Remember back in the day when you got free demos in magazines or by going to your local game shop? Well my friends get prepared to buy your first demo. It comes with a price tag of 30 dollars (if you’re a sucker for the Metal Gear franchise as I am). Despite my issues with having to pay for a demo, it’s actually pretty kick-ass. It’s a “blue-tease”, a tease that will leave you with a serious case of the blues, if you know what I mean. The game gives you a taste of what is to come with “Phantom Pain”. As soon as you pop in the game, you’re thrown right into the infamous cut scenes that resemble cinematic features, credits included. Once game play starts, you’re exposed to great visuals combined with lifelike audio. Put on a headset and it will take you deep into the world of espionage. Audio is a key highlight in this Metal Gear more than in previous titles. Before, you will just hear the dialogues between grunts to get hints. Now the more advanced audio allows you to get a little bit more creative. For example, in the first mission you are using a cassette for audio clues to pinpoint where your target is located. It’s a pretty good accomplishment once it’s achieved. It forces you to really focus rather than just running and gunning. Not like there is anything wrong with that, but a little structure just makes the game a bit more interesting.
The mechanics of Metal Gear V are quite familiar to the previous games (even though in my case I used to play them on PlayStation and am currently on Xbox One). If you are a newcomer I would suggest playing around with the buttons before you go on ahead and stress yourself out. There isn’t an interactive tutorial once you start to play. I was rather rusty and kept falling off cliffs after hanging on the edge. They do throw you a bone with images displaying what pressing a certain button will cause, but they don’t come up 100% of the time, you have to learn and adapt.
Metal Gear games are not for everyone, they tend to be slower than your typical game with guns. It depends on your approach for action and entertainment. Are you Rambo or are you James Bond? Honestly you can be any of the two (with a hint of Tom Clancy) but you have to stay focused on objectives, and consequences of your actions. For those who are Easter Egg experts, tags are scattered about the map, good hunting.
When I encountered my first target (or rather they encountered me), I noticed a new action called “Reflex”. Reflex gives a Max Payne feel because the slow-mo comes into play and depending on the distance you can have different outcomes. For instance, close proximity enemies are CQC’ed. If the enemy is at a distance and you’re spotted, you can lock onto them with your Reflex. But in order to shoot them during this slow-mo period, your gun must be equip (pretty obvious) otherwise you will just run at a very slow pace towards the enemy till Reflex runs out and you’ll end up like Swiss cheese.
Gathering information has also been upgraded in Metal Gear V. Before all you had to do was point your gun at a soldier, they’d shake and drop off items or give you intel. Now you can sneak up and put a weapon against their head to interrogate them for info or to call reinforcements so you can manipulate their post. After the interrogation process you now have choices. You can be a nice guy and let them go (typically not good because they retaliate), you can K.O. them, or just kill them. Depending on which weapon you have equipped you will see different sequences on the slaying.
The game still maintains its roots as it’s all about being sly like a SNAKE slithering through bushes, vents and pressing against walls to travel throughout the map which seem to be open. Now that I think of it, I don’t recall ever having to wait for a loading screen when leaving an area. It all flows naturally as if you were the one sneaking through Guantanamo Bay.
As mentioned earlier, I feel this is a sneak peak to the real Metal Gear V (Phantom Pain). This is to fuel our anticipation and give us a taste of what was witnessed at E3 2012. The trailer was a tease and going through this “demo” is a blue-tease. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and look forward to playing it. Although there is one thing that I must mention before I go; Snake’s voice. At first nostalgia keeps me from accepting the new voice of Snake, Kiefer Sutherland. His voice is more subtle than I’m used to. I miss the Snake that David Hayter played. That I-smoke-ten-packs-of-cigarettes-everyday, raspy voice, Snake. It’s no Morgan Freeman, but it definitely matches Snake’s persona. It’s a rough voice that can have you visualizing the wear and tear of Snake’s life (and smoking habits). When it comes to Kiefer Sutherland he does what he is good at; acting. In doing the voice for Snake, he does a great job making him human. Giving him the smoother voice makes Snake’s emotions more emphasized. I was never able to sense much emotion from David Hayter. For Snake’s line of work, the voice perfectly syncs with the character. I guess you can say he has a better ‘Poker Face’ than Lady Gaga. Kiefer Sutherland (I don’t know why I keep saying his whole name), is here to change the game. He is here to fill in the blanks of Big Boss. I have faith in Kiefer Sutherland because he was pretty bad ass in “The Lost Boys” (even though that was about 27 years ago). The transition would have been made a bit more acceptable if it would have been done by Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater, so that the voice of Big Boss would be sounding different than that of his future clone. I think I would allow a non-perfect clone. It would have been a great way to distinguish the two. Either way I believe the gameplay will outdo my obsession with the voice acting. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the “Phantom Pain” to fully digest all the changes in Metal Gear.