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Gamescom: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview

Gamescom: Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain - weknowgamers

We recently took a trip to Gamescom, Europe's biggest gaming expo that takes place once a year in Cologne, Germany. As such, we stopped by Konami's Press booth to take a look at how the game's progressing and to catch up with any new footage or features that Konami would be revealing.

As a big fan of Metal Gear Solid myself, The Phantom Pain was a title I wanted to prioritise above most other games on show, so when our team at We Know Gamers caught word of a Metal Gear Solid Gala taking place in a venue not too far from Gamescom itself, we took a train one evening to the venue and grabbed ourselves an invite.

The venue was impressive. It was huge, grandeur and easily accessible. Entry was also free and it wouldn't have been considered a great event for fans and industry folk alike without free food, drink and cosplay (all of which were accounted for).

As we made our way upstairs, I grabbed myself a coke, collected a paper plate for some Curryvurst (Germany's most loved food it would seem) and sat myself down with Abdallah and Liban as we waited for the show doors to open. It wasn't long before we were allowed to enter and once we were sat down, Geoff Keighley (of Gametrailers.com) walked on stage and introduced himself to us as our host and presenter for the night. 

With the lights now dimmed, we were once again shown the desert based gameplay mission shown at E3 earlier this year, only this time our perspective was a little different to that of the footage previously shown. Heading towards a different lookout point, Snake instead made his approach down a long dirt-tracked road, stopping for his horse to release some excrement before galloping off on his merry way once more.

Making his way to the left, our hero dismounted his trusty white steed and approached a considerably weak Goat. It looked reasonably innocent and didn't seem to be causing too much trouble, but up on the cliff were a pack of wolves out on the prowl. It would seem that they picked up on the horned animals scent and had a hearty sized meal within their sights. Interfering with nature of course, our protagonist unholstered one of his firearms and then shot the Goat in the head. Wait....what?! It's okay though, it was only a tranq round.

Shooting the poor animal in the head put it to sleep pretty fast and to show off some kind of strange animal rescue feature, Snake made his way over to the goat, still cautious of the Wolves above, and then attached a floating balloon to the animal, watching as it groaned and shot up into the air, no doubt on a journey back to our heroes home - Mother Base.

Backing away from this point and keeping clear of the deadly (and now hungry) Wolves above, we watched as Snake clambered back onto his horse once more and made his way left, through some Cacti and up to a small cliff ledge. Pulling out his binoculars we were then shown where E3's starting point was (as presented to us on an in-game billboard/signpost, clearly marking the spot - oh Kojima, always the joker). The binoculars also allowed the player to mark each enemy which in turn showed the route of where they'd be travelling on Snake's holographic map. Perching himself down into a squatting position moments later, Big Boss then lit up a Cig and began to puff away as the in-game timer began to accelerate.

Good job that's an E-Cigarette, otherwise you'd end up in an early grave!
With this new feature added to the game, time now flies by at your command. This saves you the bother of having to wait until nightfall to infiltrate a base undetected and feels very similar to that of which the Elder Scrolls series had implemented long ago. How long you can leave the timer clocking over by is currently unknown and although it's unlikely to go on long enough for a character to die of old age, I'll bet Hideo has a few silly and/or helpful surprises in mind with regards to this.

With most enemies now marked and night very much upon us, we watched as the timer slowed to a stop for Snake to stealthily make his way into the base that he'd just been watching for the past five hours or so.

Making his way to the generator, Snake moved undetected between buildings until he spotted a Soldier. This Soldier could have meant detection for our protagonist, but instead we were shown how the game reacts to certain play styles and what the enemy AI does to keep things challenging.

Sneaking around the corner, Snake shot the Soldier straight in the head and although this would normally be a fatal kill, the Soldier remained standing. This was because the game had adapted to the players method of playing and where the Soldiers weren't equipped with helmets before, on this attempt the enemy AI had equipped themselves with clothing better suited for the protection against firearms.

Noticing the silenced shot, the Soldier quickly made his way towards Snakes location and so Snake, slithering out of there, headed over to the right hand side of the map where two guards awaited him around the corner and in a vastly open area. Out of view however, another Soldier noticed Snake. At this point we were shown the focus on cardboard boxes in a lot more detail than before.

As the Guard/Soldier approached, Snake spawned a box on top of himself and after waiting for the enemy to get within melee range, the box then extended vertically before the camera panned around to show the Guard getting excited about the fact a cut-out woman was on this box. Seconds later, Snake beat the Guard down with a brutally quick combo of CQC moves. Hilariously, there were multiple types of boxes where some had women on, others had pictures of guards on (deceiving enemies from afar) and another, exclusive to PC Gamers only was a Steam box, announcing that yes, Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain is now coming to Steam on PC. What this Steam box could do wasn't shown, but I'm half expecting it to be a Steam powered, quick method of transport with small wheels possibly being housed underneath.

There was also an ability where if the enemy noticed your box, you could eject yourself out from the side of it without your enemy noticing (unless of course you do this in plain sight, but then why would you?). Regardless, I'm interested to see and find out for myself what other options are possible with the many types of cardboard boxes on offer. Afterall, it wouldn't be Metal Gear without cardboard boxes added tot he gameplay in some way! Still, there needs to be love for the barrel also...

It's official - Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain will release on Steam.
As the demonstration continued, Snake successfully took out the Generating powering the lights around the base (taking out several guards along the way), which unfortunately attracted the attention of an enemy Attack Helicopter. Like any other enemy in the game, the pilot still has to track you down before it can find you, so there is no automatic "I know where you are function" as seen in older PS2 and PS3 games outside of the Metal Gear Universe. As such, we were then able to pay more attention to Snake's movements as he evaded and neutralised enemies, seamlessly climbed over rubble and buildings and dove under small bridges/walkways to avoid being spotted by the persistent threat above.

After his main objective had been completed, Snake then called in his aerial ride to a designated extraction point, alerted the Chopper, placed his aerial balloon on the side of a nearby Jeep and ran off as the 4x4 then took to the sky, where it flew straight up and into the Chopper above, causing a huge explosion for the whole entire base to hear. Needless to say, Snake called his trusty steed to his side once more and then high tailed it out of there, taking a few shots on the way, but ultimately escaping relatively unscathed.

This was the end of our demonstration and apart from watching a web based Q&A session, the show was over. Though, it had to end with a bang and for those who didn't get to play the recently obscure game titled "P.T.", it was officially confirmed here to be a virtual love child of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro with the revealing of it being a brand new, next generation Silent Hill title.

Hideo Kojima said the image used here for P.T. was actually a
work colleague's back garden.
It was a nice end to the show and on the Friday when we had our Phantom Pain session booked in with Konami, we were once again shown the Phantom Pain demonstration above, only this time with the addition of a multi-player game type where the point of the game was to take over your opponents base.

Each player has their own (Mother) Base and in order to recruit more men and gain access to better technology, it would seem that the best way to go about this is by infiltrating your opponents base of operations, stealing intel from them and preventing them from stealing intel (and any other sorts of information) from you, halting their progress against yours and anyone elses base by seemingly abducting their Soldiers and sabotaging their goods.

Of note, this feature showed that you can in fact hold up guards once more and on top of that, use your aerial balloon function to climb higher, out of reach places, evident from the fact Snake climbed on top of a container that he'd just placed a balloon onto and then stood on it as it elevated up into the sky, before jumping off on a nearby roof once more.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for The Phantom Pain and after being impressed with what I've seen so far and knowing that at its roots this is still the same Metal Gear series we all know and love, I'm looking forward to experiencing this for myself and seeing what the future of the Metal Gear Solid series may hold for us all.

What do you think of the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? Is it a must buy? Let us know in the comments section below or hit me up on twitter @CaptainCortez

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