Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview

At this point, you may think that only the story of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain can surprise you. You would be wrong. While Ground Zeroes already gave players a taste of the gameplay to expect from the upcoming installment, it doesn’t encompass all of the features and systems in The Phantom Pain. At the Tokyo Game Show, Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima demonstrated one of the interesting differences between the two chapters: the  buddy  system.

Though The Phantom Pain is a single player experience, the buddy system allows players to team up with an A.I.controlled ally to open up new tactical options on missions.

During the TGS stage demo, Kojima showed Big Boss joining up with the voiceless sniper Quiet. A wolf named DD (short for “Diamond Dog”) is also available, and other characters could presumably join the mix.

After a parachuting in for a dramatic entrance, Quiet stands ready to take orders. If you plan on being less than stealthy, you can have her follow you to help take out any opposition you encounter. If you want to be more calculating, however, you can send Quiet ahead to scout the area. She seeks a good vantage point, marking all guards so they are visible to Big Boss. When Quiet is in position, you can also get more detailed information on the guards, like their health levels and remaining ammunition.

We’ve previously seen scenes set in deserts of Afghanistan, but this rescue takes place in Africa. The forest environment means Quiet has plenty of places to hide, and she uses her superior positioning to lend other kinds of support. For example, if two guards are patrolling an area, you can target one yourself and order Quiet to focus on the other. As soon as you fire, she does too, preventing either of the sentries from raising an alarm. Since she is right there in the world with you (not just some helpful
offscreen support) you may even see her give you thumbs-up after a successful piece of teamwork.

While this kind of assistance from a sniper is predictable, players have room to experiment with the buddy system and find more creative uses for their companions’ abilities.

In one case, Big Boss finds himself facing a helicopter, but with no more ammo for his rocket launcher. He does have a few grenades, though. After giving an order to Quiet, Big Boss lobs a grenade off to the side of the chopper, and Quiet uses a perfectly placed shot to set the explosive hurtling toward the aircraft, which goes down in flames. As unlikely as the solution may be, the fact that it works is a testament to range of available options in The Phantom Pain.

The buddy system isn’t the only new thing on display. We learned that the red robotic arm that we’ve seen on Big Boss isn’t his only one; he has a yellow one (and maybe even more) that can emit an electric shock to incapacitate enemies. He has a supply of instantly inflating Snake-shaped decoys that can distract guards or bump them off ledges, perfect for hilarious stealth hijinks.

Kojima Productions undoubtedly has more surprises in store, but with The Phantom Pain’s newly confirmed 2015 release window, Big Boss won’t keep us waiting too much longer.

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