Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Build a base and defend it from invading players. - Games Weekly

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Build a base and defend it from invading players.

Everyone who plays Metal Gear Solid V will have  their own Mother Base. This is where Big Boss hangs out between missions, and you’re in charge of building it. Starting out with a single oil platform, you’ll expand it over the course of the game until you have a sprawling offshore base with a design that is uniquely yours.

But you’ll need an army to operate it in your absence, which is where the Fulton Recovery System comes in. During missions, you can capture any guards you take out non-lethally by attaching a balloon to them, which is then scooped up by a helicopter. Captured enemies will join Big Boss, and you’ll have to assign them a role based on their individual stats. Jobs include leading combat teams, researching new technology in the R&D unit, and producing food in the mess hall.


You can return to and explore Mother Base at any time, and while you’re there, you’ll see your army going about their business. When they see you, they respectfully stand to attention and salute, which is a nice touch. When you’re not around, they’ll go on missions and train at the firing range, raising their stats and earning  you a currency called GMP.
I’m glad that Metal Gear’s anarchic spirit has carried over into the multiplayer
Fulton balloons can also be used to steal enemy vehicles, weapons and other useful items to help your base grow. This, combined with your GMP stockpile and the research your R&D department does, will let you beef up your security with cameras, guards, alarm systems, weaponised drones and anti-aircraft guns.

You need all this because and here’s the really cool part other players can attack your base, like a more elaborate version of Dark Souls ’ invasions. You are, essentially, building your own Metal Gear Solid level and inviting people to infiltrate it. You’ll have to stop them sneaking past your defences and stealing your stuff with their own Fulton balloons.

But if they manage to pull it off, you can always infiltrate their base later and steal your stuff right back. When you’re under attack, you can take a gamble and let the  AI repel the invasion, or step in and take matters into your own hands.

With so many players on Steam, all with their own distinct base designs, I can imagine playing  Metal Gear Solid V  long after the end credits have rolled. But it all depends on how much depth the mode offers. Kojima Productions has only revealed the broad strokes of the Mother Base mode so far. I can’t wait to know more.

If it’s more traditional multiplayer you’re after, there’s Metal Gear Online to look forward to. Essentially a separate game, it sees players teaming up to take on stealth challenges in a series of big, open maps. ‘Traditional’ is being slightly unfair, though, because MGO isn’t just a shooter with a  Metal Gear  hat on.  Metal Gear  is defined by its dense, systems-driven stealth, and this has made its way into MGO, with a few co-op twists and some of the series’ trademark humour. If you manage to grab a player in a chokehold, you can pull out a camera, flash a cheeky smile and take a selfie to humiliate them. An early trailer shows a group of very different looking players working together, which suggests there will be detailed customisation options.

The enemy team can place automated Fulton-firing turrets, and if you stumble into one, you’d better hope there’s a friend nearby to pop it and save you. You can distract players with a fluffy, stuffed wolf they’ll stop in their tracks and gurgle over it, hearts swimming around their heads then mow them down with a chain gun toting mech.

Despite the fact that its story deals with some pretty heavy issues, Metal Gear Solid is a very silly game, and I’m glad this anarchic spirit has carried over into the multiplayer. The online components are being developed separately by Kojima’s new Los Angeles studio, but the big man’s mark is all over it. That stuffed wolf is so Hideo.

All this, and I haven’t even talked about the singleplayer mode. If you don’t care about Metal Gear Online or invading people’s Mother Bases, there’s still a massive solo campaign to enjoy. The Phantom Pain takes the Metal Gear formula and places it in a huge open world with a day/night cycle, which broadens the tactical possibilities massively. And if Ground Zeroes is anything to go by (see my review on page 86), it’s probably the tightest, best-designed stealth in the series to date.

If this is your first Metal Gear experience and that would be understandable if you only ever play games on PC you might find the whole thing a bit confusing. This is one of the most absurd, impenetrable mythologies in gaming, and you’ll need to spend a good chunk of time on the Metal Gear wiki to get your head around it all. But while knowing the backstory is a benefit, I don’t think it’s essential. Even diehard fans of the series won’t know what’s going on half the time. Just embrace the madness.

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