We’re pulling our review together for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and want to save our overall verdict for then, but we cannot stop talking about the amazing, unexpected and hilarious things that we keep doing in the game. Rather than just discussing between ourselves, we’ve pulled together some of our highlights based on our progress so far, though it’s by no means comprehensive – the game’s just too big for us to fit it all in here.
Kleptomania “If it’s not nailed down, we’re nicking it!”
The Fulton device is about the best gadget in any game, and actually based on real world tech used by covert ops teams from the 50’s to the 90’s (and Batman, naturally). MGSV takes the use from Peacewalker up a notch and lets you snag resources and equipment in the field, meaning that when you’re building Mother Base up it’s not only people you need to extract. Filling a jeep with unconscious soldiers and making it float upwards is always satisfying, as is neutralising an enemy force by sneaking up and extracting a tank or APC before it gets chance to engage. Containers are fun too, we just don’t recommend attaching the balloon when you’re stood on top of one.
Tormenting the Enemy
Really one for the secretly sadistic members of the Codec Moments team (*cough* Andy *cough*), the well established AI makes for some rather nasty encounters. What about a bit of psychological warfare? Try extracting all the guards from a base without alerting anyone, yet leaving one lone soldier at the entrance. Imagine how he’s going to feel when he thinks the Rapture’s happened behind him. A particularly evil trick is to use the last known position to system to your advantage – let the enemy get suspicious, plant some C4 in that spot and crawl away, when they come to investigate……..BOOM! Keeping it quiet, Graham just likes to pick dead guards up and throw them at live ones, apparently it’s very effective.
Like an adult version of Pokemon, gotta catch all those special skills soldiers. We’re used to snapping up the enemy and convincing them to join our growing private army to enhance our R&D or Operations skills, but careful planning and scouting can net you some real rewards. The obvious ones are the interpreters that let you understand enemy comms, yet we were impressed at the variety of others that add to the depth of research. Biotech engineers, gunsmiths, explosives experts – they all upskill your R&D team and let you build the best weapons in the game. Who knew we’d spend more time in the metagame than actually stealthing it around Afghanistan and Africa. If you’ve played Ground Zeroes then make sure you get your save uploaded, there’s a very special R&D guy to unlock.
Mother Base Smackdowns
Getting this in now, Cev just likes beating on his army. When asked his favourite moment so far he said it’s the saluting and standing still that provokes him. “Hey Boss, got time for a mock battle?” SMACK BOOM BAP POOM POW! They even love you for it, upping their morale for just interacting with them.
Take the Weather With You
One of the most unexpected and impressive parts of the game has been the weather system. A day/night cycle is great for managing the different approaches to infiltrating bases, but a random rain or sandstorm can really shift the tone and capability of your approach. Being caught in a heavily guarded area, pinned in shadows with dawn approaching and nowhere to move is not a nice experience, until a sandstorm arrives and gives you the freedom to run past anyone who’d notice how out of place you are. Rain masks your footsteps too, making movement quicker and more fluid and helping you out of sticky situations.
Caution: Danger of Death
Seen those electricity poles knocking around? Had a rain shower over a base? Why not knock one of them down and see what happens.
Side Ops Shenanigans
With 157 missions to get through, the side ops will take a while to finish off, and just like Peacewalker there are some great varieties of tasks on offer. If you want something that will really make you wonder if you understand the events leading up to this game, then look for the wandering mother base soldiers. After the first successful completion, head to the medical strut of your base, look for a door that opens on the 2nd floor. Genuinely, W.T.F.?!
Sony Walkman “like.no.other”
Cassette tapes are great for getting the backstory to events and characters, and can reveal a lot more than missions themselves. You can also listen to the tunes you collect as you ride around on D-Horse deciding what to dick around with next. What you should remember is that there’s a third tab of things to listen too, some of which have interesting effects on the battlefield. Break out the Afghan lullaby, turn on the loop function along with the external speakers, and away you go.
It returns – the ability to move quickly round the map using your cardboard box. Find a delivery point at the major locations in the region and collect the shipping manifest to unlock them, you then just equip the box and wait on the platform to move to your selected location. You’ll need to open one up to move to it, but it can save hours of trekking through desert or forests. Matt thinks this is one of the best features to uncover, and can quite easily be overlooked, so spends most of his time searching for orange metal plates that look out of place.
What have you discovered that’s made you think WOW!, WOAH! or WTF? Let us know in the comments below.