MGSV: Going off the rails in a Phantom Train

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain seems to be bursting at the seams with ambition, from what Konami has released in these past few weeks. First we get a brand new trailer, some hot new screenshots, and press even got to see a live demonstration of the game played behind closed doors at E3. And their reactions say a lot.

Phantom Pain is an immediately stunning game. The scope of the mountainous landscape littered with canyons, livestock, villages, and creeks is staggering. Riding your horse across the plains brought shades of Red Dead Redemption, even down to the way the music would swell as you neared a dangerous area.
Writes IGN.
Before Snake heads towards the enemy camp, he surveys his surroundings. It's a gorgeous scene. The Phantom Pain's stunning open world is 200 times bigger than Ground Zeroes', we're told. This is true next-gen gaming, I think. Then Snake's horse takes a dump, right in front of the camera. We see everything, from the rear, in all its 1080p60 glory.
Writes Eurogamer.
All told, The Phantom Pain is the most complex Metal Gear Solid game yet, and I can't wait to dive into it headlong; under the cover of a cardboard box, of course.
 Writes Gamespot.

From the sounds of it, The Phantom Pain is a popular game amongst the people who got to see it at E3, and this is why. Just today Konami has released a 30 minute video of this demo onto the internet.

It's got ambition written all over it. Huge landscapes filled with enemies and optional objectives to complete however you choose, whenever you choose. In The Phantom Pain, the mission is in your hands.

This includes, but is not limited to:

Kung Fu Grip!
Interrogating documents! Start talking bitch!
Taking pictures of your waifu, Ocelot!
In all seriousness, Hideo Kojima seems to be going off the deep end with The Phantom Pain. It takes many features from Peace Walker and turns them up to 11, like bringing back Mother Base and allowing you to customize it to such an extent, no two Mother Base's will look the same.

Not only will you be able to fully explore your Mother Base, you will be able to build it up from practically nothing and staff it with guards, defense drones and anti-air cannons.
In Peace Walker, Mother Base was just a menu on a screen. Aside from a few side missions where you fight enemies on a particular strut, or even go inside for some target practice, it didn't really feel like it was yours. It was just some area, for some mission.

It was ours! Give it back!
You spend hours upon hours building it up, recruiting soldiers for multiple aspects of your base, be it Combat, Intel, R&D, Medical or even Mess Hall. The game works hard to make it feel like its your home and yet, all you get to do is look at it. You don't get to walk around and see your soldiers walking and talking like they did in Paz's audio diaries.

The Phantom Pain, however, seems to rectify this. Diamond Dogs, Mother Base, this is your home. This is where you go after missions and this is what you will have to defend from hostile NPC's and even other players.

Goats become Demons.
The Phantom Pain takes what Peace Walker employed and makes it pail in comparison. Peace Walker was only a PSP game, you couldn't even crawl in that. But here, the stakes have changed.

Now, when you fulton(Or extract/rescue or any other means of recruiting soldiers) you will see them back at your base, as seen above. In the demonstration, the above Soldier and Goat Soldier were fulton'd during a mission only to arrive in Mother Base shortly after. In the particular screenshot, they walk up to Big Boss and thank him for doing so.

Your base is real this time. Your base is alive. You will see soldiers at shooting ranges, increasing their shooting skills in real time. You can even join them and increase your own skills. You can also spar with your soldiers, further increasing theirs(And again, your) stats.

This soldier was shooting targets square in the head, showcasing an impressive aim from less than 5 feet away.
But it's not just living targets populating your base. Vehicles, containers and other misc. items will actually show up, not just as an item on a menu, but a physical item you can see and even interact with. In the demo, as Big Boss arrives by helicopter, you can see soldiers driving a jeep across a strut on Mother Base.

Anti-aircraft cannons can be fulton'd from the battlefield as well for base defense.
A strut is under construction nearby.
Drones can be bought to patrol your base and help defend it from enemy invaders.
Ocelot, as well as every other unique character, will actually be hanging around somewhere inside of Mother Base, allowing you to interact with them, as the above picture indicates. Ocelot does his signature hand wave towards Big Boss, proving that Ocelot-Senpai really has noticed him. (@v@)
This is it. For real this time. Mother Base. And it's all yours.
An interesting mechanic brought up but not intricately discussed by Kojima Productions is the invasion mechanic. As said earlier, your base can be invaded by NPC's you affect in singleplayer, but also by other, real life people, via multiplayer. It is uncertain whether this pertains to Metal Gear Online, or is just an entirely separate mode altogether, but it is certainly intriguing.

Will it be like Dark Souls, where players will randomly be summoned into your world with the goal of killing you, or perhaps will there be other goals involved? Will there be more than one player? Can such an assault be coordinated and cause lasting damage to your base? What repercussions will befall the player if they fail to stop the invader?

Part of me wants this to go all of the way. Part of me wants this to have disastrous potential to you and your whole base. But part of me also thinks back to ill-timed invasions in games such as Watch_Dogs and Dark Souls, invasions that happen as you are off to the bathroom or while you are trying to do something else but now you've got to hold off while you deal with another player.

I'm more than positive that if they've gotten this far with the mechanic, it will be appropriately balanced, but one thing is for certain: It's an excitingly new addition to the Metal Gear genre, creating an outlet for change where there wasn't one before, and executing it well.

When every life on Mother Base is there because you put it there, having another person come in and muck it up will create an interesting dilemma where your very own emotional investment is at stake. Now that, my friends, is innovation.

Sometimes you've just gotta stand back and let people be cool, man.
It's not just base building and soldier recruiting that is getting the overhaul, but also the cardboard box and even the ability to knock has been upgraded. Now, the cardboard box has many options, all centered around an open world. You can pop out of the top of the box to quickly shoot an enemy, or dive out of the front of the box, leaving it behind to draw attention away from you. The perfect distraction.

As with knocking, in any prior Metal Gear Solid game, you would walk up to a wall, press yourself against it and press a button to knock, which draws guards away from where they were. Now, you simply enter the communication menu and select "Knock" and Snake spins his robotic wrist around and around, causing it to spark and grind which creates a noise loud enough to draw attention towards you. The best part, however, is you don't even need to be near a wall to do it. You can be anywhere in the game and use this mechanic, which creates new opportunities for infiltration and other such subterfuge.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain doesn't seem to be just any Metal Gear Solid game, it seems to want to be the ultimate Metal Gear Solid. It's not trying to do anything, it's setting out and getting it done. The open world game design, intricate base building and customization, along with interesting new innovations to classic MGS tropes, Hideo Kojima is, ironically enough, not taking any prisoners with this game. And I couldn't be more excited.

Bonus Ocelot-Senpai images.
What a stud.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".