fulton on certain objects like cargo containers, vehicles, personnel, even sheep, you can provide GMP, which in turn will allow you to research new equipment, build better weapons, and afford the use of artillery strikes and airdrops. Your iDroid becomes even more invaluable, because it’s your link from the mission area to home. The iDroid becomes your PDA, it helps you sort out what personnel go to what position. Capture enough enemies? Then you can slot them out to the Intel division and get better intelligence on an area before you go in, or while you’re there. As for the covert operations you’ll perform , you need the right set of gear, right? Well, classic fans now get one of the original tools back for duty. The Cardboard Box, has returned. You can now spring from the top of it to shoot or interrogate enemies, or you can leave it as bait if you’re spotted and you can flank your opponent as he checks on the box.
When you’re done rubbing your noses in bloody work, you can always return to Mother Base to take in the fruits of your thievery. Mother Base isn’t just a static menu, it’s a living, breathing, thriving place. Personnel you’re recovered will be going about their business. The vehicles you’ve captured will be sitting at the ready. There are little unmanned drones buzzing around the facilities. You can see the new platforms being built in the distance. And, when you get invaded, you can head off into battle, and help your troops fight it out.
From the deserts of Afghanistan, to the jungles of Africa, Phantom Pain will showcase what could be best described as the darkest chapter of Metal Gear Solid, and for fans of the series, its certainly something to be excited about. Watching the transition of Boss from hero to villain is something long-time fans have been waiting to see, and Kojima seems intent on finishing that tale. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will available at your local Montgomery Wards, circa 1984.