AFTER WHAT WE’VE seen of The Phantom Pain over the last year or so, and having played its ‘prologue’, Ground Zeroes, Konami doesn’t really have to do anything to sell us on MGSV any more. What Konami has done, though, is manage to get us excited about an aspect of the game that has been far from the forefront of our minds up until this point: multiplayer.

We already knew that base building would be a key feature of the next MGS game, with the Fulton Recovery System introduced in Peace Walker making a return, allowing you to strap a parachute to anything from soldiers, to vehicles, to sheep, and send those resources back to Mother Base.


What we didn't realise, though, was how closely those base building mechanics would be linked to multiplayer. Sure, talk about how Mother Base can be invaded provided intimations about what Kojima Productions might have in store, but it’s only now that we really know what we can expect from the game's multiplayer mode and it looks very interesting indeed.

It turns out that when you’re developing Mother Base, what you’re actually doing is building a base that another player can try to conquer. The bigger you make it, the more difficult it’ll be for them to get to the end and succeed in their mission. You’ll also want to research new tech to reinforce your security, increasing your chances of stopping potential invaders in their tracks. In a recent demo, we saw an automated gun camera mounted on an outside wall, infrared lasers placed along the base’s
walkways and patrolling drones blocking the path of the invader from whose vantage point we were watching; you’d imagine there’ll be plenty of other gadgets to unlock, too.

“YOU CAN BLOW YOUR FRIEND TO PIECES JUST AS THEY THINK THEY’RE ABOUT TO TASTE VICTORY”
As the demo rolls on, it becomes apparent that The Phantom Pain’s multiplayer is built to encourage some sort of back and forth between rivals. Our invader used the Fulton Recovery System to take back resources that had been stolen from them, before making the thief pay the price by pilfering some of theirs. We like the idea of gaining bragging rights over friends by besting their base, but we have some concern that the tit for tat nature of the system could make resource collection a
chore as possession of said resources swings between yourself and your opponent in a pendulum like fashion. Hopefully the game’s multiplayer is designed in such a way that this won’t be an issue.


The climax of the demo showed the Snake that we were following coming under RPG fire from… huh? Snake?! Yes, it seems that players can be alerted that their base is being infiltrated, meaning that you can blow your friend to pieces just as they think they’re about to taste victory. Delicious.

While the multiplayer reveal was the headline of the showing, it wasn’t the only thing that caught our eyes. What also intrigued us was the way that the game will seemingly force players to employ a wide range of tactics in order to be successful in its single-player campaign. This became apparent as Konami showed the same mission that was demoed at E3 being tackled in an entirely different fashion. What’s noteworthy is not so much the  option to approach your objectives in a variety of different ways though that is welcome but rather that the AI will adapt to techniques that you’ve used in the past, making it a necessity. For example, if you’ve taken a lot of enemies out with the classic tranquiliser dart to the head, you might find that next time you roll into town, your foes are wearing metal helmets in a bid to thwart that approach. There are even companion characters to help you out, including barely-clad sniper Quiet and an adorable eye patched wolf hound called DD.

We still have one or two concerns about MGSV, most notably whether the darker narrative tone Kojima seems to be grasping for will clash with the game’s sillier elements. However, we know from playing Ground Zeroes that the game has a strong base. Everything that we’ve seen that’s being added to that, from new mechanics to multiplayer, leaves us feeling pretty damn positive.