Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is shaping up to be an absolutely huge game, so it's only right that E3 has produced a similarly huge video demonstration of the game in action. The 40-minute clip walks us through the game's menus, showing music, gear, companion, and base customization options, before deploying player character Snake (AKA Big Boss) on the ground in northern Afghanistan.
The Phantom Pain is defined by its freedom
Where previous Metal Gear Solid games have been generally linear in their story progression, The Phantom Pain is so far defined by its freedom and open world. Snake's dropped in the middle of the desert, and able to choose a mission from his map, making this MGS feel more like Fallout or The Witcher 3 than the tightly scripted action of Kojima's past titles. There's freedom in how you choose to approach these missions too, a wealth of routes, vehicles, and weapons allowing for schemes both stealthy and loud. In the demo, Snake shows one such approach, sneaking his way into an enemy compound and picking foes off with the help of silenced pistols and trusty canine pal D-Dog.
It may have changed its core mechanics from classic Metal Gear Solids, but The Phantom Pain looks like it keeps a similar balance between the sublime and the ridiculous. Carefully choreographed close-quarter combat techniques can knock enemies out, allowing Snake to attach a balloon to their belt and send them into the sky, where they're retrieved by plane and put to work in his organization's home base. The "Fulton" balloon system is — weirdly — a real technology, but the way captured soldiers hang in the air for a second before being yanked upwards with a yelp is pure slapstick.
In the midst of cryptic teasers, strange statements, and rumors that MGS creator Hideo Kojima is leaving series publisher Konami, it's tough to get a handle on exactly what The Phantom Pain is at the moment, but we'll find out soon enough — the bumper-sized game is due for release on September 1st.