A few of us here at Examiner have dabbled in Metal Gear Solid. Some of course have more playtime than others but we’re all alike in that we’re never quite sure what to expect with each new installment. It was clear that Konami was attempting to go more open world with Ground Zeroes and that’s directly reflected in The Phantom Pain.
Riding in on a horse, Snake and Ocelot ride into Afghanistan to infiltrate a Soviet controlled base. The events take place shortly after the conclusion of the events of Ground Zeroes but we’re told that the Mother Base feature will return.
At this point we were simply thrown into the open world. We could head directly for the main objective, to retrieve a captured ally, or approach one of three secondary bases to help us gain intel on the situation. We decided to see how we could fair on our own, opting to attack the base head on.
Along the way we dispatched an enemy checkpoint rather sloppily, thinking we might be a bit under-prepared. But in our minds, we were already passed the point of return, besides, Snake is supposed to be confident in his decisions.
Our approach goes well enough, we mark some enemy encampments and begin to observe their movements. Crouch walking as close as possible before going prone, we maneuver under a very small overpass and sneak in the side entrance.
We quickly learn that getting spotted is still not a great idea, so being stealthy is in your best interest. But thanks to the open world you now have more ways to approach each situation. Sneak in from the back of the town, try to scurry in a side entrance as we did where security could possibly lapse, or drive in guns blazing. All are technically feasible but thanks to the long sight lines, it’s much harder to lose heat once it’s acquired.
Keifer Sutherland’s voice feels like it could be fitting but we’re still left missing the classic Snake feel that came with David Hayter. That said, there’s plenty of quirkiness that returns such as the whisking away of cars, gun emplacements, and even horses. We’re still not entirely sure how reverse parachutes work but the mix of seriousness and the slightly funny is what makes Metal Gear, Metal Gear.
We were also treated to a disturbing new enemy introduced in an unsettling manner.
What’s for certain though is that The Phantom Pain will be unlike any installments prior to it as the first truly open world full length game in the franchise. Whether that’s for our benefit or a complete miss remains to be seen.